Brynn and Christian Hoffman from Fairfield County are the editors of the Aug.13, 2018 Growing our Generation, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.
Hi there. We are the Hoffmans, Christian and Brynn with our three children — Sadie, Scarlett and Stetson, from Fairfield County. My wife and I live on the farm that I grew up on and have now expanded. I farm alongside my father, who is a first generation farmer. My wife is my support on and off the farm; she works as a special education director at Westfall Local Schools in Pickaway County. Our three kids keep us very busy, but they love farm life. My education from The Ohio State University pushed me to grow our cow-calf operation into a 750 head feedlot. We are diverse in the crops that we raise in order to feed our cattle and continue growing. Corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, sorghum, and barley are all planted and harvested to support our cattle; I began custom forage harvesting to diversify my income as well. My parents continue to have a large part in our operation and have been great supports to let me change and expand in order to support our future. I was Farm Bureau’s Outstanding Young Farmer last year. Ohio Farm Bureau created this video, describing our farming operation.
Over five years ago, I was awarded the honor of being Ohio Commercial Cattleman of the Year. My wife and I were newly married and had our first child on the way. I had been at home for four years and was slowly expanding the operation. After this experience and being the only feed lot this size in my county, I had many people wanting to see how I did it. This year I had the opportunity to host two different groups of people that I could share my knowledge and experiences with.
The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine brought students to our farm from around the country and Canada to visit our operation. I was able to discuss the mechanics and challenges of handling and feeding cattle in our area; they were accompanied by Dr. Dan Thomson from RFD-TV. Many students got the opportunity to see feedlots in a different viewpoint compared to out west. I shared with the students information about feeding cattle indoors and backgrounding sale barn calves. We buy all our cattle at 350-400 pounds and then finish them out by selling them to commercial buyers and local freezer beef customers.
I was also visited by a group of female bloggers that were interested in beef production. The bloggers did not have an agricultural background. I had never been one for social media, but I was impressed by their viewpoints concerning the nutrition of their followers. The information that I shared with them helped better educate them on ingredients in feed, sustainability practices, antibiotic protocols, and implant use and benefits.
After our kids are in bed, I always try to continue my education as well. Recently, I read an article in Farm and Dairy about changes in how animal units are measured. The article explains how animal units are measured and the land that is required to manage the asset of manure. I am very passionate about this topic because livestock was my way into the farm when I graduated from college; the barriers to entry into crop farming are high. I knew I needed a niche in order to support our family and feedlots were the way to do it. However, with cattle comes manure-and lots of it! This article resonates with me because in Pennsylvania, which isn’t too far from home, this new regulation will raise the barrier of entry into livestock in the traditional sense that manure produced must be spread on the land that is owned.
I know that Ohio Farm Bureau has always had the best interest of the farmer in mind when advocating for the proper regulation in animal agriculture. Therefore, I commit some of my time in support their efforts through our local and state Farm Bureau committees.
Not this farm wife. I always like sharing that fact because it is so unusual for someone like me. I’m Brynn and I work off the farm — aka the insurance provider! Christian’s mom has told me from the beginning to not to learn to drive one, so here I am 11 years later and still clueless. I grew up in Pickerington (outside Columbus) with no exposure to agriculture until I met Christian. We had known each other a very long time through our church, David Lutheran, but that was it. I think it was part of my attraction to him. I would come down to the farm and sit with him and he would educate me on the farm. I loved listening to his passion and learning about cows and farming. I couldn’t believe how much science and math was put into creating feed rations on excel spreadsheets. Christian and I made time for each other while in college. Most of the time it consisted of me studying in the tractor while he worked ground. I remember one evening we were walking through the rental house and he said, ‘ I want to sit on the front porch and drink lemonade with you one day.’ Who knew that that dream would come true for us?
I love raising our three kids on the farm; we may be crazy to have three kids under five. We don’t have satellite television, own any personal technology, or have a gaming system. People are so surprised by this, but it has grown my children’s imagination and the dirt ring in the bath tub. They are outside making “dirt pudding” and creating messes that last for days. I wouldn’t trade our family’s experiences for anything and I look forward to what roles our kids will play in the farm.