Farming grew into family career

Working for other farmers sparked a lifelong farming interest in Bill Bayliss.

Bayliss farm aerial

ABOVE: An aerial view of Wigwam Farms, the home of Bill and JoAnn Bayliss along County Road 20 north of West Mansfield. BELOW: Bill and JoAnn Bayliss of West Mansfield have been named the Bellefontaine Examiner’s Farm Family of the Year. (PHOTOS | BAYLISS FAMILY)

Bayliss farm 2


The Rushsylvania native was not raised on a farm, but he helped on his uncle’s farm and helped neighbors bale hay and milk cows. His foray into farming began with raising calves, feeder lambs and ewes.

Bill and JoAnn Bayliss, 9844 County Road 20, West Mansfield have been named the Bellefontaine Examiner’s 2019 Farm Family of the Year.

While his bright red 1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone may have caught his wife’s attention, she got his attention as he circled through the former Shiveley’s Drive-in on south Main Street in Bellefontaine and they were married in 1965. In 1967, they rented their first farm and purchased their first tractor — a John Deere A.

The Baylisses soon determined that sweet red ride would not be a suitable family car and the A model has given way to much more modern farming equipment.

But something that has remained constant is farming itself. Bill and JoAnn have lived on their farm since the late 1960s and it is the hub of the Wigwam Farms’ operation,  named for the name that was painted on the barn when they purchased the property. The name refers to the way it was purposely built in 1902 to angle in as it went up to be more structurally sound. The operation consists of 1,200 predominately corn and soybean acres as well as some wheat and hay acres in Logan, Union and Champaign counties. A few acres are set aside for production of tofu beans which are delivered to the tofu production plant near Marysville.

Read complete story in Thursday's Examiner
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