Courtney and Christopher Anderson

When Christopher and Courtney Anderson asked to get married on a neighbor’s idyllic farm in Portage County, they were overjoyed when the owners said yes.

But farmers Bruce and Carlene Patterson had an ulterior motive. They were searching for a young couple to take over the farm, lest it fall into the hands of developers. Just over a year after hosting the 2020 wedding, they picked the Andersons.

“We thought they were about as perfect a couple as we could ever hope for,” said Bruce Patterson. He and his wife, Carlene sold the 47-acre family homestead to the Andersons in 2022 and moved to a Delaware County retirement home near their son, CarlVon Patterson.

The Andersons, for their part, feel honored that the Pattersons trusted them to take over their lives’ work. They were not only married on the farm but took over hay production from the Pattersons seven years ago.

The Andersons and Pattersons
The Andersons and Pattersons

“We are so excited and ready to learn and make our lives there,” said Courtney Anderson. “We look at the Pattersons like family.”

Neither of the Andersons grew up on a farm, but Courtney’s family raised a few goats and horses at their home in Mantua Township, Ohio. Christopher’s introduction to farming began when he was in middle school, and he began mucking out stalls and helping with hay harvest on a neighbor’s farm.

They both attended Crestwood High School and Christopher began farming hay a few years after graduating in 2009.

Christopher came to know Bruce Patterson through their shared love of farming. Patterson convinced him to go to the Young Ag Professionals conferences, sponsored by the Ohio Farm Bureau, and then to join Farm Bureau.

Bruce is a legend with the Portage County Farm Bureau. He’s won multiple awards for bringing in 50 or more new members a year. Not only do the Pattersons understand the value of membership, but they are strong supporters of the future of Ohio agriculture through their generosity to the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.

In 2017 the Patterson family established the Bruce and Carlene Patterson Agricultural Scholarship Fund, which provides Portage County students with agricultural scholarships for college and continuing education.

After many years of impacting their local community through their scholarship fund, the Patterson family wanted to increase their impact statewide but through each county Farm Bureau. That’s when in 2023, the Pattersons created the Patterson Family Ag Literacy Fund through the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.

The Patterson Family Ag Literacy Fund

The Patterson Family Ag Literacy Fund provides programmatic support in perpetuity for Ohio Farm Bureau’s comprehensive ag literacy program. Driven by grassroots efforts, the ag literacy program will equip volunteers with the skills and resources to present in classrooms, provide teacher education workshops and hands-on learning opportunities for educators, supply agricultural resources to elementary schools throughout Ohio, and will equip farmers with the skills and resources they need when hosting on-farm tours, all in an effort to help young people understand more about the relationship between agriculture and their everyday life. (See sidebar, below.)

“The Patterson family exemplifies the true meaning of paying it forward, not only through their generosity to the foundation, but in the way they support the next generation of Ohio agriculturalists like the Andersons,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “We are grateful for the family’s unwavering support of Farm Bureau and to the future of Ohio agriculture through their philanthropy and their intentional diligence in passing on their family farm.”

The Andersons’ goal is to someday farm full time, but for now Christopher runs his own construction business and Courtney mucks out stalls, bartends a few days a week and takes care of their one-year-old daughter, Sloane.

“It would be amazing to be full-time farmers,” Courtney said. “We’ve dreamed of maybe growing berries sometime in the future and having a farmer’s market someday. It’s great to raise kids on a farm, too.”

It is a move-in-progress. Currently, the Andersons live a short distance from the farm. They plan to do some renovations to the home before moving in permanently, which they plan to do in 2024.

Besides the house, which was built in 1855, the farm has a bank barn, an old smokehouse, a corn crib, grapevines, a creek and a huge garden. The Andersons have added five steers and seven hogs to the farm already, and Christopher hopes to add a hay barn so he can expand the hay crop.

“I love the house,” Courtney said. “All the buildings on the farm have character.”

Christopher sees farming as his calling; he may add crops to the farm at some point, depending on how things work out.

For Courtney, farming is honest work; she loves the smell of grain and hay and knowing where the beef she eats came from.

They’re just the kind of young people the Pattersons want living on the farm they nurtured for six decades.

“They’re agriculturally oriented and they’re getting started in the right way,” Bruce said. “I can’t think of any couple I’d want living on the farm more than them.”

To read more about the story of Bruce and Carlene Patterson, visit

Ohio Farm Bureau hires ExploreAg and ag literacy program specialist

Mary Klopfenstein was named ExploreAg and ag literacy program specialist for Ohio Farm Bureau in August. In this role, she oversees planning, marketing and implementation of the ExploreAg high school camp program, as well as being tasked with creating a comprehensive ag literacy program that aligns with the ExploreAg workforce development program. Both programs are made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation and supporters like the Patterson family.

Photos by Bryan Rinnert

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.
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Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
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Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
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
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
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
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
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Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
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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