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Smart farming keeps Wisconsin potato operation on the leading edge

For Jeremie Pavelski, farming is a mountain of data waiting to be conquered. Every point of production, financial or logistical information can be aggregated and analyzed to create smart and well-calculated decisions. As president of Heartland Farms, Jeremie, 36, is combining two passions: agriculture and technology. The millennial leader is propelling his family’s 145-year-old farm in the US to be a cutting-edge business that withstands volatility and fickle consumer habits.

The top crop on this Hancock, Wisconsin-based farm, which includes 27,000 acres, is potatoes. During the past 40 years, the farm has grown from 1,100 acres to its current size. Heartland Farms has storage capacity for more than 275,000 tons of potatoes. Annually, 9,000 acres are dedicated to potatoes, most of which end up as potato chips. “The chip segment is one of those demanding segments of the potato industry,” Jeremie says. “You want to have the perfect chip in each bag.”

On the journey from field to bag, potatoes require acute production practices, intense storage monitoring, careful handling and unwavering food quality standards. As a result, chip manufacturers, such as Frito-Lay, would rather work with a handful of sophisticated growers, instead of hundreds. Heartland Farms is one of those.

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