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Growing together

Chris Stingley and his father, Chuck, got out of high school about the same time, but in different ways. Chris graduated in 1995, and Chuck retired in 1996, after teaching industrial arts for 33 years.

That's when they started building a full-time farming operation near Waynesville, Ohio. Both had been involved in farming for years, however. During the '70s, Chuck had farmed about 600 acres and raised hogs while teaching. Later, he dropped the hogs and farmed about 300 acres.

Chris rented his first "farm" when he was in the sixth grade. It was only 2 acres, but that's not the important part. The important part is that's when he decided he wanted to farm and, symbolically at least, when he started.

"I got 10 more acres a couple of years later," says Chris, "so I had a total of 12 acres in three fields."

But even as a teenager, Chris knew it would take more than 12 acres and desire to get started farming. He felt he needed more education pertaining to agriculture and a broader base of experience. Consequently, in the fall of 1995, he enrolled in a 24-month crop management program at The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, Ohio.

Chris Stingley and his father, Chuck, got out of high school about the same time, but in different ways. Chris graduated in 1995, and Chuck retired in 1996, after teaching industrial arts for 33 years.

Some students go straight through, but Chris went to school in the fall and winter and farmed in the spring and summer. He didn't always farm at home, however. The first spring and summer he had an internship with a nearby farmer, Mike Clark, who has a large farming operation.

But that cloud has a silver lining. Cincinnati, located on the Ohio River, has better grain markets than most of Ohio. "We're within 50 miles of several terminal elevators," says Chris.

Harvest season is Chris' favorite time of the year. "For one thing, it's payday," he says. "But there is also a feeling of accomplishment, knowing you raised that crop."

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