Faith & Farming

Faith and Farming: they go hand and hand:


Some days, doesn’t it feel as though it began raining on Easter and hasn’t quit? While the naive mind might like to believe that farmers across the corn belt are putting in ponds as part of some water retention conservation project, you and I both know that just isn’t the case. You can drive through the countryside and see standing water in every direction.


Rather than driving around the township with their best co-pilot and a steady dose of optimism, checking growth in the warm May sunshine, most growers in our area are riding around with the insurance adjuster looking at corn that has already been replanted or will be.

hand holding corn plants-2

Writer Lisa TerKeurst once wrote that “The space between our expectations and our reality is a fertile field. And often it’s a place where disappointment grows.” How true that is, and what fitting words when thinking of our 2017 planting season. Even when the field is flooded, the disappointment is able to grow within the rows.  I heard one farmer say that he didn’t even want to leave the house in the morning because he knew disappointment would greet his first step out the door.

You can’t blame him; it’s been a soggy and frustrating spring.

But you can’t lose faith, either.

I’ve often heard that God gives the toughest battles to His strongest soldiers but I believe there is more to that; although those in agriculture are certainly of resilient stock! I think God gives these times of disappointment to the ones who can be of example on how to stay the course amidst the frustration. He uses them as an example to others.


I don’t know a farmer who plans on not planting in 2017 because of the amount of rain and cold air we’ve endured. I don’t know a farmer who has decided to sit this year out of farming. I don’t know a farmer who intends on selling farm because of 8 inches of rain.

The farmers we know are changing their course of action, recalculating their assumptions and adapting to the situation. The farmers we know are waiting it out and attending 6th grade graduations and dance recitals in the mean time. The farmers we know are trying really hard to exercise the patience their parents worked to instill in them.

Because the farmers we know
learned a long time ago that
faith and farming go hand and hand.

golden tassle



Business Plan: Early and Often

How many questions can enter the minds of family members when the discussion regarding a farm succession plans begins?

Well, here are a few quick ones that crossed our minds:

  • Do mom and dad have any actual plan for the future of our farm?
  • How long until dad actually lets me make some decisions around here?
  • What if the daughter-in-law doesn’t stick around?
  • Are we all working towards the same goals of the farm?
  • How could I ever afford to buy the farm if mom and dad sell it for top market value to pay for their retirement?
  • How will my farm salary (sweat equity) compare to my sister who only does book work and financials?
  • Why should my brother have any say in the future of the farm when he lives two states away…in town!
  • Will it take a death before the farm succession plan is actually revealed?

Agronomy_Looking at plant-2

Farm succession planning is certainly not easy, nor is it fun. There is raw emotion, stress, tension and expectations. We get it. Many of our employees and members have experienced being part of a farm succession plan, and agree that it is a tough conversation to have.


This week we wanted to highlight one farm family that has taken the bull by the horns and included the children in the future of the family farm years now. The expectations for each child is high, but so is the reward. The Powells are Harvest Land farmer-members in west-central Ohio.

We admire their business plan to include the children of the farm early and often.

The remainder of this entry is written by Haleigh Powell and can be found online at Ohio Farmer

Don’t wait too long to pass it on

By Haleigh Powell

Gaylord Nelson, co-founder of Earth Day, once said, “The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”

I am Haleigh Powell, and I’m 18 years old and part owner in a family farm operation in west-central Ohio. You may be thinking, “Where is your grandpa, daddy or uncle, and why are they letting you own part of the business?” The answer is they believe in the younger generation, and they want to train, equip and enable me to be responsible and run my own business.

As farmers, we disagree on the little things, how far apart to plant our rows, how to integrate the latest technology, what the perfect time is to plant — and the list goes on. One thing all farmers want and can agree on is the desire to see the next generation take over the farm. For many of us, farming is more than a way to make a living (if we really wanted to make money, we would go work for the EPA). For us; farming is a way of life. However, most farmers do not know how to pass on the responsibilities of running the farm to the next generation. They keep control of the farm, even when they can no longer participate in the daily activities required to run it.

Two things are wrong with this scenario:

• The older farmers are nervous about the future of a business they have invested their lives in, and this causes them to hesitantly view the next generation. This restricts the next generation’s opportunities to manage, plan and run the business.

• The younger generations are losing interest in farming because they know their chances of being able to run the farm are very small.

The whole point of raising up the next generation of farmers is to teach those who will come after us how to raise crops, manage an agriculture business and plant soybeans at just the right time to ensure optimum growth.


Learning young
Growing up on the farm, in a family of seven children, my dad taught us responsibility from a very young age. We started out raising and selling produce throughout the surrounding small Midwestern Ohio towns. Even though we were so young, my father expected us to be responsible and run our little business like corporate professionals. Assisting through financial, managerial, employee and logistics issues we faced throughout the life of our business, my father always taught us how to be better professionals in the future. Whenever we made the mistake of giving a customer too much change or breaking yet another piece of equipment, my father used these little accidents as life’s teaching moments.

