AFBF YF&R Committee

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.

Charlie and Casey Ellington serve on the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers &  Ranchers Committee. They operate Ellington Farms in northeast Ohio, where they raise and market direct to consumer beef, pork, chicken, grain crops and sell farm toys. Charlie is a senior nutritionist at Heritage Cooperative. Casey manages the day-to-day operations and marketing for Ellington Farms.

Casey provided the couple’s perspective on their experience with both Ohio and American Farm Bureaus:

Casey and Charlie Ellington
Casey and Charlie Ellington

Our path with the Ohio Farm Bureau has provided us with an immense amount of personal growth and development. While we both started our individual paths through our own AgriPOWER experiences, we have served at the county and state level in many capacities and found it a great privilege to represent our age group and geographical location. Farm Bureau has challenged our way of thinking at all levels of policy, business and networking connections. We have found it important to continue to invite great people to participate in either contests, leadership or service to further the success of Ohio agriculture.

What inspires you when life gets hard?

We are very goal-driven individuals and heavily inspired by our children. We feel it’s important to demonstrate hard work and consistency in our work for our kids. They are heavily involved in their young age in our farming operation and their determination often drives ours. We are very fortunate to be surrounded by a supportive group of people that work alongside us to further our goals as well.

How have your leadership skills developed and are you still trying to grow them?

AgriPOWER challenged us both in our professional and personal lives, and from that program we have each served on different boards inside and out of agriculture. I have found it incredibly important to serve my local community through involvement of my local chamber and rotary organizations, along with working in different communities selling at farmers markets. The connections to our local consumers to provide quality, locally affordable raised meats has been a great way to share our farm in urban, suburban and rural demographics.  We are firm believers of advocating for agriculture outside of your echo chamber is a necessity for social licenses and our continued right to farm in Ohio.

What has your experience been like while serving on the YF&R Committee?

We have enjoyed the opportunity to connect and learn from our fellow Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee members from across the country. Each of us has a unique story and operation. We look forward to cherishing these friendships across the country for the rest of our lives. Charlie had the opportunity to represent during the United Nations Food Systems Summit and Independent Dialogue, which was a unique experience. We both have had the opportunity to learn more about national policy as a country rather than just Ohio. Serving on the Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee has been an achievement that we are thankful to represent Ohio and share our organization’s many strengths and accomplishments.

Do you have a favorite memory from your YF&R experience?

Oregon Tulip FarmOur favorite memory of being a part of the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee has been to tour various farming operations and businesses throughout the country. In particular, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Oregon, they are a diverse operation with hemp and other crops. If you find yourself in Oregon in March we encourage you to visit and see the beauty of 150 different types of tulips.

 

When you look forward to your future, what are you most excited for?

As our journey in the young agricultural professionals age group is coming to an end, we continue to look forward to encouraging other young farmers to become active in the Ohio Farm Bureau and its many opportunities. On our farm and family we look forward to bringing home our new baby girl in late October, and we will continue to expand our direct to consumer and toy businesses. We are excited about the many opportunities available to our farm and family business.

I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.
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.
Matt Aultman's avatar
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.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
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.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
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.
Austin Heil's avatar
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.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
Suggested Tags: