Green Haven Farm: Deep roots

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CARROLLTON, Ohio — Green Haven Farm is a family farm that has occupied a corner of Columbiana and Carroll counties for five generations.

History

The farm can trace its roots to 1882 in Carroll County, but was most likely started before that because the property used to be part of Columbiana County.

An Ohio Century Farm, today Green Haven Farm includes 70 cow-calf pairs raised on a 120-acre managed grazing system.

Rusty and Lisa Grubbs pride themselves on continuing the family farm. Rusty is employed off the farm by the Carroll County School System, which leaves Lisa with many of the farm responsibilities and mom duties.

They have two daughters and a son: Laurel, 22, Sam, 20 and Joe 16.

Rusty’s dad, Bryan, still lives on the farm and owns part of it. He is active on the farm and the duties that come with living on it, including helping with hauling hay.

Sam, who’s studying horticulture at Kent State University, is interested in staying on the farm.

Cattle

The family uses a grass-based diet for their Angus crossbred cattle. The farm spans over 400 acres where they raise 70 brood cow-calf pairs.

Approximately 120 acres is used for intensive grazing with pressurized waterlines built using EQIP funds.

EQIP funds were also used in the construction of new fence in parts of the farm. The entire farm now includes a perimeter fence.

The Grubbs pride themselves on developing a healthy pasture system for their cattle and making hay in the summer to feed in the winter besides stockpiling grass.

Changes made

The economics of farming and off-farm employment transformed the farm into what it is today. The farm started out as a dairy farm, and Rusty and Lisa tried to run the dairy while Rusty worked off the farm. However, the money wasn’t what they had hoped for and, with three small children at the time, they decided it wasn’t the path for them to take.

So they sold the dairy cattle and started concentrating on raising beef cattle.

About 10 years ago, the family decided to sell all of the tillage equipment and devote their energy to grass-fed cattle. Rusty said it was basic economics — the couple wasn’t getting the return from the money they were putting into the ground.

Now the family feels it is headed in the right direction. They are constantly working to create healthy grass paddocks for the herd and they say the economics make more sense.

Instead of putting the money into the ground, they make the farm work for them by producing quality beef with registered Angus bulls off of grass pastures. The family garners 2-1/2 pounds a day growth.

The family produces small- to moderate-frame size cattle for two reasons: pasture size and the ability to work with them easier.

They do use artificial insemination in about 15 of their cattle a year, but the majority of the breeding is done using bulls.

Direct marketing

The farm uses some different approaches to marketing their cattle. One is that about 20 of their cattle is sold for youth to show in the Canfield Fair in Mahoning County. The Canfield Fair Steer Committee purchases the animals for a lottery system where the youngsters cattle are picked for them through the system.

Another approach the Grubbs use to sell their beef is to have a cow butchered and then sell it straight from their freezer. Customers come to the farm to make their purchases.

Rusty said his goal is to continue building the herd, graze calves through out the year and then sell them off in the fall the following year.

Using teamwork, the Grubbs are working to ensure the farm can continue in the family another five generations.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

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