Mound City natives and Heartland consumer-members Myrl and Earl Nation graduated from Jayhawk-Linn High School in 1993. From there, the identical twins went to Pittsburg State University, where each graduated with a degree in engineering.
Boeing hired the two as engineers right out of college, tasking Myrl with designing support beams for the 737 while Earl worked on the 747.
“Earl always told me he could fit three of my little planes in his plane,” Myrl said with a laugh.
Both brothers say they enjoyed the work, but they knew it wasn’t what they wanted to do.
“When we were working in Wichita, a lot of people went golfing on the weekends,” Myrl said. “Our hobby was to come home and farm. I guess we finally turned our hobby into a job.”
For 10 years, the Nation brothers slept in a camper in Wichita during their four-day workweeks and made the three-hour drive home to the family farm on the weekends. Working with another Mound City local, Chad Krull, they steadily grew their farming operation, which included cattle and row crops such as corn, soybeans and wheat.
“The goal the whole time was to get big enough farming that we wouldn’t have to have a job,” Myrl said.
That goal was achieved in 2007 when the Nation brothers quit their jobs at Boeing to focus on the farm full-time.
The Nations don’t like to talk about how big their farming operation is, but a visit to their headquarters just north of Mound City makes it clear that they have plenty to keep them busy.
They bought a former John Deere store in 2010, worked to renovate it over three years, and opened it up as a farm store in 2013.
“It just fit what we did,” Myrl said. “Everything we need is in this store, pretty much.”
Their next project is building a facility to help them process and sort cattle on some acreage near Blue Mound.
The brothers divide their duties with Krull, their partner. Krull oversees cattle, Earl handles the store, and Myrl is in charge of the row crops.
Neither Myrl nor Earl can tell you exactly what they love so much about farming—Myrl compares it to a “disease” that gets in your blood at a young age and never leaves—but it’s clear that their love for it is genuine.
“Probably the biggest difference between now and when I was working for Boeing or other companies is I look forward to Monday now,” Earl said.
But that’s not to say the brothers have left engineering behind altogether.
“The biggest thing in engineering is solving problems,” Earl said. “We’ve got different problems out here every day.”