CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - When you meet Charles Hinkebein, there is something you'll notice right away. He has a knack for numbers. For any significant weather event, he can name the year and date it happened.
"In 1980 and 1983 we both had droughts, and it burnt up everything just about," said Charles.
Charles Hinkebein lives and breathes farming. He says the only thing more important than his 2600 acre farm, is what's around his dinner table, his family.
"We have five daughters, four son-in-laws, and four grandchildren," said Charles. "It's a good place to raise your children."
His wife Glenda agrees with that now, but that wasn't always the case.
"I didn't want to marry a farmer," explained Glenda. "When we got in so deep I knew there was no way out."
"I've got Glenda, she worries for me so I don't have to worry," said Charles. "Things don't bother me. I started with nothing and figured I could end with nothing."
Son-in-law Carl farms with Charles and says their yield is almost always much higher than the average.
"Corn we average 225 to 250," said Carl.
That success is credited to Charles and his way of farming.
"We try different varieties, he does test plots and we try to keep up with the technology," said Glenda.
"Everything's looking great, as long as we get the water, shouldn't have no problems here," said Charles as he looked at his soybeans.
"You can't put up all the trophies, the whole house would be full," said Glenda.
Glenda says he's won just about every farming award and contest, but you won't find any of those displayed inside the Hinkebein home. Instead you'll find more tractors.
"On the top here, they are all pretty much replicas of tractors that I've owned at one time," said Charles.
From the replica tractors to the real deal, Charles takes pride in it all.
"I've always liked to work with dirt, the dirtier you get the better you like it," said Charles.
His hands prove, he loves it. And that's the love he's passing along to the next generation.
"Joseph, he swears up and down that he's going to farm someday, and I said your not farming if you don't have a college education," said Charles.
Education is something Charles doesn't take lightly. In fact, one of his awards included a $2500 reward, and he took that money plus some of his own and donated it to the Delta Elementary School.
Congratulations Charles Hinkebein, you are one of the Heartland's best farmers!