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Member Spotlight: Richard (Dick) Isaacson, AFM, ARA

By ASFMRA Press posted 04-25-2023 10:54 AM


Meet the subject of our most recent Member Spotlight: Richard (Dick) Isaacson, AFM, ARA, a dedicated member of the Iowa Chapter of ASFMRA since 1976. Dick is the owner and founder of Growthland, a company with three offices across Iowa offering farm management, appraisal and brokerage services.

How did you begin your career in agriculture?

My career in agriculture really began as a youth growing up on a livestock farm in central Iowa. Our primary focus was dairy cows. The memories of cultivating corn with a four-row cultivator on an Allis Chalmers WD45 tractor remain, as well as milking cows on hot, humid summer days. After a rewarding involvement in 4-H, I attended Iowa State University majoring in Ag Business and Economics. 

What inspired you to start your own business, and what challenges did you face along the way?

I developed a strong sense of independence from growing up on a farm combined with the leadership experiences in 4-H and college. The "ups and downs" of farm life embedded a high level of perseverance. Upon graduation, I knew that I wanted to have my own business and it turned into a career goal that was realized in 1990. Owning your own small business means that you are your own boss, however it also means the every problem is yours to solve. It is just like farming, you work until the job is done and not because it is quitting time. 

Can you describe the most rewarding experience of your career?

The most rewarding times have occurred over the last ten years since my son, Ben, joined the business. With his leadership and new strategies, we have grown from a "one man shop" with a couple of staff members to a business of over 25 people. We have been proud to acquire several companies similar to mine which has expanded our footprint in livestock appraisal and management across Iowa and the Midwest. Our growth has been impressive, but it could not have happened without the high-caliber people who have joined Growthland. 

Have your accreditations helped in your career, and would you advise younger professionals to get their designations as well?

The skills and education required to obtain an Accredited Farm Manager or Accredited Rural Appraiser designation can propel you along your professional career. The ASFMRA is a unique organization where the members mutually support each other and regard each other as colleagues. I would encourage members to pursue these designations as well.