Growing our Generation: Growing our business

Nick and Bailey Elchinger of Henry County are editors of the Aug. 14, 2017 Growing our Generation enewsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.

Hello from northwest Ohio! We are Nick and Bailey Elchinger of Deshler. Along with our daughter, Parker Jo, we farm in Henry County. We raise corn, soybeans, and wheat along with baling both hay and straw commercially. Bailey also works off the farm for INTL FCStone in Bowling Green. She works with grain farmers, grain elevators, and livestock producers to help them mitigate the risks they face regarding commodity prices.

Nick was born and raised in northwest Ohio on a small family farm where he learned to love farming alongside his grandfather, father and brother. Following high school, Nick and his brother decided to start a hay and straw baling business and have never looked back – steadily growing the business over the last decade.

Bailey was born and raised on a small family hog farm in southern Michigan. She grew up showing livestock all over the country and was very active in both 4-H and FFA. Soon after graduating from Michigan State University in agribusiness management, she started her career with INTL FCStone. She helps develop commodity futures and options strategies within the agricultural and food industries.

Outside of work and farming, Nick and Bailey also enjoying truck and tractor pulling with the National Tractor Pulling Association throughout the Midwest. They help ‘campaign’ the modified four wheel drive pulling truck ‘Jus Passin’ Thru.’ When not tractor pulling, Bailey is a  4-H adviser in Henry County and serves on the Henry County Farm Bureau board.

Bales, Bales and MORE Bales

As a young farmer, it can be difficult to get started. With the high costs associated with not only starting your own business but also equipment, land, inputs, etc. it can seem almost impossible at times. Luckily Nick and his brother, Ben, started their business directly out of high school with a couple small square balers and basic wagons. Over the last 10 years that business has grown immensely to include some of the latest technology in the agricultural and baling industries.

balesThis technology has allowed us to be more efficient. The hay mower having auto steer allows us to use less fuel while mowing and also providing accurate speeds and precise mowing. Our operation includes a state-of-the-art baler that can apply hay preservative at an extremely accurate rate, while also cutting the hay into smaller pieces for ease of feeding and digesting. In addition our accumulator allows us to weigh the bales as they are baled and allows us to drops three bales at a time in one spot in the field, saving pick-up and unload times. One amazing piece of machinery is the bale wrapper that we use. This wrapper uses high density plastic to wrap hay bales individually to preserve the hay and allow it to ferment. This tool enables us to get additional cuttings in one season and helps us produce numerous marketable types of hay.

In addition to spending nearly all summer watching the weather to make quality hay, we also bale wheat straw. This straw can then be distributed to customers who might use it for everything from animal bedding and feed to road side construction projects.  

Ready, Set, GO

Bailey, you could say, grew up in a “Farm Bureau family” with both sets of her grandparents being active members in Michigan as well as her dad and mom being active on both the local level and state boards. Even in college, Bailey was a Farm Bureau member, so to stay she was excited to finally be a full fledged member would be an understatement.

Bailey Elchinger, 2013 Discussion Meet winner and OFBF President Steve Hirsch
Bailey Elchinger, 2013 Discussion Meet winner and OFBF President Steve Hirsch

All of the contests, boards, and activities had her excited to get started. In 2013 Bailey competed in the Young Ag Professionals Discussion Meet contest. In this contest you are tasked with solving a problem that is likely facing the ag industry or Farm Bureau organization. To solve this problem you must discuss the topic with other contestants on the panel. The contestants are judged and critiqued on their ability to convey their ideas and include others in the conversation, all while providing actionable solutions to the problem. The goal of this contest is to help get young members more active and willing to speak their mind to solve problems and further the Farm Bureau’s goals.

Bailey was honored to win the state level of the Discussion Meet contest. She got to represent the state of Ohio at the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in San Antonio (an all-expenses paid trip!). This contest and the preparations for it have been instrumental in preparing Bailey to be on her county board and help achieve their goals. (Applications for the 2017-2018 Discussion Meet are due Oct. 30, 2017.)

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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.