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Learning as they go

Forsythe brothers farm is a product of dedication, perseverance

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ABOVE: From the left, back row: Kim and Joe Forsythe and Andy and Aryn Forsythe stand behind their children Kelley, T.J. and J.D. in front of their tractor and grain bin on land previously owned by Tom and Betty Forsythe. BELOW: Kelley Forysthe laughs as a pig licks her hand.(EXAMINER PHOTOS | NATE SMITH) FRONT PAGE PHOTO: A rainbow over Joe and Kim Forsythe’s farm is reflected in the pond after a rain shower last summer. (PHOTO | KIM FORSYTHE)

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For many successful producers, their formative years were spent working and learning on a family farm owned by Dad, grandpa or uncle. They were able to cut their teeth early on and lay a foundation for farming, and maybe someday they inherited that farm and maintained it for several decades.

Joe and Andy Forsythe don’t exactly have that kind of pedigree, but the work they’ve done on their still-growing operation has made them the Bellefontaine Examiner’s 2013 Farm Family of the Year.

The brothers maintain a 600-acre farm spread across two properties that have been in the family for more than 70 years. About 250 acres of the Forsythe Farm consists of hay, and the other 350 acres is dedicated to corn, soybeans and wheat before it is planted back to hay, which is sold locally to producers. The alfalfa grass and hay remain for three years before they are rotated back to corn, soybeans and wheat, Andy said.

The Forsythes move approximately 15,000 small bales of hay each year to local horse markets, they said.

As their operation has developed, the brothers have in recent years purchased adjoining plots that make up their current 600-acre operation.

Impending additions to the Forsythes’ operation includes the purchase of three more plots of land totaling more than 100 acres.

In addition to their crops, the Forsythes also keep a cow-calf operation that consists of 60 cows. They feed out all the calves on their farm, and sell the beef locally, Joe said, adding that cattle are rotated to keep pasture grass thick and viable. The brothers also feed out hogs to sell locally.

Joe said he and his brother have a regular roster of customers who purchase their beef, some of which is purchased in larger quantities and then re-sold. The farm moves about 50 head of cattle each year, the brothers reported.

An ongoing cultural emphasis on locally-produced — not just corn and soybeans — but also beef, has helped keep up demand for their meat, Joe said.

The Forsythe farm is situated on plots of land that formerly belonged to Joe and Andy’s maternal and paternal grandparents.

Joe, his wife Kim, and their two children, nine-year-old T.J. and six-year-old Kelley, live on 100 acres originally owned by Tom and Betty Forsythe, while Andy, his wife Aryn, and two-year-old J.D. live on 150 acres previously maintained by Virgil and Virginia Davis.  

Both brothers credit their wives for much of their success. Were it not for their regular incomes — Kim works as a physical therapist, and Aryn as a Benjamin Logan Elementary School teacher — the farm operation may not have survived its earliest days, Andy said.

“Don’t let them fool you, they’re passionate,” Kim said, alluding to her husband and brother-in-law’s commitment to the farm.

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