Albert and Helen Austic bought a 125-acre farm in 1951 to grow seed. They also raised chickens – nearly 2,500 of them – and ran a repair shop on the side. Inspired by his father's ability to start farming something from nothing, when his son Bruce was 16 years old he rented some land and began his farming career growing corn, wheat and kidney beans.
Today Bruce and his family own Austic Farms in Interlaken, NY, farming nearly 8,000 total acres, including 2,500 acres of soy beans, 1,200 acres of wheat, 400 acres of hay, and, of course, 3,900 acres of corn. Over the years, Austic Farms also grew vegetables for Seneca Foods, including peas, green beans, and sweet corn.
Since 2009, Bruce and his 20-person team have been working with Lansing Group to provide hundreds of thousands of bushels of corn per year to the Sunoco Ethanol Fulton manufacturing plant.
"The farming industry in New York State was headed for some pretty bad times if something didn't happen to make it more profitable to farm," Austic said. "The industry was at a point that people were going out of business. Sunoco Ethanol helped to stem the tide."
"Thanks to the ethanol industry, and especially the Sunoco Ethanol Fulton plant," Austic continued, "they've been able to help rebuild the regional farming economy. There's no doubt about it."
Each year the farm begins to harvest its corn at the end of September or early October and finishes up just before the Thanksgiving holiday.To accommodate the more than 720,000 bushels of corn it harvests each year, Austic Farms recently built a new storage facility in Ovid, NY, capable of storing nearly 820,000 bushels of corn. Austic Farms also recently invested in a 2,500 bushels per hour vertical dryer.