Ben and Tricyn Parker

Growing our Generation: Our love of animals

Ben and Tricyn Parker from Brown County are the editors of the June 17, 2019 Growing our Generation enewsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.

Parker familyHello, we are Ben and Tricyn Parker from Brown County.  We live on Ben’s family’s farm in Ripley where we raise beef, hay and corn for our feeders and supply freezer beef. In April we were blessed with our daughter Elsie Mae. She has given our daily lives a whole new meaning and we couldn’t be happier.

To say that we love working with animals is an understatement and is essentially how we met. Tricyn, who grew up in Stark County, was finishing up her clinicals for veterinary school at The University of Wisconsin when she decided to go see her favorite college football team travel in from Columbus to play the Badgers.  Ben had traveled there with friends to watch the Buckeyes play and happened to park their tailgate next to hers.  The rest is history and Ben took his “veterinary/patient relationship” to a different level.

Our operation

Buckeye Valley Beef Co-opTricyn works full time at Highland County Veterinary Clinic where she does small, large and exotic animals.  She also does the vet work for our cattle on the farm.  We are co-founding members of Buckeye Valley Beef Cooperative in which we sell freezer beef over southern and central Ohio. Our cattle operation has shifted from tight calving windows to get the best price at the market, to trying to have beef available year-round for freezer sales. At Buckeye Valley Beef, our first goal is to provide a quality product which is what keeps customers coming back. Our next goal is to make our product available as soon as possible so our customers are happy with a quick turn around and do not go looking for another place to buy. This has been the drive for forming the co-op since working with the three other member families.  If you are interested in what we do or purchasing our beef, visit our website.

Our summertime is busy baling hay for our cattle as well as custom baling hay for other farmers in the area.  Ben also loves playing music. Check out his Facebook page to come see us and hear some music.

Tools in your toolbox

parker-cattleShortly after we were asked if we would be interested in being guest editors, I was leaving to go do a custom hay job about a 35 minute drive from our house. To travel with our hay rake down the road you must tighten the front dolly wheels with a wrench. I like to call them crazy wheels because that is what they are if they are not tight. I could not find a ¾” wrench. No big deal, but I could not find any wrench. Not a socket, box, crescent, channel lock, any wrench you can think of and not even a grinder to grind a custom wrench out of steel. There are normally 1000 wrenches lying around and/or put away neatly in the shop. In the journey of not finding something to tighten down the wheels, it made me think of how this relates to the over abundance of spring/summer rains we have had in 2019.  Rain has made hay and planting crops almost impossible at times and has forced us to use all the tools in our toolbox and often times seeming like there is no tool that can help.  As farmers we are forced to adapt to all kinds of circumstances like increased inputs, decreased commodity prices, breakdowns and the unforgiving elements.  But as farmers we also overcome. We have to. We must do our best to get the job done and as frustrating as the journey is, we always do. In my self- proclaimed infinite wisdom, I will give you this advice: “Hang in there.  The job will get done.”

If you’re wondering how I got the wheels tightened?  I didn’t; someone else had already tightened them for me….

Online extra

Families launch Buckeye Valley Beef Cooperative (from July/August 2018 Our Ohio magazine)

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This e-newsletter is brought to you by Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Ag Professionals. Learn more about Farm Bureau membership, including a discounted category for those 18-24 years old.

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Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.