A Rich Family Farming Heritage
The Emerick family – Tim and Patti along with their sons Matthew and Benji and daughter Betsey – have a rich legacy in agriculture on both sides of the family. Emerick Farms is a successful and sustainable row crop operation built upon a strong foundation of strategic business decisions and traditional family farming values passed down and strengthened through the generations.
Patti’s farming heritage began with her great-grandfather Emil Grandt settling in St. Peter, Illinois in the late 1800’s. Emil’s sons spread out and developed their own farming careers; his grandson Charles, Patti’s father, grew his farm from 160 acres in the late 1950’s to more than 1000 acres by the time he passed away in 1983. Patti’s brother Brad still lives on the home farm today. Patti married Tim Emerick in 1976 and they continue farming today with their sons and daughter.
Emerick Farms traces its roots back to the late 1800’s when Marion Eakin and his wife ran a grain and livestock farm with their five sons. After trying several farm-related ventures, their son Rolie became a farm implement dealer, signing contracts with Oliver Plow Corp, Nicholson and Shepard Threshing Machines, Hart-Parr Tractors and Superior Grain Drills, which all merged into the Oliver Corporation. Early on, Rolie would trade for horses and sell farmers new tractors. Even during the Depression of the 1930s, Rolie’s business prospered.
During those hard times, Rolie and his wife took in many nieces and nephews whose families could not afford to feed them. Among them was their nephew Marion (Tim’s dad) who rode his bicycle from St. Louis to the farm in Vandalia, IL to help out on the farm each summer. After serving in the U.S. Navy during the war, Marion came back to the farm to help with the implement dealership. Despite its location ten miles from town, the implement dealership prospered. Tim’s dad Marion worked with Rolie in the implement business from 1945-1965 at which time it became Eakin and Emerick, Inc.
Marion and his wife Ann had three sons – Ron, Gary and Tim. Ron did the farming and Gary and Tim expanded the implement business to include various lines over the years including 4 wheel drive tractors and even the Ford Tractor dealership in town. The three boys divided the responsibilities so that Gary moved to town and ran the Ford dealership, Vandalia Tractor and Equipment. Tim stayed in the country and ran Eakin & Emerick, and Ron ran the farm.
In 1996, The Emericks purchased a John Deere dealership in Norris City. Another John Deere dealership was purchased in Benton in 1999. In 2003, after buying out Gary, Tim and Ron Emerick looked to the future and wanted to provide the opportunity for their children to come back to the family business like they had done if they would so choose. Eventually the Emericks sold Vandalia Tractor and Equipment and concentrated their efforts on running the farm and two John Deere dealerships. As Patti built her business in rental properties, Ron and Tim focused on farming and the John Deere dealerships.
Ron passed away in 2006. In 2008, Tim and his family decided to sell the dealerships and focus on growing their farm in Vandalia. Through renting and purchasing land, the Emerick family has grown their farming operation significantly. Their forward-looking plans, exceptional operating staff and solid infrastructure position the Emericks for a successful and sustainable future in agriculture.