By Celeste Baumgartner
SOMERVILLE, Ohio – When Peyton Weekley’s grandpa, Bill Miller, passed away in 2006, Peyton, age 5, stepped in as his grandma’s right-hand man. Grandma Shirley Miller continued to teach Peyton all the ins and outs of farming. He hasn’t looked back once.
“I’ve always been around a farm since I was a little kid because my grandparents owned a farm,” Weekley said. “Once Gramp passed away in 2006 I picked it up a notch and helped her.”
He’s a hardworking young man, said Shirley Miller, who admitted she’s a proud Grandma. He is always willing to help others.
“When my husband passed in 2006, he lived nearby,” Miller said. “He came down here all the time and was right by my side. There’s a lot of time you need two people. When he was small he was able to hook up the wagons but he wanted to learn to operate equipment.”
Weekley was showing pigs as soon as he could walk, he said. He started showing his grandmother’s feeder cows. In his later elementary school years, as he got more into showing cattle, he bought some show quality animals.
“Farming always keeps me busy,” he said. “I enjoy doing what I’m doing and I sort of consider it my sport. A couple of years ago somebody asked if I would be interested in farming their place and I said sure. I went and bought my first combine. I’ve just been getting a little bit bigger every year.”
He has always had a passion for farming, according to his parents, Lisa and Ryan Weekley. He was driving tractors and combines at a young age.
“To this day, Peyton is like a kid on Christmas morning when he sees large tractors and especially combines in the fields,” Lisa Weekley said. “He’s mesmerized!”
He has been a dynamic and hard-working FFA member in the Talawanda/Butler Tech FFA Chapter since 2016, said Kari Roberts, Talawanda High School/Butler tech agricultural educator and FFA advisor. He graduated in 2020.
“Peyton earned the State FFA Degree in May 2019 and is on track to apply for the American FFA Degree in 2021,” Roberts said. “I believe in the future of agriculture because of goal-oriented individuals like Peyton, who exhibit determination and a willingness to mentor our youth to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”
Weekley is currently mentoring his nephew, Lane Clayton, age 6. “He’s like me when I was a little kid,” he said. “He’s always around the farm. He was riding in the combine. I made him a little seat and got a cushion on it, and he’s sitting there right by me for a good part of the harvest.”
Weekley is working in construction now but hopes to farm full-time eventually. He uses the money he makes from farming to buy equipment.
“The money I make in construction, I want to save it up and buy put a down payment on a farm four or five years from now,” he said.
If not for Peyton’s help, Miller said she would not still be farming. They work as a team, she said, adding, “His grandfather would be very proud of him.”