Charlie and Casey Ellington from Stark County are the editors of the October 2022 Growing our Generation enewsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.Read More
Sara Tallmadge of Ashland County is the editor of the March 2022 Growing our Generation enewsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals. She is a member of the state Young Agricultural Professionals Committee.
As I tell many people these days, my start in agriculture was a somewhat nontraditional one. I was born into a military family, and we transitioned to different bases along the East Coast while my dad was serving active duty in the United States Marine Corps. Despite the multiple moves, we always had our family farm to come home to. When leave came, we would travel to Ohio not only to visit, but to work on the family farm which had been in the Tallmadge family since 1921.
It wasn’t your 100% traditional farm; we leased our cropland to Jeromesville farming legend Bill Cameron and put our primary focus on hatching and raising ringneck pheasants. Our farm offered the opportunity for hunters from around the country to visit, hunt, and tell stories.
When my dad retired after 21 years of service, we moved back to the farm full-time and I was able to become involved in 4-H, FFA, showing livestock, and becoming further invested in my community. It taught me hard work and compassion for animals, but sometimes legacies do have to come to an end. In 2010 we sold the farm, but with one legacy coming to a close it gave me the opportunity to build my own.
That’s where I am today and just like my family members before me, I am excited to be building my own nontraditional legacy. These days you can find me working with turkeys, cattle and swine at OSU’s Center for Food Animal Health – where our goal is to prevent and understand diseases in food producing animals and food systems – or really just about anywhere there is an Ashland County or Ohio Farm Bureau event.
Since 2018 I have been serving on the Ashland County Farm Bureau board of trustees, which has introduced me to so many opportunities such as serving as a delegate at the state annual meeting, advocating for agriculture while attending Ag Day at the Capital, and my personal favorite the Annual Ag Toy Drive.
Over the past three years that I have helped facilitate the toy drive, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the BEST Young Ag Professionals in Ashland, Wayne and Medina counties. Each year we are blown away by how much of a positive impact we have on our local communities while working with local business partners, stocking up local charities, and bringing the gift of agriculture to less fortunate children during the holiday season. There are so many ways to get involved to make a difference whether it’s locally, on a state level, or even nationally.
I believe that being a leader requires a mindset of constant evolution; it’s important to remain adaptable to changes that are occurring around us and it requires constant growth. I can easily say that my leadership skills have developed greatly over the years especially with my continued involvement in the Ohio Farm Bureau and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes like AgriPOWER, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially. One aspect of leadership that I have gotten more interested in is better understanding my leadership style and the leadership styles and interpersonal needs of others to help foster stronger and more understanding relationships.
Continuous learning is a large part of my life. I feel as if I am always sitting in on webinars, research seminars that peak my interest, and completing individual studies. As a registered veterinary technician I am required to report 10 hours of continuing education per two-year license renewal cycle. I always search for CEs that focus on food animal medicine, infectious diseases, public health, vector-borne diseases, and veterinary staff wellness – for this round I am looking forward to completing courses in controlled substance management in veterinary medicine and pain management. Currently I am also in my last semester at The Ohio State University to gain my bachelor’s degree in health science.
LinkedIn is such a great resource to professionally network and manage your career. Over the years it has helped me not only remain in contact with my colleagues but also has helped act as a format for my current resume.
In my free time
I absolutely love being outside, whether that is relaxing, hiking, or working. I even took a summer maintenance job at the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District’s Pleasant Hill Lake Park over the past three summers just because I love being outside in nature that much. A few summers ago I fell in love with kayaking while visiting my parents in North Carolina and this year I plan on purchasing my own kayak to go on even more adventures.
Come on. This is funny.
Q. Why do cows have hooves instead of feet?
A. Because they lactose!
Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially.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.Business Solutions
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.Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
I was gifted the great opportunity through an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Pathways grant to run a series of summer camps here. That really expanded my vision of what ‘grow, maintain, sustain and explain’ could actually be.Farming for Good
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.Leadership development
Jonanthan and Alyssa Zucker farm in Marion and Wyandot counties. They are in their last term on the State Young Agricultural Professionals Committee and serve as co-chairs.Read More