Kyle Stockton of Elida is the winner of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Outstanding Young Farmer Award for 2021. The contest is designed to help young farmers strengthen their business skills, develop marketing opportunities and receive recognition for their accomplishments. Contestants are judged on the growth of their farm businesses and involvement in Farm Bureau and their community.
Stockton grew up on a small row crop and steer operation and holds a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from Ohio State University. He worked off the farm for nine years while working toward returning to his family farm. Today, he has a row crop operation that includes corn, soybeans, wheat, and custom planting and harvesting, and he raises hogs and feeds out Holstein steers.
“I have made it my mission to find how the 21st century farmer will stand out among other farmers, and it keeps coming back to business principles. While properly maintaining and operating machinery is still extremely important, and the blessing of good rain will never be matched in importance, it is digging into the financials of farming and finding the best returns on investment, prices and marketing that sets apart the best farmers. Even on my small operation, I ask myself daily how I am going to set myself apart from the crowd and make my operation better,” he said in his application.
He has been a member of the Allen County Farm Bureau board of trustees since 2017. In addition, he has been involved with youth activities at the county fair, has participated in Young Agricultural Professionals programming, serves as a local consulting committee member for Farm Credit Mid-America and is active with Lima Community Church.
As the 2021 winner, he receives expense-paid trips to the Winter Leadership Experience and Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, representing Ohio at the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Atlanta in January, a media package and a $3,000 prize of choice. Prizes are courtesy of Farm Credit Mid-America, Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau.
The Outstanding Young Farmer contest is a part of the Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professionals program. Program participants are ages 18 to 35, single or married, who are interested in improving the business of agriculture, learning new ideas and developing leadership skills.