Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015



Greetings from Harrison Farm!  I sincerely hope that your family has enjoyed a blessed and wonderful year.  As I began reflecting on this past year, it has truly been the most difficult of my life -- and I do not say that lightly.  With the passing of my grandmother this fall, I have been very reflective on the chapter of my life that has closed now that my parents and grandparents have all passed onward.  During the struggles I have encountered, I have found myself often turning to those things that my family instilled in me.

I was fortunate during my childhood that my grandparents were such an active part of raising me.  My grandfather Virgil taught me to drive a tractor, to deliver lambs, to provide medical care for livestock, and to understand the circle of life on a farm.  My grandmother Ina Marie taught me to bake cookies, to sew & mend, to garden, and to understand how to nourish a family.  The happiest times of my childhood were spent with my grandparents: the weekly Friday night that I got to stay at their house, the wonderful road trips that we took in the motor home, the time we spent sitting together in their kitchen talking.  I spent hours at the kitchen table with my grandfather (as my grandmother brought us chocolate chip cookies, sweet tea, and popcorn), where we would discuss history, politics, economics, religion, and culture.  I was fortunate that my grandfather never tried to guide me to simply be the best woman I could be -- but rather instilled in me the desire to be the best individual that I could possibly be.  With a strong-willed wife and three dynamic daughters, I am sure that by the time I arrived there was no doubt in my grandfather's mind that a woman could achieve whatever she put her mind to doing.

I can recall distinctly as a child that my grandfather tried to prepare me that at some point my world would fall apart.  It could be from something dramatic like war or famine or plague -- or it could be something intensely personal like divorce or cancer or job loss.  While this was an unusual lesson for a child, he tried to instill in me the realization that this happened to everyone at some point . . . And it would happen to me.  And when it did, I would only be left with what I had in my head and what I could do with my hands.  Of late, I have often thought on those words.

My grandfather did not have an easy life, but he was a hard worker who loved people and always wore a dynamic smile no matter the situation.  I suspect much of his attitude on life came from watching his own parents.  My great-grandfather Frank was crippled, with one leg approximately six inches shorter than the other.  He wore a specially designed metal lift attached to his shoe.  One of these shoes has survived through the decades, and I still have it at the farm.  It weighs a good ten pounds, and it amazes me to think that my great-grandfather overcame what had to be a profound physical struggle to find success as a farmer & a butcher.  That resilience of spirit was matched by his wife Monnie.  My great-grandmother was an educated woman, who spent the first years of her marriage living in a sheep wagon in Wyoming.  I am continually amazed by the fortitude it took for her to give up what was a civilized life in Columbus to travel to the open country of Wyoming and live in a wagon the size of a truck camper with her husband, their dog, and hundreds of sheep.  After my great-grandparents returned to Ohio, they originally lived at a farm outside of Fredonia.  One day while my great-grandmother was home alone, the house caught on fire.  She saved a pillow that she had hand embroidered (which my grandfather gave to me on my 16th birthday), and she saved her piano.  I cannot imagine the surge of adrenaline that fueled the strength to save that piano from a fire, but I am in endless admiration of a woman that shows that kind of courage in the face of danger. 

I know my mother Rebecca was fascinated by her grandparents, and in my youth she shared with me the stories they had told her.  My mother was tough on me -- very tough at times -- but I doubt I would have survived this long in life if she had not expected discipline and endurance from me.  When I was nine years old, I was riding Abraham the Mule after school one day, when he bucked me off.  As Abe headed for the barn, he managed to step painfully on my ankle.  My mother caught Abe, brought him to me, and told me to get back on.  I recall distinctly crying and telling her I did not want to do so, yet she kept telling me I had to get back on.  And so I did.  My mother got bucked off a lot during her life -- both literally and figuratively -- but she never gave up.  As I have matured, I have come to realize that one of my mother's best traits was that she was not afraid to make mistakes, and she always tried to learn from them.  She baked beautiful wedding cakes, she loved making baskets, she got her pilot's license at age sixteen, and she was extraordinarily gifted at healing the maladies of little lambs.  Watching my mother as she went through her journey with cancer inspired in me proud respect for a woman who could face the end of her time on earth with such courage & graciousness & laughter.

As I have faced the struggles that have arisen in my life this year, I have thought greatly of how my grandfather cautioned me that this time would come.  With age, I have gained more perspective on his life and the challenges he faced, and I recognize that he was demonstrating clearly to me that one could live with dignity no matter the challenge.  Life is not easy.  One of my favorite songs has the line "if you're going through hell, keep on going".  There have been many days that I have pulled myself exhausted from bed this year despite my physical challenges to keep my work commitments.  There have been many times that I have felt nearly broken while nursing an animal late at night in the barn, knowing it was probably going to die any way.  And I have spent a lot of time with my arms around the neck of my dog or my horse as I nursed a melancholy heart.  But the legacy that my family passed to me has strengthened me through this time.

If I am tough at all, it is because my mother demanded it of me.  If I have any wisdom, it is because my grandfather spent his live demonstrating it to me.  As I live my life in the same home where my mother, and my grandmother, and my great-grandmother resided, I am continually reminded of the legacy they left me.  You may recall that line that Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did -- but backwards & in high heels.  My great-grandfather's boot is a tangible reminder that he did everything I do today, but with a ten pound metal lift on his left foot.  Every time I see my great-grandmother's piano, I am reminded that we have deep reserves of strength within each of us that we do not even know we have until we must call upon them for survival.  Above & beyond all this, I know I am alive today because my grandmother took the time to make sure I had a good meal, a delicious cookie, and a warm hug whenever I needed them during my childhood.



We all possess the ability to inspire others through determination, dignity, and love.  I am extraordinarily blessed to have such remarkable friends in my world, and I am truly grateful for that support that has been given to me.  I hope that you have received such inspiration & support in your life -- and I hope that you have found ways to offer it to others.  I wish for you a blessed and joyful 2016!  May it be a wonderful year for all of us!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Ninja

One of my grandmother's habits was to label everything with her name.  A good portion of the Tupperware containers at the homeplace are labelled Ina Marie Harrison in black sharpie.  As I have sorted through her clothes, I have seen many sweaters with her name written by the tag at the back.  Photographs -- thankfully -- were given notations of the date, the location, and who was pictured.  The Jackalope my friend Angie bought in Wyoming for Grandmother is properly labelled with information on the date it was given and the the name of the giver.  

