Ohio Soybean Council Vice President Rusty Goebel farms in far northwest Ohio.

Growing Soybeans, Raising Livestock, and the Importance of Teamwork

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and Soybean Check-off

Since 1975, Ohio Soybean Association Vice President Rusty Goebel has been growing crops and raising livestock. The Goebel’s farm in the four northwest corner counties of the state including Williams, Fulton, Defiance and Henry. “I started farming when I graduated in 1975,” said Goebel. “My wife Sue and I got married in 1985 and now our son Lucas is involved in the farming operation. We feed hogs and have one wean to finish barn and two regular finish barns that we feed out 11,000 head of hogs per year. We also feed out cattle. My dad and I have fed cattle back in the 70’s and now we also start bottle calves and finish them out. We’ve always had cattle around.”

The Goebel’s grow corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. “We have some fairly heavy clay soils. We also farm some sandy, rocky soils to the north. Most everything needs to be tiled as good as we can. Everything is tiled, but the more systematically tiled the better.,” said Goebel. “The clay soil is pretty heavy and has marginal yields a lot of years, but in a dry year can yield pretty well because they hold water longer.”

Being located in the Maumee River Watershed of the Western Lake Erie Basin, the Goebel’s participate in the H2Ohio program. “My Dad and I started putting waterways years ago before the H2Ohio program came into existence,” said Goebel. “We raise some cover crops. We have raised no-till soybeans and wheat for 30 years. We also grow some of the corn using no-till and some with minimum tillage. We have put tile stops on our tile mains so we can stop the rush of heavy rainwater. That also provides protection when we apply manure in case there is a rain event. We also use them to hold back moisture during the growing season once we get the crops planted.”

The Goebel’s have multiple market options for their grain and also a trucking company to be able to haul their own product. “We run the majority of our corn through our cattle as feed. We are expanding our grain storage facility to give us more flexibility. We have always been able to dry the crop but have not had enough storage and needed to truck grain in-season. We have a chicken market 13 miles away to provide feed if we want. We also occasionally will truck grain to Indiana and bring back lime or stone to the farm on the back-haul,” said Goebel.

Hogs are a major consumer of soybean meal. “Both the hogs and our cattle use a lot of the product we grow. A lot of our soybeans go to the crush plants to make both soybean meal and soybean oil. The meal eventually comes back to feed the livestock,” said Goebel. “I think that we all need to think that we are livestock farmers in Ohio, even if someone doesn’t have livestock on their farm because their soybeans largely go to produce soybean meal and oil, and that meal is fed to livestock.” Teamwork plays a large part in the success of Goebel Farms. Along with his family, Rusty has dedicated employees that help get the job done, day in and day out. “This farm would not be where it is without the people we have here,” said Goebel. “I started with my father back in 1975 and we farmed together for many years. My mother was involved and still helps out. My son Lucas is my partner now and his wife and kids are involved and help quite a bit with the pigs. My wife Linda is a very big deal here and helps in all kinds of ways. Our daughter has also helped on the farm over the years. We also have two full-time employees and a couple of part-time guys that help when needed. We each have our own things that we do, and it takes all of us working together. This is a family farm. We work as a family and as a team.”

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