ANNA — For Lora Berning of rural Anna, being highly active in agriculture is just another day at the office, if you will. While women have been actively involved in agriculture for some time now in West Central Ohio, few have grasped the lifestyle with such fervor building a career path as Berning has.
The 20-year-old Berning is currently a program assistant in her agricultural business and agronomy classes at Wright State University-Lake Campus in Celina. Working with the coordinator, Berning will continue to help with student recruitment and new class development when her third year of study begins in the fall.
She hopes to one day work in the field professionally.
“I plan to get my degree at Wright State (Celina) and maybe look into a master’s degree. But right now, this could lead to becoming an extension agent or working with the Farm Bureau or something like that. But this is my life and I want to stay in this (agricultural work),” she said.
“Farming has always been a huge part of my life, ever since I can remember. I was always known as the farm girl while I was in high school,” said Berning. She graduated Anna High School in 2014, and was active in the FFA program and the school band.
Berning is the second of three children of Patrick and Alice Berning. An older sister, Jill, will soon be marrying and moving from the farm. Her 16-year-old brother, Keith, who will be a junior at Anna High School this coming school year, plans to stay in farming as a career, she said.
Their parents have a generations-long farming family history with grandparents, uncles and others following the same path. Alice Berning, originally from St. Henry, was raised on a dairy farm and continued in that field after marrying and moving to Shelby County.
Currently farming 200 acres, most near their home at 12644 Fort Loramie-Swanders Road, used to grow food for their animals, the family also maintains a 40-head dairy herd.
Lora Berning said being part of the day-to-day aspects of farming can be greatly educational, but said the life lessons learned from her parents have had a greater impact in her zest for a career path.
“The way our parents did it was that we never had ‘chores’ to do. It was like, ‘here’s the work, let’s get it done’ and we just all worked together getting things done. I learned a good work ethic from them. They taught us to work and not expect anything in return.
Berning added, “That’s the way I look at things now. It’s like putting up 12 to 14 loads of hay with our cousins. We are all our there working and sweating, getting things done together. We really feel an accomplishment at the end of the day.”
Even though the farm was the main focus, Berning said her parents always encourage their children to be involved in the community and school activities. She was a member of the McCartyville Producers 4-H club for 10 years. Berning also served as Junior Fair Board President for two years.
“Being junior fair president was an experience. I saw everything that it takes to put on a fair and it’s quite a bit. I had to deal with everything including conflict and how to work well with others.”
Summer opportunities have opened other doors for Berning.
She obtained a summer internship at the Greenville office of the Ohio State University Extension Office in Darke County. She is learning to oversee research crops, observe plant health, and the day-to-day operations throughout Miami, Darke and Auglaize counties. She is also participating with Darke County Farm Safety regarding grain and farm machinery safety.
Berning said her time as an intern and at Wright State is teaching her about networking and learning new technology. The use of technology recordkeeping and nutrient management programs is growing past generational hesitation, which Berning enjoys educating farmers about.
She plans to remain near her home and remain in farming while raising a family of her own someday.