in Ohio country today brought to you in part by the following Koenig equipment Allen Davis insurance agency true point cooperative the Ohio soybean Council the Ohio corn growers and poet bio refining hello again everyone big Dan Wilson alongside of Gary Jackson and we’re in the heart of Highland County better known as rocky Fork State Park Gary and this is a great episode for us here in Highland County it’s gonna be a couple of interviews that we’ve been looking forward to for a long time I’ve never skied water-skied but I might want to come back that Lake is really inviting most definitely we have a couple stories here from the State Park but more importantly were able to hook up with a good friend of our show and somebody that we’ve known for a few years here happens to be mayor of Hillsboro that is drew Hastings you might know him as a mayor or a farmer or a stand-up comedian he’s still all three but he’s getting a lot done in the Hillsborough area yeah no question about it and we’re gonna have that fine story with him we’re gonna tell you a little bit more about rocky Fork State Park in Hillsborough in Highland County and those will be our future stories for this week on in Ohio country today I’ll be back with those stories and more this week in Ohio country today are you looking to buy or sell farmland that work with a company that works for you Ron Spencer real estate founded in 1975 Ron Spencer specializes in farmland agricultural and commercial real estate check them out on the web for farm listings in Allen Aguas Hancock Hardin Putnam Paulding Mercer Van Wert counties and more with three locations to serve you Ron Spencer real estate at RS our that’s our s our this is Ken connect from the candid care minute reminding you that if you need parts service or product support or that new equipment don’t hesitate to call us at any one of our locations or visit us on the web site at caning equipment comm i’m terry McClure a fifth-generation soybean farmer farming can be tough but we have the Ohio soybean Council investing farmers dollars to find new uses for soybeans their research helps develop better beans for livestock poultry and for people it also helps create new products like soy based cleaning supplies and ink cartridges plus cleaner burning soy biodiesel reduces our dependence on foreign oil soybeans are high as number one agricultural export to learn more visit soy ohio org caning equipment for quality reliability and great support for water jetting small egg and turf or any application you can count on our 100 plus years of experience every time you get behind the wheel canning equipment stands behind our products with responsive repairing maintenance at Kinnick you choose the maintenance program that works best for you designed for your operation Koenig is there to ensure your equipment run smoothly all season long think canning equipment I grew up in Dayton Ohio I was there till I was 18 19 went to Cincinnati Ohio I was there for another 15 18 years so I’ve always been southern Ohio pretty much and and then I lived in New York City I think for a year or so I lived in San Francisco years so and then I spent 13 years in Hollywood in Los Angeles and that was until up until I was 50 but yeah until I moved out here I’d never lived rural whatsoever my whole reason for coming out here was I wanted to get out of Los Angeles I never cared for Los Angeles I I’m a Midwest guy and so I knew that the best thing to do that would interest me would be to be in an environment that I was completely unfamiliar with and learned from so I said you know what why don’t we go rural I’ve never lived rural let’s go and live

role and so I put all my stuff in a you story you lock it and put it there for the summer and then I just drove around southern Ohio for about a month and I happen to step up step stop uptown Hillsboro one day I was in a diner I would coffee that I looked in the paper and this farm was for sale and I said well this looks nice that’s quite a look at that came out here BAM put an offer in on it and bought it and then what happened was I really had no idea of course I didn’t know what I was doing and I bought the farm because out of view and it had a great old barn and they had some land and then I had to decide what I was gonna do with it I had no idea what I was gonna do with it and so then I started researching looking into well do I look at sheep there look he goes – I like it cattle what do I look at and again I’m kind of a curious guy so I would just go around I would talk to all the old farmers around here and I would ask him questions and pestered them to death and and then I finally kind of settled on some cattle and you know and kind of the rest was history so would I consider myself kind of a Green Acres all over Douglas guy I think initially when I got the farm and probably that lent itself to a lot of humor yeah I would say so because I was pretty clueless you know as I say just when I think I had farming down pat a couple of months ago I chased a newborn calf 300 yards across my field before I figured out it was a black hefty bag blowing across I ended up with cattle because most guys around here we’re doing cattle and it was the path of least resistance and and the owner of the local livestock stockyards up here Union stockyards kind of took a liking to me and he really helped me out kind of you might say mentored me a little bit and he would help me not get stuck and with you know buying some buying up some cattle and and then I would just I haven’t asked a lot of questions I would do everything from I would read the Farm Bureau newsletters and I would talk to other farmers and I would read The Ohio State University Extension stuff that was coming out and I just you know kind of pick things up and you know