MASSILLON, Ohio — “I do what I do because I wouldn’t want to do anything else,” said fifth generation farmer Ben Klick, of Windy Way Farms in Stark County.
Whether he’s in the shop working on equipment, in the barn feeding cattle or going on a road trip to pick up equipment, Klick says every day is a challenge, but he wakes up every day doing what he is passionate about.
He didn’t always want to work on the family farm.
“Growing up, I always helped on the farm. But I was more concerned with sports than being out on the farm,” he said.
One day, “I just had a wake-up call,” and his father, Jim, started letting him take on more responsibilities.
Education: Associates degree in agronomy, Ohio State ATI
Type of farm: Beef cattle and row crops
Head of cattle: 550
He studied agronomy at Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, so he could commute between school and the farm.
“I got questioned all the time in high school: ‘What do you mean you want to go to college to farm?’”
Klick would explain that farming is a business, and a farmer has to know the markets and he has to manage employees.
“ATI was the best decision I ever made. I made a lot of connections.”
Connections that have helped him become more involved in the agriculture industry.
Klick serves as a representative on the Ohio Corn and Wheat board, the Stark County Farm Bureau Board, and the Stark County Cattlemen’s Board.
Being involved gives him a voice to combat the public’s misconceptions about agriculture, which he feels is one of the biggest challenges for the next generation.
“What we are doing is good. I’m raising GMO crops to feed my cattle because it’s the way of the future,” he said.
“I hear people out. They may have a question and I may disagree with them, but I want to inform the public.”
When Klick came back to the farm full time, the family decided to expand the cattle side of the business.
“We always had a few head of cattle growing up and I like feeding cattle.” A new cattle facility was built in the fall of 2016.
“You got to be diversified” to make it in today’s agriculture economy, explained Klick.
Working with family
“Dad and I don’t have a typical father-son relationship,” said Ben. When it comes to the farm, they are business partners first.
He said there is definitely a generational gap when comes to new technologies, but the Klicks try to keep up with the latest trends on some of the equipment.
“It will take him a while to admit it, but he learns from me too. We learn from each other,” said Ben.
“Overall, we get along great. He has put a lot more on my shoulders.”