Shelby County is excited to feature Membership Chair Tori Bensman as the Spotlight Member for the quarter. Tori and her husband, James, live and farm in Anna, Ohio along with their two children, Emma and Simon. Tori works off the farm for Farm Credit Mid-America in addition to helping on the farm.
Tori and James’ main focus are raising feeder calves. They receive them in groups of 50 and they raise the calves from 100 pounds to 600 pounds. Then they sell them to a finisher. When space permits, the family keeps 50 head to finish weight. Along with the calves, they farm about 200 acres of row crops, corn and soybeans.
On the county Farm Bureau board, Tori has served in many capacities. She was the Farm to Table Dinner co-chair and has been membership chair for the last two years, in addition to her board duties.
Tori became involved with the Shelby County Farm Bureau when a previous board member asked if she would be interested in becoming more involved in the agricultural community. “If I’m being completely honest I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I am enjoying it so far and hope I can have an impact while I’m here.”
To her, Farm Bureau’s importance can be seen in the connection between agriculture’s grassroots and politicians. “Raising awareness of how local communities are affected by policy is key. It is also just as important for the farmers and the community members to understand why policy is needed.”
In her opinion, she sees the industry 20 years from now being influenced by lots of new technology. “From spreading cover crops with drones to robotic calf feeders, I think we will continue to see change and advancement. I hope that we don’t lose the basics along the way.”
Tori said as farming becomes potentially more commercialized in the future, she hopes that smaller operations aren’t pushed out, “because this is where the passionate people live, where the strong values are built and where our communities thrive.”
She believes that it is important for young farmers to continue in Farm Bureau. To do this they need to, “Stay involved, show up and communicate. Being present is half the battle. It reminds us that we are not alone in this way of living that we do have a voice and we can make a difference if we work together.”
“Being a woman in agriculture has many opportunities to be involved, to learn more and to share your story,” she said. “From bookwork and equipment to tending livestock and managing operations, women are proving time and time again that they are strong, capable and willing to be leaders in agriculture.”
Tori enjoys farming. “I really enjoy sharing what we do with friends and family that aren’t directly involved in agriculture. I have always had a passion for animals and I particularly enjoy raising calves for this reason. In addition to my own enjoyment, it is a true blessing to watch my kids grow up on the farm. They are establishing a work ethic and having fun doing it! I love watching them learn new things and gain confidence in the barn. I hope someday they will value their time on the farm as much as James and I do.”