The Duttlingers — Dave and Jill and their children, Nathan, 8; Max, 6; Grant, 3; and Annabelle, 10 months — grow more than 1,600 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and hay. The children enjoy riding in the combine with their father, where they learn firsthand what it’s like to be a producer.
The Duttlingers — Dave and Jill and their children, Nathan, 8; Max, 6; Grant, 3; and Annabelle, 10 months — grow more than 1,600 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and hay. The children enjoy riding in the combine with their father, where they learn firsthand what it’s like to be a producer.

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 operation.

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 our generation.”

One way the Duttlingers have developed their farm is by diversifying it.

“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 application.”

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.