Kyle and Ashley Culp from Wood County are editors of the June 19, 2017 Growing our Generation e-newsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.
We are Kyle and Ashley (Bushman) Culp and we live just a few miles from the grain and livestock farm Ashley grew up on in rural Wood County outside of Pemberville. We live in an old remodeled farmhouse on 10 acres with our two-year old daughter, Adalida. Our direct agricultural business ventures include leasing farm ground to a diversified crop farmer and co-ownership of showpig sows with one of Kyle’s former students at Ohio State. We are both employed by agribusinesses, spend much of our free time working with agricultural youth, and serve on the board of Wood County Farm Bureau. Ashley is a regional credit officer for United Producers, Inc., servicing livestock farmers in northwest Ohio and Michigan, and is an independent consultant with Rodan & Fields. Kyle is the lead business analyst for the Rail Group at The Andersons.
We were both 10-year 4-H members and our families have been involved with the organization for generations. So, in 2016, when Ashley’s mother asked if we had interest in becoming co-advisors of the Duke’s Mixture 4-H Club of Wood County, we jumped at the daunting challenge. The club has been advised by a member of Ashley’s family for over 80 years, is the oldest in Wood County, and was perilously close to disbanding due a lack of membership (must have at least five members). We were nervous to take the reins of something with such a storied tradition and potentially fail. However, we are enthused to report we currently have 18 members, many of whom are brand new to 4-H, and now feel as though the club has a new life and is the beginning of a remarkable success story. Working with these youths has been quite a lot of work, but has also been incredibly rewarding. At this point in our lives, we simply feel grateful to be able to volunteer in such capacity just as others did for us, which instilled our initial passions for agriculture.
Our first date was a weekend at the National Swine Registry’s Summer Type Conference in 2009. We had met earlier that year at a collegiate livestock judging contest being held at Ohio State (at the time, Kyle was the assistant coach at Purdue and Ashley was the coach at Michigan State) and knew we had much in common. The relationship blossomed and we’ve been together ever since. In the fall of 2016, we invested in our first showpig mommas and plan to continue growing the operation via our existing partnership and on our own over time. We enjoy attending and judging livestock shows across the country and later this summer will be judging a pair of shows together in Utah and at the Wyoming State Fair. Working with livestock and youth are great ways for us to see the country and stay involved in the industry which brought us together.
Perhaps, however, the best part of having a passion for livestock is sharing it with our daughter. Hearing her ask to go see cows or pigs or try to climb into the ring while judging a show are signs to us we are doing something correctly!
Roll with us
Kyle left the faculty at Ohio State to begin a career in industry by joining The Andersons of Maumee, in January, 2015, as a distiller’s grains merchandiser for the company’s four ethanol plants. After about a year, he transitioned to the lead business analyst of the Rail Group. The group owns approximately 23,000 railcars and 20 railcar repair shops across the country. Nearly half the cars in service carry agricultural products or inputs such as, grain, fertilizer, forestry products and ethanol.
Transportation by rail is one of the safest, most environmentally friendly and cost effective means available of moving bulk goods. Kyle’s primary job functions are to provide financial forecasts and budgeting, evaluate and determine methods for improving fleet utilization, and estimate impacts of macroeconomic trends on the group’s profitability. Most days begin with 30 to 90 minutes of reading news in order to try and stay abreast of constantly shifting dynamics in politics, business and various commodity sectors.The co-dependence of freight by rail and U.S. agriculture requires Kyle to stay closely connected to the company’s direct agriculture businesses on a routine basis.