there’s nothing I wouldn’t ask I really believe in the old adage there’s no such thing as a stupid question I mean the first thing I’d ask I’d see an old farmer who was missing a finger or two and the first thing I’d say is how did you lose those two fingers cuz I don’t want that to happen to me you know and some people would say oh my gosh you shouldn’t ask him that that’s kind of maybe personal but no don’t be the first to tell you well you don’t ever want to do this or I lost it doing that so I would that’s what I would do I would ask him anything what’s that a piece of equipment do why do you do this that way you know when I would just pester him to death I’m just I’ve always been curious you know and you know yeah I’m not gonna I’m not gonna figure out anything new here I mean you know farming community they’ve been for some things there’s a reason why things have been done a certain way for a hundred years people are very disconnected anymore from food their disconnected from nature overall and I think overall the farming community really for the most part you know a segment of people that really they just like to be left alone and do their job the problem is society isn’t gonna leave them alone and so they kind of have to in a way do some outreach you know and explain a little bit what they’re doing because you have a lot of people putting demands on farmers as to you know what they’re doing why they’re doing it and you know I think there’s a lot of just misunderstanding but that’s why I’m real big on Agri tourism you know I think Agri tourism I recently as mayor I commissioned to study one of the few I think in this state of Ohio that’s been done in fact Dave Daniels director of agriculture saw it and he was pretty impressed with it I think and I think Agri tourism which a lot of people still think of as well there’s a corn mazes aren’t they now there’s a lot more to him you know everything from micro distilleries the you name it but I think Agri tourism is one way which is kind of a positive way to get soccer moms and people out from the city to me be shocked how many kids have never petted a goat you know and you just get him out you you do a little outreach and I mean my dream I would love to be able to for us to have a municipal farm essentially a city of

Hillsborough kind of an agritourism farm where it’s educational and entertainment and you’ve got you know a calf cam you know we have calves being born on these days and you know and here’s how it works with chickens and you know just the whole gamut yeah I mean basic stuff but but stuff that people from the suburbs of the city would be impressed with so I was uptown one day you know we’re more about six miles out of town here and you know I’d go into town all the time and I own a couple of brilliant the historic or buildings and I’ve bought a couple of buildings uptown and with a eye towards renovating them and I was walking around with a friend one day and I said well Jeanne Christmas this town is kind of falling apart you know who’s running you know who’s running things heck I could do better than this and that really more or less became my campaign slogan hell I could do better than this and so I went around and just started talking about small-town revitalization and and a lot of the things I saw in the biggest export the biggest export of a small town in the Midwest and in Ohio the biggest export of a small town is its young people and you know you want to try to put a stop to that and you have what what I call MIT I didn’t make it up it’s a term that’s out there called the culture of poverty which seems to be taking more and more root in in rural and small towns and I think that’s because some of that stuff is shifting out from urban centers and and I think I think there’s just I think there’s a lot you can do with small towns I think if you want to keep your small town intact your community you really have to fight to do it I’m all about economic development and I’ll tell you something interesting if you go to the new malls that they’re building now if you go to the green which is up in Dayton or you go to Easton which is a big popular mall in Columbus the trend in the last few years in malls if you notice is they’re all done outside and they’re built like a small town square and they’re built like a very quaint little small town except that they’re you know set up almost kind of Walt Disney’s Tower you know Disney World style but if you stop and think about it what Easton in Columbus wants to be is small town Hillsboro or small town Wapakoneta or a small town a Marion or whatever a small town in Ohio because that’s what they’re trying to sell because that’s what a lot of people kind of harken back to and I think I think when people rely when you realize that your small town is really in a lot of ways what some of these big cities are marketing why go to Easton or to the green in Dayton to get a sense of small town when you can go to the small town so I’m big on getting our city turned around getting our building is renovated getting stores put back up in them I mean I think there’s a bit of a backlash to the big box stores I think there’s you know people want to shop local more I think that movement is starting to pick up some steam so I think there’s a lot that can be done yeah we’re big on infrastructure I think in a lot of ways infrastructure has been you know kind of kicked down the road and not maintained a lot and we are really doing a lot to fix that and I believe and run the town like a business I’ve been self-employed since I was 18 years old you know I think I think you run a town like a business and you know and its profit and loss and you know you try to the name of the game is try to increase the value of everybody’s real estate the citizens and you know there’s just a lot of things you can do if you have if you have an eye towards economic development I see everything through that lens somebody says just outside of tau we have rocky Fork Lake State Park which had a reputation as having bad water quality but I think that’s been rectified a lot in the last couple of years I think more so than local water quality issues that we have here which aren’t that prominent we’re more

