Blake’s History Lesson
The Ohio Department of Agriculture received an Ohio Century Farm registration last week from Diane Simon for her family’s Friendly Acres farm in Liberty Township, Hardin County. Diane included a cover letter, in which she gives credit for the registration to her grandson, Blake, age 16. She states that Blake has always been interested in family, and was anxious for Diane to submit the information.
And Blake has some interesting history to his family and farm.
Founder J. R. Spar, Diane’s grandfather, started a hybrid seed business in addition to his crop and livestock operation. Although a fire destroyed the seed house and 7,500 bushels of seed corn in 1943, the family rebuilt and continued with their seed operation.
Diane’s father, Robert Wyss, had a popcorn seed business – Wyss & Sons Poppin’ Popcorn – in addition to crops and livestock. He also designed an automatic car wash and operated five car washes in the Dayton area.
In 1978, the family remodeled the seed house and began manufacture of air diffusers for water and wastewater treatment plants. The product was sold nationally, and Ronald Wyss, Robert’s son, served as president of the company.
Today the farm is owned by Diane’s son, Michael Willeke. He focuses on conservation farming, using controlled traffic, GPS, grid soil testing, no-till, cover crops and crop rotation.
ODA is proud to welcome Blake and his family as the newest Ohio Century Farm.