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First-generation farmers Kevin and Morgan Holy didn’t initially set out to wrangle thousands of maple trees and harness the sap for syrup at Seldom Seen Farm back in 2012-2013.
“It was 100% by accident, like all great farms start,” Kevin Holy said, with a laugh. The Holys first foray into agriculture included a different kind of harness. Initially they were members of the equine industry before making a sweet transition.
The couple, who have two children, Chase and Cora, work from home full time and produce around 1,500 gallons of syrup per year, sourcing locally another 3,000-4,000 gallons. Holy said the operation took a big jump in 2018-2019, when they built a new sugarhouse and bought new equipment, among other upgrades.
“It has been such a blessing for us,” he said, noting that all of his maple trees are located about 10 minutes away from their home.
They sell direct to consumers through their retail store, online and what Holy calls “wholesale plus,” which includes local farmers markets. They are also part of the Ohio Maple Producers Association’s Maple Madness Tour, which is usually the first two weekends in March, depending on the weather.
“I think we have about 50 producers on that tour now, from Chillicothe to all the way up here in Geauga,” he said.
Holy also has spent the last several years as the president of the Geauga County Farm Bureau. He’s made two trips to Washington, D.C. to advocate for members and helped host Sen. Sherrod Brown at Ohio Farm Bureau President Bill Patteron’s farm last summer for a discussion about the upcoming farm bill.
“The agricultural landscape of northeast Ohio is about as diverse as they come, and every type of farmer will be impacted in one way or another by what goes into the 2023 Farm Bill,” Holy said. “To have Sherrod Brown, who is not only a U.S. senator, but also a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, listening to what area farmers need as the farm bill is developed is tremendous, and we look forward to continuing these conversations as the farm bill process moves forward.”
Meeting with state lawmakers and those in Congress has made a favorable impression on Holy.
“It’s really important to be involved and sit down with our representatives, go to their office and tell them how laws affect farm life and home life,” he said. “They do listen, and hopefully they remember when they are writing legislation.”
He encourages anyone who is contemplating becoming a Farm Bureau member, or a current member who is thinking about getting more involved in the organization, to “just do it.
“When I first started with Farm Bureau, someone actually gifted me my first year’s membership. I was one of those people who was reluctant about joining because of time and availability of my schedule,” Holy said. “In all honesty it was one of the best things someone gave me.”
Once he was engaged, he said he was impressed by the “dedication and hard work at all levels of leadership from the county to the state and even national organization.”
He noted that the opportunities for leadership training, personal growth, and the protection of the agricultural way of life is up to the members and those who get involved to ensure that Farm Bureau is advocating for agriculture for decades to come.
“The most important thing to me is that Farm Bureau is going to be there in the future for the next generation of our sons and daughters,” he said. “Just like for the past 100 years, they’re going to be there for the next hundred years fighting for them as well.”
To plot your tour stops on the Ohio Maple Madness Tour, visit ohiomaple.org.
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Members of Geauga County Farm Bureau, the Holys are growing their maple syrup operation and their involvement in Farm Bureau.Read More