Things have certainly changed both for Ohio’s Country Journal, and the farms that were featured since our Vol. 1; Issue 1 came out in November of 1992.
The Crops Section from November of 1992 included a story with Tom Ramsey, of J. M. Hiser Seeds in Ross County. Things have really changed since then. The 1992 story covered the challenges of the growing season for the seed corn production that only averaged 30 bushels per acre, down from 40 bushels per acre the previous year. The planting of the male corn plants in the spring was hampered by wet conditions, though the summer weather evened the crop out for what was an average seed corn yield.
“The business was started in 1937 by my wife’s grandfather. I was the junior partner in 1992 and now I own Hiser Seeds and my son Greg works for me. We got out of hybrid seed corn production when all of the traits got so intricate back in the early 2000s. We still raise seed wheat and we were big in non-GMO seed back then and now we are big in Liberty Link beans,” Ramsey said. “We are now also a member of the Malt Seed Producers and we are raising barley seed for the farmers who will be producing the malt for the Ohio Craft Malt House project that should be breaking ground on their production plant next spring.”
Along with barley, today Hiser Seeds sells a variety of cereal crops including wheat, oats, and rye. They still sell hybrid seed corn including conventional hybrids, triple stack hybrids, and the Agrisure 3000 hybrids and carry lines of Liberty Link and Roundup Ready soybeans.
Budd Martin of Huron County and his 400-ewe flock of Cheviots, Dorsets and crossbred sheep was featured in the 1992 Livestock Section. The focus of the article was on maximum production efficiency using pasture rotation and turnips (along with other experimental forages at the time) to extend the grazing season and breeding for hardy grazers. Martin also talked about his effort to balance the needs of the showring and the commercial market.
“That hasn’t been easy,” Martin said in 1992, “because many folks in the sheep industry don’t really see these two areas being similar, unfortunately. I think the market lambs and the breeding sheep should look the same. After all, it’s all going to the same market, isn’t it?”
A long string of success on the Budd Martin & Family Sheep Farm Facebook page shows that, at least in the showring, the strategy has paid off. He still uses alternative grazing techniques and, after some time away, he returned to the showring and the family had the champion Cheviot ram at the Big Ohio Sale just this spring.