WHEATFIELD, Ind. — Growing a business in the agriculture
industry is no easy task. With the ever-changing challenges of the weather,
markets and input costs, the Duttlingers face a different task every day.
It is their philosophy to face those challenges head on and
remain diligent no matter what obstacles come their way. Their determination has
led them to be owners of a successful, diversified family farming
Because of their hard work and community involvement, Dave
and Jill Duttlinger, along with their four young children, have been named
Indiana Farm Family of the Year. The prestigious award is made possible through
Beck’s Hybrids and Indiana AgriNews.
The winners were announced at the Indiana Farm Bureau State
Convention in Fort Wayne.
“I’m a fourth-generation farmer,” said Dave Duttlinger.
“Farming is the center of our life. Everything we do is influenced by what is
happening at the farm.”
“Farming has more unique flexibilities than other
businesses. It allows me to bring the kids to work with me. Whether I am working
in the fields, in the shop or trucking, it is always quality time with the kids.
The kids keep track of whose turn it is to go to the farm to make sure they
don’t miss their turn.”
He met Jill at Purdue University while visiting his alma
mater for a weekend getaway. She was a student studying agricultural economics.
They hit it off and have been together ever since.
“Probably the biggest obstacle we had to overcome was she
grew up in a John Deere family, and I’m from a Case IH family,” he joked.
Both Dave and Jill have roots in agriculture and the common
interest of farming. Together, they are working to create a successful business
for their children — Nathan, 8; Max, 6; Grant, 3; and Annabelle, 10 months — to
one day be a part of.
“Every day is a challenge,” Dave said. “Probably the biggest
challenge that we’ve overcome is the transition from my parents’ generation to
One way the Duttlingers have developed their farm is by
“We have expanded our operation by offering custom trucking
for both neighboring farmers and local elevators,” Dave Duttlinger. “We
traditionally haul corn, soybeans, hay, straw, fertilizer and tomatoes. We also
do custom hay and straw baling with our big square balers and custom fertilizer
The Duttlingers farm more than 1,600 acres of corn,
soybeans, hay, wheat and have a beef cow/calf herd. They utilize a mix of
no-till and conventional till on their land and also rotate crops.
When they aren’t on the farm, they can be found
participating in community events.
Dave is an officer on his church finance council and union
steward for the Portage Fire Department Local 3151. Previously, he was a Ceres
Solutions board member and volunteer firefighter for Wheatfield Fire Department.
Jill is an officer on the parish council for their church,
Sunday school fundraising chairperson, REMC Operation Round Up board member and
frequently helps in their children’s classrooms. She is a past officer for the
Portage Fire Department Local 3151 Auxiliary.
Dave also is a full-time firefighter and paramedic for the
Portage Fire Department. He began his career at Portage Fire on Sept. 10, 2001,
and has been a part of the firefighting family ever since.
“I work every third day for a 24-hour shift,” he explained.
“It is very rewarding. I like the variety we have on our department because we
are cross-trained to take care of both the fire and EMS emergency calls.”
He was awarded Firefighter of the Year in 2013 and the Medal
of Valor in 2012.
Jill and Dave agreed that they love the land they work on
and are honored to receive the Farm Family of the Year award.