Local News May 3, 2021 Jenna Pierson Staff Reporter jpierson@newsandsentin
May 3, 2021
Tucked away in the countryside, Neill Farms of Waterford is a family-owned farm that has operated for nearly 40 years and recently won an impressive accolade.
Jonah Neill, who grew up on the farm and now helps run it with his family in his adulthood, was a winner of the 2020 Asgrow National Yield contest, which encourages farmers to use innovative technology and management to push their yield limits further and further.
“Pushing the performance boundaries comes natural to these farmers and we could not be more proud to partner with them in their quest for higher-yield potential,” said Clint Chaffer, Asgrow Brand Manager. “The Asgrow brand continues to innovate, leading the way with exclusive genetics not found in any other seed bag, so farmers can continue to reach their goals and get to that next bushel.”
Neill managed to grow and harvest the largest amount of soybeans in the state of Ohio in 2020. His father, Steve Neill, also won second place in the state in 2020 for corn yields.
While a typical soybean growing season in Washington County averages around 50 bushels an acre, Neill was able to plant and harvest 101 bushels, which is more than double. The Neill family prides themselves on yielding a yearly harvest of roughly 60 bushels an acre already, which is above average.
During the day, Neill works for Heritage Cooperative as a Sales Agronomist, but he lovingly refers to his crops and farm life as his ‘second job on the evenings and weekends.’
“I always hear people say we can’t do that here, that we can’t have high yielding stuff in Southeast Ohio, it’s not possible,” Neill said. “…That was kind of my idea to be like hey I can prove you guys wrong and I can do it…through intensive management and decent farming practices, that’s how we pulled it off.”
When Neill graduated college in 2010, after a lull in farming, he and his father began the process of expanding their operations to the 500 acres they own today.
“We grew fast; really fast,” Neill said. “The way we’ve been able to do that is really diving into the details and intensive management and watching what we do.”
Now buried in the soil, the 2021 soybean growing season began for the Neill family on April 5 and they anticipate another successful yield.
“It was awesome to know that you won the entire state and you went up against some guys who farm with some really good technology and really good real estate and great soil…it’s an accomplishment.”
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