Over the past three years, Kline continued to invest in his farming operation even as he aggressively paid down debt. Instead of buying land, he focused on improving productivity of both owned and rented land, as well as improving relationships with landlords. That led to modest acreage increases, even though Kline wasn’t aggressively searching for more land.

“We have put in more drainage and removed fencerows and small woods if it was approved by NRCS,” says Kline.

He also made other core infrastructure improvements, including constructing a new 28,000 square-foot office, shop and machine storage complex, built with a goal of improving the farm’s overall efficiency.

His decision to construct the new office and machinery building was another reason to back off on machinery purchases, Kline adds. “In recent years, we haven’t traded as often as we typically have because we knew we were putting up the new building. We did that with cash, and not borrowed money. If we traded equipment every other year, we didn’t need a new shop.”