|By CELESTE BAUMGARTNER
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Winners of the 2006 Outstanding Young Farm Couple, Excellence in Agriculture and the Discussion Meet were announced at the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) annual meeting in early December in Columbus. In January those winners will represent Ohio at the American Farm Bureau Federation meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Outstanding Young Farm Couple
Alan and Sarah Wuebker of Versailles won this award, which recognizes individuals 35 or younger for their achievements in farming and their leadership in the agricultural community.
The Wuebkers have a grain and livestock farm with 940 total acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and hay. They have an 1,800 sow farrow-to-wean contract operation and raise 80 dairy steers a year.
They also do custom baling and buy and store hay and straw over the year and sell it throughout the winter months over a six-state area.
Sarah is a high school special education teacher. Alan farms with his brother, Jeff. The Wuebkers have two children.
After Alan graduated from high school he farmed with his dad, Richard, until Richard passed away. Soon after that, the hog market crashed.
“It was looking pretty grim for us; it was to the point where we about needed to call an auctioneer,” Alan said. “We ended up being able to pull it out and to actually grow to be able to keep financial stability.”
He said he’s proud of being able “to be a farmer and a husband and father. “Our kids are out there in the hog barn with me whenever they can be; they enjoy it,” he added.
Sarah said: “We’re able to do so much as a family, and those values that were instilled in us when we were kids are being instilled in them.”
Excellence in Agriculture
Winner John Buck of New Bloomington was recognized as a person age 35 or younger who is involved in farming but whose primary occupation is not farming or owning an ag business.
“Agriculture is my heart,” Buck said. “I farm and that’s what I love doing but there is not enough opportunity for me to try and grow the farm so I went into doing the automotive and agriculture repair.”
His farming operation is 800 acres cash grain and he does about 2,000 acres custom harvesting for a neighbor.
“My other businesses, I have Buck Farm Service Center, which is an ag and automotive repair shop, Beeline Auto Service and Repair, Marion Radiator and Amco Transmissions of Marion.”
Buck said he is proud that he is able to employ 25 people throughout the year.
“The fact that I’m employing so many community people I feel I’m really a part of taking care of a lot of families within our community,” he said.
Leia Ringler of Mansfield won this contest which tests participants’ subject knowledge, problem solving abilities and personal and small group communication skills.
The discussion topic was: “How can American agriculture increase the opportunities for new uses of agricultural products.”
“My idea was we need to do more marketing,” she said. “I think we need to push that, so that someone wants to come to your farm to buy their food, instead of going to the grocery store.”
The discussion meet is more than just a contest, Ringler said.
“It’s about the ideas that come out of the discussion,” she said. “People listen to what is said and come up with new ideas.”
Ringler farms with her husband, Aaron, feeding cattle and producing grain. They have two children. They just moved to their farm a year ago and have modernized the operation.
This farm news was published in the Jan. 3, 2007 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.