Years in Industry: Roger bought his first farm in 1999
Family: Married to Nicole, sons Landon and Marshall
Memberships and Organizations: Farm Bureau, Michigan Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Association, Chester Township Fire Department
History: Roger's grandfather, Walter Umlor, bought the land in 1930 and started the farm with 80 acres, which has always been heavy in fruit production. Today, there is one main farm in Conklin, as well as two satellite farms in the Hart and Shelby area, consisting of about 600 total acres and over 340 acres of apples. Roger, along with his father Bob, uncle Ray, brother Mark and cousin Steve run the farm together. They have always packed and stored their own apples, now using 12 controlled-atmosphere rooms, and sold them through Belleharvest Sales in Belding, Mich. Roger says that running a business with family can have a lot of ups and downs, but it is really nice to work with people you can trust.
While Roger has come to understand a great deal about growing apples, he understands that the learning curve never ends and that everyday can present new information and challenges. "There is always something new in the farm industry. We keep up on new technologies, varieties, chemicals and farming techniques in general, but every year is different," Roger says. "And just when you think you have it under control, Mother Nature steps in with freezing spring temps, hailstorms, high winds, too much rain or no rain."