My Family: Lou and Deb and our children, Justin and his wife Grace and Dan, Curt, Tony and Julie.
Our Farm: We farm with my brother Alan and his wife Ruth and their children. We raise corn for silage, alfalfa for haylage and baled hay. We use wheat, rye and oats for cover crops. We have 220 registered Holstein dairy cows and 150 heifers.
My Passion: I love my job. I like the freedom to be my own boss. I spend half my day doing the same jobs like milking the cows, feeding, scraping manure from the lots and breeding cows. The other half is usually doing something different every day. A really good dairy farmer loves taking care of his or her cows.
Current Conditions: Mother Nature is the most discussed topic lately. We have had up to 71 inches of rain in the last 12 months. Manure holding facilities are peaking. We have not pumped our holding pond because of the wet conditions and we need to follow the rules of the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed.
Community Involvement: Auglaize County Soil and Water supervisor, delegate to the Dairy Farmers of America and COBA/Select Sires Committee, treasurer and secretary of District 12 Holstein Club, usher and money counter at Precious Blood Church, Farm Board member of the New Bremen Home Benefit Association, past chairman of Auglaize County Extension Advisory Board and chairman of the Auglaize County Dairy Banquet.
Achievements: Raising an excellent family of five children, Auglaize County Soil and Water Cooperator of the Year (2008), Ohio Environmental Stewardship Award in the dairy division (2011) and Water Management Association of Ohio – R. Livingston Ireland Award (2011).
Why we farm: I like the freedom farming offers, working outdoors and being able to see wildlife often. The education my children received growing up on the farm is priceless. I also strive to produce wholesome dairy products to sustain the human race and am trying to raise the genetic levels of the Holstein dairy breed.
Why I’m a Farm Bureau Member: Farm Bureau is one of the few organizations that can represent the local farmer on a state and national level, voicing our concerns to the public and to government to help better the understanding and logic behind their decisions that affect agriculture. The future of ag policy must be directed by Farm Bureau. Hopefully our leaders are up to this task.
Our Future: We need to take every effort to protect our natural resources. Soil, water and air cannot be taken for granted. Everyone needs to be active on conservation.
Our Biggest Challenge: Without a doubt the biggest challenge is bringing the next generation into the farm picture. With land prices at $8,000 to $10,000 per acre, land rent prices from $175 to $350 per acre, equipment, new and used, at record highs, dairy cattle from $1,700 to $3,000 per head, and feed cost (hay, silage, grain and straw) at record highs, a new young farmer is going to need a lot of help.
From the Brown kitchen:
1 can cream of chicken soup
¼ pound butter (1 stick), melted
8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup diced onions
8 ounces sour cream
2 pounds diced potatoes
1 cup crushed Crispix cereal
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together first five ingredients and then add to potatoes. Stir well. Put mixture in a 9” x 13” pan. Spread crushed Crispix cereal evenly over the top of the mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 75 minutes. Bake until tender.