Dustin Casey Converse

According to the Farm, Food and Agribusiness COVID-19 Impact Survey created by Ohio Farm Bureau, 65% of those involved in Ohio’s food supply system have been negatively or very negatively impacted by the global pandemic. The survey also shows that 5% of those surveyed have been positively impacted.

Dustin and Casey Jo Converse own and operate Crimson Knoll Cattle in Union County. They have been selling freezer beef from their farm for over 10 years, but this year has been a banner one so far as more and more consumers are reaching out to them for their beef needs.

“We are having a lot more conversations with folks who have never purchased freezer beef, and we are selling more this time of year than we normally do,” Casey Jo said. “Our biggest challenge is getting scheduled with the processor, but they have taken really great care of us and we are thankful for that.”

That is a good problem to have and the uptick in business has changed their business model. Crimson Knoll Cattle doubled in herd size in order to meet the increased local demand. Those types of on-the-fly adjustments are not easy and take some creativity and some foresight. The Converses almost took most of their cattle to the packing plant earlier this year, but decided to hold some of them back when the phone started to ring.

“Early on some customers that had just purchased a good amount of beef were inquiring about buying even more and then we started to hear from more and more people,” Dustin said. “At that point I knew that I had to schedule more dates with the butcher and if we didn’t do that we would have had to wait a couple more months for our beef to be processed.”

The Converses work with a few local processors, including Glenville Packing in Bucyrus, a small custom facility that also works in retail and wholesale markets.

“Normally this time of year we do about four beef a week and a couple of hogs,” said Glenville Packing’s Andrew Keets. “We are now up to 10 cattle and 10 hogs every week. We have hired a couple of new employees and we are all working twice as long just to keep up with demand.”

That pace of production will last quite a while, as the processing plant is at full capacity until the end of July.

“We know there are a lot of farmers worried about where their animals are going to go as their options begin to narrow,” Keets said. “Local plants like ours are working to try to accommodate farmers in our area to make sure those animals and the farmers’ hard work doesn’t go to waste.”

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Bethany Starlin's avatar
Bethany Starlin

Hocking County Farm Bureau

Available scholarships
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
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Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
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Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
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Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
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Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
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Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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