Toward the end of the time that Grandmother was living at home, this habit did morph to extremes.  She would write her name on her shoes, on bags of sugar, and even on gallons of milk.  Probably the greatest moment was when she likewise wrote INA on her toilet paper.  The first time my Emma came to stay at the farm, she saw "INA" written on so many items around the farmhouse.  Not yet having met Grandmother, she inquired what I N A represented . . . Maybe the International Ninja Association?  Thereafter, Grandmother picked up the nickname of The Ninja.



This story came to mind as I marveled about what occurred as I was leaving the cemetery following the memorial gathering that we had for Grandmother on Sunday.  Several of my friends joined me for brunch at Bob Evans -- a fitting tribute to The Grandmother -- and I departed the cemetery first to lead the caravan.  As I sat at a traffic light, ready to turn into the Bob Evans parking lot, I looked up at the car in front of me.  Reading the license plate, I hastily grabbed my iPad in a poor attempt to record it with a picture.  As my friends arrived at the restaurant, I pulled out my iPad to show them the photo of the car that was in front of me on the short drive from the cemetery . . . With the custom license plate of "INA".  It was starting to get dark, and you can just barely see the license in this picture of the car turning right. I am still completely amazed.



Sunday, November 29, 2015

In Memory of The Grandmother

When I was a teenager and I was competing in public speaking competitions, my grandmother would always advise me to "speak from the heart".  That counsel served me well then, and has continued to do so in my life.  It has been a month now since The Grandmother passed onward, and today several of my friends joined me to honor her with stories & prayers.  When my grandfather passed away, I gave a eulogy for him.  Likewise, when my mother passed, I also gave her eulogy.  My grandmother had always said that she wanted me to offer her eulogy as well.  Since my aunts opted to proceed with different plans when Grandmother was laid to rest, the opportunity for this eulogy did not arise previously.  Thus, on this sunny afternoon, I joined with my closest friends to have coffee & Bailey's Irish Cream in a toast to my grandmother at her grave.  I did my best to "speak from the heart" as I shared stories about and memories of my grandmother.



Inah Marie Rostorfer was born 31 May 1917, two days after John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born.  World War I was raging in Europe and Woodrow Wilson was in the White House, when Lawrence Rostorfer and Mabel Watts Rostorfer had their oldest child.  Lawrence & Mabel farmed in Pickerington OH, and they were both barely 20 when Grandmother was born.  Their house had no electricity and no indoor plumbing, and they farmed with a team of horses.  As a child, I loved to hear Grandmother's stories about her childhood.  I knew she disliked the "h" on her first name, and dropped it during her youth.  I knew she adored her parents -- but got used to being an only child for her first five years of life, and never forgave her baby sister Lucille for breaking her toys.  I knew the Depression was a huge struggle for their family, as for many farm families.  Grandmother would often tell how her younger brother Grant wanted the family to go to the movies (the "picture show"), but tickets were ten cents each and Laurence could not allocate a whole fifty cents to take his family out for entertainment.  As a child, it amazed me to marvel at how the world had changed since my own grandma was a little girl.



Grandmother loved poetry, and could still recite in her 90s many of the poems she memorized in her youth.  She was skilled at sewing & cooking, as well as decorative arts like cross-stitch.  Grandmother was one of the first girls to take shop class at Pickerington High School, and she always enjoyed woodworking.  Grandmother shared with me that after she graduated from high school in 1935, she wanted to go to New York and study interior design.  The father that she adored, though, needed her on the farm, and so she started a market route in the city of Columbus.  Ina Marie Rostorfer was a hard-working business woman who delivered fresh eggs and dressed chickens to households on her market route.  (For non-farmers, dressed = butchered, there were not -- alas -- chickens in adorable ensembles that Grandmother sewed.)  I often wonder what Grandmother's life might have been like had she followed her dreams.  I suspect it instead resulted in her counseling each of her three daughters and her granddaughter how important it was for a woman to go to college.



As a young woman, Grandmother participated in Community Club.  This was a social organization for young people in the area.  A gentleman who had been pursuing Grandmother invited her to attend Community Club, and while she was there she met Virgil Harrison.  This led to another of Grandmother's favorite sayings: "If he's a nice boy, go with him -- you might meet someone you like better."  Virgil Harrison was younger than Ina Marie, but he was a determined & hard-working young man.  Their first date came about as the result of Grandfather losing to Grandmother a bet on the 1940 presidential election.  When Lawrence Rostorfer met Virgil Harrison, he told his daughter "I like that farmer" . . . And the rest was history.  

Virgil & Ina Marie courted for four years.  They married 3 September 1944 at a small ceremony at Lawrence & Mabel's farm.  Grandmother was ill that day with the flu, but weddings cannot be rescheduled.  She got out of bed to get married, and her friend Fanny fixed her hair for her because Grandmother was too weak to do so.  Virgil & Ina Marie spent their wedding night at Shaw's Inn in Lamcaster, and then started a two week honeymoon on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  My grandfather had saved up gas ration stamps for their trip, and they drove as far as half of their ration stamps could buy fuel -- and then turned around to head home.  To please his new bride, Virgil installed indoor plumbing at the homeplace at Harrison Farm. 



My grandparents were very different people, yet they were excellent partners.  They balanced each other.  Grandfather was a unique blend of a cerebral individual who loved to read, but was extremely skilled at working with his hands.  He always had a good time at social gatherings once Grandmother finally convinced him to go, yet he was happiest reading history in his study.  Grandmother was a skilled homemaker who worked hard alongside her husband.  She was very social, and adored having people around.  One of my favorite memories of them is from my childhood.  I do not recall my grandparents dancing anywhere else, but it was incurably romantic to me when Grandfather would come in from the barn at night, turn on the radio, and dance slowly with Grandmother in the kitchen.



On the last night of Grandmother's earthly life, as I sat with her through much of the night, some of the staff members of her retirement community came in to see her and say their farewells.  One of the staff members shared with me that it was only a few days before that she had been in Grandmother's bedroom for the first time.  She saw my grandparents wedding picture there, and inquired of Grandmother about it.  The staff member shared with me that Grandmother had smiled and said "I had a wonderful husband." And she truly did.  They were good partners.  They balanced each other in a very unique way.  They raised three daughters, lost two to miscarriage along the way, nursed & buried both their fathers and then both their mothers, grew their farm successfully -- and then took on the effort of helping to rear their granddaughter.  



As a child, I was very fortunate to have their love & support during a time when the adults around me made my world unstable.  I adore the memories of both of my grandparents from my childhood, when they were still strong and wise and had each other.  During my youth, my grandmother taught me to cook, to sew, to garden, to bake, to iron, to cross-stitch.  My grandfather taught me to read, to drive, to dock & castrate lambs, to provide nutrition & health care for livestock, and to debate politics & history.  I knew my grandmother expected me to go to college, and I knew my grandfather expected me to achieve anything I put my mind to doing.  They were an amazing team.

So many of my stories about one of my grandparents naturally involved the other.  I was a junior in high school when I took my first trip with Grandfather that Grandmother was not there.  He accompanied me when I represented Ohio in the Eastern Region Extemporaneous Speaking Competition for FFA (a contest which he was the first Ohioan to win in 1936).  We drove to Springfield, Massachusetts for the contest.  On our first morning there, we went for breakfast.  Every morning at home, I saw my grandmother pour a glass of cranberry juice for my grandfather to drink.  As we sat in the hotel restaurant, I pointed out to my grandfather that there was cranberry juice on the menu.  He looked at me with his big, glorious smile, and said in his always deliberate way of speaking: "I hate cranberry juice."  As a teenager, this was a terribly funny story.  As an adult, I realize how profound their love was that he understood she provided meals for him out of devotion to him -- so he ate heartily to show his appreciation of her efforts, no matter what the menu might be.

My grandmother's decline began after she lost the love of her life.  They were so good together -- so balanced -- that it should have been expected that she could not be the same woman without him.  I lived with my grandmother at the homeplace for a decade after college, doing what I could to be of assistance.  We looked after each other until her decline progressed to the point that she moved to the retirement community.  I wish that I could have had more time with the woman she had been when I was a child.  Despite any instability in my world during my youth, I always knew I could turn to Grandmother for a good meal, a comforting hug, and the world's best cookies.  



My grandmother always adored my friends, and so it was lovely to gather together today and share stories about her.  Her cookies, her lifelong ability to flirt, her love of Bailey's Irish Cream.  Ina Marie Rostorfer Harrison was blessed with a very good life.  She had 98 years, she had a wonderful husband, and she enjoyed good health for much of her life.  I am grateful that she is at peace.  Life truly is a journey, and my grandmother had a remarkable one.  I am also profoundly grateful to have such amazing friends that they would spend time with me today to honor her.  Grief is also a journey, and I have come to recognize how much our social conventions help with mourning.  I think Grandmother would have been pleased that we gathered today in her memory.  I suspect she would have liked that we brought coffee & Bailey's.  And I hope she would be pleased with the eulogy I gave for her, as it truly came from the heart.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Doody the Goat says Get Out & Vote!

As Election Day approaches, the animals of Harrison Farm have joined together to honor the legacy of Doody the Goat by issuing their political endorsements.  This is the first Election Day since the passage of noted political prognosticator Doody the Goat.  He did go out at his peak: correctly selecting candidates in each of the races he called in November 2014.  In his honor, Harrison Farm offers these thoughts . . .



On the state issues on the ballot, Harrison Farm encourages a YES, YES, NO vote.  The animals were very pleased that Katherine participated in a press conference at the Statehouse on State Issue #1.  Much as the sheep support fair allocation of grain apportionment during feeding time, so Harrison Farm supports fair, bi-partisan, and transparent apportionment in designing legislative districts.



Harrison Farm supports a YES vote on Issue #2 and a NO vote on Issue #3.  While recognizing potential market opportunities for growing marijuana if it was legal, Harrison Farm remains firmly opposed to monopolies in our state.  Just as we do not believe there should only be ten goat farmers in the state or ten chicken farmers, we do not believe there should be only ten marijuana farmers if it is legal.  (Per the commercials that say Issue 3 is not a monopoly because it allows for additional growers, it is true that it does -- one more for a total of eleven!) Beyond this, the discussion needs to be resolved at the federal level first.  It would be unreasonable to enshrine a monopoly in our state constitution that is at odds with federal law.

Harrison Farm supports a YES vote on Issue #15 to support the Columbus Zoo.  This is NOT a tax increase; it is a re-authorization of funds from Franklin County residents to support the Columbus Zoo.  The zoo offers a great deal to our community, and is a significant asset in educating people on animals.  Different types of animals need different types of care, and the Columbus Zoo provides perspective on how wild animals are different than companion animals or livestock.  The Franklin County Farm Bureau board has offered its support to Issue #15, and Harrison Farm also stands in favor of this issue.

Finally, the animals of Harrison Farm are delighted to carry on the support that Doody the Goat offered Michael Stinziano by endorsing him for Columbus City Council.  As a member of the General Assembly, Representative Stinziano has been a strong advocate for agriculture -- even while representing an urban district.  Representative Stinziano works to educate himself on agricultural issues, and he recognizes the importance of farms in our urban community to provide food security for our metropolitan area.  Columbus would benefit greatly by having Michael Stinziano on city council.



Honor Doody by voting this Election Day!

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Circle of Life

I was recently interviewed for a local non-farm magazine, and one of the questions that I was asked is one that I often hear: how do you find peace with the slaughter process when it is obvious you love your animals?  I am very comfortable raising animals for meat, I work hard to raise my livestock well, and I am proud that I have the skills to personally butcher my own meat.  To be able to say that, though, has been a journey for me.



When I was a child, my grandfather was raising hundreds of sheep at Harrison Farm.  I loved to spend time with him on the farm, and he was quite appreciative of a willing helper.  I learned quickly as a child how to drive a tractor, castrate a lamb, stack hay in the barn, and trim hooves on sheep.  I knew that my grandfather's father had earned extra income as a butcher, but my only connection to meat processing as a child was simply the knowledge that the sheep were raised for meat.  It was on my 21st birthday that I actually ate lamb for the first time!  As an adult, however, it became very important to me to better understand the products that I raised.  Thus, I eventually followed in my great-grandfather's footsteps and began processing my own meat.



When I began raising my own herd of goats as an adult, I started with a small group.  There is nothing cuter in the world than a baby goat, and I became attached to all the babies born that first year -- even the three boys.  I initially hated the thought of selling them for meat.  Nature, though, seems to prepare us for every task.  All these years later, I still learn the lesson every season that the adorable baby boys grow into aggressive beasts that head butt me leaving painful bruises, knock over buckets of grain wasting valuable feed for the herd, and relentlessly bother the adult females as soon as testosterone kicks in.  These traits become nature's way of telling me that it is time for the boys to fulfill their destiny.

  

When I began to work at the slaughterhouse, I initially thought I would just do paperwork.  Then I thought I would package the meat, but not cut it.  That evolved into doing basically every task except those on the kill floor.  Eventually, though, I realized that a responsibility of managing a business is understanding every task that you ask of your employees.  Thus, I began working the kill floor and doing everything from bleeding to skinning to eviscerating.  When you work on a kill floor, it forces you to examine your feelings about life & death.  I knew how hard I worked to raise my own animals.  As I began to buy animals from other farmers for the slaughterhouse, I realized that my experience was not unique -- livestock farmers are a remarkably dedicated group that will forego their own personal wishes to ensure that their animals are well.  If it a holiday, animals must be fed.  Whether the farmer is healthy or sick, the animals still need care.  Even if a farmer wants to take a vacation, animals must have attention.  

Along with the recognition that farmers work incredibly hard to raise their animals well, I also gained the understanding that humane slaughter is a quick & respectful end.  I openly use the term "love" when I speak of my sheep & goats.  I care for the mothers on a daily basis and know their individual nuances. I look after the babies from their birth, and spend long days -- and late nights -- ensuring their health.  It is important to me that they receive prudent care during their life and that they are shown respect in death.  The humane standards under which American slaughterhouses operate are dedicated to ensuring that death is quick & respectful for the animals that offer their life to provide nourishment for humans.  Working on a kill floor permitted me to completely understand the role that animals play in the circle of life, it forced me to contemplate my own role, and it allowed me to gain skills to be able process meat -- thus feeding my family & my community.  I work hard to earn money to buy quality feed & hay for my goats, and in my "free time" I labor in my barn to provide good care for my animals.  Eventually I know that I will die, and the worms will eat me, and their efforts will improve the grasses, that will ultimately feed more animals.  It is truly a circle of life.



This week I sold five goats & a lamb.  They were healthy & hearty creatures.  I am extremely proud of the hard work that I put into raising them, and I am grateful that they grew into fine creatures.  I miss how adorable they were as babies -- but I still have a massive bruise on my arm that reminds me of their aggressiveness as adults.  They will nourish people in my community, and their sale allows funds to support the rest of my herds.  I am grateful that my grandfather taught me the importance of investing hard work into raising animals.  I am fortunate to have had opportunities that allowed me to discern my own feelings about the value of life & the experience of death.  My only regret as I sent those boys down the road to the auction this past week was that I did not get to eat them myself.  It is gratifying as a farmer to see successful results from hard work!


Friday, July 10, 2015

The Confederate Battle Flag

Full disclosure: my favorite book since the age of 8 has been Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  I fell deeply in love with the story as a child, and as an adult I am still fascinated by the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.  My enthusiasm for the story extends to the movie as well, and I value it as the story of a deeply flawed character who refuses to give up despite the challenges placed in her way.  I have a (nearly) life size poster of Rhett Butler in my office, I have numerous books about the movie, and I posses an endless array of Scarlett & Rhett items (even a Christmas tree ornament of a teddy bear named Rhett Beartler).  When my mother was alive, we usually watched the movie together over Christmas break.  One of the most powerful scenes in the film is when Scarlett tries to find Dr. Meade to assist with Melanie's terrible childbirth as the City of Atlanta is under siege.  She races to the train depot, where she finds complete chaos and endless rows of dead and dying men.  The camera focuses on Scarlett's complete dismay and total fear as she observes the death around her, and then -- using a specially developed camera for a memorable long shot -- it pulls back to show the hundreds of bodies piled up at the train depot.  As that long shot concludes, a tattered Confederate battle flag is shown flying above the scene of death below.  

For the historian in me, that scene from a fictional movie captures the existence of the Confederate Battle Flag during the time that the Confederate States of America existed.  The people who flew it were humans -- humans who experienced joy and pain and folly, just as we do today.  My direct ancestors fought for the Union, but their cousins still in Virginia fought for the Confederacy.  It truly was a war that divided families, ruined lives, and set our country back developmentally.  I am not offended when I see the Confederate Battle Flag depicted in a historical manner: example given, at the Alamo there is a collection of the seven flags that have flown over Texas, including the flag of the Confederacy.  I do, however, applaud the state of South Carolina for removing the flag from being flown under state auspices at their capital.  The reality is that this flag is the emblem of a defeated nation; it should not fly in an official capacity.

During the time I spent as a McCloy Fellow in Germany, I was intrigued by the efforts of the German people to learn from their country's actions that led to World War II.  The German people have worked to renounce the atrocities, learn from them, and move forward.  The historic sites which we visited were very straight forward in explanations of historic fact.  The German people of today seem to own the past in order to learn from it, and then move forward away from it.  The old axiom is true that those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.  

I thought of my time in Germany this morning, and my observations on that country's efforts to learn from its own divisive history.  The Wall Street Journal carried articles today on the signing of the law to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the South Carolina capital, as well as another article on efforts to remove other symbols from the Confederate era.  I wholeheartedly support removing the flag from a state capital: the insignia of another nation -- and one that tried to defeat our own -- should not fly in an official capacity.  Nor should it be used for political purposes that detract from our efforts as humans to promote a society of understanding, love, and respect.  The historian in me, however, is quite concerned to see further efforts to remove all Confederate symbols.  If we remove our history, we cannot learn from it, and we set up future generations to repeat it.  History must be a continual education for those of us in present times, that we might create a better future.  

When I read Gone with the Wind, it is clear how the author utilized older characters to try to tell the young how terrible war truly is.  The young men are full of fervor for battle, convinced that they know best -- and they ignore the older generation who is opposed to war having lived through the Mexican-American War and the Cherokee uprising.  As the book plays out, it becomes clear that those voices of experience who argued against war were the wise ones. This fictional interpretation illustrates the folly of ignoring history.  History happened.  Learn from it, and become a better person.  Be a part of building a better world for the future.  We must make wise decisions to improve our world -- even our own individual daily choices -- and unless we learn from our common history as humans, we can never move beyond the poor choices of previous generations.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Thoughts on Weddings from a Butcher

I do not write much about my work outside of my own farm, largely because it is still hard for me to believe that most of my work involves weddings.  I still view myself as a butcher -- even though it has nearly been five years since I worked full-time at a slaughterhouse.  When someone refers to me as a wedding planner, my instinct is still to correct them that I am a butcher.  Beyond my internal perception of myself, it is often hard to explain the difference between a wedding planner and an event coordinator.  A wedding planner helps to establish the vision for the event and atmosphere of the reception.  An event coordinator ensures that details of the day actually happen.  Example given: a wedding planner decorates the venue and helps select vendors; an event coordinator makes sure the venue is prepared for the event and the vendors actually do their jobs.  Wedding Planners design the atmosphere . . .  And I use the organizational skill set developed on a kill floor to make sure the event actually happens.  Running a slaughterhouse was excellent preparation for running weddings.



Pinterest is my enemy.  It creates false perceptions of what an event should be, and misleads brides into thinking that their wedding will be a failure unless they have 250 multi-colored fluff balls hanging from the ceiling, individual hand-decorated Mason jars for each guest with their name on them, and dramatic DIY doors with stained glass to create an "entrance" to an outdoor ceremony space.  My least favorite phrase in the world is "my special day" . . . Yes, it should be an amazing day.  But it is only one day, and your marriage -- God willing -- will be many years of joyful adventures as a couple.  If your wedding day is truly the Best Day Ever, you will apparently be confined thereafter to a meaningless and monotonous existence.  The brides I enjoy the most are the ones who want to be married, and the brides I enjoy the least are the ones who want have a wedding.  

I have run enough weddings now that I have seen nearly everything.  I have seen brides that had breakdowns over minor details, and I have seen brides that were so happy to be married that they did not care if it poured down rain the entire time.  I have run many processionals that included dogs, one that had a cat for a ring bearer, and even one with a trained duck for the flower girl.  I have seen receptions with margarita machines, waffles for dessert, a bounce house, and the OSU marching band.  I have called an ambulance, cleaned up body spills, and looked after a lost grandmother that everyone thought had a ride home with some other relative.  I have known three grooms that I seriously considered the ethics of advising the young man to run (if your fiancĂ©e yells at you during the rehearsal, in front of your family & closest friends, prayerfully consider if this is the person with whom you want to spend your life).  I have shut down DJs, broken up fist fights, and dealt with clogged toilets.  I have met couples who kept my faith in the sanctity of marriages, and I have met those that severely tested it.  I have worked with brides young enough to be my daughter.  One of them nearly broke me when she began crying after I told her it was time to start the processional.  I put my arms around her and told her she could take all the time she wanted, but I started to tear up when she looked at me and said, "Can we just go?  I just want it to be over."  I never want to experience that again.



The mothers are often the toughest to manage.  We have had mothers who brought a personal security guard to the reception, who tried to cancel the wedding without their children knowing it, and who accused our team of taking their precious Pinterest decorations (which are always sitting out in plain sight to those who have not been drinking wine all evening).  I tend to work with some awesome brides & grooms, but I never quite know how the rest of the family will be!  Sometimes they are absolutely amazing, which makes my job a pleasure.  I like people, and I like to help.  Do I like my work?  There are many other things I would rather do with my time, but the work is worthwhile and I am good at it.  Plus I like to have a cell phone, and health insurance, and food -- so I appreciate the opportunity to earn income whether people are pleasant to me or not.  Money from grumpy clients spends just as well.



It is rare that I have a ceremony that actually impresses me in a good way.  While I lead most processionals, I rarely stay to listen to a ceremony.  The wedding today, though, was one of the most sincere with which I have been involved.  It was a young couple on a strict budget who got married on a Monday to save money, witnessed by their 45 closest friends & family.  We only met once before the wedding, and we talked far more about how they fell in love & what they wanted to do with their life together than we did about layout or vendors.  They were loving toward each other, respectful toward their guests, and appreciative of our efforts.  Couples like that are the reason I keep doing my job.

If I could give advice to parents it would be to remind them how blessed they are to see their children married to a good partner.  Support whatever celebration (within reason) the couple wants.  If your child wants to have a Pirate themed wedding or wants to get married at a venue that you do not like, JUST GO . . . and remember that many parents do not get the privilege of celebrating a child's marriage.  Mine did not.

Advice to bridesmaids & groomsmen?  Do not get drunk.  Everyone will make fun of you.  Especially me.

Finally, if I could offer any thought to couples preparing to marry it would be this: Marriage is for life and a wedding is for one day.  Focus on preparing for the marriage -- and the wedding will fall together seamlessly.

And don't have fluff balls.


Monday, June 1, 2015

June News from the Central Ohio Young Farmers

June News from the Central Ohio Young Farmers

Save the Date: 
Please join us Tuesday 6/2/15 to meet State Supreme Court Justice Judi French!  This is an amazing opportunity to have dinner & discussion with a member of the Supreme Court of Ohio!  We will meet at Manifesto in downtown Columbus starting at 6:30pm, with Justice French presenting at 7:00pm.  Manifesto has just launched a new menu and revamped their space, and the restaurant is reserving a table for our group to be able to dine & convive with Justice French.  Parking is available at meters around the restaurant (21 East State Street 43215), or at the Columbus Commons parking garage. We look forward to seeing you!

Huge thanks to Pam Snyder of the Fort Hayes Career Center for a FANTASTIC tour in May!  Pam is the director of BioSciences Technology at this urban career center and she is doing amazing work educating young people on the biosciences.  Students also become part of the FFA program, and are exposed to many new ideas about agriculture & professional development through this.  It was impressive to see how Pam incorporates the FFA program into an urban school -- and especially impressive to realize how she is changing lives by providing instruction that translates into real career opportunities for young people.  Our council looks forward to partnering in the future with the Ft. Hayes FFA Chapter, as part of our goals to connect urban consumers with farming and to further opportunities for young people in agriculture.



Did you catch the Food Dialogues event on water hosted by the United States Farm & Ranch Association?  If not, you can still catch it online!  Visit www.fooddialogues.com to watch the panel discussion on water quality issues in Ohio and in our country.  Our council had great discussion with Jordan Hoewischer in May on water challenges for agriculture and accomplishments by farmers thus far.  Watching this event online is a great way to learn more about the challenges that farmers will face to protect our earth and produce food for our community.

Breakfast on the Farm is coming up on Saturday 6/6!  This event is free to the public and is a fun opportunity to share a meal on a farm.  Breakfast on the Farm is hosted by Madison County & Franklin County Farm Bureau, and the chair of the event is our council member Cassie Williams!  If you are interested in attending, please contact the Franklin County office to register at franklin@ofbf.org.  Better yet, if you are interested in volunteering, please contact Cassie at williams.3826@buckeyemail.osu.edu to sign up.



