Ohio Business Spotlight - September 2022
Today, Ohio Secretary of State announced seven unique businesses from across the Buckeye State who are in the spotlight as we recognize Ohio’s great agriculture industry. Our state relies on our land and the people who cultivate it. Agriculture is our state’s number one industry and today most of Ohio’s 77,000 farms are run by families. As farmers and the small businesses who support them are busy preparing for the harvest this month, Secretary LaRose is highlighting special businesses that provide not only for their families, but for their communities across our state.
A partnership between two, fourth-generation farm families, the McCarty Family of Kansas and the VanTilburg Family of Ohio, this multi-family farm that takes pride in the care they provide their cows, their land, and the team that helps them create high quality milk. Their mission is to create sustainable farming with a positive social, economic, and environmental impact in their community.
Both family’s ancestors started farming more than 100 years ago, but it was only when the two families came together to create the McCarty-VanTilburg Partnership dairy (MVP dairy, LLC) were they able to fully optimize the operational and marketing needs for each farm. This very unique partnership has allowed MVP to be more efficient and more sustainable than ever before while also benefiting their cows and their teams.
MVP has won many awards, including being named the 2020 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year by Dairy Herd Management.
A family-owned farm that offers family fun for all ages including a corn maze and pumpkin patch.
Having grown up on farms, the owners of Van Buren Acres believe it’s important that all children have the chance to be exposed to the heritage and dynamics of agriculture. When not farming their land or raising animals, they focus all of their effort to accomplish their educational mission in an enjoyable and unique way. Families, school groups, scouts, and more all have fun while learning about agriculture when they visit year-round. The farm offers numerous activities including putt-putt golf, tether ball, ball zones, hay-wagon rides, barrel train rides, pedal cars, duck races and pig races and much more.
This ‘urban farm’ specializes in microgreens, lettuce, various Asian vegetables, and culinary herbs. All are grown through the use of urban growing practices such as vertical farming, hydroponics, raised beds and good old in the ground organic style. All products are 100% grown in Chillicothe on 1/20th of an acre with a goal to have the maximum production with the least amount of environmental impact.
With a culinary background and a Master Gardener certification, owner Graham Matter strives to master growing the tastiest and safest version of the products he provides such as salad mixes, fruits and vegetables, herbs, and microgreens.
Virgil Cooper started his turkey business back in 1938 with only 300 turkeys, mostly raising and selling them to his friends and neighbors. His business soon grew to include a turkey hatchery located in downtown Oakwood, Ohio.
His original hatchery is now the Cooper Community Library, and Cooper Farms’ new hatcheries are located outside of town. Over the years, Virgil and Virginia’s three children Jim, Dianne and Gary have added to the Cooper family business and today the company includes two hatcheries, meat processing plants, egg processing plants, feed mills, and many helping hands and family farms to raise turkeys, hogs and chickens.
Vertical integration has allowed Cooper Farms to monitor quality throughout the processes, ensuring customers are receiving the highest quality products possible. This includes taking a hands-on approach to overseeing the day-to-day care of animals, as well as manufacturing the feed that keeps them healthy and strong. The third and fourth generation family members can be seen working in many areas of the company including plant management, human resources, corporate development, special projects, caring for animals on the farm and working in the office.
The seventh generation to own and operate this small family farm located in Wakeman, the Daltons are working on raising the eighth generation while also raising animals and crops. They know firsthand that farming isn’t an easy occupation and sometimes it takes a whole family to keep it running. Their goal is to not only provide for their family and others, but to be around for the future generations. They specifically grow corn, wheat, soybeans, make hay, straw and raise beef.
They offer individual cuts of meat and multiple other local products in their Meat Barn located on the farm. They have used their social media presence to help teach others about farming and dispel agriculture myths that they often hear.
A 6th generation family farm dating back to 1875, Daugherty Farms raises corn and soybeans, but milking cows is their bread and literal butter. They have come a long way in the past 150 years, using robotic milkers for efficiency, allowing the cattle to enter the milking machines themselves versus being led. Cow comfort also comes into play and the farm has seen daily milk production from cows grow from 65 pounds to 95 pounds by using the modern computerized set up for the same number of cows.
The Daugherty’s created a Facebook page to help spread the word about what happens on a modern farm as it is very different from farming in the past. They also give tours by appointment as they are proud of their work and how they use their land.
The Burgetts, veterinarian Keith Burgett and his two sons, Phillip and Bryan, work as a team to keep their herd growing and healthy and to provide the best product to their customers and their community.
The family started in the commercial cattle business in the early 1980s. Bryan then bought a registered Angus in 1985 for a 4-H project and the family began to add heifers from there. In 1988, the Burgetts sold the commercial herd and went full swing into the registered Angus business. Today, the farm produces both Red and Black Angus and raise around 275 cattle.
The trio strive to produce moderate-size cattle, and good feet and legs are a must in their herd. The Burgetts run the cattle on 1,200 acres. Half of the herd is contained on reclaimed strip-mined ground leased near Magnolia. They use rotational grazing as much as possible on the home farm, but due to the herd size and other factors, it can be very labor intensive. A forage-based diet is fed to the cattle, and the farm stockpiles grass to extend the grazing system, which keeps feed costs low.
The Burgetts concentrate on product service and a quality health program to generate repeat customers. The father and sons say their goal is two-fold: produce the best cattle possible and good beef for their community.