Merrill L. Gladden Sr. is a farmer and a retired quality control manager. His farm is in Union Township in Morgan County. The farm consists of over 800 acres of cropland and pasture.
Merrill said he was raised on a farm, so farming is in his blood.
“As a teenager, I would drive to another school just so I could be in the agriculture classes. After attending Ohio State for a couple years, I decided I just wanted to be a farmer full time. I soon found out that full-time farming required money. I then went to work off the farm, and farmed in my spare time.
“As the years progressed, I learned farming was a great stress reliever from my full- time job. Some days it was just nice to get on a tractor and just go after work.”
Merrill explained that his farm is not much different from other farms. He was a part-time farmer and farmed with his parents until their passing, and now he has retired from his full-time job. He works full-time on the farm with the help of his adult children.
“Our farm is like many others around the state of Ohio; it is being passed from one generation to the next.”
So what does Merrill do in the off-season? “What is an off-season?” he said. There are times that the crops are in and you can slow down a little, but with having a cow/calf operation and a feedlot there is not much of a down time. Merrill said the cattle in the feedlot are fed twice a day, everyday. Even in the winter season, cows are calving and need fed. When he does have down time though, he likes to collect antique tractors and toy farm equipment.
Merrill said the biggest challenge he faces with his operation is his health. He is unable to farm without the help of his family. He said the biggest issue is knowing certain things need done around the farm, but having to be patient while his children get to it.
He said being involved in agriculture organizations has kept him in the loop of what is currently happening in the agricultural industry.
“Farm Bureau is great at keeping the farmers informed about legislation and what is coming down the road to agriculture. I was a Morgan County Farm Bureau board member for 16 years and served as county president for nine of those years. I believe everyone needs to step into one of those positions because it is eye opening to see what Farm Bureau does from the grassroots to the national level. I have watched as a policy is proposed at the local level and move up through
the state and national levels.”
Merrill, we appreciate the time and dedication you have put into Farm Bureau!