Congratulations to Jaclyn Ritchey & Trey Rogers for their marriage on 5/9/15!  Our council was well-represented to celebrate their wedding.  We send them best wishes for a life of wonderful adventures together!



What is Farm Bureau?  Ohio Farm Bureau is made up of county organizations that work to promote farms, connect farmers with consumers, provide education & networking opportunities, and support policy that benefits the farm community.  As part of its grassroots efforts, county Farm Bureaus encourage the development of councils: groups of individuals who socialize, debate ideas, and support each other in our farm endeavors.  The Central Ohio Young Farmers (and young at heart) council was started in 2007, and is congenially known as the Irish Pirates.  It encompasses Both Madison & Franklin county farmers, and strives to address issues relative to being a BMF farmer!

Save the Date . . .
6/2 Delaware County Policy Breakfast
6/2 Union County Policy Breakfast
6/2 COUNCIL MEETING: special guest Justice Judi French of the Ohio Supreme Court
6/3 Union County board meeting
6/6 Breakfast on the Farm hosted by Madison & Franklin Counties
6/23 Madison County board meeting
6/23 Delaware County board meeting
6/27 OFBF Young Ag Professionals Summer Reach Out tours
7/11 Ice cream with a Farmer hosted by Union County
7/12 COUNCIL MEETING: summer picnic at Neall Weber's
7/12-7/18 Madison County Fair
7/16 Madison County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
7/18-7/25 Franklin County Fair
7/26-8/1 Union County Fair
8/7 Applications due for the Excellence in Ag & Outstanding Young Farmer contests
8/12-8/16 Farm Days at COSI
8/17 Franklin County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
8/22 Delaware County fundraiser for Flying Horse Farms
8/25 Delaware County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

Have an idea for a council event?  Want to highlight an activity in the council e-newsletter?  Curious how to get involved?  Contact Katherine Harrison at harrisonfarm13@gmail.com with your ideas!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Happy The Grandmother's Birthday

Today is my grandmother's 98th birthday, and I am always amazed by the changes which she has seen in the world during her years.  When Ina Marie Rostorfer was born on 31 May 1917, the president was Woodrow Wilson, the United States was engaged in World War I, and most of the world was still ruled by monarchies & colonial powers.  Her father Lawrence Rostorfer farmed with a team of horses, and her mother Mabel Viola Watts carried out the household chores by hand (no dishwasher, no washing machine, no electric iron, no microwave, etc).  



I remember my grandmother telling about her vivid memory of the day this picture was taken.  It was before her younger sister Lucille and her younger brother Grant were born.  Grandmother said that she was frightened of the photographer, as it was an old style camera where the photographer would duck under a cloth that covered the back of the camera.  As a child getting her first picture taken, Grandmother found it scary that the man would be "hiding" behind the camera.  

One of my favorite stories that Grandmother would tell was about her childhood experience of helping her father re-plant corn.  If an area of the field did not show plants growing, she was responsible to plant seeds by hand to replace lost plants.  Grandmother said that one day as a child she was hot and tired, and did not want to finish the task.  So, she dumped the rest of the seeds under a rock.  Her father was very disappointed when several of the seeds sprouted corn plants that grew out from under the stone!

Grandmother was always good at telling stories about her youth.  I learned about her anger when her new baby sister broke many of her toys, I marveled that there was a world without electric and telephones and indoor bathrooms, I heard of her love for her cousin Ray and her sadness when he died during the Battle of the Bulge, and I was enchanted by stories of her courtship with my grandfather.  I am very glad that she shared many of these experiences with me, as it gave me an early appreciation for the changes she saw during her life.



One of my favorite pictures of the two of us is this one taken in 1985.  I was wearing a dress that had belonged to my mother when she was a child, and my grandmother wore a favorite dress of hers from the early 1960s.  My friends may recognize that I still have that particular dress of Grandmother's and love to wear it during summer months.  Items like that are important to me as tangible connections to my family.  I am glad that I was able to spend so much time with my grandparents during my childhood, when Grandmother was in good health and able to share her time & experiences with me.

Monday, May 4, 2015

May News from the Central Ohio Young Farmers

May News from the Central Ohio Young Farmers

Save the Date: 
Please join us Tuesday 5/5/15 for a special tour of the Fort Hayes FFA!  We will meet at 6:00pm for a special tour with Pam Snyder, the director of BioSciences Technology at Ft. Hayes Career Center in the Columbus School System.  We will have an opportunity to learn about this urban FFA chapter in Franklin County.  The address is 546 Jack Gibbs Boulevard 43215.  We will be meeting in Room 213 of the Health Building.  Please feel free to call 614.271.0304 for further directions.  After our tour at 6:00pm, we will then gather for dinner & libations.  This will be a fantastic opportunity to learn more about urban agriculture education, and then relax over a meal with friends!

Huge thanks to Jordan Hoewischer for joining our council in April to discuss water quality issues!  Jordan shared details of his new position with Ohio Farm Bureau, and offered ideas on how to provide tools for farmers to address water quality concerns.  Discussion was enjoyable & covered a wide range of topics -- even opera!  We met at Gresso's, a favorite of our council . . . And our council was even featured in Gresso's e-newsletter!



Congratulations to two of our council members on the birth of sons!  Neall Weber is the proud father of Vonn Jacob Weber, and Kylene Dietemyer welcomed John Prescott Dietemyer.  We are very excited to have two new babies as future young Ag professionals!  Congratulations to Neall, Kylene, and both their families!

Congratulations also go to two of our council members on their election as incoming county Farm Bureau board presidents!  Jeff Schilling was recently elected to serve as the 2015-2016 Franklin County Farm Bureau president, and Ron Burns will have the honor of leading the Union County Farm Bureau board as president for the upcoming year.  We are very excited to commend these gentlemen on their election!

Yet more exciting news: congratulations to Emma Bratton on her acceptance to The Ohio State University's School of Veterinary Medicine!  We are very excited for Emma as she begins her veterinary studies this fall!

What is Farm Bureau?  Ohio Farm Bureau is made up of county organizations that work to promote farms, connect farmers with consumers, provide education & networking opportunities, and support policy that benefits the farm community.  As part of its grassroots efforts, county Farm Bureaus encourage the development of councils: groups of individuals who socialize, debate ideas, and support each other in our farm endeavors.  The Central Ohio Young Farmers (and young at heart) council was started in 2007, and is congenially known as the Irish Pirates.  It encompasses Both Madison & Franklin county farmers, and strives to address issues relative to being a BMF farmer!

