It started back in 1879 when farming property was bought for $53 an acre.

“The farm has actually been passed down on my mother-in-law’s, Colleen Crane Mahans side of the family,” Sarah Mahan said. “Colleen’s great-grandfather purchased 80 acres of farmland that is still in the family, in 1879 for $53 an acre and built their first cattle barn in 1901 and it still stands and is used to house cattle still to this day.”

The Mahan Family, Brad and Sarah, are sixth generation farmers in Rush County.

“My husband, Brad is the sixth generation to farm the family farm. He came home to farm with his dad full-time in 2002. We were married in July of 2004. Our three girls, Brittney, 11, Melaney, 8, and Jody, 4, are the seventh generation to live on the family farm. We raise corn and soybeans and have a feeder to finish beef cattle operation. Brad farms alongside his dad, Tom along with his mom, Colleen, myself and our three girls. Brad also has a sister, Lauren who lives and works off the farm.”

The family stays busy; in fact they stay busy 365 days a year.

“Farming is definitely a 365 day a year job. There are several late nights, especially during planting and harvest. Brad is usually out the door before the sun comes up and, at times, doesn’t get home until well after dark.”

“I wouldn’t want to do anything else,” Brad said. “I love what I do. I get up every morning ready to go out the door, and I have the added benefit of getting to work with my family every day.”

With farming comes many responsibilities; it isn’t a one-man job.

“Brad does all of the corn planting and some of the bean planting. His dad, Tom, plants most of the soybeans. He also does all of the nitrogen application. Tom sprays all the crops as well as all the harvesting of the crops while Brad hauls it all away with the semis. I’m usually busy running kids to various activities, but I have started driving the grain cart to help with harvest. I also make sure the guys are fed, so they can keep going in the fields,” Sarah said.

Besides farming, Sarah also writes two blogs where she shares recipes, crafts for children, DIY and farm stories. They can be read online at and

All their hard work pays off in more ways than one.

This year, the Mahan family was nominated to be a Feature Farm Family at the Indiana State Fair.

An anonymous person nominated the family and they were contacted by Dow AgriSciences, who sponsor the event, to see if they would be interested in participating.

“Every day during the Indiana State Fair, there is a featured farm family. We were chosen to represent beef farmers on Aug. 12. Our day will start with breakfast with the fair board, followed by some other activities, then lunch at the Pioneer Village, and an interview at The Glass Barn at 2:30 p.m. that afternoon. There are other activities mixed-in throughout the day, but we haven’t heard what those are yet,” Sarah said.

Down the road, the Mahan family will continue to pass the farming tradition down to the next generations.

“Our girls truly love to farm. We are raising them to believe that they can do anything on the farm. We are working hard every day to make sure the farm is there for future generations.”

Contact Kate Thurston at

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