Jonathan and I were both exposed to agriculture as kids. Some of the people we looked up to the most demonstrated to us a passion for farming, and we both picked up on that. For me it was my grandfather, Grandpa Bob. He was an amazing man and the king of BS. As a kid I spent hours sitting under the shade tree in a lawn chair listening to the stories of how he would wake up, milk cows, drive the school bus to pick up all the other kids on his road and head to school. After school he would return home and start his evening chores. His family moved to town when his mother got sick. After high school he earned a degree in Agriculture from THE Ohio State University with dreams of becoming a farm veterinarian. A dream he never achieved. During the war he joined the military, but never went overseas. He came back from Texas with his new bride and they began a life together in Ohio.
My grandfather spent his professional life working outside of agriculture, but was never able to completely shake his passion for it. Shortly before I was born my grandparents bought a farm about 45 minutes south of where he grew up. This was where I spent many summer days “helping” feed cattle, watching the adults make hay and wandering the fields daydreaming about raising beef cattle. I loved every minute of being on their farm. For a brief period in middle school I even tried to convince my mom to let me move down there!
By the time I was old enough to start really learning what grandpa did, he was starting to get a little tattered. Within 15 years he had been involved in a propane explosion, had an incident with a semi with one of his tractors, had a variety of knee and hip replacements, and had an emergency brake fail on a tractor which rolled over him. Most impressively, he lived through all of that. The summer before I started high school my grandpa’s own body got the best of him. He had a heart attack and passed away. That fall my grandma sold the cows and moved north to be closer to her kids.
By this point, the damage had been done. Grandpa had drilled into me a passion for agriculture. 8 ½ years after he died, I walked through the graduation line at The Ohio State University to receive my diploma from the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. I have worked in the agriculture industry since my graduation in 2012. I am one of the lucky people who wake up every day knowing that they are going to go to work and be a part of something they love.
There is still something missing for me. I have a distinct inability to identify with many of my farmers’ daily issues because I am still removed from farming. Every day I go to work and I want to be more involved. This is why I am so excited to begin a journey into farming.
I know Jonathan’s exact story is unique from mine in many ways. It is also still similar in many ways. He learned his love of agriculture from his grandparents as well. He spent many hours in high school learning about becoming a large animal veterinarian and spent time on farms. He has since spent the last 8 years of college learning everything there is to know about caring for livestock (and all the other critters too!). I don’t know all of the exact details of J’s story, but I do know that together we have a desire to move back to our roots and work on our farm. For us it may not be our “Full time job”, but it is certainly something we love and want to nurture and help grow!