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Growing Tomatoes in Corn and Soybean Country

17 juin 2019

Growing Tomatoes in Corn and Soybean Country

It’s one of the leading corn and soybean producing states, but did you know that Indiana ranks second in the nation for growing processed tomatoes?

That’s right… tomatoes.

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"We started growing tomatoes in 1983 when the Heinz Company came to Northwest Indiana.” said Scott Rice, owner of Rice Farms. “It’s been a stable business for us, because prices don’t fluctuate like grain.” 

Scott and his son James run the operation that’s been in the family since 1917. Located in northwest Indiana, they raise seed corn, field corn, soybeans, wheat and approximately 300 acres of tomatoes. 

“We produce about 10,000 tons of processing tomatoes each year,” Rice said. “We sell our tomatoes to Red Gold– a family-owned Indiana company that produces tomato juice, ketchup, salsa and other tomato-based products.” 

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Nearly all of Rices’ crops are irrigated. They rely on 26 center pivots to supplement normal rainfall during tomato growing season.

“Mother Nature doesn’t always provide us with enough moisture, so we use the pivots for supplemental water during critical times of the growing season, such as flowering and first set,” he said. “If it doesn’t rain, we’ll generally water the tomatoes once a week.”

Recognized as the 2018 Red Gold Tomato Grower of the Year, Scott and James use FieldNET® technology to remotely monitor and control all of their Zimmatic® pivots as well as several older pivots of another brand.

"With 26 systems to manage, we’re always looking for ways to be more efficient and capture some precious time savings, which is in short supply during growing season,” he said. “FieldNET helps us get some of our life back by not having to physically drive out to the fields to turn our pivots off and on or check to make sure they’re operating correctly. We wish we had FieldNET on all of our pivots." 

For more information about Rice Farms, visit

For more information about FieldNET technology, talk to your local Zimmatic dealer or visit

To learn about other specialty crop installations, check out these blogs: