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DAA: Mark H. Legan

Mark Legan

Mark H. Legan

Coatsville, IN | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2005

Can a young couple who don’t own land build a successful agricultural operation? In 1989, Mark and Phyllis Legan decided to find out. They approached long-time friends who had “an old set of hog facilities,” established a 180-sow herd and started working, side-by-side. “I either had to do it or I’d wonder my whole life if I could,” says Mark Legan, who was 29 at the time and giving up a seven-year Extension educator career for his dream. Today, the operation employs another four, owns 1,000 acres of cropland and 700 sows that produce about 15,000 pigs a year. The Legans mark their success as an achievement. “We’re a first-generation, startup farm, and we’ve grown it to a viable size and, at least to this point, we’re maintaining it from a financial standpoint,” Mark says. Their success, though, has not been at any cost. “We are part of and proud of our community,” he says. “We recognize that pigs stink, so we do what we can to minimize odor and manage properly.” They’re also both involved in community service. Mark’s service includes his church, Farm Bureau, the county board of zoning appeals and fair board, and currently he serves as the agricultural representative on Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management water pollution control board. “An important part of who we are and what we do is being involved in the community,” he says. Like their business, the Legans share a common activity that includes their daughter, Beth. “We like trail riding and horse camping,” Mark says. “We enjoy a business with animals, and our pleasure is with animals as well. We own quarter horses, and my wife adopted a mustang. It’s something we do together as a family.” “I agree with Abraham Lincoln’s view of agriculture as a ‘profitable and agreeable combination of labor and thought.’ Farming gives me the opportunity for physical as well as mental work.”