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Building the Future of Ag

Larry Fischer’s farming legacy dates back to the 1700s in the Czech Republic, in the rural village of Trohatin in Bohemia. That’s where his ancestors farmed the fertile ground before emigrating to southcentral Minnesota.

Fast forward to 1961. Herb and Irene Fischer purchased their own farm — about 250 acres of row crops and a dairy — and turned to Farm Credit for financing. That decision would impact the trajectory of their son, Larry’s, future.

When Larry married his wife Deb in 1981, his parents began implementing plans to transition the farming operation to Larry.

“My parents saw the benefit in stepping away and giving us the chance to farm,” Larry explained. “They really gave me the opportunity to carve out my own future while providing guidance and input when I needed it.”

With this strong start, Larry and Deb were well positioned to grow and adapt the operation. Over the years, as they added four children, they added more acres, sunset the dairy and gained a lot of experience.


Now, Larry says it’s his and Deb’s turn to guide the next generation. Their transition plan started with a name change. Fischer Dairy became Trohatin Farms, a nod to their farming legacy in that small village in Bohemia more than two centuries ago.

Then, the Fischers got the right people in place to embark on the five-year process to develop their plan.

“We sat down with all the experts we trust to guide us through our transition plan, including our CPA, our attorney and our transition planning expert,” Larry said.

“And we had many open conversations with the kids and their spouses,” Deb added. “We were transparent with what our plan looks like and the expectations we have, and we gave them time to ask us lots of questions. The process takes baby steps; it doesn’t happen overnight.”

Of their four adult children, their son David had grown heavily involved in the farm over the years, eventually leaving his work in construction to come to the farm full time. It became clear David, his wife and their four young children would spearhead the farming operation and continue the Fischer legacy.

“With our transition plan, we also talked with all four kids about the sweat equity contributions on the farm and how that dedication also plays a factor in how things are done,” Larry noted.

Larry and Deb are adamant that the children not on the farm stay tuned in to what’s happening there and regularly talk about the operation. Today, Trohatin Farms includes 600 beef cattle and 1,100 acres of corn and soybeans.

Larry serves as the lead on the financial operations and jokes he’s also the Chief Manure Hauler. But 10 years ago, he found a role off the farm, serving on Compeer Financial’s Board of Directors, where he has an opportunity to influence and promote the future of farming.

“It’s important to me to give back, especially since I feel Compeer and Farm Credit have been a key to my success in farming,” Larry noted. “We have a high-quality Board balanced with many strengths, all focused on helping our clients succeed and creating a strong future for agriculture.”

Larry serves on Compeer’s YBS (young, beginning, small) Committee, where he influences programming for young, beginning and small farmers. Helping future farmers is one of Larry’s passions, and he encourages his peers to do likewise.

“It’s hard for a young person to step into farming,” Larry said. “There’s financing available through Compeer Financial, but they still need help. It takes a willingness from the older generation to step down — maybe take a little less rent on land or machinery — to help a young person get started. Helping new farmers find opportunities is critical to making sure there’s a future in farming.”


Another of Larry’s passions is setting up land for the future. In 2007, Fischer and his siblings purchased 120 acres of land along the Cottonwood River, transforming it into a wooded forest with swaths of native plants and grasses rich with wildlife. With steep bluffs and a beautiful view overlooking the river, it’s become a gem for the entire family to gather to hunt, have picnics and go on nature walks — a place to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

“Life isn’t all about farming; it’s about something like this,” explained Fischer, gesturing to the conservation property. “The true value of the farm is the family, the memories we make and the lessons we learn. I’m proud to share that legacy with future generations to come.”

This article was originally printed in the Fall 2022 edition of Compeer Financial's Cultivate magazine

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