As I was reflecting on possible topics for this agriculture column, several thoughts came to mind that I have wanted to write about. A couple of these would give an agricultural perspective on some really controversial topics. Stay tuned for those. Instead, with the start of a new year, I thought I would share something positive and on the lighter side – my father’s story.
My father, Charles, was born and raised in Thompson, Geauga County, and still resides there. He is the oldest of four children born to John and Dorothy Lausin. The family farm began as a general operation raising farm animals and crops to feed their family and selling the excess. As my father grew, my grandfather and great-uncle began to focus more on raising dairy cattle, something the farm still does today.
Even though my dad was working on the farm at a young age, he was an active youth in his 4-H club, Junior Leadership Club and Junior Fair Board. A farm accident resulting in the loss of part of his foot didn’t slow him down much and he continued to play on the Thompson High School Redskins basketball team.
Dad met mom in 1959 at a local dance hosted by the fire department. They wed in 1960 and began their family on the same farm where Dad was raised. To help make ends meet, Dad took a job driving school bus for Thompson Schools. It was a schedule that worked well with and around the farm work. As busy as his schedule was, he made the time to become a 4-H adviser and an active member of their church.
As a young couple with a growing family, they were encouraged to join a Farm Bureau Council. A local council was a group of farmers and rural residents that met regularly to develop camaraderie and community while discussing farm topics provided by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Councils were one of the main ways Farm Bureau received info from its members on policy. These local councils were the voice of agriculture. Mom and Dad were encouraged to start another council to build up Farm Bureau’s grassroots involvement. They were successful but didn’t want to stop going to their original council, so they attended both for many years.
Ohio Farm Bureau is an organization that advocates for agriculture, and the farmer. OFBF equips its members through professional development to be the voice of agriculture. This professional development began in the councils and then again as Dad got involved with the local Farm Bureau board, on which he held many officer positions. He also served on the state board of trustees representing Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties for 11 years.
The professional and personal development was not just within the Farm Bureau organization. OFBF encourages members to get involved in local government. And that is what my dad did, serving as a township trustee for 28 years, 25-plus years on the county zoning commission, township park board and county Republican committee.
As Dad got more comfortable with his communication skills, his passion for the agricultural industry drove his involvement in other agricultural-based businesses and organizations. He has served as a delegate or director for Milk Marketing Inc., Dairy Farmers of America, Ohio Dairy Farmers Federation, Soil and Water Conservation District, Dairy Herd Improvement Association, COBA/Select Sires, Geauga Landmark and Western Reserve Farm Coop.
In amongst all of this agricultural advocacy, he still found time to farm full time. Plus, he is still serving on the local park board and DHIA board. He has also encouraged my own Farm Bureau experience as I serve Trumbull County members on the local board and get involved in some state level committees.
I had a T-shirt when I was a kid that read, “Proud to be a Farmer’s Daughter.” Well, that’s still true and I don’t think I need to tell you that I am proud to be Charles Lausin’s daughter.
Submitted by Mary Smallsreed, a Trumbull County Farm Bureau member, who grew up on a family dairy farm in northeast Ohio.