Fourteen members of the Indian Lake OHP FFA Chapter recently traveled to two different types of farms to see firsthand what the future of agriculture looks like.
First, students traveled to Lepley Farms in Bellevue, Ohio, where owners Dave, Joe, and Brian Lepley opened up their new recently constructed beef finishing facility. The barn holds over 1,000 steers at one time. All the manure is now being collected in a deep pit underneath the barn. The farm has about 3.5 million gallons of manure produced each year . The pit they installed helps save the workers from having to clean many hours of the year clearing out the manure, it also helps stop the problem of the possibility of the manure running off into the water since they are only located 30 minutes out from Lake Erie. The workers can now utilize their time for other jobs and priorities around the farm better since they built the pit. IL/OHP FFA embers learned about the daily chores, nutrition,the different types of cattle, the new ways to make it as comfortable for the cattle, and the large amount of logistics and record keeping a facility like this requires.
Second, students traveled to Hartschuh Dairy Farm outside of Sycamore, Ohio. This summer they installed three, state of the art, robotic milking systems to improve efficiency and cut down on labor. Students were able to see each step of the dairy process, how the robotic milking systems worked, the amount of milk produced, where the tank and manure pond were located, and how to keep all the regulations in order and what they do to make sure they don’t break any of those regulations.
At each farm the producers talked to the students about the many people they work with, including animal nutritionists, agronomists, state inspectors, computer technicians, and marketing professionals. All the students had a great time on the trip while also learning a lot about the facilities and the new technology in agriculture.
Megan Keckler is the Indian Lake/OHP FFA chapter reporter.