A Q&A WITH CHARLIE AND CASEY ELLINGTON OF ELLINGTON FARMSIt’s not surprising that Charlie and Casey Ellington have careers in agriculture. Both are sixth-generation farmers.
They have two small farms, one in Louisville and one in Carroll County, where they raise steers and pigs for meat, which they sell directly to customers. They are in their seventh year of business as Ellington Farms.
“Our main goal is to try to share our love of farming and what we do,” Casey said. “We try to make (our meat) as inexpensive as we can, while giving our animals the best care and nutrition that we can.”
The couple have day jobs that are related to their farm operation. Charlie is a traveling animal nutritionist who formulates diets for dairy and beef farms. “I work with about 7,000 head of cattle throughout the state of Ohio,” he said. Casey works part time for PBS Animal Health in Massillon.
They also have two children. Charlie and Casey spoke with enthusiasm and purpose about Ellington Farms.
Q. What can you tell me about your operation?
Charlie: “We sell meat direct from farm to table. We raise steers and pigs and take them to a local, state-inspected butcher. We try to finish about 60 to 70 steer a year, but we built a new barn and we’re trying to double our size. We do about 15 to 20 pigs a year. We work with a local breeder whose animals have very strong genetics—very strong health-wise. We’re very picky about our pigs.”
Q. Do you sell sides of beef?
Casey: “We do, but for people who can’t afford that or don’t have large freezers, I’ve been selling $50 packs, so people can still get the quality and the assurance of knowing the farmer. A $50 pack has two 16-ounce T-bones, two 3/4-pound pork chops, 3 pounds of ground beef, which is 90/10 percent lean, a pound of bacon and a 3-pound roast. I deliver meat at least two days a week.”
Q. Is your meat organic and antibiotic-free?
Charlie: “It is not. I always tell everybody we treat our animals the same way we treat our kids. We do preventative medicine with vaccines so we don’t have to use antibiotics, and good nutrition, and that leads to very few sick animals. But if one of the animals gets sick, we work with a veterinarian to treat it to get better because we think that’s the right thing to do as a farmer. We keep very good records of that and market (our meat) as such.”
Casey: “We are not organic. We are probably closer to traditional, but Charlie has an animal-science degree. There’s room in this world for organic, grass-fed and traditional. Everybody wants to know where their food comes from, and they need to be able to
approach someone for answers. We’re very open, and we want to share our story.”