affected by the larger water quality mandates of issues which is really the EPA you know I think I think there’s a lot of concern that the EPA and other regulatory agencies but predominantly the EPA or our you know go somewhat overboard in there I would say zealousness in in in you know trying to reach certain goals for water air quality I mean you know you don’t want to go do it all here but some of the stories you hear about goals that they want you to reach which are really kind of unattainable or economically unfeasible and I’m not saying anything that I don’t think has been out there already you know California and states may be like California on the on you know on the west coast and that would include Washington Oregon they have such a completely different mindset you know tell you I’ll take a perfect example I entertained and gave a keynote address up near st. duskie upper sandusky a few months ago for a group called center for innovative food technology and I was one of the speakers there and the other speaker there was a vice president of Starbucks of development vice president of development for Starbucks and he flew in from Seattle and he sits this little plastic bottle of green juice up and he says this is how we’re going to fight obesity in the Midwest and this is ko bass that it’s got cut-up carrots and kale and stuff in it and it sells for six dollars this this 16-ounce drink and we’re gonna get everybody to Midwest to go to Starbucks and drink this for lunch and this is going to make people healthy and and get rid of obesity and I raised my hand and I said well that’s great but until you could turn that into the shape of a corn chip and sell it for dollar 99 I think you’re gonna have a lot of trouble and you know I was being a little facetious there I was being a little humorous but when you think about it that’s the attitude and it doesn’t matter whether it’s animal activists or water quality or health issues like obesity on the west coast they think they know better and they’re going to come in here and they’re going to try to tell you well we think we know what’s best drink the green kale stuff that we make and everything will be fine well you know what I think we’ve done perfectly fine here for a couple hundred years I was a guy who never really volunteered to do much of anything most of my life I didn’t really volunteer for much I didn’t do a lot to give of myself to anybody else and when I took the mayor’s job I thought you know what this is my way to give back I’m gonna do four years or eight years and this is and yeah it’s gonna cost me money which it has but you know this is my tour of duty this is my big volunteer effort is you know to kind of give my time to this whole small town revitalization and and and mayor’s job and yeah they I would say that the the comedy showbiz career has suffered because of them that’s okay you know I’m still I’m still doing it and actually I’m doing more corporate shows now I do a lot of farm and AG shows I in fact you know it’s so funny that you know I started out 25 years ago as a nightclub comedian you know with people with drinks in their hand and smoking cigarettes and me being a fairly are rate Neji and now you know I just went out to the California and did a huge and entertained Association of Ag teachers which is 900 AG teachers in California so it’s funny how it’s all shifted you know and yeah I’m having more fun because I there’s just a great bunch of people the farm AG community you know sometimes have on Farm Bureau stuff sometimes it’s seed companies sometimes it’s cattlemen banquets whatever but you know and we all tend to be what I like is you know they we tend to be on the same page mostly politically you know as I say this country’s going to hell in a handbasket and I’m not even sure we make our own a in baskets here anymore but uh it’s uh know a good bunch of people and I really like working for that demographic if you will that slice of America water quality is one of the most important topics concerning Ohioans today so if you own a pond you’ll want to make sure it’s in the best shape possible the Becker windmill is the

answer made in Ohio the Becker windmill offers you a precision engineered high performance pond aeration system custom-made for your needs avoid Fishkill problems improved water quality and the satisfaction of doing your part to improve the environment call Becker today big oil presents mr slit and dummy you know the RFS is dummy if you renewable fuel standard it requires the oil companies the blend renewable fuels with their gasoline and that’s real bad right yeah that’s a big oil because it means we use less oil and more renewable dummy why doesn’t Big Oil want you to know the FS is good for America you’re no dummy don’t let the oil industry treat you like one Allen Davis insurance agency with 30 years commitment to the community providing quality insurance services Allen is a business owner and an active farmer and he knows firsthand the pressures of running your farming operation call Allen today and ask about coverage for your farm your vehicles your equipment crops and more now with three locations to serve you in Wapakoneta st. Mary’s in Minster call 1-866-462-1922 go to Rogers Ohio comm start your weekend off right we want to be your Friday night this is Ken connect from the canid care minute reminding you