Nick and Sunny Cummings, of Washington Court House, were selected national winners at the 62nd-annual National Outstanding Young Farmers Awards Congress held Feb. 15-18 in Sacramento, Calif.
Four national winners were selected from a group of 10 finalists for the award based on their progress in an agricultural career, extent of soil and water conservation practices, and contributions to the well-being of the community, state and nation.
Guest master of ceremonies, Tom Steever of Brownfield Ag News, announced the four national winners and interviewed them for an upcoming episode of This Week in Agribusiness. The three other national winners for 2018 are from Iowa, Arkansas and Wisconsin. National winners received a savings bond from corporate sponsor John Deere and the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. during National Ag Week in 2019.
Nick Cummings credits his involvement in 4-H and FFA with cultivating an interest in agriculture that would lead to his future career. When a local farmer gave him a job moving wagons of grain from the field to the grain bins at age 16, he knew that somehow he would become a first-generation farmer.
At 17, Nick convinced a local banker to loan him enough money to buy a baler. In paying back that loan, he established a relationship with an ag lender that he maintains today. He rented his first 25 acres at age 19, and he now raises corn, soybeans, wheat, hay and feeder cattle on nearly 2,000 acres.
His wife, Sunny, grew up on a multi-generational farm. In addition to her job as an elementary teacher and duties as a mom to Tyler, Hannah and Hayden, she manages the finances on the farm.
Nick has maintained and improved surface drains and three different waterways on his acreage, and he has tilled 350 acres. Given his background, it is not surprising that Nick prioritizes giving back to youth agricultural programs. For the past 10 years, he has worked with the local FFA alumni and youth to hold a consignment equipment auction to fund-raise for scholarships to further the students’ agricultural careers. He is also active with the Ohio Farm Bureau, Corn and Wheat Growers Association, and his church.
The NOYF program is the oldest farmer recognition program in the United States, selecting its first group of national winners in 1955. The program is sponsored by John Deere, administered by the Outstanding Farmers of America (OFA), and supported by the National Association of Conservation Districts, the National Association of County Agricultural Agents and the U.S. Jaycees.