Heartland Farms is no small potatoes when it comes to tubers; the company produces more than 450 million pounds of spuds a year. Heartland, a fifth-generation facility, ships out of Almond, Amherst Junction, Hancock and Plainfield.
Currently, it farms approximately 15,000 irrigated acres and has storage capacity for more than 175,000 tons of chipping and supermarket style potatoes. Shipping capacity is about 60 truckloads per day. The farm also grows sweet corn, canning peas, soybeans and green beans.
For Jeremie Pavelski, president of Heartland Farms, agricultural research plays a vital role in his day-to-day operations, determining the best growing practices. Through research, he’s learned:
- How and when to irrigate and apply nutrients efficiently.
- What crop protectants work for certain crops, what is safe to use, and when you need to apply them.
- Whether new nutrient sources or additives can help ensure that both the crop’s needs and environmental needs are met.
- How to store crops to ensure excellent quality and minimal loss.
In addition, the farm continually looks at the latest technological advances to improve water efficiency, provide better yields with less nutrients and crop protectants, as well as to devise new storage techniques.
As a board member of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, Pavelski explains that his organization has teamed up with the University of Wisconsin on numerous projects. Among these team efforts is the new storage research center at the UW-Hancock Research Station.