Farmers spend a lot of time by themselves in the tractor and combine. It’s valuable thinking time, but extroverts like Matt Jedlicka of Columbus need people contact time, too. That’s one of the reasons Matt is both a farmer and a business consultant to other farmers.
“I’m a people person and that’s probably the one thing with farming that doesn’t fit me – a lot of time by yourself. I love the business side of farming, and that’s what I do – sit down with my clients and analyze their business. So it’s a natural fit.”
Matt is a marketing and financial consultant with Russell Consulting Group in Iowa and has clients in Nebraska, Iowa and Colorado. “What I really like is that my work is counter-cyclical to farming: when I’m busy on the farm, my clients are busy on their farms. A lot of this work is done in the winter.”
Matt farms 14 miles northwest of Schuyler with his Dad (Allan), Uncle (David) and Cousin (Rodney). The Jedlicka Brothers operation grows corn, soybeans and a little alfalfa and feeds cattle. Matt’s great-grandparents settled in the area in the early 1900s, so he’s a fourth generation farmer. The family added the feedlot in the early 1970s when they decided to feed cattle on a bigger scale. Most of the cattle come from ranches or sale barns in the Nebraska Sandhills, but some also come from South Dakota.
Matt, who earned a degree in diversified agriculture from UNL in 1996, lives in nearby Columbus with his family. He and his wife Sharee will be married 15 years this fall. Sharee is a physical therapist and opened her own clinic, Dynamic Life Therapy and Wellness, in Columbus two years ago. Their two sons, Bowden, 7; and Callen, 5; attend St. Bonaventure School.
The boys visit the farm often. “They come out a lot with me during harvest and a couple of days a week in the summer. My 7-year-old is starting to get more helpful. He likes to help and spends a lot of time with my Dad,” Matt says.
The boys play baseball and t-ball and Matt coaches one of their teams. They play sports around the house and go to sporting events and the entire family gave skiing a try last winter.
Matt would like consumers to know that farming is a business, and it’s not easy. “I think sometimes the media and the public think farmers are really making a lot, when corn is $8 and they’re paying more in the grocery store for their meat and everything.
“Farmers are managing a lot more risk than people realize. Expenses fluctuate, markets fluctuate – farmers are really margin players. They’re continually selling grain and buying inputs to decrease their risk and a lot of time it’s not really as easy as the public thinks it is.”
Continue to check back to the blog each Thursday to get to know more farmers and ranchers from across Nebraska as they share their everyday stories. And to read past farmer and rancher profiles, click here.