KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) — Inside Luke Daily’s barn hangs a sign that reads, “It takes a family to run a farm.” For Daily, a fourth-generation farmer, the phrase couldn’t be more accurate.
Started by Daily’s great-grandfather, Daily’s Farm has provided fresh food to the local community for decades. Along with growing 200 acres of tomatoes for Red Gold, the farm currently grows various produce, soybeans and the always popular sweet corn.
While the farm has been around for four generations, the local produce sales began in 1987 with Daily’s father and mother. According to Daily, his parents decided to try to sell a “tailgate of sweet corn” which sold out, and the business only grew from there. The produce grew to half a truck and eventually to the current standard of three stands around the area.
“What I think is pretty cool is throughout this whole 33 years of being open, we really haven’t invested any money into marketing,” Daily said about customer support. “It’s just been the people of Kokomo and word of mouth. They really embraced out produce, and I think that’s just a really cool thing.”
Thankful for the people of Kokomo for their support over the years, Daily said he believes they continue to support the farm because of the high quality and freshness of the produce, such as the corn which is always picked fresh the day it’s sold.
Now the head of operations on the farm, Daily said taking over the business happened very naturally. His dad is still very involved with what goes on.
“Sometimes I get the question of if it’s challenging working with family – it’s really not,” he said. “It’s something I really enjoy – I get to see my mom and dad every day when I come to work, and I view it as a positive thing.”
Being in a farm family for 33 years – Daily was born the same year the produce sales began – he has seen the business grow and evolve with time and changing technology. On the agricultural side, he noted auto-steering and GPS have made it so he rarely drives a tractor anymore, and social media has had a huge impact on the produce sales side of things.
Run by Daily’s wife Brittany, the Facebook and Instagram pages are used to help keep consumers alerted to what’s going on at each stand during sales. Aside from connecting and cultivating a community, the quick access to customers has allowed Daily to inform people when corn or other produce is out of stock in real time.
Daily said he puts everything he’s learned from his parents into the work he does and has tried to soak up all their knowledge to do the best he can.
“My mom is the most selfless person that I know … she taught me how to put others first and great customer service. That’s what our whole business is built along,” he said.
As for his father, “It’s hard to narrow down to just one thing because everything I’ve learned in farming is because of him,” Daily said. “I’d kind of be selling him short to pick just one thing that he’s taught me.”
“They taught me that all hard work eventually pays off.”
Daily finds the cycle of farming to be a reward in itself – planting, scouting, caring for and watching the crop grow to get the end product. The end product going out and being enjoyed by people brings him happiness, harkening back to what his parents taught him about hard work paying off.
“I’ve just been really blessed to be put in this position, and I’m really thankful they’ve allowed me to be a part of it,” he said.
When not working, Daily is usually found spending time with his wife and two daughters, Cori and Quinn. One of his favorite activities is fishing with the girls on a pond the family lives by.
“My oldest is getting to the age where she’s doing a lot of exploring – she wants to put her feet in the pond,” he said, adding that anytime Cori sees a tractor, she gets excited and thinks it’s her dad’s. “We’re creating a lot of good memories out there.”
Source: Kokomo Tribune