Young Alum of the Month: Tony Buls

Tony Buls
Title and Company: 
I am currently farming with my Dad, Uncle, and Grandfather. at Family Farm
Sumner, Iowa
Major and Graduation Date: 
Agricultural Studies; Minor -- Agronomy, May 2003
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

The major responsibilities that I have are typical of what a farmer has, which involve making daily decisions regarding marketing, plant health, equipment needs, etc. In our farming operation we do all of our own fertilizer and chemical application. We do some custom spraying and anhydrous application for neighbors. I also haul all of our grain to market as well as for the Co-op during the summer months.

What you like most about your job/position: 

What I like the most about being a self-employed farmer is the diversity of my job. It can vary from analyzing cash flows when determining cash rental rates to learning and operating intricate auto-steer GPS equipment. I also enjoy analyzing the agronomy side of row crop agriculture. It has always amazed me how making adjustments to things like fertilizer rates, seeding rates, or fungicide applications can impact final yield, even when the adjustments seem minimal. With the ease at which yield monitoring equipment can compare different management practices, each field in essence can contain several checks of different management practices. This data can be analyzed and can contribute to future crops and the decisions made at that time.

What advice would you give to current students: 

he advice I would give students pursuing a career in Agriculture would be to do something that they have a passion for. If you are doing a job strictly for the paycheck you will never get much satisfaction out of it. I know in 1999 when I decided to enroll in the college of Agriculture the future of Agriculture did not look as exciting as it does now. However, I am glad that is the route I took!

Favorite Class at ISU:

Agronomy 354 Soils with Dr. Randy Killorn. I enjoyed this class largely due to the exposure it gave me to the concept of soil life and its complexity. It really stressed the importance and connection of soil structure, fertility, and plant health -- all things that are crucial to growing a successful and profitable crop.