Jonathan and Alyssa Zucker from Marion County are the editors of the July 1, 2019 Growing our Generation enewsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.
Hello everyone! We are the Zuckers and we farm in Marion and Wyandot counties. Jonathan is a 7th generation farmer working with his grandfather, Roy Loudenslager, in the Loudenslager Sons partnership founded by Roy and his late brother, Don. They produce corn, soybeans and sweet corn in Marion County. Alyssa keeps books for Stansbery Seed and Service and Tactical Ag. Stansbery Seed and Service is an agricultural support company specializing in custom fertilizer and chemical application and seed sales. Tactical Agriculture is an aerial application company. We also help on Alyssa’s family’s farm in Wyandot County where they raise cattle, sheep, chickens, hay, corn and soybeans.
We have a quintessential ag love story – we met while studying agricultural business at The Ohio State University. Jonathan proposed on top of a grain bin and we married in December 2016. We grew up on very different farms, so it’s been fun to learn different areas of agriculture over the last two and a half years.
You will often find us at one of our family farms or some days we divide and conquer – Alyssa helping to sort cattle or move pastures and Jonathan planting, selling sweet corn at the local farmer’s market or hauling grain. This time of year we’re normally rotating cattle and sheep pastures on Alyssa’s family farm but the weather hasn’t been cooperating. Jonathan is still trying to plant soybeans. The sweet corn will be maturing later than normal this year and probably won’t be ready for consumers until mid August. When not working on the farm Jonathan enjoys hiking with his brother and their dogs, and Alyssa loves to bake tasty desserts.
We have a desire to learn and improve farming and management practices. We have been blessed with a great legacy and want to see that passed down for generations to come.
by Jonathan Zucker
When someone asks if you want to do this Farm Bureau thing, just say “Yes, I can do that!” A friend of mine asked me about three years ago if I wanted to join the Marion County Farm Bureau board and I said yes. I would have never guessed where it would take me in a few short years. I have had the opportunity to represent Marion County and travel to Washington, D.C. and Arizona. These opportunities have helped me to shift my paradigm by getting me out of my comfort zone and helping me to develop creative thinking strategies. It has helped me to focus more on my home community. Farm Bureau is a true grassroots organization that inspires members to build a stronger community, both town and country.
Alyssa and I have both been delegates to Ohio Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting. It is a great experience. Annual Meeting is where the state Farm Bureau determines the policies that will guide the organization for the next year and beyond.
By participating in the Young Ag Professionals conference multiple years, we have been able to connect with like-minded individuals from across the state. The conference takes place over two days. It’s a wonderful networking opportunity. There are also many county YAP groups in which you can become involved. Come join us!
I’m a proud member of AgriPOWER Class X. AgriPOWER is an elite training program that engages ag professionals in enhancing leadership, communication and advocacy skills to build strong communities. AgriPOWER’s effective and relevant lessons will follow me throughout my life. The best part is the relationships we’ve built as classmates. These powerful connections are opening doors to present and future leadership opportunities across the state of Ohio.
Outside of Farm Bureau we are active in our church, with Habitat for Humanity, and I sit on the Marion County Republican Central and Executive Committee.
We find it important to be passionate in life, and Farm Bureau is one of our passions. We believe in an ag community that holds together through droughts and floods, bumper crops and rough years. Farm Bureau provides a strong platform to discuss issues with people in and out of the ag community. I’ve witnessed how much this organization cares at every level — from the state office all the way down to its individual members. Farm Bureau strives to empower communities. That’s where change is felt . . . at home.
So, if someone asks “Do you want to be involved in this Farm Bureau thing?” please consider making your answer “YES!”
Connecting with the community
by Alyssa Zucker
My family has a passion for sharing our farm and providing opportunities for the community to visit and experience agriculture. One of the biggest ways we do this is opening the farm to visitors during our April and May lambing season. My mom, DeAnn, determines how large the group can be at each session depending on the number of bottle lambs. She likes to make sure there is a lamb for each child to feed. Feeding and getting to hold a bottle lamb is one of the highlights of the visit. While visiting, people have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the livestock and the way we care for them. Local preschools, homeschool students, special needs children and adults, and nursing homes also come to visit.
My parents love to open the farm up to students, allowing them to have first-hand experience on a farm. We have most recently worked with Upper Sandusky High School FFA students. The students are able to learn about animal husbandry and care, and help with hands-on activities like vaccinations and ear tagging. A few students were even able to watch a ewe give birth. My dad, Joe, says one of our goals is to have a productive farm that incorporates youth.
Last fall we transitioned the rental house on our farm to a vacation rental/farm stay with Airbnb. It’s been an amazing experience so far. We’ve had people visit from New York to Florida, New Jersey to California, and even Argentina. They’ve come for vacation, family events, farm visits and work trips. It’s been neat to host the people that come in for various agricultural reasons such as livestock shows, manure consulting, and bee food production. One of our most enjoyable farm stays was a family from Michigan with a homeschooled daughter. They wanted her to experience farm life for a few days. They helped gather eggs and tend to the ewes and lambs. The farm visits give guests the opportunity to ask questions and get a glimpse of what life on the farm is all about.
We also reach the community through freezer beef and lamb sales, and egg sales to our local grocery and restaurants. It’s always fun to run into someone while we are in town who mentions they’ve bought our eggs and/or meat and enjoy seeing pictures of the livestock on our Facebook page.