Scouting the field

Last of a two-part series

Painting pictures, carving wood,

Be a rich man if I could,

But the only job I do well is here on the farm.


Shilling for the fellow who brings the sheep in,

Shilling for the fellow who milks the herd,

Shilling for a wife for keeping,

How can we feed love on a farmboy’s wages?


These lyrics from a XTC song ring all too true for some farmers. However, apparently many people have found ways to live on a farmer’s wages – and mates who don’t mind long hours, hard labor and little monetary rewards.

While last week’s installment of this two-part series dealt with single farmers looking for love, this part shows there is hope out there. Many farmers have either found a mate already interested in agriculture or one who easily adapted to the lifestyle.

Boyd and Rori. Rori Allen, previously a nonfarmer, met her husband, Boyd, who always has been a farmer, 10 years ago.

Boyd was a dairy farmer and lived in Albany, Ohio. Rori went to Ohio University and graduated with a degree in education. Originally from Toledo, Rori ended up moving to Albany and began teaching at a local school.

It just so happened that Boyd’s nephew was in her class, so naturally she ended up getting to know the family, she said.

It all began when Boyd’s brother was supposed to drop off some hay at Rori’s house for her horses. He forgot and never ended up coming. Boyd found out that his brother hadn’t done the job, so he loaded the hay into his vehicle and delivered it.

Rori said he came inside and they sat across from each other at the breakfast nook and talked for what seemed like forever.

Suddenly, she said it hit her as she sat across from him, “I’m interested in him!”

A few days later Rori said she was surprised as she walked around the corner of her house and ran into Boyd just as he was coming up to her door.

“It all fell into place from there,” she said.

Although Rori enjoyed horses, she was not accustomed to Boyd’s dairy lifestyle. However, she was quick to learn and also quick to fall in love with it.

“I’ve been known to be pulling a cow in my nightgown and boots,” she said.

“I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my whole life,” Rori said after seven years of marriage. “It takes someone special to handle this lifestyle.”

Boyd manages their 300-acre farm and milks their 60-70 cows, while Rori takes care of the barn and 10 acres her husband gave her to breed racehorses.

She has grown used to not going on vacations and said that, instead, they put in a swimming pool to satisfy their occasional vacation longing.

And best of all, although her husband works long hours out in the barn, Rori said, “He’s always out there when I need him. It was fate.”

Greg and Tara. Unlike Rori and Boyd, other people always have been farmers and it was simply a matter of time before they met.

When Tara Benjamin and Greg Winland, both of Mantua, Ohio, first started dating, they planned on going to the drive-in movies because they thought it sounded neat and neither had ever been to one.

Seven years later, these farmers still haven’t gone.

“There’s no time!” Greg said.

When she was 14, Tara started feeding calves at the same farm where Greg worked.

At first they were just friends and co-workers, but when Tara turned 16, Greg asked her father if he could take her on a date – to the Portage County dairy banquet!

Seven years later, they are engaged and getting married next summer – that is, if they can find the time between planting and baling hay.

It will also have to be in the evening, they said. “No daytime sunlight is disrupted when we might get something done,” Tara laughed.

As for a honeymoon: “It would be nice to do that but maybe in December or something,” Tara said. “We haven’t really thought about that.”

Both Tara, 23, and Greg, 26, are from farming backgrounds. Tara’s family has a dairy and beef farm and raises hay. Greg’s grandfather was a beef farmer, and Greg owns a farm in southern Ohio, which he is renting out. They hope to move there someday and have a beef farm.

Although they are both accustomed to the lifestyle, these two still face challenges, particularly finding the time to see each other. However, they always make time for each other at dinnertime, Tara said.

“We always eat together, no matter what time or where we are, even if we’re in the field,” Tara said.

“The time we do spend together is definitely quality time,” she said. “While others might spend six hours a day together, it isn’t quality. It doesn’t mean anything. Even if we only spend an hour together, it’s quality.”

They’ve also learned to be flexible and, according to the story of his engagement proposal, Greg knows all too well about trying to plan in advance.

His plans were to propose on Christmas Eve. He wanted to set up a model John Deere train set and have the train come around the track, carrying Tara’s engagement ring.

Well, the mixer at the farm broke and he ended up working until after 9 p.m. By then, Tara was tired and didn’t really want to come to his house.

He lured her there by saying he had a huge, heavy present for her that he couldn’t haul to her house.

So, she came over and Greg proposed, but there was no time for the train. “I almost didn’t have time [to propose],” Greg laughed.

Although Greg started working on the farm as a part-time job during high school, he has since made it his career and is now the service manager and handles the mechanics and maintenance at the farm where they met.

Tara is active with the daily chores on her family’s farm and helping Greg. She is also finishing her last year at Kent State University in nursing.

“I love farming, too, but went to college so we could afford to live later,” Tara said.

Despite the long days, Greg manages to get off the farm often to buy flowers to surprise Tara.

However, her sweetest memory is one night when she was unpacking his lunch after he came in from the field. Inside his lunch box she found flowers that had wilted and died.

He had gathered wildflowers for her while he was out in the field. Although they weren’t healthy and colorful like those from a florist, Tara said they were more meaningful than any other bouquet.

Dan and Karen. In January, a personal ad in Farm and Dairy said “Country boy wants country girl.”

This country boy was Dan Hemminger, and the country girl he met was Karen of Pennsylvania.

Karen, 48, answered his ad and they began talking on the phone as much as possible. In June, Karen went to visit Dan for the first time on his dairy farm in Ohio.

Before setting off on the 200-mile trip, Karen told him to plan on not doing anything different than he usually did on a weekend – she didn’t mind lending a hand on the farm and getting dirty.

Dan was quick to notice that she brought jeans with patches in the knees – Karen was ready to help him work, and he liked it that she wasn’t afraid to be herself.

Karen rode with him while he plowed, disked and planted. Their similar farming backgrounds helped them connect. She said he made her feel like a teen-ager again.

Although these two aren’t in a committed relationship for now, Dan said he missed her as soon as she left and looks forward to this month when they are planning another visit.

Dan has used personal ads before and has met several nice women, however Karen is the only one he has met in person, he said. He continues to talk with several of the women who answered his previous personal ads. Just getting to talk with a nice person is definitely worth the ad’s cost, he said.

“The biggest thing is you’re going to have to get people to open up,” Hemminger said. “There are lots of lonely people out there wanting someone, but too afraid to approach anyone.

“There is no reason for people to stand around and be lonely. There are people out there and vehicles to meet them and communicate.”

(You can contact Kristy Alger at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 23, or by e-mail at kalger@farmanddairy.com.)

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