that if you need parts service or product support or that new equipment don’t hesitate to call us at any one of our locations or visit us on the website at caning equipment dot-com hello once again everyone we are in Hillsboro Ohio Highland County were visiting with Gary Abernathy Gary is the publisher of The Times Gazette here in Hillsborough Gary it’s good to have you with us understand that you are from this general area yeah I grew up on a farm not too far out of town a little bit to the west of Hillsboro a little uh 175 acre farm that back when I grew up on it you could make a pretty good living on that and it was you know everybody should have a chance to grow up on a farm because it was a great way to grow up now you went away and did your thing for a number of years and just a few years ago you had the opportunity to come back that’s right I was able to actually be the editor of this newspaper for about eight years back in the 80s into the early 90s went away to a couple of other newspapers and did some politics and government work for a while about four years ago has a chance to come back to this newspaper and become the publisher so it was a real thrill to be able to come back to my hometown again what is it we hear so often that there are such a an advantage it’s sometimes emotional sometimes it just seems like it’s in your blood to come back to your not only your hometown but small-town American I think that’s true you know I think that it helps you to come back with with your eyes wide open again and kind of see it with fresh eyes I think that if you if you live in a place your whole life it’s easy to take it for granted and when you have the opportunity to go away and work at some other places live in some other places and then come back to where you grew up you you realize you know there’s a lot of treasures here including the people the ambience the quality of life that maybe you take for granted otherwise otherwise there’s a lot of countryside there’s a lot of agriculture around Hillsborough I suppose that agriculture sort of drives the local economy it does it’s we’re definitely an agriculture based community you know sometimes I think we even take it for granted because it’s just there but you know the economy the money that comes into our local stores the tax revenue that comes into our county and city coffers you know most of its agriculture based one way or the other and so that’s it’s it’s extremely important here agriculture of course has changed vastly over the years how has it changed here in the Highland County area well again I think that like a lot of places as I mentioned the farm I grew up on you probably couldn’t even begin to make a living on 175 acres these days so a lot of it’s been you know big farmers have taken it over what we think are big farms you know probably thousand acres or more is considered pretty big so so that’s a change I think that you know watching what you do have those a lot of support industries here for agriculture you know you’ve got a lot of stores around here that that cater to agriculture everything from from the clothing and coats and coveralls and and then all the small implements that gets old like the shovels and rakes and so on

mowers and equipments we have a five-point implement out at the edge of town we’ve got Town and Country and another side of town catering to a lot of that master feed mill Ventura’s I made a little cheat sheet actually Maggie like tires just outside of town that supplies a lot of the tractor tires and things like that and premier feeds so there’s a lot of those that employ a good number of people and and you know again contribute to the to the economy I would suppose to that come fair time not only the country kids the kids that live on farms but some of the kids here in town they also get really involved in the fair you know that’s exactly right there are kids who live in town that maybe raise a small animal on a on a grandparents farm or an aunt and uncle’s farm in some cases right in town and the County Fair here in this part of the state is still a very big deal it’s it’s probably the biggest event of the year in Highland County we have a wonderful fairgrounds one of the nicest fairgrounds in the state the Hynek county fairgrounds and they do a great job with that and and every year you know it’s still one of the it’s one of the counties where all the schools closed for the County Fair the schools go back into session just shortly before the fair but when the fair rolls around beginning on Labor Day weekend every year the schools closed for the week and the kids get to focus on on their fair projects for more information Gary where would they go to find some of that well you’ve got the County Haddon County website and of course Times Gazette com keeps keeps you up to date on all these things you have a great Chamber of Commerce Haddon County Chamber of Commerce website Facebook pages you want to know more about Highland County and agriculture check out any of those places Gary Abernathy the publisher of The Times Gazette has been our guest Gary thanks for being thank you so much it’s been a pleasure are you looking to buy or sell farmland that work with a company that works for you Ron Spencer real estate founded in 1975 Ron Spencer specializes in farmland agricultural and commercial real estate check them out on the web for farm listings in Allen Aguas Handcock Hardin Putnam Paulding Mercer Van Wert counties and more with three locations to serve you Ron Spencer real estate at our s our that’s our s our that’s gonna do it for this week’s edition of it Ohio country today if you like more information about today’s show drop us a line check us out on the web at in Ohio country dot-com that’s in Ohio country dot-com have a good day everybody