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Ohio's Hartschuhes carry home Farm Bureau's Excellence in Ag

SYCAMORE, Ohio — Rose and Greg Hartschuh are the winners of the 2018 American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Excellence in Agriculture competition, announced at the AFBF annual meeting in Nashville this month.

The couple competed for the award with candidates from around the country. It recognizes young farmers and ranchers who do not acquire most of their income from an agricultural operation, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in agriculture.

In November the Hartschuhes won the 2017 Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s Excellence in Agriculture award and received, among other prizes, an all-expense paid trip to Nashville to take part in the national competition. In Nashville, they won a new Ford truck courtesy of Country Financial.

Rose Hartschuh is a seed advisor, contributes to the family farm and manages their additional family businesses. Greg works full-time on his family’s farm, raising corn, soybeans and operating a dairy.

The Hartschuhes partnered with two other farm families to revitalize a neglected farm property in Bucyrus, which now offers a farm market in one barn and an event venue in another. In 2017 they launched Acres of Adventure.

“The most exciting thing for us has been watching this new organization called Acres of Adventure,” said Rose Hartschuh. “It is designed to connect consumers with opportunities to experience modern agriculture. We’re in the process of building a new learning center on our dairy farm, where we’ll be able to host guests year-round.

“We will design activities that will allow them to touch and see and feel what it is that farmers do on a daily basis,” she explained. “It is structured as a nonprofit corporation. The focus of what we want to do is education.

“We’ve brought together other individuals and businesses who share a common vision, and we’re working to develop an idea that will provide an opportunity that guests might not have otherwise to ask their questions about farming.”

The Hartschuhes’ goal in these activities is to impact the public perception of agriculture. People are becoming more disconnected from farming, and they want to help change that. They hope that one day their twin sons, Dwight and Jordan, age 4, will be able to farm if that is what they want to do.

“So it is important to us now to start looking for ways to help people that aren’t involved in agriculture to understand why farmers do what they do,” Hartschuh said.

Two other Ohioans competed in AFBF competitions: Christian Hoffman of Stoutsville took part in the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award contest, and Danielle Burch of Salem participated in the Discussion Meet.