Growing our Generation: It’s time to lead

Luke and Cassandra Dull from Montgomery County are editors of the May 22, 2017 Growing our Generation e-newsletterfeaturing insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.

Hello! We are Luke and Cassandra Dull from Montgomery County. I (Luke) work on my family’s 5th generation farm in Brookville where we raise hogs and cattle and grow seed corn, soybeans, field corn, and wheat.  My wife works full time as the Nursery and Children’s Ministry Event Coordinator at our church, Christian Life Center in Dayton.  We met four years ago while I was attending the University of Kansas, earning my doctorate in music performance.  We were married in 2015 and shortly thereafter we moved to Ohio to live closer to family.  As you’ll read a little bit later on, that move made for quite an interesting first year of marriage.

Dull Homestead Inc. employs 13 full time family members and three full time non-family members, as well multiple seasonal employees and several hundred teens in the summer for detasseling. For now I remain an anything and everything type of employee: Moving cattle, hauling manure, weaning pigs, servicing equipment, trucking, and so on and so on (preaching to the choir). My wife and I both try to stay active on social media promoting the things we are passionate about. My Instagram username is ‘dullbeats’ where you can check out some farm photos and you can check out Cassandra children’s ministry page on Facebook. I hope you enjoy some of our insights into our ag life and experience!

Lending a helping hand

kansas-fence-postA story that was wide spread in the ag world but not the rest of the world was the recent wild fires in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado. Having spent several years in Kansas and meeting my wife there, I have a pretty soft spot in my heart for that area. I saw a video on Facebook of farmers from Missouri taking loads of hay to ranchers in the affected areas and I thought to myself that it would be amazing to be able to have the opportunity to do something like that. To my excitement I saw a post being shared around Facebook about a relief trip being organized and I knew I had to be a part of it. The farm donated our 30’ flatbed trailer, a truck, and fuel for my trip and I reached out to local farmers and businesses for hay, fencing, and cash donations. The response was overwhelming and I ended up with more donations than I could take with me. It was truly amazing to see a huge group of people come together with nothing in common besides the fact that they were farmers. There was no main organization making a plea for people to join, people just did. One of the organizers, Rose Hartschuh created a Facebook page and blog.

The experience of a trip like this cannot really be put into words. However, my encouragement to young farmers everywhere is to step up, speak out, and don’t wait for someone else to take the lead. Whether it’s a relief trip, a research opportunity on your farm, or an educational opportunity to help improve your farming practices, don’t sit and wait for someone else to step up. It’s your time to take that chance. It’s your time to lead.

Just a city girl in a farming world

luke-and-cassie-tractorI grew up in the suburbs of Kansas City. I went to college, got a great job teaching third and fourth grade, and met and married a guy who was one day going to be a college professor. I had so many great plans laid out for my life with my husband and then God showed us that He had different plans.

“Move to Ohio and be a farmer’s wife…’ they said. “It’ll be fun…” they said.

Things for us changed drastically and I found myself in a world that I was completely lost in. After two years of this life I’m learning how things work, finding joy in things that were once unfamiliar, and learning how to cope with things I don’t yet understand. When Luke was asked to write some entries for this newsletter we had a conversation about how our scenario was probably more and more common these days since fewer and fewer people farm for a living. He asked me to write an honest account of what it was like for me to transition to the world of agriculture so here it goes…Read Cassandra’s story

Sustainability

What is it? Why do we love it? Why is everyone talking about it?

land-o-lakesI recently had the opportunity to attend a leadership training seminar hosted by Land O’ Lakes Co-op in Minneapolis.  The trip coincided with the company’s annual meeting and we had the opportunity to sit in on the unveiling of the new branch of Land O’ Lakes called “Sustain.” The round table style conversation went in two main directions: stewardship and dialogue.

To the modern farmer these two ideas are absolutely critical to the success of our industry.  It has been incredibly encouraging to live in a state that is trying to promote good stewardship of the land by having the 4R Certification Program as well as fertilizer application training for everyone who needs it and wants it.  Specific programs like those should give farmers confidence to enter into the dialogue about water quality and other issues that consumers are asking questions about. I know we hear quite often that we should tell our story and share sound information on social media, but it really is one of the best things we can do.  Whether we like it or not, the conversation about food is happening online. If we do not take the time to engage in that dialogue, it will still happen and it will happen without us representing the truth.

As agriculture professionals we have to take steps to try to be the best advocates that we can be. Sometimes that requires practice and training. Which requires time…which is something farmers don’t have a lot of.  Regardless, I would encourage everyone to take advantage of programs and training like the Land O’ Lakes Cornerstone for Engagement that I attended or the Growth for Advocacy Co-op that they offer.

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This e-newsletter is brought to you by Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Ag Professionals. Learn more about Farm Bureau membership, including a discounted category for those 18-24 years old.

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