The Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce has been recognizing a “Farmer of the Year” annually since 1957 and this year was no different.
On Thursday night, the chamber held a banquet at which Ken Rase was named the “2016 Farmer of the Year.”
Every year, the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce accepts nominations for area’s farmer honor.
“Although farming has changed considerably since 1957, the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to honor the farmer of the year, each year. The farmers we are seeing now are third, fourth and fifth generation framers. It’s a big part of Scioto County and southern Ohio,” said Lisa Carver, Executive Director of the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce in a released statement.
According to nomination information, “Ken Rase was born to Carl and Madalyn Rase of Minford, as the second of seven children. He was born into a farming family. His father, Carl was a beekeeper and sold both honey and vegetables commercially. His grandfather George Hoover was a dairy farmer and his other grandfather Henry Rase was a dairy farmer.”
Having been exposed to a farming life, it was easy for Rase to carry on the family tradition of farming.
At the age of ten Rase started raising tomato plants and selling them for $0.10 at the age of 10. The money raised from the tomato plants was saved along with his lunch money to purchase a pony at the age of 12.
He got one of his first jobs at Phleger’s Grocery Store and was paid $0.40 an hour. Again he saved the money to purchase his first calf for $6 and then additional calf’s. At the age of 17, Ken was raising 4,000 tomato plants and hired employees to work for him, paying the $0.75 an hour.
In 1978 Rase purchased a farm in Minford and has since purchased five adjoining farms to increase his farm to 520 acres, one of the largest contiguous farms in Scioto County.
According to nomination information, “Currently there are about 100 beef animals, nine mules and one horse (on the Rase Farm). The numbers have been recently scaled back due to the bypass highway construction through the farm. At one time, he had 350 head of cattle on five farms, totally over 1,000 acres. He operated one of the largest beef operations in Scioto County. He has owned cattle for 60 years. The Rase Farm provides enough beef to feed 1,000 people for a year or all of Scioto County for three days.”
Rase had a large number of family members in attendance and said he was humbled to accept the award that so many had accepted before him.
“It’s an honor for me to join the ranks of guys that I’ve respected all of my life,” Rase said. “My grandfathers were both farmers and I chose to be a farmer, primarily for these four kids (family members) here. It’s been a long journey and I appreciate this very much.”
For more information about the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce visit www.portsmouth.org.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT