Geauga County Farm Bureau Member Spotlight: Brenda Hastings

Brenda and Lad in the milking parlor
Brenda Hastings with her husband Lad in the milking parlor

When Farm Bureau began, as Farm Bureau grew and until this very moment, Farm Bureau has been led by volunteers. Our organization is a reflection of these volunteers; passionate, dedicated, strong-willed and action-oriented. Without these volunteers, Geauga County Farm Bureau and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation would not have the relationship they have today. Since our policy and local programming efforts are led by volunteers, they often make a very direct impact with communities we serve.

One of our key volunteer leaders, one who I’ve been very fortunate to know over the years, is Brenda Hastings, of Hastings Dairy LLC in Claridon Township. I recently had a good discussion with Brenda about her experience in Farm Bureau, about her farm and her family. Here are some of the highlights….

Tell us about the farm, why you chose dairy and why you chose northeast Ohio.

My husband, Lad, and I are 3rd generation dairy producers who operate Hastings Dairy in Claridon Township. In addition to our traditional dairy and farming operation, we have an agritourism business which welcomes visitors seasonally May through October. Our latest venture is the creation of Rowdy Cow Creamery, our new on-farm creamery. We’re really excited to offer fresh milk bottled just steps away from where the cows are milking. We’ll be ready to start selling half gallons and pints of white and flavored milk in early spring 2015.

I was raised and educated in central California. My husband was raised in Red Haw, Ohio. We met at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin and have been married almost 18 years. After our first son was born twelve years ago, we started thinking seriously about starting our own dairy. Since Lad was raised in Northeast Ohio, we looked at dairy farms available in this region and were fortunate to find a dairy in Geauga County. We’ve been here 10 years and love it. Lad and I have two children; Garrett (12) and Jack (9). They attend Burton Elementary School, are members of the Geauga Dairymen 4-H Club and are involved in sports.

Why and when did you decide to join Farm Bureau?

I’ve been a Farm Bureau member for over 20 years. I support Farm Bureau because it gives agriculture a voice in state and federal policy, which can have an impact on how we do things on our farm. I appreciate how Farm Bureau works to bring all Ohio agriculture organizations together to collaborate on projects that are important to all farmers. It’s vital for farmers to engage with consumers who have questions about food and farming. I like Farm Bureau’s mission; to forge a partnership between farmers and consumers. Protecting food production makes it possible for farms and rural communities to thrive.

What roles and titles have you held with Farm Bureau?

I served on the Geauga County Farm Bureau Board for 6 years. Serving two years as President, two years as Vice President and one year as secretary. I’ve served on the Ohio Farm Bureau Dairy Advisory Team for four years. I also participated in the Ohio Farm Bureau AgriPower program which is a year-long leadership program.

What benefits have you experienced as a member?

Through involvement at local, regional and state Farm Bureau events, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people who share my interests in agriculture. I also appreciate receiving updates on the latest information about Ohio agriculture, policy and information via the Ohio Farm Bureau e-newsletter and monthly publications.

Favorite Farm Bureau memory or event?

I enjoy the excitement of the Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Columbus. It’s great to experience the grass roots method of policy development. I like meeting and get to know others involved in agriculture from all over Ohio.

What do you enjoy most about being a member?

I like the leadership and educational opportunities Farm Bureau provides. I also like being part of discussions about policy that shape agriculture in Ohio. I believe Ohio Farm Bureau does a good job representing my interests as a farmer and rural community resident.

How can people get all the updates on the farm and other agriculture topics?

People can follow our farm and connect with us (and the Farm Bureau) via the Internet and social media:
Hastings Dairy and Rowdy Cow Creamery website
The Dairy Mom blog
Hastings Dairy Facebook page
Geauga County Farm Bureau Facebook page

If you would like more information about the Farm Bureau please visit their website.

This story is sponsored by Geauga CountyFarm Bureau

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Ty Kellogg
Author: Ty Kellogg

Ty Kellogg has been the Organization Director of the Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula and Trumbull County Farm Bureau for just shy of two years. His primary duties include management of the four-county Farm Bureau office, assisting volunteers with membership drives, programs that promote agriculture and engaging the public in agriculture and community policy development. Born, raised and living in Geauga County, Ty can also be seen playing music throughout northeast Ohio, running, hunting, fishing and helping his parents on their farm.