Barb and Phil Watts are very proud of their farm, what they produce and what they do for the community. The commercial cattle farm in Alexandria, which they acquired in 2001, is located along State Route 161/37 between New Albany and Granville in central Ohio. They currently crop farm 2,100 acres and feed 2,000 Holsteins. According to Phil, “The first years were slower. Anybody who’s lived through the ‘80s knows that those weren’t good years to expand, and it went slower then. But we have survived that and the last 15 years have been more expansion than ever before.”
Barb has a more active role at the farm as she oversees the daily operation alongside her son, Nick, while Phil retains a full-time position with Granville Milling Company. “Nick is such an important part and can do most tasks thrown his way,” shared Barb as she reflected on their current personnel. They have a herdsman, Brad Baker, whose main responsibility is the health and welfare of the livestock. “We are also very fortunate to have two retired farmers and a fireman who helps out on his days off. We are blessed with a family of employees - it takes all of us. We work hard and have fun together!”
In 2013, Barb and Phil were named the Ohio Cattleman’s Association’s Commercial Cattlemen of the Year. This award is presented to Ohio farmers who have demonstrated success through their commercial cattle operations. These farmers utilize performance information and the latest technologies available to increase the predictability of the cattle they raise, in addition to maintaining a continued focus on meeting and exceeding the expectations of beef consumers. The award is traditionally presented to cow-calf operations, but may also include feeders who feed the cattle they produce.
To help meet these consumer expectations, the farm does take advantage of some of the latest technological advancements. Barb did admit that there really wasn’t much available early-on, but now they use GPS, variable rate fertilizer applications and grid soil sampling.
To help meet their own expectations of expansion, the Watts turned to Heartland Bank this past fall when an area farm was up for auction – one that they had farmed for years and did not want to lose. Brian Fracker and Joel Oney came through with different loan options including terms and payments that made it all work.
“Heartland Bank values the relationships we have with our clients. We are excited to work with exceptional farmers and leaders in the agricultural community such as Phil and Barbara Watts,” stated Joel.
“Phil and Barb have been respected leaders in the agricultural community for many years and I have had a personal relationship with them through the Granville Milling Company for over 20 years. I am honored by their trust in me and Heartland Bank to assist them in the growth of their personal family farm,” added Brian.
The Watts are also committed to the community. They hosted “Cultivating a Cure” at their farm in August of 2016 to help raise funds to support cancer treatment and prevention research at The Ohio State University. The battle of cancer hits close to home for the Watts. Barb shared, “We asked an employee at our Granville Milling Co. to speak; she’s been dealing with cancer for many years. When she was done speaking, there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd.” Over the past six years, “Cultivating a Cure” has raised almost $350,000 for cancer treatment and research.
Just like the Watts, Heartland Bank values family, both at home and at work. We believe our employees and our clients, whether they just opened an account or have banked with us for years, aren’t just anything, they are everything.