Auglaize County Member Spotlight-Isaac Gray

 “Farming is something that provides a very strong sense of purpose and satisfaction for me.” ~ Isaac Gray, Auglaize County Farm Bureau

Auglaize County Board member, Isaac Gray has been involved for three years with the county Farm Bureau and is currently serving as our vice president and public policy chair. Isaac is from Waynesfield and works full time at his family’s business, Wildman’s Spice Company, along with farming part time on his family’s farm.

Isaac became involved with the Auglaize County Farm Bureau when the board was looking for someone to fill an opening. He had gone to a board meeting after becoming a member and soon found himself as the newest member on the county board. “Since then it’s been a great experience and I’ve gained such an appreciation for what the Farm Bureau does. It was a great decision to go to that first board meeting.”

Becoming a part of Farm Bureau, in Isaac’s opinion, is important because it is an organized voice of the farmer. Farm Bureau helps carry the weight of the agricultural industry, which gives a significant amount of influence when needed along with providing community outreach. He has also been active in the Young Ag Professional Group in Mercer and Auglaize counties, attended the Ohio Farm Bureau Young Farmers Trip to DC and several other activities during his time on the board.

The family business, Wildman’s Spice Company, offers a full line of spices, seasonings and extracts that they develop. The company does everything from screen printing their own bottles to sorting, blending and packaging the spices and seasonings. They also do private labels and custom packing for other stores and restaurants.

On the family farm they raise corn, soybeans and wheat, and Isaac also has a straw and hay supply business on the side. “It’s a unique situation with the spice company and farming, but I wouldn’t have been able to come back and do this without both jobs. It’s something I really enjoy and I look forward to seeing what the future brings.”

Some issues that in Isaac’s opinion aren’t going away anytime soon are governmental regulations, access to affordable healthcare options and for younger farmers, access to land and capital. “The governmental regulations are a big concern. From livestock producers having to deal with new veterinary feed directives to never really understanding all the implications of the federal farm bill, which gets rewritten every four years. There’s a constant battle over the regulation of agriculture.”

In 20 years it is hard to say what the agriculture industry is going to look like, but Isaac thinks that advances in technology are creating a pretty high-tech industry. Precision agriculture is going to continue to grow and with the ever-growing population of the world, the need to produce food is always going to be there. To continue Farm Bureau, young farmers need to simply get involved. “I got involved without really knowing what it was and I can tell you it’s been great. You never know what kind of opportunities you could find until you take the first step.”

Isaac has loved farming from as early has he can remember. “Farming is something that provides a very strong sense of purpose and satisfaction for me. It’s a job where you can see your hard work pay off almost daily, but it keeps you honest because inevitably you’re always at the mercy of the next storm.” He finds it special to have the privilege to work the same land that his family members four generations ago worked and to appreciate all the hard work and good stewardship that they had put in. “As a farmer, we are all part of a community, starting local and growing out to the agriculture industry as a whole. The agricultural industry is massive, but it’s one of the most tight-knit industries that exist.”