Brad Heimerl brings passion and pride to his work, community service and Ohio Farm Bureau involvement. He works full time as a third generation grain and livestock farmer in Licking County and is a part-time deputy sheriff. Two years ago he won OFBF’s Discussion Meet and advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the competition during American Farm Bureau’s annual conference. He co-chairs the state committee of Ohio Farm Bureau’s rapidly growing Young Agricultural Professionals. Below Heimerl talks about how his life is busy and sometimes stressful but very fulfilling. Excerpts were taken from a recent Growing Our Generation, a new biweekly email that features articles and insights put together by Young Ag Professional guest editors.
“As a young farmer, I see the importance of staying connected to those who share the same appreciation for agriculture. I challenge each of you to not only become involved in your local Farm Bureau, but also think outside the box and get involved in other opportunities presented to you. Each day the number of farms is decreasing, yet the demands for a safe and affordable food supply is growing exponentially. It takes a ‘team’ to win the fight… Join the team!”
“Many experts say we are going to have to double global food production by 2050. Although we share this statistic in conversation, the day this becomes a reality isn’t too far away. With the increasing demands (some due to expanding population, but more due to developing countries that desire a richer source of protein), advances such as drone use will aid in reaching our production needs.”
Law enforcement lessons:
“I often get asked having grown up in a family not connected to law enforcement what interested me in becoming an officer? I honestly can’t answer the question with much more than saying I have always admired those who step into harm’s way to help when others need it most. It’s of interest to me to find the connection between farming and upholding the law.
“As farmers, we appreciate having certain privileges while conducting business in this state, such as CDL exemptions, weight variances, equipment height and weight allowances and nuisance deer permits to name a few. As a reminder, privileges are just that, simply a privilege designed for those who will obey the law.”
Farm Bureau support:
“We are fortunate as an organization to have very knowledgeable staff who routinely fight for our privileges to ensure we can continue to operate as such. I was recently intrigued by a series of legal information articles I came across from Ohio Farm Bureau, as well as a podcast from its legal staff. In ‘Legal with Leah,’ Leah Curtis, director of agricultural law for the Ohio Farm Bureau, answers your questions about many common topics affecting Ohio farmers including ATV rules and regulations and trespassing laws.”
BEST animal practices
“In an industry wide response to the increased focus on animal care and well being, in 2014 the National Pork board implemented an industry wide common audit that promotes food safety and best animal practices. As a family farm, we take animal care seriously, and although swine operations nationwide haven’t been required to join the third party audit process prior to this year, our operation started many years ago.
“Many initiatives such as the audit are created to further promote food safety. I often engage into conversation those who have conflicting thoughts about the positives of local farming operations and their food supply. We are grateful to live in a country where we can raise our own food; the day people regulate and govern family farms to nonexistence, they will soon realize they have jeopardized our food safety by bringing it in from outside our borders.”