Those were the words uttered from Lisa Sippel in Mount Gilead this week. She was describing when she and her husband, Ben, bought their farm at the age of 23.

She said that when they purchased the 77-acre farm, they were young, but they had a business plan and a dream.

Lisa said she can remember being at the auction held by the family after the farm was purchased and hearing the doubts. Even their loan officer made comments. But he also told them that because they had a head on their shoulders and a plan, he had faith in them.

Other farmers and neighbors didn’t hold the faith, Lisa recalled.

She admits they were young and besides the experience Ben gained from working on farms in college, they didn’t have much. Neither of them share a farming background.

That didn’t stop the couple though. They both had a dream.

Lisa said they started farming before they purchased the ground and started constructing a greenhouse even before they could move in. She remembers being so tired some days, she doesn’t know how it all got done. She even felt stereotyped when area farmers found out they were going to be growing organic vegetables.

That didn’t stop them. They had a plan. She continued teaching for awhile and Ben concentrated on the farm.

They were raising vegetables, beef and pork and selling it through their CSA. Eventually, it grew enough and Lisa was able to work full-time on the farm.

Land which once was the main pasture for the barn became the best land on the farm for growing vegetables because it had over 40 years of organic matter directly deposited.

Soon, the family grew with a couple more greenhouses and a baby. Now, they are growing again and making Ohio history in the field of agriculture with their sheep dairy — they are working on making their first season of sheep’s milk cheese to be sold through their CSA.

And they aren’t stopping there. They want to grow their dairy and cheese-making business. Besides sheep cheese, they also purchase milk from a nearby dairy and are using it to make cow cheese for their CSA as well.

Lisa said she knows the naysayers are still out there, but she has faith. Faith in her love and hope that agriculture can not only grow, but grow their family in time as well.

For all of you with doubts, step back and think — you may have been young once and someone may have said the same things about you. Instead of thinking what can’t be done, step up and say anything is possible!

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses with her husband, Kurt. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism.
Kristy Foster Seachrist
View all posts by Kristy Foster Seachrist

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