Wilson Family

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Planting season is in full swing, and different generations play many different roles. While farmers are planting the seeds of the future crop, they are also planting seeds for the generations to come, who learn from the past generations and embrace the innovations and challenges of the future. 

Learn more about how Jakob Wilson, a fourth-generation farmer on his family’s grain farm in Madison County, embraces the importance of generational differences in their farming operation while implementing new technologies to increase efficiency. 

About the farm

I am a 1/3 partner/owner of JCW Farms Partnership with my parents, John and Christie Wilson. We raise corn and soybeans on 5,200 acres across five counties in Ohio. As a partner in the business, I am involved in all aspects of the farming operation including producing the crops and managerial duties. However, each of us have parts of the business that we are responsible for. I take the lead on equipment purchasing, maintenance and setup; seed selection, purchase and field placement; planting, side-dressing, spraying and combining; all GPS and equipment technologies; as well as managing our grain facilities with my dad. 

Overcoming generational challenges with technology

remote display access
Remote Display Access

On our farm I work with three generations of family members, as my grandpa still comes and helps during the spring and fall seasons. I also had the opportunity to work with my great-grandfather for several years growing up. I can honestly say that working with the different generations as technology has evolved and implementing it on our farm has its challenges. As technology changes quickly, it is sometimes difficult for the older generation to understand how to get the technology to function. The biggest thing that has helped me navigate this problem is that most of our equipment is now equipped with the ability to use Remote Display Access. I can RDA using my phone and the John Deere Operations Center App, which enables me to see the operator’s screen even if I am not there.  I can then help walk them through a problem or question that they may have. 

Technology implementation for higher efficiency

Autopath technologyIn the last year, I have implemented John Deere’s Autopath technology in our planting equipment. Autopath provides a couple of benefits to the planting operation. First, instead of using regular auto steer, we have installed a receiver on the planter and are able to run Implement Guidance. That receiver knows where the planter is compared to the tractor and will now steer the tractor to keep the planter exactly 30 inches from the next row, eliminating planter drift. While doing this, that receiver records exactly where the planter goes through the field. Once planting is complete, I can pull that Autopath map and upload it into my John Deere account inside the John Deere Operations Center where I can then send it wirelessly to my sidedress tractor and sprayer. This enables these machines to make their field pass operation right between the rows following the exact same path that the planter followed. I can send the Autopath map to the combine as well where we can then use the map to split lands, no longer having to get out and count rows. This one technology increases efficiency across multiple field operations throughout the growing season.

Young farmer advice

My one piece of advice that I would tell someone getting more involved in their multigenerational family operation is to have patience with the older generation and the new technology. The younger generation has the advantage of having grown up in the age of computers and video games which enables them to understand new technology easier and adapt to it faster.  Sometimes you just have to slow down and take the time to teach the older generation just as they have taught you. 

Additional resources

Ohio Farm Bureau and Nationwide have collaborated  to provide members with the tools and resources needed to help them be successful in their operations, such as, implementing new technology and developing succession plans. 

Interested in learning more about the benefits offered to Ohio Farm Bureau members? 

Upcoming Deadlines/Events
  • Applications for ExploreAg Camp at University of Findlay are due June 14. Apply
  • New opportunity for Ohio Farm Bureau members: Growing Tomorrow Grants. Applications due July 31. Learn more
  • AgriPOWER applications are due Aug. 1, 2024. Apply

Growing Tomorrow Grants Q&A Video

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

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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