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Kahle retires from long ag career

Tom Kahle at his Heartland Bank & Trust retirement open house in June / CIFN photo.

CHENOA – Tom Kahle has seen many changes in agriculture during his years in the banking industry.

During this time, farming changed from more of a hands-on industry to automation with the addition of computer technology allowing for variable rate use of seed and chemicals.

“It made it more of a science than an art it had been in the past,” Kahle said. “I’ve been able to grow and utilize those things working with both farm owners and operators over the years.”

Kahle recently retired from his position of executive vice president and trust officer at Heartland Bank and Trust in Chenoa. He worked in Chenoa for 36 years and in Bloomington for two years prior to that.

After starting out in farm management and with the trust department, Kahle gradually moved into lending, eventually serving as president for the Bank of Chenoa, currently Heartland Bank, for nine years. The previous owners merged their bank into Heartland.

“My job duties have virtually remained the same from the transition of Bank of Chenoa into Heartland Bank and Trust,” Kahle noted.

When Kahle’s career began, corn yields of 150 bushels per acre and bean yields of 50 bushels per acre were considered very good or even excellent. Those numbers are almost considered crop failures these days. In this area, 70-bushel soybeans and 220-bushel corn is common.

“You know it’s just monumental the changes that have been made in agriculture through science and technology and things like GMO crops with more extensive use of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides to improve yields.”

Kahle helps his brother on the farm by taking care of background tasks such as agronomic decisions, farm program elections and maintaining the books.

His involvement includes: the Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, American Society of Agronomy and the ISU Ag Alumni Foundation board. He also served on the local school board and intends to fill out his term on the Prairie Central Cooperative Board of Directors where he is treasurer.

It is not about the job but the people Kahle has been able to work with throughout the years that made his career special.

“I’ve had long relationships with the farming community,” Kahle recalled. “Those relationships will continue on.”

Enjoying life is a goal of Kahle’s as he plans to still live in Chenoa and remain active in the community.

“My family and I have decided now would be a good time to retire while we can enjoy some things in our later years.”

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