Introducing Bolender Family Farms, 3rd generation
Adam & Aubrey Bolender established their own farm in 2008 - by established I mean that they raised their first crop of soybeans together and combined Adam's cows with Aubrey's. In working together, they had a successful first harvest and their cows got along okay, so they decided it'd be alright to go ahead and get married in August of 2009...
Okay, that's not exactly how it went, but it is true that we both had a love of farming in our blood that stemmed from growing up on our families' farms. It's also true that we started our own farming operation in 2008 - with the help of our parents and a small operating loan from a lender willing to take a risk on two kids that only had some cows, a truck and a four wheeler to use as collateral.
We farmed 100 acres and had 12 black Angus cows. We purchased our home farm and Adam also purchased an additional 26 Holstein cows to milk with his family on their dairy farm. I was working off the farm as a fifth grade school teacher. We worked really hard to grow and improve Adam's family farm. We'd started raising freezer beef, as well as adding wheat and straw to our operation. We watched the dairy side of the farm suffer from high input costs and low returns, so we slowly built our beef cow/calf operation in the process.
In 2010, we were named Ohio Farm Bureau's "Outstanding Young Farmers." I watch this video with a chuckle - we were SO green. The award came as much surprise to us, because we were just getting started, and the award heavily measured the growth of your operation - but it sent us to the National Farm Bureau Annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia and it opened our eyes to the importance of Farm Bureau and the importance of telling your farm story in order to educate consumers. This eventually led to our first farm-to-table endeavor at the Anderson Township Farmer's Market where I worked every Saturday that summer selling our freezer beef and sharing our story with customers. This was during the start a major "food awareness overhaul" in our country, when people became more interested in the story behind what they ate. It was also when the documentary "Food, Inc." came out, so there were a lot of consumer questions to be answered. As a self-proclaimed AGvocate, I knew our customers needed some reassurance about the "how's" and the "why's" on the farm.
>Insert getting pregnant with high-risk twins, being hospitalized, having the girls, giving one back to God, and raising a preemie< Becoming parents was a bit tumultuous for us, but with God, family & friends, we made it. Life stopped our direct-marketing plans for a moment, but we were doing what we were called to at that exact moment - for me that was keeping our teeny-tiny human safe from harms way. We basically smelled like hand sanitizer for the first year of her life.