Big Frog, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County and Wagner Farms want you to meet the hard working families keeping us fed and clothed. This week we have an unusual salute going to Brooke Ossont and the Karl and Ryan Rauscher farm in West Leyden.

First and foremost, we salute the Rauscher's farm for their hard work and dedication to working a family farm for at least three generations. They have more than 80 head of dairy cows with around 60 of them currently milking. The farm was nominated for our weekly salute by Brooke Ossont, and it was Brooke's story that captivated us.

Brooke's great grandparents ran a small beef farm and she spent a lot of time there growing up and credits the experience with kindling her passion for farming. "I’d spend a lot of my time there which is where the dream originally began." During her high school years Brooke decided it was time to quit dreaming about farming and take action. There was just one problem, her small size.

I’m a 5’1” female no more than 120 pounds so not really the ideal size for a farm hand.

After being turned away at several farms, she happened upon Karl and Ryan Rauscher's farm on Osceola Road in West Leyden. Recognizing Brooke's passion and desire they gave her a chance at living the dream.

She says the Rauscher family has been "welcoming and understanding and made her feel like she belonged there. I couldn’t even begin to explain the huge positive impact working with them has been. I’ve been around several farmers in my life and I’ve never met one that cares for his cows as much as Karl does."

Brooke we salute you for being brave enough to live your dream, and never giving up on it. To Karl and Ryan, we say thanks for what you do even in the toughest of economic times. And just as importantly for realizing it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of fight in the dog. The picture of Brooke and that beaming smile is all the proof you need.

Know a farmer we should add to our list? Here's the nomination form, or send info on our Facebook page, our mobile app, or email polly@bigfrog104.com. Meet a Farmer is also made possible by New York Farm Net, a program of Cornell, Harbor Point MineralsWhite's Farm Supply, and the US Army.

Want to take your support of Central New York farmers to the next level? The Save Our Farms, Save Our Food campaign with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County is offering a custom designed T-Shirt supporting farmers with any $25 donation. Get more info and order yours at CCEOneida.com

Photo Credit - Cornell Cooperative Extension