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Farm Forum scholarships awarded


Greene County Farm Forum awarded scholarships to Sophia Bowling, Gracelyn Heider, and Reagan Saunders.

“Each student is a current year graduating high school student or college freshman pursuing higher education in a field related to agriculture and will receive a $2,000 scholarship,” said Jim Byrd, chairperson for Ag scholarships for Greene County Farm Forum.

Bowling attended Fairborn High School and plans to study environmental sciences at the University of Michigan. Heider attended Fairborn High School and plans to study animal science and pre-veterinary medicine at the University of Findlay. Saunders attended Greeneview High School and is currently a freshman at The Ohio State University studying animal science, bio science and pre-veterinary medicine.

“Congratulations to all of them and we thank all donors who made contributions to the scholarship fund,” Byrd said.

Farm Forum visit to Young’s Jersey Dairy

While working as OSU Extension ag educator, I collaborated with other educators in surrounding counties in putting together several innovative farm tours. We focused on those farms which had made positive changes over the years to help make their farms financially more productive. One of those farms we visited a couple of times over the years was Young’s Jersey Dairy.

As part of a Greene County Farm Forum program, we visited the farm again to hear first-hand the changes the farm had made considering COVID and other factors. Dan Young, one of the managers, shared some of the changes that have made the business more attractive to the public as an agrotourism stop. The farm originally started in 1869 when 60 acres were purchased for farming. During the depression, the farm was sold but repurchased after WWII. The farm started selling ice cream in 1981.

The farm attracts more than one million people each year for assorted reasons. Of course, the highest sales come from its homemade ice cream, but many other things draw people to the farm. Other reasons people come to Young’s are the Udders & Putters miniature golf, the petting zoo, the golf driving range, to have a birthday party, the batting cage, to take a wagon ride, and go through the corn maze. Other people come to Young’s for a family or business-related picnic. Several companies hold their company picnic there and in recent years, the Jeep Lifestyle Meet and Greet rally has been added.

The farm employs more than 350 employees with most working in the spring through fall time. Of the 350 employees 70-80 are full-time. According to Dan, the average employee works for 3-4 years. Keep in mind that most of their employees are college or high school students. The farm has an attendee program which is monitored and of the 350 employees, 251 have not missed a day of work scheduled.

Most of the managers at Young’s are home grown and part of the family. There are currently five generations of the family involved in working at Young’s. However, to be eligible to work in the capacity as a manager, the employee must have some experience with a related company.

However, do not forget the Christmas Tree Farm which is busy prior to Christmas. More than 20,000 white pine trees have been planted for sale at some time as they mature.

Young emphasized they “create fun for their customers” with the various activities. Young’s recently opened the Dairy Store (February 2020) which replaced the old restaurant and ice cream production facility. The former Golden Jersey Inn is now the Event Center and is used for receptions, parties, etc. The newest “kid on the block” is Cowtherine’s Carousel, which is scheduled to open July 1. It will feature a carousel with cows and not horses. Each cow will have a name. Dan also indicated they have on the drawing board to add an indoor playroom plus meeting rooms for groups to meet as well as for birthday parties.

Currently 25 percent of the business is entertainment.

Most of their advertisement is through social media, Face Book etc. Their average labor cost is $20/hour which along with changes brought on by the Pandemic has led them to be open M-Th from 11am-10pm and Friday 11am-11pm. Weekends include the hours of Sat. 9 am-11 pm and Sunday 9 am-10 pm.

As I compare the Young’s of the 1980’s as compared to 2024 I see a lot of thought has gone into the changes in what they offer as stated earlier to “create fun for customers”. However, whether it is the “Udders and Putters” miniature golf course or the new carousel with named cows the farm theme continues. Young’s Jersey Dairy has dairy cows (40 head) from which they get part of their milk, and they still make their ice cream and cheese. Will you be one of the 2024 one million visitors? I have been there three times this year. Their website is http://youngsjerseydairy.com.

Jerry Mahan is a retired OSU Extension educator agriculture and natural resources for Greene County. He can be reached at [email protected].