Celebrating Ohio Agriculture

Buckeye Farm Beat

When a famous photographer calls asking for help with a book about Ohio agriculture, the opportunity to tell the world about our industry is almost ov

Published on: April 8, 2010

A few days after I visited the Moore farm in Harrison County for the cover story in this month’s issue of Ohio Farmer, I got a call from Ian Adams from Chagrin Falls. Adams is a top notch photographer. He has produced beautiful photographs here in Ohio for many years. His work includes the annual calendars, Ohio Places, Wild and Scenic Ohio and Ohio Nature.  His many books include the big coffee table-sized, Our Ohio, The Ohio Lands and Ohio: A Bicentennial Portrait.

Adams was contacting me because his next project is a celebration of Ohio agriculture. He was looking for someone to contribute to the writing. The Moores have been included in some of his past work and they suggested he contact me for input. To be honest, I really like the idea. Ohio farming deserves to have its true story told. Citizens here and around the country need to see what a contribution the hard working farmers of this state make to our food supply. There is no better way to do it than with beautiful photographs of everyday life on the contemporary farm.

So Adams’ next question to me was, what areas need to be covered?

We have so much diversity in the agriculture here that a book covering all of aspect of Ohio farming would require a crane to lift it to the steel reinforced coffee table. From grain crops to fruits and vegetables and livestock, our agriculture is rich. We have large farms and we have small farms. Our grain goes to feed mills, high fructose plants, soy oil crushers, ethanol and soy diesel facilities. Much of our fruits and vegetables stay in state to make soup, pizza, ketchup, juice, wine and beer. Farm markets are a main stay for local produce. The livestock sector is even more diverse. We are home to some of the nation’s biggest egg producers, but also have a fast-growing number of small range-raised roadside egg sales. We have big dairy, yogurt and ice cream manufacturers as well as small organic producers. We raise hogs, beef cattle, sheep, goats and ostriches as well as critters trained for show like horses and llamas.

I told Mr. Adams it would be a great challenge to depict Ohio agriculture and something I would like to do as a way to return something to the industry that has given me a working life for several decades now. But it certainly will be challenge. I invite you to help me out. What would you include in a book that celebrates Ohio’s agricultural heritage? Feel free to email me your ideas (twhite@farmprogress.com) or add your comments to the bottom of this column.

Less than 2% of the population are farmers. Here’s a chance to show the rest of our neighbors what Ohio agriculture is all about.