We eventually retired from the produce industry and went into grain farming. At the time, my grandpa was retiring, and he gave his grandchildren the opportunity to work together once again. This time we worked together growing and selling grain instead of vegetables.

My father gave us the opportunity to learn how to work and make money. This money was invaluable to us later in life when we wanted to start other businesses or invest in our farming business. My grandpa gave us the opportunity to farm his land; he trusted us because we had proven ourselves trustworthy through our hard work, ambition and willingness to learn. We have all realized that when the older generation takes the time to invest in the younger generation, more than just money is made: Memories are created, relationships are strengthened, and traditions are passed on.

Next generation’s worth
Like anything in life, letting go of something we have worked and lived with for so long is hard and, in many cases, takes time to adjust to. The next generation of farmers must prove themselves worthy of the farm, worthy of taking control and responsible for making the family farm better. Just like the younger generation must prove themselves, the older generation must be willing to pass the farm on.

Today, I work alongside my older and younger siblings to analyze, integrate and use the latest agriculture technology. Our goal as a company is to be constantly learning and using our knowledge to make us better farmers. We attend seminars, field days, Farm Science Reviews and webinars to learn more about variable-rate planting, spraying techniques and cost tracking accounting methods. We have a desire to learn and an urge to make the business better and bigger because we know our actions directly relate to how well our business does. Because we are farm owners now and not hired hands, we desire excellence in our fields, yields and technology.

Powell Family Farms is a partnership, formed in 2011 by two generations. We farm around 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans. Our goal is to stay on the cutting edge of technology and go the extra mile to make our fields yield more while replenishing the natural resources found in the soil. Together, we strive to learn and grow our knowledge of the agriculture world.

Powell is from Arcanum, and attends Liberty University’s business school.




Mother’s Day Gift Guide

In case you’ve forgotten, consider this your friendly reminder that Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14. As in, two days from now. It isn’t too late to find something wonderful for the special women in your life, especially if you follow our easy Mother’s Day Gift Guide. These are each last-minute, budget-friendly ideas. We’re farmers. We know how to make a dollar stretch.

mothers day

Help in the Kitchen

Help in the kitchen doesn’t mean chaos in the kitchen. Mom likely doesn’t want your just-walked-my-4-H-pig hands in her butter dish or mixing bowl. But she might like that stack of school papers, 4-H entries, phone chargers, sports gear, latest issue of New Horizons, belts, school pictures and bobby pins that clutter her dining room table, or kitchen island, cleared off. That’s right. There really is an appropriate place for that flyer about the summer football fundraiser, and it isn’t where the meatloaf is about to go.

General Civility

This sounds very basic, because none of the farm kids we know are the type to start wars or riots, but it is paramount when thinking of pleasing your farm mom. General Civility means no bickering at the barn. It means no complaining about siblings, school or supper. General Civility is being asked just once to complete a task. It is showing patience towards the younger siblings and taking direction well from the older ones. General Civility is doing things that reassure mom that she’s raising the next great leader, not the next gang leader. Be nice and demonstrate General Civility this Mother’s Day.


You read that right. Sometimes the best thing you can give farm moms is nothing. No ball games to rush off to or meals to make for family coming over. No flowers to plant then water or mow around. No dishes to wash, clothes to pre-treat or laundry to fold. Do not give your farm mom jewelry she’s afraid she’ll lose at the barn or chocolates that make her fall off her frustrating diet. Instead, give her…


You also read that right. Give your farm mom everything she wants, by giving her your time. Because really, when the tractors shut down and barn doors close and the kitchen sink drains and things finally come into focus, what farm moms really want this Mother’s Day is time with the people they love the most: Their kids, husbands and grandkids. No phones of distraction, just them.

mothers day1

We are thankful for each and every one of you,
whether you farm, or not.

One Saturday in May

We invite you to share a Saturday – or at least a couple hours of it – with us later this month to do some good in the world.


We’re proud to partner with area churches and FFA chapters for the third year in a row to pack meals for the hungry in our community and also Guatemala.


The 2017 Pack Away Hunger event will take place on Saturday, May 20 at the Hagerstown Elementary Gym.


We’re offering two shifts this year for individuals and families to volunteer. The first is from 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM; the afternoon shift runs from 12:30 PM– 3:00 PM. Registration is now open for those who want to lend a hand. You can register online.


This is an amazing way to show kindness to strangers and the event is suitable for all ages. There really is a job for any age!



We hope you’ll check your calendar, block out a few hours and plan on joining our farmer-owned cooperative and friends in Hagerstown as we work to cultivate communities. This is one of those “feel good” events – we always leave the event knowing the work we just did matters.

main Street

Register here