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Farmer passes baton to next generation

Staff writer

When Terry Vinduska of Marion was growing up on a farm five miles west of Pilsen, his father, Louis, and his uncle, Paul, worked together.

“I saw the advantages,” he said. “I learned from the best.”

One lesson he learned was how to pass business responsibilities on to the next generation.

“When I started farming and Dad reached Social Security age, he was ready to let me take over and work for me,” Terry said.

Now that Terry has reached retirement age, he has followed his example and relinquished management of two farming and business enterprises in which he is involved.

More than 20 years ago, he formed a limited liability farm corporation with Monty Stuchlik of Lost Springs. It included Monty’s son, Ross, and eventually, Monty’s son, Daniel, who is married to Terry’s daughter, Melissa.

All four of the men own land leased to the LLC.

Terry and his wife, Cindy, moved to Marion a few years after the LLC was formed, and Daniel and Melissa moved into Terry and Cindy’s farm home.

As Terry neared retirement age, he decided to sell his farming interest to Daniel and Ross.

“I wanted to get out of the decision making, and I wanted the two young farmers to have a bigger share of the business,” he said, “but I wanted to be involved.”

He helps on the farm whenever needed and especially likes running a combine at harvest time.

“Next to my wife and family, that’s what I love the most,” he said. “I’m a hired man, which I love.”

Terry sold Pioneer seed for more than 50 years, and about 20 years ago, he formed Old Mill Rd. Seed Co. and built a large warehouse for corn, soybean, and milo seed. It also holds a seed-treatment plant.

After Terry and Cindy moved to Marion, he built an office onto the warehouse. It is his headquarters whenever he is at the farm.

Daniel and Melissa became involved in the seed business, and Andrew Hajek of Tampa joined them.

“Pioneer gave me the opportunity to expand the business, and I needed help,” Terry said.

Last year, Terry decided to turn over all of his seed customers to the others. They bought into the business.

“I now work for them,” he said.

He works full-time in the spring preparing seed orders for customers and unloading seed deliveries. Some of the seed is in bags, and some is stored in bulk in outside bins.

Melissa does bookkeeping and runs the seed treatment plant during planting season. Terry’s two teenage grandchildren, Tanner and Allie Stuchlik, are beginning to help.

Terry said the young men do all the management, such as keeping up with the newest seed varieties and setting up computer software.

“As a 70-plus person, I realized I wasn’t the best person to do that,” he said. “I’m the warehouse guy, and I love it.

“It’s the best of two worlds. I can come out to the farm every day, and I get to visit with customers. Some are sons and grandsons of my first customers.

“I was blessed to have these young people work with me to build something that’s very special.”

Last modified April 14, 2022

 

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