Cambell and Jessica Parrish from Champaign County are the editors of the July 2, 2018 Growing our Generation, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.
Meet our Family
We are Cambell and Jessica (Shanahan) Parrish. We live in Mechanicsburg with our seven-month-old daughter, Kennedy. Like so many of you, our roots in agriculture run deep.
Cambell grew up on a purebred Duroc hog farm in Williams County. His high school days included managing his own farrowing barn of 100 sows and helping his dad manage their family’s 400 sow, farrow to finish operation. Today, Cambell’s family focuses on the farm to fork movement by selling their products at the Toledo Farmer’s Market.
Jessica grew up on a horse farm. Her family has been involved in the draft horse industry since long before she was born. Over the years, they have owned hundreds of horses across many breeds. Today they primarily breed and show draft Haflingers.
We help manage our family horse farm and also stay connected to agriculture by working in the industry. Cambell is the director of public relations and consumer marketing for the Ohio Beef Council and Jessica is the executive director of the Ohio FFA Foundation.
In the little bit of free time we have, we are renovating a 200-year-old farm house. You can follow our journey online.
Cambell and I bought a few acres near my family so that we could be deeply involved on my family’s horse farm, Shanahan Haflingers. For more than 40 years, my family has been involved in the Haflinger and draft horse industries. Our daughter will be the fourth generation to show Haflingers. Breeding, raising, training and showing runs deep in my family. For us, it has always been something that brings our family together. Like so many of you, growing up in the barn is how we learned to work hard, never give up and be responsible. Cambell and I are very thankful to be raising our daughter “in the barn,” too.
In addition to our show horses, our family operation includes five brood mares that we breed each year and several young horses that we are raising to eventually join our show string. Each year we take eight geldings on the road to show across Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan. At each of our shows we earn “points” as a part of the Haflinger and Hitch Pony Championship Series. The points we earn qualify us to attend the Finals in October. This year the Finals will be held in conjunction with The Big E in Massachusetts and will include $20,000 in prize money.
Our breeding operation today focuses on breeding smart and strong bloodlines. We put an emphasis on breeding for body structure, head carriage, healthy feet and the innate desire to drive. The training of our horses includes teaching them to carry their head with presence, lifting their feet and most importantly, driving in step with their teammate in a smooth but strong manner. Today’s modern Haflingers are athletic, strong and sensible. We focus on breeding and raising those characteristics to ensure the longevity of the breed.
It’s What’s For Dinner. Leading the beef checkoff’s efforts to connect with consumers is a thrilling and challenging role to fill. After working in sports marketing and insurance for a few years, I wanted to utilize my skills as a marketer to help farmers better tell their story to a curious public. Working outside of agriculture helped me gain valuable insight into how disconnected people have become from their food.
Marketing changes every day, and connecting with consumers in a crowded marketplace only makes our challenge more difficult. In Ohio alone, we compete for consumer attention against some of the biggest marketers in the world: Proctor and Gamble, Progressive Insurance and more. Our team tries to keep the public engaged by thinking outside of the box and avoiding being flat footed in our marketing programs. Checkout some of the work we do.
Many agree that connecting with consumers is the one of the most important endeavors for agriculture, but it can be incredibly intimidating. My experience has revealed consumers are usually coming from a place of curiosity and their questions rarely have an agenda. Agriculture needs more people telling their stories and answering questions. One way the beef checkoff equips our advocates to do so is through the Masters of Beef Advocacy program. Learn more about this free educational platform.
I am passionate about investing in the future of our industry. Thankfully, I’ve found the perfect job where I can bring that passion to life as the executive director of the Ohio FFA Foundation. Each and every day I raise support for FFA members to ensure they have the very best opportunities available to them. By connecting the agricultural industry with FFA members, I am able to ensure that today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders.
The FFA holds a special place in our lives. Cambell and I both served as Ohio FFA state officers and met at Ohio FFA Camp. The organization helped each of us become who we are today. I am truly honored to help ensure that students will have this same opportunity for years to come.
As executive director, I am responsible for all of the fundraising related to our programs and events. Each year I am tasked with raising approximately $650,000. With those funds we are able to provide scholarships, host events and conferences and create opportunities for students to grow and learn. I invite you to learn more about the work we do for FFA members and how you can join us.
I first became involved with the Ohio Farm Bureau through AgriPOWER.
Participating in AgriPOWER was such a great experience. Beyond the opportunity to grow as an individual and agricultural leader, I was able to form friendships with my classmates. I highly recommend the program to anyone.