Save the Date . . .
5/5 COUNCIL MEETING: special tour of the Ft. Hayes FFA Chapter
5/18 Franklin County Board Meeting
5/26 Union County Board Meeting
5/28 Union County Farm Bureau Grow & Know event at Mitchell's Berries
6/2 Union County Policy Breakfast
6/2 COUNCIL MEETING: special guest Justice Judi French of the Ohio Supreme Court
6/3 Union County board meeting
6/6 Breakfast on the Farm hosted by Madison & Franklin Counties
6/23 Madison County board meeting
6/23 Delaware County board meeting
7/11 Ice cream with a Farmer hosted by Union County
7/12 COUNCIL MEETING: summer picnic at Neall Weber's
7/12-7/18 Madison County Fair
7/16 Madison County Annual Meeting

Have an idea for a council event?  Want to highlight an activity in the council e-newsletter?  Curious how to get involved?  Contact Katherine Harrison at harrisonfarm13@gmail.com with your ideas!

Friday, April 10, 2015

April News from the Central Ohio Young Farmers

April News from the Central Ohio Young Farmers

Save the Date: our next meeting of the Central Ohio Young Farmers council will be Tuesday 4/14.  Our special guest will be Jordan Hoewischer, Ohio Farm Bureau's new water quality specialist!  Jordan has served as a member of the Franklin County Farm Bureau Board, and is a graduate of the AgriPower program.  He will join our council to share what Ohio Farm Bureau is doing to promote water quality in Ohio, and how his new role will serve as a part of Farm Bureau's commitment to healthy waters.  Please join us at Gresso's at 961 South High Street, in German Village (same location as our Holiday party).  Cocktails start at 6:30pm, with Jordan presenting at approximately 7pm.  This will be a very fun social activity, and a great way to meet other young professionals in agriculture!

Special thanks go to Kylene Dietemyer, Cassie Williams, and Amy Zwayer for their efforts to plan the 2015 Women in Agriculture celebration at Jorgensen Farms!  The delicious brunch was catered by PBJ Catering of Ashville, and this local business did a fantastic job.  The honor of 2014 Woman of the Year was presented to Wilma Roberts.  Known affectionately as "Grandma", this dynamic lady volunteers her time to teach children at the Highland Youth Gardens.  Franklin County Farm Bureau supports this urban garden financially to assist with its mission of introducing children to raising produce.  The Franklin County Farm Bureau Board was delighted to honor Grandma Roberts for her dedication to teaching children, improving her community, and inspiring appreciation for gardening in an urban setting!



Several members of our council travelled to Clark County for the regional young agricultural professionals event on 3/21/15.  Two educational tracks were offered for attendees during the afternoon portion: one focused on small farms and the other addressed larger farms.  Thanks to Kylene Dietemyer of Franklin County Farm Bureau for helping to organize this event!  Kylene led a session which highlighted farm equipment, and did an outstanding job.  Neall Weber & Katherine Harrison had the opportunity to have dinner with keynote speaker Drew Hastings.  Mayor Hastings of Hillsboro was a fantastic speaker, and even gave a memorable shout out to Neall during his presentation!  Be sure to ask Neall about this!



Huge props go to the amazing Jody Carney for organizing Farm to City Day at Norwood Elementary School in West Jefferson!  This is an annual program that Madison County Farm Bureau puts on to teach young people about farming.  Each year, volunteers visit a different elementary school in Madison County.  Jody did a fantastic job of planning this event, and even recruited Katherine Harrison & Rebekah Headings to teach students about sheep & goats!  This program is a great example of how Farm Bureau members work to connect with their local community on farming.



DON'T FORGET: Applications for AgriPower are due on 4/17 to Ohio Farm Bureau.  Our council member Rebekah Headings graduated last month from this leadership program for individuals involved in agriculture!  It is an amazing opportunity to learn more about agriculture, gain an understanding of policy issues, and network with leaders from across the state of Ohio.  In addition, you are guaranteed to meet amazing  individuals who will be your AgriPower classmates!  For more information, visit www.ofbf.org or ask Rebekah about her experiences!



What is Farm Bureau?  Ohio Farm Bureau is made up of county organizations that work to promote farms, connect farmers with consumers, provide education & networking opportunities, and support policy that benefits the farm community.  As part of its grassroots efforts, county Farm Bureaus encourage the development of councils: groups of individuals who socialize, debate ideas, and support each other in our farm endeavors.  The Central Ohio Young Farmers (and young at heart) council was started in 2007, and is congenially known as the Irish Pirates.  It encompasses Both Madison & Franklin county farmers, and strives to address issues relative to being a BMF farmer!

Save the Date . . .
4/16 Madison County Policy Lunch
4/20 Franklin County board meeting
4/28 Delaware County Board Meeting
5/5 COUNCIL MEETING: special tour of the Ft. Hayes FFA Chapter
5/18 Franklin County Board Meeting
5/28 Union County Farm Bureau Grow & Know event at Mitchell's Berries
6/2 Union County Policy Breakfast
6/2 COUNCIL MEETING: special guest Justice Judi French of the Ohio Supreme Court
6/3 Union County board meeting
6/6 Breakfast on the Farm hosted by Madison & Franklin Counties
6/23 Madison County board meeting
7/11 Ice cream with a Farmer hosted by Union County
7/12 COUNCIL MEETING: tentative date for summer picnic

Have an idea for a council event?  Want to highlight an activity in the council e-newsletter?  Curious how to get involved?  Contact Katherine Harrison at harrisonfarm13@gmail.com with your ideas!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Appomattox Day

150 years ago today, General Lee met General Grant at the McLean House at Appomattox VA to sign the instrument of surrender.  This was the beginning of the end for Civil War fighting.  Within a few months, the remaining Confederate generals would also surrender.  General Lee's troops were allowed to return home, permitted to keep their horses, given rations, and able to retain their side-arms if they were an officer.  The generosity shown by General Grant toward the defeated was unique for the victor of a civil war.  Winston Churchill later wrote that this magnanimity "stands high in the story of the United States."  

