What is Ohio Farm Bureau

Whoever said that comparison is the thief of joy never farmed a day in their life. Sure, I admit that sometimes comparisons of certain things have stolen my joy, but those are normally things that I can’t change, like wanting curly hair or being thinner.

If you have ever hung out with a farmer after planting season is done, and they are just waiting for the plants to sprout and grow, you have been asked the infamous question, “Want to go for a ride?”

Now, for those of you who think that you are simply hopping into the truck and going to run a few errands, you are sadly mistaken. You could be gone for hours. You could end up one or two states over. You might not even know where you are!  See, the infamous question really means, do you want to go ride around with me and look at other people’s crops to see how they are doing?

That’s really the question you are being asked. This means that you start locally, but once you have surveyed most or all of the local fields, you will head out to parts unknown to see how everyone else is doing.

You have seen these farmers. It’s the guy driving slowly on state Route 88, staring out the passenger side window as he drives past farmland. It’s the guy who slows down whenever he sees an open expanse of field, and no one behind him can figure out why.

These, these are your comparers. I’ve even been guilty of this myself after years of going on these rides with my grandfather and now my brother. In fact, I was driving down to Dayton for the state track meet last week, and I found myself calling my brother. “Hey Craig, I’m down here north of Columbus, and their fields aren’t that much more ahead of us, at least where I’m at.”

This followed a lengthy conversation about what the fields looked like, how ours were doing, and what we expected to see in the coming weeks.

Now, I was on the highway and couldn’t slow down to the 25 mph that my brother would have desired so that I could really see the field, but I’ve gotten pretty good at this skill and was able to describe the heights of the corn and beans and the wetness of the fields.

It’s too bad there isn’t a place on a resume for this skill.

But, most importantly, this comparison did not diminish what we felt about our fields and the potential of our crops. We simply used it as a guidepost to see where they were and where we were. In fact, we were somewhat cheering them on as I talked about how nice the rows were as they showed off their new bright green shoots. Comparison, in this case, also served as a way to initiate conversation. And sometimes, I think that’s the draw for farmers.

In my experience, most farmers will talk for hours about their crops, livestock, weather, diesel prices, and other issues affecting farming. However, getting a farmer to do small talk takes a Herculean effort.

Browsing other people’s fields and discussing what those farmers did compared to what others have done offers farmers a way to talk to new and different people. I’ve watched my brother and grandfather start conversations with other farmers they did not know over a mutual field that both happened to see that was doing well. Field comparison is really a mutual bonding tool.

I’ve even used it once or twice in my life when I had no idea how to begin a conversation. I’m not nearly as good at it as my brother or grandfather was, but I’m sure the longer I live here, the better I will get.

So next time you’re driving, and you happen to get behind one of these farmers on a comparison drive, slow down, smile, and maybe even glance at what he’s looking at; you might be surprised at what you see. Sure, it might just be a field of beans or corn, but it could also be a herd of deer, an eagle, or wildlife enjoying the farmer’s work.

Submitted by Christen Clemson, a member of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau who completed her doctorate at Pennsylvania State University. She and her family farm in Mecca Township.


OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.

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.
Ernie Welch's avatar
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.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
The plan we are on is great. It’s comparable to my previous job's plan, and we are a sole proprietor.
Kevin Holy's avatar
Kevin Holy

Geauga County Farm Bureau

Ohio Farm Bureau Health Benefits Plan
We work terrifically with the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau, hosting at least one to two outreach town hall events every year to educate new farmers and existing farmers on traditional CAUV and woodlands.
David Thomas's avatar
David Thomas

Ashtabula County Auditor

CAUV: Past, present and future
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
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.
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

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