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A backwards house did not keep a farm family from moving forward

By Matt Reese

Calvin Peterson — the sixth generation on the Ohio Historic Family Farm in Ross County — can still remember when the back of his beautiful brick house became the front.

“The house was built facing Rt. 11 down a long lane. U.S. 35 came through in 1935 near the back of the house, so now the back of the house faces the road,” Calvin said.

Incidentally, U.S. 35 has since been moved and turned into a four-lane highway and now the Peterson house sits on Old U.S. 35. The house was built more than 100 years before Old U.S. 35 — making the house really old, but meticulously cared for and well preserved.

The Peterson family was among the very first to put down deep agricultural roots in northern Ross County. John Martin Peterson was born in Hardy County, Va. He was the son of Jacob and Sarah Peterson who sailed from Switzerland to America in 1736.

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Luke Bryan to perform on an Ohio farm

Country music superstar Luke Bryan will be performing on an Ohio farm later this month. The first stop on Bryan’s 2018 Farm Tour is Sept. 27 and will draw around 20,000 people to the Ayars Family Farm near Mechanicsburg in Champaign County.

John, Bonnie, Lucas, and Eli Ayars milk 150 Guernsey and Brown Swiss cows and raise corn, soybeans and hay on 1,000 acres. Staring in 2010, the Ayars began using their milk to make homemade ice cream right on the farm. Ayars Family Ice Cream is available in over 30 stores. The family plans on serving up plenty of ice cream and is excited to host the concert.

“This Luke Bryan concert is not something that happens every day,” Bonnie said. “We hope to turn it into something truly meaningful and we also want share it with our community.”

On the tour, Bryan is celebrating a decade of saluting the American farmer as he takes his tenth annual Farm Tour 2018 to six cities this fall setting up stages in the fields of local farms from Ohio to Florida.

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Surber family farms with excellence, then shares it with others

In the social media world of today, those in agriculture are finding that not only is it important to do a great job producing high quality food in an environmentally responsible manner, they also have to tell everyone about it.

Few have done more in terms of both production and promotion of Ohio’s hog industry than John and Connie Surber of Clinton County, the 2018 Ohio Pork Industry Excellence Award recipients. Both grew up in Highland County with farm roots. John went to college expecting to come back and work on the family farm, but instead got an off-farm job in 1975 with Premier Feeds.

“I got hired as a feed salesman at Premier and started selling feed for livestock in the area. I moved up in the company until the 1990s and became president of the company and then we purchased the company in 1999,” John said. “When I started in 1975, Clinton County was the top hog county in the state, but in the 70s and 80s Airborne and then DHL came into Clinton County and farmers started selling their livestock and working for DHL.

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