Athens County President David Bright and his wife Karin have lived in Athens County since 1977. David retired from the Ohio Division of Wildlife as a fisheries supervisor for 19 southeast counties in 2006.
David grew up on a farm in Clinton County and has been farming “ever since his left foot could engage a clutch and he was tall enough to touch the gears.” He works on the family farm, which grows corn, soybeans and wheat.His children, Jarrett and Erin, are the sixth generation to farm the land.
David’s grandmother passed down the story of how John Bright – the first family member to emigrate from England to the United States – learned about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln from a passing ship at sea.
David’s grandfather, Clarence, was a county champion of hand husking corn. His father, Charles, was known in the area as a master of drainage and equipment design. He fabricated a multiple-row planter and cultivator in the early 1960s, a concept that was featured in The Ohio Farmer magazine.
In David’s spare time he likes to go fishing and camping. He also enjoys volunteering with the Boy Scouts, his church, local food pantry and PTO.
Growing up on the farm gave David a strong work ethic and responsibility at an early age. “When I worked for the Ohio Wildlife Division, I really looked for kids who had an agriculture background because they could be unsupervised when given a task,” he said. “A strong work ethic develops good character.”
David said that his favorite season of the year is Fall because the changing colors at harvest time are “outstanding.”
When David was asked why he still farmed, he said “I enjoy the linkage and stewardship to the earth and challenging relationships with decisions related to weather, nutrient management and weed and seed control.”
Daivid was also asked What the biggest challenge for farmers was, and he said being better communicators to consumers about farm practices. “As people become more distant from the actual workings on the farm, it’s up to farmers to be good communicators and not let things be distorted by outside groups.”
David’s future plans include having his children continue to be involved in the family farm. “Farming has instilled confidence in my children for making decisions, taking risks and reaping rewards,” he said.