WAYNESFIELD — Brothers Lee and Brandon Turner are springing into their first fiscal year operating Scioto Prairie Farms in Auglaize County. Although both are in their 20s, they certainly aren’t new to the farming business.
“(Starting Scioto Prairie Farms) puts a career in perspective for us,” Brandon said. “It’s something we’re going to try to be doing year after year, and hopefully a little more. With the business, we’ve always served the farmers around us.”
Working with their mother and father, the Turner brothers have taken over a neighboring farm, about double the size of their family farm in Waynesfield. Their neighbor retired, and his children were not interested in taking over the farm. The Turner family had done a lot of agricultural work for their neighbor in the past.
They chose the name Scioto Prairie Farms because they “farmed quite a bit around the Scioto River, and ever since we’ve grown up everybody has called this area ‘The Prairie’ because it’s so flat,” Lee said.
Along with the land, the Turners acquired farm equipment, including a combine, which they have never owned before, a bigger planter that will keep up with the bigger tractor and other equipment.
Lee said that “staying ahead of the game” with agricultural technology is a challenge.
“It just keeps getting harder and harder to stay ahead. The tools are there to help you succeed,” although he admitted that equipment is becoming more expensive. Purchasing the land was a two-year process, Lee said. There was a lot of farm credit that they needed to start the corporation, as well.
“The biggest thing as far as young people (getting involved with farming) is you got to have connections. You’ve got to have someone willing to back you up,” Brandon said. “It’s not easy as far as financing.”
But Lee said hard work pays off and, “If you continue to show people and the community you’re interested (in farming), that goes a long way, more than what a guy thinks.”
Lee and Brandon are both college alumni of Wilmington College. Lee graduated with a degree in agronomy and a minor in agricultural business in 2016, and Brandon graduated with an agricultural business degree in 2017. Both brothers attended Waynesfield-Goshen, where they played football and showed livestock. Lee and Brandon’s father was an agriculture teacher. Their mother is from Michigan and did not grow up on a farm. She met their father at The Ohio State University.
Lee and Brandon’s father farmed with his own father and started the Turner family farm business in the early 1990s. From then until 2017, they grew popcorn and soybeans. According to Lee, the demand for popcorn dwindled, so they switched to growing corn and soybeans. “We’d like to get back into popcorn again some day,” Lee. said
The largest part of the Turner family business is custom spraying applications. In addition to this and growing crops, they also offer full-service lawn care, snow removal, grain hauling and some fertilizer application. Brandon works more with the sprayers during planting season, while Lee works the fields with their father.
But during harvest season, everyone helps.
“We actually have a young staff,” referring to their two full-time employees, who are both in their 20s. They also employ some part-time seasonal help.
“It’s always good to hire young people and get them involved. It just adds another thing that we like to do,” Lee said.
“I’ve always liked rural community… and we’ve always enjoyed helping out area farmers and try to be involved in the community,” said Lee, explaining that he has been on the Auglaize County Farm Bureau board for two years. This year he joined the Auglaize Soil and Water Conservation District board.
Lee said that “you always want to be good stewards of the land and keep it there for the next generation.”
The brothers also said that they are ready for planting season.
“There’s always optimism in the new year,” said Lee, adding that he “hopes for the best.”