I love history, and I especially adore being able to see the history of the United States in my own family. Harrisons were on both sides of the Civil War.  Taps was actually written while General McClellan's Army of the Potomac was encamped at Berkeley Plantation, the home of the Harrisons in Virginia.  President Lincoln visited the troops there, and used this location as his base to visit Richmond after it was taken by Union forces.  Following the war, the Harrisons did not return to Berkeley.  My own branch of the family had migrated to Ohio after the Revolution, and they were raising sheep in Knox County by the time of the Civil War.  I find it interesting that the pioneer spirit led my ancestor David Harrison to travel to the new state of Ohio to build a life, while his cousins remained in Virginia and eventually lost their home when they fled before the Union troops.

David's son John Lum Harrison was a little too old to go off to battle when the Civil War began, and John Lum's son James Virgil was just a child during the war.  James Virgil was the paternal grandfather of my own grandfather Virgil Grube Harrison.  My grandfather's maternal grandfather, however, saw significant military action during the Civil War.



John Kurtz Grube was my great-great-grandfather.  At age 21, he enlisted in the 17th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  According to family legend, I had always heard that John Kurtz Grube marched with General Sherman from Atlanta to the sea.  This morning, I got out the picture I have of him, and decided to see if I could verify this family legend.  I was absolutely delighted -- thanks to Wikipedia -- to be able to trace the movements of his regiment and confirm that it did see action throughout the South in the time he served, including marching from Atlanta to the sea.

From genealogical research done by my grandfather, Private Grube was mustered out on 5 June 1865.  In 1868, he married Rebecca Ann Wagner.  They settled first in Carroll, in Fairfield County. They farmed there, and their first two children (Dora & Clarence) were born there.  Later, they moved to a small farm on Maize Road in Columbus.  According to my grandfather's records, John worked for the railroad and then for Columbus Door & Sash to supplement his farm income.  The latter job required John to walk from Maize Road to downtown Columbus to then take the horse drawn public transport car to West Columbus for a job that paid $1.25 per day.  John & Rebecca had two more daughters, Portia Katherine and Monnie Hazel (my amazing great-grandmother).  My grandfather was close to his aunt Portia, and was an advocate for the name Katherine when my father suggested it for me.  Portia Katherine was herself named after John's mother Katherine Kurtz Grube -- who was born in 1801 before Ohio was a state, had her son John at age 42, and passed away in 1889.  My mother Rebecca was named after John's wife Rebecca.  The Civil War feels much more recent when I think about these men & women who are my family.

I share this with you not simply because I am enamored of my own family history, but because I hope it serves as an example to remind us that the men & women who lived through the Civil War are not that distant.  They lived lives with many of the same struggles that we have, just at a different time.  John Kurtz Grube was only 21 when he went off to engage in fighting to protect the Union in a bloody Civil War.  He was just one young man, yet his efforts helped to contribute to preserving our nation and protecting equal rights for all.  I hope that in the present day, we are all willing to pledge our lives & fortunes to the same efforts: protecting our great nation and supporting equality of opportunity for all.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March News from the Central Ohio Young Farmers

Winter may be dragging on, but there are multiple social events this month to connect with other young farmers in the area!

On Saturday 3/7 at 11:00am, Franklin County Farm Bureau will host its annual Women in Agriculture event to celebrate the achievements of local women in farming.  Please note: everyone is welcome at this event . . . Not just ladies!  The brunch will be held at Jorgensen Farms at 5851 East Walnut Street, Westerville OH.  Val Jorgensen, farm owner, was recognized in 2012 by Franklin County Farm Bureau for her achievements.  She will be the guest speaker this year!  Please visit www.jorgensen-farms.com to learn more about the host location.  The co-chairs of the celebration are Kylene Dietemyer, Cassie Williams, and Amy Zwayer -- so it will definitely be a fun party!  Please join us for a fun meal & social time celebrating successful individuals in farming!  It is only $10 to attend.  You can RSVP (or get more information) by responding to this email by Monday 3/9



There will be an exciting regional young farmer event on Saturday 3/21 in Springfield OH, starting at 3:30pm, with keynote speaker Drew Hastings!  The event will take place at the Clark County Fairgrounds.  Attendees will have the opportunity to select two information sessions on agriculture, which will be followed by a social & cash bar at 6:15pm.  Dinner will be at 7pm, then Mayor Drew Hastings will be the featured speaker.  
Check out Drew Hastings on the Jay Leno show: http://youtu.be/nqGd0d2WE2E. Please note, Jay Leno will thankfully NOT be at this event (after bombing at the American Farm Bureau convention)!  Registrations are due by 3/17.  The conference is $20 for Farm Bureau members, and $25 for non-members . . . But all are welcome!  Please respond to this email for details or information on car-pooling.



Congratulations to Madison County farmer Rebekah Headings for her success with the AgriPower program!  Rebekah will graduate from AgriPower, the leadership development program of Ohio Farm Bureau, on Saturday 3/21.  Rebekah is a dedicated board member for Madison County Farm Bureau.  She & her husband Dennis operate a small farm in Chuckery, and their greatest agricultural endeavor is raising their four dynamic daughters into future farmers.  Rebekah is a wonderful leader for her community & for Farm Bureau, and we are very impressed by her accomplishments!  Applications are currently being accepted for the 2015-2016 leadership school.  For more information, please visit the Ohio Farm Bureau website at http://ofbf.org/get-involved/agripower/ or ask former graduates Neall Weber & Katherine Harrison for details on this fantastic opportunity!

Thanks to everyone who attended our January social event at Gresso's in German Village!  The holiday gift exchange was amusing as always, and the conviviality was fantastic!



What is Farm Bureau?  Ohio Farm Bureau is made up of county organizations that work to promote farms, connect farmers with consumers, provide education & networking opportunities, and support policy that benefits the farm community.  As part of its grassroots efforts, county Farm Bureaus encourage the development of councils: groups of individuals who socialize, debate ideas, and support each other in our farm endeavors.  The Central Ohio Young Farmers (and young at heart) council was started in 2007, and is congenially known as the Irish Pirates.  It encompasses Both Madison & Franklin county farmers, and strives to address issues relative to being a BMF farmer!

Save the Date . . .
3/14 Women in Ag brunch at Jorgensen Farms
3/16 Franklin County Farm Bureau board meeting
3/17 Madison County Farm Bureau board meeting
3/21 Regional Young Ag Professional event in Springfield
3/24 Delaware County Farm Bureau board meeting
4/7 tentative date for young farmer social event . . . Details to follow!
4/8 Union County Farm Bureau board meeting
4/16 Madison County Policy Lunch
5/5 tentative date for young farmer social event . . . Details to follow!