Mike & Samantha Miller

Everything changes when you become a parent. Mike Miller and his wife, Samantha, learned this in the best way possible after their 16-month-old son, Charlie, was born. “Our focus on the farm has really shifted now,” says Samantha, “Everything we do is to make sure the opportunities we had growing up are still here for our kids.”

Samantha is pregnant with the couple’s second child, due in February, but it hasn’t slowed her down. As she chases Charlie around the property on an unseasonably warm autumn day, Mike watches with a proud smile.

The couple have been working on the farm near Rodney, Ontario for nearly ten years, along with Mike’s father John. Mike stresses, John is still an integral part of the operation, working with them to maintain their chicken operation while providing guidance and advice to Mike and Samantha as they take on a bigger role, caring for their corn, soybean and wheat fields. The partnership is a win-win— John gets the chance to spend time with his grandson Charlie, while working alongside his son and daughter-inlaw. Mike explains that his father taught him the importance of family and hard work. “One of the best parts of the farming lifestyle is the opportunity to involve and work with the whole family,” says Mike. “We love the freedom to do things how we want.”

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While that freedom allows the Miller’s to decide who is responsible for what, they’re still limited to the number of hours in the day. With a farm, and a family, that is growing more than ever, time is the Miller’s most precious resource. “We’re always working on time management,” says Mike. “Last year we decided that we should stop focusing on trying to do more, and instead focus on getting better at what we already do.”

Since making that decision, the couple have worked to reduce tillage and plan to use a dry starter to improve nutrients in the soil. Every year, they manage their corn crops with tank mixes, always using multiple modes of action to reduce weed resistance. “We’re on a heavy corn-on-corn area, so don’t always have the option to rotate our crops,” says Samantha. “So, we rotate the chemistry in the sprayer instead.”

The challenge of having limited options for crop rotations makes it even more important to grow corn hybrids that are proven on their farm. The family has grown DEKALB® brand corn for 10 years now, especially DKC50-78RIB and DKC52-84RIB, which have become stalwarts for their disease resistance and hearty yields. With the help of their DEKALB® Agronomist, Bob Thirlwall, the couple participate in experimental plots with the Monsanto® Technology Development trials. To keep an eye out for new products that thrive in their growing conditions. The ability to test out corn hybrids in their own conditions before they become commercially available has been both valuable and exciting. “We rely on our own field data when we make decisions on the farm,” says Mike. “We use our yield monitor data to track field averages and see how the new products are reacting to our environment.” And when they are ready to make a purchase, Bob is the first guy they call. “Any question I have, Bob has an answer,” Mike says, chuckling, “If he doesn’t know, he will find out and takes the time to visit us personally.”

Samantha nods, adding, “It’s more of a friendship than a business relationship.” Bob feels the same way. “It’s such a great opportunity to work with progressive farmers like Mike and Sam,” says Bob with a smile. “Whether it’s new technology, new agronomic practices, or new seed products, they’re always interested to learn more.”

As Bob and the family joke around, they notice the pile of leaves Charlie has collected. He seems to be practicing his harvesting skills already. “At the end of the day, the important thing is that our kids have the chance to be part of this,” says Samantha, beaming. “In the end, if they have the same opportunities we’ve had, we have done our job.”

We thank the Millers for choosing DEKALB® brand seed for their farm and wish them a safe and successful harvest this year and for many generations to come. Check out the results of the Miller’s corn trial and other farm-managed Market Development trials here… 


If you're interested in growing DEKALB this growing season​...

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