MIAMI COUNTY — Riding his bike from his childhood home in Casstown, Randy Mott spent many weekends on his grandfather Harley Mott’s farm on Hufford Road in Elizabeth Township.
Today, Randy and his wife Lynda watch as their eight grandchildren play in the creek, drive John Deere ATVs and explore the 89-acre parcel, which has been designated as an Ohio Century Farm by the state agriculture department.
“This is home for me,” he said. ”As soon as we moved out here, started working on the house, I just felt like this is where I was meant to be.”
Randy recalls riding his bicycle to the farm each Friday after school, staying through the weekend until his parents picked him up Sunday evening after family dinners.
“I just wanted to be with him (Harley Mott) on the farm. Then my mother and father would come out and bring dinner out for my grandfather and I every Sunday evening. I would go back home with them, put the bike in the truck, and go back to spend the week at home and back to school. But I just loved my grandfather and I just loved the farm, but I wasn’t raised on a farm.”
Randy graduated from Troy High School and earned a degree in farm management at The Ohio State University. He farmed for about eight years and then began work as a farm manager for Tip Top Canning in 1978. He managed their farm operation in the early 1980s before they sold their farm operation in 2007 and still works part-time for the company today.
Harley Mott was deeded the 90-acre farm in July 1918 where Randy’s aunt Marjorie and then his father, William, was born in 1921. His father inherited the farm in 1966, which Randy and Lynda bought in 2004. The Mott’s shared it was “a leap of faith” to move from what they believed to be their forever home in Tipp City to keep the farm in the family for another generation to enjoy.
The Mott’s tried to keep the original homestead, but after consulting with several architects and finding structural damage, they made the difficult decision to tear down the home. They built their dream farmhouse in 2005 with windows facing the rolling hills and creek complete with a wrap around porch to enjoy their farm from all angles.
Lynda enjoys landscaping the property and tending her chickens in their tidy coop. She also shared how she enjoys walking in the woods and along the creek on the property and exploring what she calls their “tiny piece of heaven.”
“I get a kick out of the chickens,” she said. “My favorite part of the farm is the layout of the land, the rolling hills, the creek. We’ve got our own little island over there — Randy built a walking bridge over to that. To me, it’s like a tiny piece of heaven. I think my favorite part is that I can get out and walk and I can be in the woods, or I can be along the creek. We have turtles, a lot of deer.”
The pair shared stories of how their grandchildren explore the farm in similar ways Randy did when he was a child visiting his grandfather, making mud pies and “algae burgers” from the creek, sitting on the rocks watching turtles and cruising the terrain in the green “Gators.”
“They have a ball out here,” she said.
“It’s not the house or the barn, it’s probably more the memories I have of my grandmother and my grandfather here. It’s been my favorite place. It’s always been a special place of mine. To be able to take care of it is a joy and maybe, someday, pass it on to one of our children.”
The Mott’s started the process of the Century Farm application in the fall of 2017. They spent evenings pulling documents and spending a few hours at the Miami County Recorder’s Office. They also spent time researching the land’s history with help from the Elizabeth Township’s historical book. The Mott’s have entered the 89-acre farm in the township’s farmland preservation program, which has approximately 5,700 acres enrolled in the township.
The farm also has one of Miami County’s Barn Quilts painted on its barn. “Grandmother’s Fan” is unique since it’s the only Barn Quilt which wraps around the corner of the barn, instead of the usual flat square murals seen on barns throughout the county.
Randy said he chose it because it reminded him of a quilt his grandmother Alta owned and enjoys its unique place in the county barn quilt program. It was also featured in the bicentennial barn quilt calendar in 2007.
The Mott’s received their Century Farm sign in June and celebrated with friends and family. The Mott Farm is the seventh farm in Miami County to be designated as a Century Farm, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s database. There are approximately 1,500 farms in Ohio designated as Century Farms with continuous family ownership of 100 years or more.
For more information and an application for the Ohio Century Farm program, visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website, select “Markets” and then select “Ohio Historic Family Farms.” The application is located on the right side of the webpage.