President, Hertz Farm Management
In his 34 years with Hertz Farm Management, Jeff Troendle has seen some big changes in the industry.
“Probably some of the biggest changes include a movement from less emphasis on the agronomic and production side of our business to a greater emphasis on the economic and relationship parts of the business. In addition to making sure that the farms are producing competitively, we are also helping landowners do tax planning, transition planning or estate planning, and helping them navigate Section 1031 tax free exchanges. All of this requires additional technical expertise above and beyond the production expertise that we are expected to have. All of the added technology on equipment and surrounding record keeping has also been a big change.”
Hertz Farm Management, Inc. currently has 130 employees across the Midwest with 14 offices in Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. Troendle started out as an appraiser in the Mt. Vernon, Iowa, office in 1986, moved to Waterloo as an office manager in 1990, and finally became president in 2016.
In 2000, Jeff received the Land Stewardship Award from the Iowa Chapter American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) for his soil conservation efforts, and in 2009 received the National Farm Manager of the Year award.
"The most important thing about my education was just learning how to learn and the importance of being willing to ask more questions."
“The part of the job that I enjoy most is building relationships and helping people solve problems, whether that is a client that’s struggling with a difficult decision or an employee that is trying to develop a new skill or build their confidence in making recommendations to their clients. While I still manage several farms myself and have direct contact with clients on a daily basis, in my current role a majority of my time is spent helping other employees in the company be successful.”
His least favorite part of the job: paperwork.
“Documentation is critical, but it is also very time-consuming. We are constantly working towards better processes to be able to document more efficiently. Being successful in this area gives our farmland professionals more time to spend taking care of their clients.”
“My education at Iowa State University was a great base for my different roles at Hertz Farm Management. The agronomy and livestock classes helped prepare me for production agriculture, while the economics and ag law classes were vital to sparking my interest in the business areas. Probably the most important thing about my education was just learning how to learn and the importance of being willing to ask more questions. If the experience helps you understand the importance of being inquisitive, understanding where to go to get answers and how to communicate your findings to your clients, that is the real value of education.”
Troendle grew up working on a grain and livestock farm in Northeast Iowa. From there he went on to become an animal caretaker on the Iowa State University Beef Training Farm from 1983-1986 while attending ISU. In 1984, he worked as a research intern for Asgrow Seed Company and from 1984-1986, he worked as a data collector for the Department of Economics.