Growing a Future

There is security in being able to follow your food back to the field and meet an Ohio farmer who is rooted in the land and community.

But today, the average age of that farmer is 56 and has been climbing for some time.

New technology is allowing fewer farmers to feed more people. But more productive farming is not the only solution. As more people prepare to exit the field, it’s clear Ohio needs more farmers.

We’d like you to meet four young Ohio Farm Bureau member families who hope to provide food for you and your family well into the future.

RANDY & RANDI DIBERT live on a 150-acre “hilly, old fashioned farm” that has been in the family since the 1840s. The couple lives in the ORIGINAL farm house next to the 100 year-old barn in Champaign County. In addition to raising corn, soybeans, hay, cattle, pigs, laying hens and goats with their families, they both have jobs off the farm. Recently, they started a farm market that sells produce and seasonal items such as pumpkins and Christmas trees.

We are optimistic that the future is bright, in that consumers are becoming more aware of where their food comes from and try to buy locally.

We want consumers to know that we’re a lot like them. We’re a young family trying to build and manage a business. Sustainability is very important to us.

This is our land.

The hope is someday that we can be successful enough to support generations of our family on the farm.

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GREG & ROSE HARTSCHUH represent the FOURTH generation at Dial Dairy Farm in Crawford County. Greg works full-time with his family on the farm and Rose works as an agricultural educator at a local high school. The land the family farms provides most of the feed for their 150 cows. They sell their milk to Toft’s Dairy in Sandusky, which buys milk from 22 LOCAL farmers for bottling and ice cream production.

There is a great sense of community in this area. Neighbors pitch in to help each other; they celebrate each other’s successes and help each other deal with challenges.

At the end of the day, we do what we do because we’re passionate about it.

Farming is a business, and it is how we make our livelihood. Our farm today is bigger than it was 20 years ago, but we still farm with the same ideals and values.

When we have children, we hope that they will want to be involved with the farm. The lifestyle we’ve chosen is one we wouldn’t trade for anything, and we hope they’ll feel the same way.

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NICKI & JIM COY tend to a 45-acre farm in Carroll County where they produce beef and poultry to sell to people in their COMMUNITY. Nicki grew up on a hobby farm, while Jim, who turned out to be a “natural” at farm work, had no prior agricultural experience. They both have jobs off the farm, which has grown slowly and STEADILY since they purchased it in 2004.

Farming is possible even if you are walking into it with little to no experience. You just have to be prepared to read, read, read.

I want consumers to know that we work very hard every day to make sure that what we are doing—that the animals we are growing—is being done in a responsible, caring manner, that we take great pride in what we do and we do our very best. There is always room for improvement and so we are always actively seeking how to do it better.

My little daughters can tell you more about life, work and honesty because of what they have witnessed on the farm.

I have always enjoyed the hard work and fruits of my labors.

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Coy photos by Always in Seasen Photography

NATHAN BROWN did not grow up on a farm in Highland County, but one of his earliest memories was crawling through the fence to follow the tobacco planter in his neighbor’s field. He began WORKING on that farm at age 12. Now, he and his wife Jennifer are in the process of taking over as his neighbor approaches retirement. He currently grows grain, hay and has a small cattle herd he HOPES to expand.

You know there will be the opportunity when you go to a farm meeting and you are the only one there without gray hair. So who will feed the world? I am ready to do my part but there has to be more like me given the chance.

I love what I do, caring for the land and animals, and would not trade it for anything. I take great pride in the products that I produce.

The future of agriculture is ever changing and looks bright to this southern Ohio boy. But it will be challenging.

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