Farming is more than a job for the Bishop family; it’s a lifestyle. Bob and his wife Waneta have 3 children, one of which still works on the farm and 7 grandchildren.
Before farming full-time, Bob was well-rounded in the workplace, teaching school for 16 years, building houses, selling fertilizer and delivering feed for the local co-op. He was able to take over 1500 acres of ground and begin farming full-time in 1985 when his father and two neighbors all retired.
According to Bob his passion on the farm is to, “serve [his] community and work for the good of all mankind and give praise to God.”
Currently, Bishop Farms grows corn, soybeans, Plenish soybeans, wheat, hay, and seed corn for Pioneer. Furthermore, Bob has a beef cow herd from which they sell club calves and freezer beef. Lastly, they have a commercial trucking company that delivers seed corn for Pioneer.
“The most important crops we are growing are our grandchildren and developing a love for agriculture and a desire to continue the legacy,” Bob says.
The Bishop Farm began in 1833 on the edge of the prairie west of Leesburg settled by James Harvey Bishop. President Martin VanBuren signed the land grant deed.
Bob was, “inspired by [his] father to continue the legacy of the Bishop family in agriculture.”
Throughout Bob’s lifetime, “changes have come fast and furious.” He remembers farming with tractors that didn’t have cabs, two row cultivators, two row planters, and two row corn pickers. In years past, they have grown black and white navy beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and sweet corn.
Now, Bishop Farms has a 24 row planter, a 45 ft. platform on their combine, air conditioned cabs, auto guidance, yield mapping, computer technology and much more. They have recently introduced drone technology, which Bob’s grandson Scott is the pilot for. It’s a valuable tool on their farm.
Agriculture will continue to change as time goes on. “Technology that we have today will be obsolete in 5 years, yes many farmers will still be doing things the same way but the progressive farmers will be adapting new technology to make their farms more competitive in the world market place” Bob explains.
There are many joys to farming but Bob’s two favorite things on the farm are, “seeing a new calf born and watching it stand and nurse for the first time” and “driving a new combine through the field for the first time and seeing the yields as they appear on the monitor.” His love for agriculture is shown on both the crops and livestock sides of the spectrum.