My husband, our daughter and I are the third and fourth generations to live on the farm his grandparents founded in 1936. My husband took over the farm full time in 1999, and I joined the operation in 2010. On the 1,000 acres of ground we work each year we are very careful in how we treat our resources by being 100 percent no-till. While today our main crops are soybeans, corn and wheat; over the years the family has grown oats, alfalfa, popcorn, and seed beans. I grew up on a large sheep farm; so when we married six years ago I incorporated a Southdown flock of ewes back into the operation. My main role on the farm, beyond helping with crops, is to manage the 40 ewes. Off the farm, I’m a university researcher and professor of agricultural communication at our state’s land grant university.
How We’re Smart Farming Today
On our farm we work very hard to be environmentally conscious. With our fields in the Lake Erie and the Mississippi River watersheds, it is important to us that we are not polluting our streams and ponds. We not only use no-till farming practices, but we also use buffer strips and waterways to ensure we are practicing environmental stewardship by minimizing soil erosion and chemical run-off. When it comes to using fertilizers and pesticides we have used grid soil sampling in an effort to only use what we have to where we have to on our fields. In order to minimize pesticides, we have used GM crops across the farm. Many consumers may not understand these practices so it is important that when we talk about them we relate them to things they understand like their backyard gardens. On our farm we have also set aside land into conservation practice to provide habitat for wildlife in our area.
How I’ve Told My Story
I am passionate about sharing our story. I have had the chance to guest blog and take over our state farm bureau’s social media for a day. Recently, I had the chance to participate in the Smithsonian’s Ask a Farmer program where I talked to museum visitors about our farm. As part of the Farm Bureau Go Team I served on several farmer panels in our state and nationally to talk about ag. Every year my husband and I host an ag weekend on our farm participants in the Leadership Ohio program. The intensive weekend includes tours of several farms and ag businesses all in an attempt to educate this non-agriculture group. This agriculture weekend has given many consumers a new look at our industry. We have done this activity for 6 years and reached over 170 leaders in medicine and the military.
American Farm Bureau, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, Marion County Farm Bureau, Livestock Publications Council, American Ag Editors Association, American Association of Ag Educators, North American College Teachers of Agriculture, Association for Communication Excellence in Ag and Natural Resources