Amon to retire after 42 years with co-op
Thursday will be the last day on the job for Jackson Farmers operations manager Gary Amon, who is retiring after 42 years with the co-op.
“Actually, it’ll be 42 years, four months and 12 days to be exact, but nobody’s counting over here,” Amon joked.
But those 42 years have been good, he said, and he’s ready to “just fade into the sunset.”
“I really don’t have anything planned,” Amon said of his imminent retirement. “I’m just going to take life as it comes.”
Area farmers and friends are invited to wish Amon well on his retirement during a special reception to be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at Jackson Farmers’ Holton office.
When he went to work for Jackson Farmers on Nov. 19, 1973, Amon ran the fertilizer building and worked as a liquid sprayer — indeed, he found out early that his job wasn’t confined to one or two things.
“At these co-ops, you wear many hats,” he said. “Typically, you help out where you need to help out.”
Amon moved up the management ladder in June of 1977, when his boss, Leland Gerhardt, went to Netawaka to manage the elevator that Jackson Farmers had acquired at the time, and Amon stepped in to fill Gerhardt’s position. He was promoted to operations manager in 2003.
Over the 42 years Amon has been working for Jackson Farmers, he’s seen a lot of changes in technology and equipment that have been a benefit to farmers, helping them to produce “more significant yields on crops” and bring in larger loads.
“When I got started, we were seeing an average of about 140 bushels per load,” he said. “Today, it’s all semitrailers bringing in anywhere from 800 to 1,000 bushels.”
The size of the equipment has also changed, as has “the application side of things,” Amon said. And Jackson Farmers, he added, has done its best to keep up with those changes, upgrading equipment in the company’s elevator and adding more grain bins.
Amon said he has been considering retirement for about a year, noting a few “health issues” he’s had to deal with during the past year. Or, as put it with a laugh, “I’m gettin’ old!”
But he has enjoyed his days at Jackson Farmers, and he has especially enjoyed creating good working relationships with the people he serves.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the farmers,” he said. “They really are special people.”
After Amon leaves the office for the last time on Thursday, Jesse Smith will take over. Amon said Smith, a native of southwestern Kansas, has spent the past three weeks getting ready for the job.
“I think he’s going to bring a lot to the table and do a fine job,” Amon said of Smith.
As for Amon, he plans to help his son, Garrett Amon, on the farms that his family owns, and he might even stop in and “provide some assistance” to his wife Ann, who runs Ann’s Home Health on Holton’s Town Square.
“I just wanted to be able to have some time of my own and spend some more time with the grandkids,” he added.