We began farming out of high school by renting our first farm with Guy’s brother Glenn in 1978. We were conventional farming raising corn, soybeans, wheat, hay and some tobacco. We were using commercial fertilizers and toxic chemicals. We thought everyone was and that it was the only way to farm. We rented more ground and a added confinement hogs along the way. We were adding more land, more chemicals and more livestock, but things were not working out. We were stressed; our livestock and crops were stressed. We enjoyed farming but this just didn’t seem right for us.
In the late 1980’s we heard of a farm family in Knox County, Ohio that was farming organically. What was this way of farming? We went to see. It was just amazing for us to see this farm. Everything growing on this farm was doing great. They were not using any synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. They were working with nature, God’s creation, not against it. Terms like feed the soil, rotation, microbes, compost, and soil life were tossed around like chemical terms in our old farming circles. We wanted to do this as well. In 1988 we joined the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). This was a turning point in our farming practices and ultimately our lives.
We have learned, and are still learning, from some great people in this organization and others like it. Once we joined OEFFA, we started to convert our farming style and crops. Farming began to be fun, rewarding, and enjoyable again. Our children could help; we could farm a lot less acres and make a profit. In 1998 our first acres were certified organic by OEFFA. In 1999 we gave up the last of our rented farmland.
We enjoy farming more and more every year. The whole family is involved. Getting to know our customers just adds to this enjoyment. We feel this all started when we decided to take a road less traveled.