After Joe Halderman graduated in December from Taylor University, he wasn’t certain he wanted to work for his family’s business – Halderman Real Estate and Farm Management.
He spent time considering his options and then decided working for the company, founded by his great-grandparents in 1930, was what he wanted to do. He joined Halderman earlier this year, the first fourth-generation member of the family to work for the company.
“I really hadn’t planned on this,” explained Halderman, 22. “I was trying to make my college decision, it got down to between Taylor and Purdue. I wanted to play football in college; I love football. That’s why I decided on Taylor because I really didn’t know, am I going to come back to the family business, am I going to do something else?”
Halderman has a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Taylor. Before he decided to join his family’s business, he said he considered jobs in boat sales and landscaping.
“Toward the end of January and the start of February, I decided that the best option was to jump into the family business and pursue that. I’ve really enjoyed it thus far, the work that I’ve done. I really didn’t envision myself doing this in high school and then through college, but it’s where I ended up. I’m happy I’m here.”
Howard Halderman, president of Halderman Real Estate Services, Joe’s father and the grandson of the company’s founder, offered his son a job in February. “I told him, let’s give it a try. And if you know six months, 12 months into it, this isn’t for you, fine. I want you to chase your passion. We’re super excited about it, having the fourth generation of Halderman's.”
Joe Halderman is an area representative and a part of the company’s renewables team, which his father said works with solar and wind energy companies to lease farmland for development. The team focuses on land in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. “These guys are talking to farmers, they’re talking to landowners, and saying here’s an opportunity,” Howard Halderman said. “If you’re interested, we can help facilitate the transaction. If you’re not, that’s fine too.”
In addition, Joe Halderman will learn about farm management and other aspects of the business. Last summer, he served as an appraisal assistant during an internship with the company. During school, he worked at the company doing auction sign management, drone flights and property maintenance.
Joe Halderman said some aspects of his job have been like going back to college, but that he’s also “learning on the fly. Sometimes landowners ask me questions and I’ll say, honestly, I don’t know, but I know someone that does and I’ll get back to you with an answer. I don’t want to present the wrong answer. That would not be good.”
Halderman Farm Management Service was founded by Joe Halderman’s great-grandparents, Howard H. and Marie Halderman, in Wabash. Howard H.’s son, Robert, joined the company in 1958. His grandson, also named Howard, joined in 1988, and the younger Howard’s brother, Richard, in 1991. Howard H. died in 1964 and Marie in 1993.
Joe Halderman said he doesn’t think there’s a lot of pressure in joining the family business, but there are expectations.
“They’re not lofty expectations, they’re reasonable ones,” he noted. “There’s a sense of pride there, wearing the Halderman name on your shirt and representing not only the family name but the company name, and everyone that’s worked here before me, currently or in the future. Just representing that name well and in a respectful way. I’ve always been a big family guy. I just love my family and spending time with them. Being able to work here and do the things that my grandfather did, obviously my great-grandfather too, and now my father, it’s just pretty special.”
The Halderman companies manage more than 650 farms in 19 states and Canada. They sell and acquire more than 150 properties and do more than 800 appraisals yearly.
Howard Halderman said he didn’t know his grandfather, but has heard stories from his father, Robert. “I think there would have been a lot of pride from (my grandfather),” Howard Halderman said. “Just to know that, gosh, what I built has existed almost a century and has gone through now into a fourth generation, and has expanded the way that it has. Just the diversity of services and the national breadth would probably be a couple of things that would surprise him.”