Profile: Aimee Bissell
-- Bissell Family Farms
-- Bedford, Iowa
-- Corn, Soybeans
The road to a true family farm hasn't always been a smooth one for the Bissells. Both Aimee and Klint Bissell come from a long line of Midwestern farmers, but that didn't give them a leg up when it came to finding land to farm. They literally started from the ground up to reach the 5,500 acres they work today. It's been a journey that, at times, felt divisive, Aimee says.
"Klint rented his first farm when he was 14, so he knew this was what he wanted from an early age. I am a registered respiratory therapist. I didn't understand why he couldn't just shut down his work and leave it to tomorrow. I felt we were living separate lives and just coming together in the evenings."
Aimee joined Annie's Project, a program that educates farm women and helps them network and become better business partners. What she learned was life-changing. By 2013, she had joined the farm as a full-time operator.
"I wanted to show our boys this is something they can strive for. I wanted this to be a family farm in every sense of the word, including planning for the possibility that the next generation would want to come back and work this ground."
That next generation, Braydon, 17, and Tucker, 13, took on some heavy responsibilities this year, as a pandemic changed everyone's plans. This was the first year they were home during planting season. Braydon took over running a sprayer, and Tucker air-drilled beans.
"These role changes, which we hadn't anticipated, were an opportunity for growth. Without the challenges of 2020, they wouldn't have happened," Aimee explains.
Another upside? Zoom meetings. "I've attended more meetings this year than I ever have in my life because they are so accessible," she says.
As much as she loves the family unity that's a daily part of the farm today, Aimee admits she also likes a little "me time." She usually finds it behind the wheel of a combine this time of year.
"I can drive the heck out of that combine; it's my happy place," she says smiling. "I listen to audiobooks. It forces me to take a break, just pick corn and relax."
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