All in the Family … Business

Carter Broek comes from a long line of family that has the love of agriculture and their equipment dealership running through their veins. His great grandfather owns several hundred acres that family members—all the way down to great grandkids—now help farm. And the family-owned dealership, Van’s Implement, Ltd, in Hull, Iowa, is truly a family-run business, with Carter’s grandmother and mom doing the accounting, several uncles overseeing parts, service and sales, along with his brother and cousins working in various roles.

Right now, Carter is sophomore studying Ag Business at South Dakota State University in Brookings, which is just under two hours from Hull. To help him obtain his degree, he has been given a scholarship by the Equipment Dealers Foundation and matched by the dealership. “I’m grateful to have gotten this scholarship to help me out with my schooling,” he says.

While Carter is back on campus, it doesn’t look anything like it did just a year ago. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, about half of his classes are now virtual. In addition, normal extracurricular activities, such as the intermural sports he enjoys, are on hold, while typical socializing, like just hanging out at the union with friends, is no longer an option.

Precision Ag

That said, he’s focused on his school work, which this semester includes a range of topics, from farm and ranch management to precision agriculture. This last class is of particular interest to him, as he sees the need firsthand when he’s working at the dealership: “A lot of the older guys are often looking for someone to come out and help them program equipment for them.”

Because his college is a reasonable drive away from his hometown, he spends most weekends there, where he can work at the dealership. When his studies are done, he plans to return to Hull and the dealership. “I like being part of a close-knit community, where I know everybody,” he says. “I like that you can go to the grocery store, see someone you know and have a conversation with them.” And Carter says that feeling of belonging is also a great benefit to being at the dealership. “I like working there and seeing family and also not having to worry about not knowing your boss.”

Making It a Career

Carter is looking forward to working full-time at the dealership and “pursuing the ag world and seeing what it entails and being around it all the time.” Over the years, he’s helped at other hog farms, so he said that once he gets settled in, he might like to “throw up a hog building or two and see what happens.”

His advice to others who think they’d like to pursue a career in agriculture is to figure out what direction they might like to go, as there is a wide range of possibilities from banking and ag loans to work at a dealership or a ranch or farm. “Start young, and figure out what you’d like to do,” he adds.

About the Scholarship

The Equipment Dealers Foundation (EDF) was established in 1988 to provide scholarship funding to help meet the industry’s needs for trained individuals. Since then, the EDF has continued to focus on workforce development initiatives that benefit our industry. Most recently it launched Technicians for Tomorrow, an awareness campaign designed to educate parents and teachers about the benefits of a career as an equipment technician for their children and students. EDF also provides temporary assistance for dealerships and its employees affected by natural disasters. Learn more about EDF here.