What inspires you to make a difference in your community?
I believe we’re all put on this earth for a reason. We can either live each day from day to day and keep to ourselves and our own little circle if you will, or we can try to get involved and make this world a better place than what we found it. It seems to me that for some people, they use their energy to be critical or negative about many things. I just don’t think we are put here to just do that or be that way all the time. I believe we should use our energy to promote the positive around us. Life is way too short as it is. I try to promote agriculture whenever I can, wherever I am, hoping that even if I don’t change the person’s mind that I will at least put a seed in their mind that will intrigue them to learn more about it.
How have you found a fit within Farm Bureau?
To be honest, Farm Bureau, just like every other organization, is looking for volunteers. I really liked how Farm Bureau the organization wants to help out with all aspects of agriculture. There’s a voice for the smallest farm out there to the largest farm. No matter what we raise, what we grow or how we operate, we as Ohioans, as Americans, absolutely need all types of agriculture to feed the world we live in. Farm Bureau supports organic, natural, conventional, niche farming, backyard farmers, farmers market type farmers, holistic farmers. Farm Bureau has a voice for all, not just one, specific type of farmer. When you break it down, at the end we are all farmers no matter the type, just trying to raise a family and do our small part in feeding our community. If some of us are able to help out and sacrifice a little, it will in the end benefit all agriculture.
Explain your involvement with your county Farm Bureau.
I’m a county board member and also a member of one of our county advisory councils called The Great Group. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary about a year ago. There are at least 20 of us and a whole lot of kids running around. I’m a past Preble County Farm Bureau president for four years, and a few years back, my wife Carole and I served on the Young Ag Professionals state committee for two years.
How have you grown personally or professionally through your involvement?
I hope I have learned to become a better leader through the help of Farm Bureau. There are many excellent people involved on boards and these procedures help them get their input out properly.
I got the opportunity to take AgriPOWER training (I was in Class II) a few years back. I would say it was one of the best training courses I’ve been through. It not only helps an individual back home on a small, local stance but can definitely help prepare a person for skills needed in the public life. This adventure, AgriPOWER, got me involved with social media when I didn’t even know what the term meant. Now I use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and occasionally Snapchat to get a positive word out there for agriculture. Social media is a way all of us can get a positive word out. It only takes a few minutes or seconds out of the day to tweet a few words or snap a picture or post on the web. There are enough negative items about agriculture and I enjoy putting out a positive voice out there for agriculture. Follow me online @farmerwilson on Twitter and Instagram.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up in southeast Preble County on a hog and dairy farm. I always knew I wanted to farm from a very young age. I had 4-H dairy heifers and grew my little herd. When I was a senior in high school, I was milking 40 cows morning and night and grew the herd more from there. But with family, kids and work, my wife and I decided to sell the cows several years ago. I work full-time in town as a crane operator through Ohio Operators Engineers Union Local 18. I am employed by AmQuip crane rental company.
We farm full-time, too, sometimes late at night and on weekends but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We raise corn and soybeans on a rotational basis and we’ve used filter strips on the edge of our fields because we have so many creeks running through our operation. We believe in this practice to help give animals some protection and also some buffer from chemicals and fertilizers. I am learning about cover crops so we can incorporate this into our practices, also.
Carole and I were married 21 years in September. We have two wonderful kids that help out on the farm when they can. Knox attends Lincoln Tech in Indianapolis taking diesel mechanics, and Kerriston is a senior at Preble Shawnee High School. Carole helps out on the farm, operating the combine in the fall, with office paperwork, and running a bazillion errands it takes to run our operation. We also have help from numerous friends and the two people who helped me to get my start, my mother and father Darrell and Kay.
Published in the September/October 2015 Our Ohio magazine. Stay connected with and support great food and farm stories like this by becoming an Our Ohio Supporter. For just $25 you can stay connected with Ohio food and farm stories while supporting local foods and community outreach.