The Village West Liberty kicks off the Holiday season on Friday evening.
- 4-6 pm – Donation-based Community Soup Dinner hosted by The Columbus Street Bridge Project and served at the Firehouse. All proceeds go to The Columbus Street Bridge. There will be a bake sale too.
- 5 pm – 23rd Annual Luminaria 5K Race. Registration is available on the day of the race from 3:30 – 4:45 pm at BOSS (103 W. Baird St.).
- 6:30 pm – Christmas in the Village Parade. The West Liberty Business Association awards cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place floats! Santa Claus comes to town & the village tree is lit! Following the Parade in the Town Hall Gazebo – Santa arrives bearing gifts for the kiddos and sits for pictures in Santa’s Gazebo on the lawn of the Town Hall.
Written and submitted by: Brenda Snyder, Secretary, West Liberty Business Association
The 2023 West Liberty Christmas Parade Grand Marshal is Linda Vernon! Linda has been married to her husband Jeff for 29 years. They have 3 children: Jason, Martha, and Jennifer. Their family also includes grandchildren, Olivia, Laney, Caise, Kyle, Josey, Boden, Sophia, and Wyatt.
Linda and Jeff own J & L Vernon Farms. Their farm is located just 2 miles north of the Village of West Liberty. The farm was established in 1963 by Judy and Bill Vernon and they celebrated the 60-year anniversary in May 2023! They shared ownership and care of the cattle for about 27 years and then moved to the farm about 7 years ago while they transitioned ownership. They also own a percentage of a crop farm in Champaign County. While they have no employees, they are equal partners and share all the farm work, projects, and chores! The cropland is leased to another local farmer/friend of the couple. Each year, they have a Farm Family Work weekend with their children to tend to large projects!
The cow/calf cattle operation began in 1965 with Red Herefords from the Knowlton Heritage Farm. Black Angus cattle were added to the herd soon afterward. They continue that same bloodline with their Herford/Angus mix. Judy raised a flock of Corriedale Sheep along with the cattle herd at about the same time. She created lambing pens in the bank barn and spent many cold, late nights helping ewes birth! As Judy aged, Linda and Jeff promised to keep the last of the old ewes on the farm. They re-started a new flock of lambs about 6 years ago with Red Tunis and Katahdin. This year they were challenged to rescue a Jacob lamb from an older farmer who had a stroke and was no longer able to care for his flock. She was the only surviving lamb from a flock of 20 ewes and rams. So far, she has adapted well with the flock, but they are still trying to be friends! Along with the lambs, they diversified with a new flock of laying hens at the farm to raise and sell fresh eggs.
Their livestock operation is one of the very few farms in the area that raise only grass-fed and grass-finished beef and lamb. Their focus is to raise and care for their animals in the most humane way possible, with quality of life being primary. With this holistic philosophy, they must tend to the land and soil as well as the livestock to be successful with their goals. Rotational grazing and the use of cover crops help them accomplish this. They are always learning and discovering new ways to be good stewards!
They sell their products directly to the customer from the farm, online, and at several Farmer’s Markets. This year, they diversified yet again and started raising hogs in partnership with their adult children for their families and the retail business! They feel very fortunate to be able to provide local, fresh, and healthy meat and eggs for their customers!
Linda says she is never away from her business as she is constantly creating and making plans to expand and grow, as her husband reminds her! Linda and Jeff care for their grandchildren and love to have them at the farm with them as much as possible! Linda tries to stay current with new farm practices and maintain farm associations through OSU Extension, Women in Agriculture, and specifically, Annie’s Project. Linda was honored to be a guest speaker at the Farm Science Review this year to discuss issues specific to female owners and operators. She also loves to read and wishes that she could write!
Currently, Linda serves as Vice-President of the West Liberty Business Association. There are many events that she is involved with behind the scenes such as Summer Street Market and Car Show. She is a vital part of the WLBA and is always available any time she is needed! She also sits on the West Liberty Parks Advisory Board representing Sherman Ricketts Park and the Ricketts Family as well as serving as a Director of The Logan County Land Trust. Linda participated in the initial grant writing and funding for the development of Sherman Ricketts Park. Linda says it has been a privilege working with the Village leaders and the Ricketts family to bring their vision to fruition. Linda says she is open to finding new opportunities to serve our community. They are also members of Quest Community Church and serve as life group leaders.
Linda says her favorite thing about West Liberty is the future opportunities to grow and create an even better community! She feels that she is a small voice with a big conviction to serve others and make a difference! She looks forward to working with her fellow business owners and operators to help make West Liberty a great small town! Linda says as we enter a new season that she is grateful for the collaborations and partnerships that she has established and hopes to grow together. She says that she appreciates the business associates, relationships, and connections along with the opportunities to serve her community as well as the friends and family who support her. She is grateful for the acceptance and graciousness extended to her by the West Liberty Community.
Linda says her hope and prayer are to create an ongoing legacy for their children and grandchildren as Judy and Bill intended for the farm. She feels humbled and blessed. They are always open by phone: 937-844-1541 Email: [email protected] Facebook: J & L Vernon Farms.