ULLIN, IL (KFVS) - Ken Taake and his two brothers grew up on a farm in Pulaski County near Ullin.
The farm has been in the Taake family for generations, and its changed a lot over the years, and Ken changed along with it.
Although he grew up on the farm, he left home for college and life in the Chicago suburbs before coming back to southern Illinois.
But now he's proud to be a Heartland farmer.
Ken Taake knows from his years on the family farm that this line of work isn't easy.
"You have to have a passion for farming. You have to love what you do and you have to love the land," says Ken.
Ken grew up on 2,100 acres of farmland in Pulaski County with his two brothers, Dale and Mike.
Together they worked as boys on the farm, and now as adults grow corn, soybeans, and wheat.
And ever since they were kids, Dale says Ken, the oldest, was the leader, and he made sure everyone did their part.
"Everybody was in there. Even the younger kids. No one got left out when it came to that," Dale said.
After high school, Ken left the farm for the college and got an engineering degree before moving to the Chicago suburbs.
And even in the city, he never lost his childhood love of farming.
"When I grew up, I can remember that's what you wanted to do. You wanted to follow your dad around and be out in the field and do whatever he was doing," he said. "That was your goal for the day."
And when he dad got sick 28 years ago, he knew it was time to come home and take up the family business, because family has always been his number one priority.
"We're like all families. Things don't always go as smoothly as you'd like to think it should go, but I wouldn't trade it for the world," said Ken.
And Dale says he wouldn't trade his brother, his partner and best friend, for anything.
"He's a man of integrity. He has a passion and a drive for doing what he thinks is proper," he said.
And even in tough times and dry spells Ken says there's no place he'd rather be than on the family farm.
"I wouldn't trade it for the world," he said.
Ken says he also owes a lot of his success to his wife.