first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest I love writing stories about Ohio’s incredible Century Farms. There is much wonderful history to be gleaned from these rural treasures that most people probably do not even know exist.Everyone in agriculture understands how much technology, equipment, farm size, and farm conservation has changed through the centuries of Ohio agriculture, but it is also always readily apparent in Century Farm interviews how much times have changed culturally and socially. I saved back a few examples from my 2016 interviews to illustrate the enormity of the cultural changes in Ohio in just a couple of generations. Read on and just imagine if these things were to take place today. Horsing around at 11At age 11 or 12 in the 1920s, Richard Evans was already a veteran driver of a team of horses pulling a wagon hauling corn into Urbana, just up the road from his Champaign County farm. This was a job he was a bit nervous about after the team of horses had stampeded through a field when Richard was a young boy holding the reins.“Dad was tasked with taking a load of corn into town when he was 11 or 12 driving the load with a wagon drawn by the run-away team of horses. His dad told him he was supposed to pick up something at the hardware store before he returned home,” said Sue Evans, Richard’s daughter. “He delivered the corn and discovered that it was a new bike waiting for him at the hardware store, which he proudly brought home on the corn wagon.” Super Bowl of plowingThe National Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts annually put on state and national plowing events that were once a huge deal. How huge? There were 71,088 fans at the 2016 Super Bowl and the National Plowing Match on a group of neighboring farms in Champaign County in 1950 attracted just fewer than 75,000 people from around the country and the world, often standing shoulder-to-shoulder over the three days of the event. One of the participating farms was the Evans Powhaton Farm.Here is an excerpt of the text from a historical marker commemorating the event near the site in Champaign County:The first national matches were held in Mitchellville, Iowa in 1939 and continued until halted by the start of World War II. They resumed in 1945. Ohio’s 1950 Champaign County-Union Township National Plowing Match was the first “National” to be held outside Iowa.The 1950 National and Ohio Plowing Matches featured a group of fourteen-Buck Creek Valley farmers who acted as hosts for the plowing matches where Urbana’s two-time world champion Dean Wilson competed for a third title. It also featured a new activity known as “Wagon Trains,” which involved Union Township host farmers who used 125 wagons and tractors to haul the crowds of people and farmers to view the plowing matches, demonstrations, and many conservation projects that covered 2,200 surrounding acres spread over 10 farms. The event also featured five parking fields covering 200 acres and an airfield on the south side and parallel to SR 54, adjacent to Benson Road, for the “flying farmers” who demonstrated seeding, fertilizing, and corn borer control. Boom goes the dynamiteWhen Gary Skinner was a child on his family’s Delaware County farm in the 1950s, it was not uncommon for dynamite to be stored in the back of the barn on area farms for regular use in tree stump removal and other explosive applications.“They used to dynamite stumps a lot but I never got to see it. That was just common practice back then,” Gary said. “I got to go out with them a couple of times when they were going to use it but it didn’t end up exploding either time.”I heard of a fellow recently who got in a fair amount of trouble in a rural area due to causing a commotion from the sound of using exploding rifle targets. I assume the neighbors who reported the problem were not accustomed to routine tree stump extractions with dynamite in the surrounding fencerows. Un-concealed carryGuns are a hot topic in the news today and there are fairly well founded concerns on both sides of the gun control debate, especially as it relates to school children. This was clearly not as much of a concern during Skinner’s childhood.“I was in eighth grade and I would ride the bus with high schoolers and they would bring their rifles on the bus with them in the morning. They would put them under the back seats on the bus so they could go squirrel hunting after school,” he said.Seriously, can you imagine if this happened today? Can you hear me now?With cell phones almost standard equipment for teenagers (and even pre-teens) these days, it is hard to fathom how life ever took place without them. I never had a cell phone until my late 20s but now it is a vital part of nearly everything I do. Even home phones with curly stretching cords seem ancient. My children cannot even comprehend the inconvenience of a phone with a cord. Of course, they had to find a way to muddle through in previous generations.“A barn down the road had a phone in it before any of the houses around here,” Skinner said. “They had Percheron stallions and the phone was for the breeding business when area mares were in heat.”Soon enough, though, the whole neighborhood was high tech.“We had one of the old phones in our home then we got the black one with the rotary dial,” Skinner said. “You’d try to get on and everyone else knew what it was you were talking about. We could never get on the line to call the vet because our neighbors had six kids and several of them were girls. They were always on the line with their boyfriends. They’d say, ‘Hang on, I’ll just be a few more minutes.’” While the landscape, equipment, and society changed around them, many of the core values of Ohio’s Century Farms have remain largely unchanged. The (much-needed in today’s world) hard work, focus on family, and faith that are signatures of many farms continue to thrive within these bastions of historic Ohio. Times have changed Ohio’s Century Farms, but there is no doubt that Ohio’s Century Farms have also changed the times.last_img