Lindsay Baneck Named 2022 Compeer GroundBreaker of the Year
On a subzero winter day in mid-January, Lindsay Baneck has summer on her mind as she sits down with her family to sort through seed catalogs and plan orders for the upcoming growing season. Baneck farms with her parents and sisters just outside of Helenville in southeast Wisconsin. There, she operates Jelli’s Market, growing produce like strawberries, raspberries, apples, pumpkins, sweetcorn and more on 40 acres. The site also includes a retail store where customers can buy freshly picked fruits and veggies, meats and baked goods.
Baneck also plays a key role in the family’s nearby operation, Maple Mound Farms, where they grow corn, soybean and wheat and raise cattle.
“A lot of farmers don’t get to work directly with their consumers, but for me it’s rewarding to see the end result of all our hard work,” Baneck said. “People come out to our farm all summer and get to see how their food is grown. My parents started this entire operation themselves, and I know we have something really special here.”
Not only does Baneck have a strong commitment to serving her customers, but she also has a passion and drive for the agriculture industry that exemplify what it means to be Compeer Financial’s 2022 GroundBreaker of the Year award recipient. The award recognizes young and beginning farmers who are overcoming obstacles, making a difference in agriculture and having a positive impact in their community.
“Lindsay inspires everyone around her,” explained Justin Foegen, Baneck’s crop insurance officer at Compeer Financial. “She knows what’s important and shows her commitment through action. She’s very involved in agriculture and the community, and has clarity on the things she believes in.”
For Baneck, recognition as GroundBreaker of the Year is especially meaningful after her mother experienced a lifechanging medical emergency.
“It’s been really, really tough the last couple of years,” Baneck explained. “In 2019, my mom went into cardiac arrest, and my sisters and I saved her life. She has a brain injury as a result, and balancing her care, along with the typical challenges of farming, has been tough. Some days it feels like we are just surviving and not actually thriving.” But, when it comes down to it, family is the driving force behind everything on the farm.
“The number one reason I farm is because of my family,” Baneck said. “My parents poured their heart and soul into our farm, and I this legacy.” It’s a desire of many young and beginning farmers, one that Compeer Financial is proud to help with. “Compeer’s support of young and beginning farmers is vital to keeping the farms of our clients going for another generation,” explained Mike Herschleb, Baneck’s financial officer at Compeer Financial.
“That’s why we have a GroundBreakers program, to connect directly with young, beginning and small farmers like Lindsay,” he continued. “She’s a great fit for our GroundBreaker award, she has big dreams and aspirations, and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for her and her farm.” Baneck has found that her dreams and aspirations need to be supported by solid communication and a clear vision of the future.
“I’ve found open communication with family and with our employees to be the number one key to our success,” Baneck noted. “We have the space to talk about what’s working and what isn’t on the farm. And everyone has clarity on what our goals are and how we plan to achieve them.” And with the next generation just arriving on the scene — Baneck and her husband Eric recently welcomed their first child — there’s even stronger hope for the future. “My dream is to see our farm’s continued success and sustainability,” Baneck stated. “I want to ensure our story continues on.”
This article was originally printed in the Summer 2022 edition of Compeer Financial's Cultivate magazine.