By Laura Walker
At 18 years old, Sarah Broering already has bought into the family farm.
The Marion Local senior can't remember exactly when she started working on the farm, but does remember being very young and feeding her favorite cows grass pizzas.
She made the decision to buy into the dairy operation when she was only in the sixth grade and received a $5,000 youth loan to purchase a few milking cows. Then with the help of a first-time farmer's loan this year, she was able to buy her own small herd, bringing her up to about 40 milking cows.
"I bought some of my brother-in-law's cows, heifers, basically an assortment," she says.
Broering is one of six siblings and the baby girl of Anthony and Linda Broering. She and three other siblings own cows at Hilltop Farm, the family farm at 768 Voskuhl Road, Maria Stein. Broering identifies her cows by the orange ear tags. "We'll see how it goes. Hopefully, eventually me and my sister Angie will take it (the family farm) over," Broering says.
Broering's sister, Angie Schwieterman, currently works as a herdsman on their farm. Broering does her fair share of the work, feeding heifers and calves and milking at least once a week.
She is a member of the occupational work experience program at Marion Local High School, allowing her to attend a half day of school and work the rest of the day on the farm. She gets paid for her work and for the production of her cows, she says.
Broering's decision to be a career farmer was influenced by her 4-H experience and her parents.
"Mom (Linda) always kept a crib in the milking parlor," she says. "Ever since I was little I enjoyed being outside and playing with the cows. Anytime I can go outside and pet one of my Brown Swiss, I feel good."