What was once a 25-cow dairy farm back in 1959 is now a 410-milking cow, 1,200-acre farm still operated by Steiner’s brother, John, and his nephews, Eric and Kurt, at Creston. Steiner no longer has a financial interest in the farm but he still considers it home.
“Farming has changed a lot over the years. Technology and advancements allow more work to be done in less time and with less effort,” said Steiner. “I was always interested in equipment and implements but I had no idea I would make a career out of that interest.”
A new job with an established business that was growing was a smart move for Steiner. He brought home more than an education when he returned from Bluffton. He brought a wife, and for the first time in his young life he was reminded of the beauty that surrounded him in Wayne County. Not until his bride, Harlene, mentioned the rolling hills and the big, beautiful trees did Steiner realize what a stunning landscape there was in the region.
“When you see something every day you miss things. Here I’d spent my whole life here and not until Harlene brought it to my attention did I realize what we have here,” said Steiner.
After 51 years of service at Lowe and Young, Steiner has become a recognizable face in the community. “I suppose I know a lot of people. I’d have to go at least to Apple Creek to find someone I didn’t know,” Steiner joked. “I’ve tried to make a difference here. I have been involved with FFA, brought attention to children’s projects and purchased livestock at the fair to show support for the young people interested in agriculture in the area. When you get involved in your community it brings on a whole new relationship with people.”
Reluctant to call himself a pillar in the community, Steiner admits his good fortune has come from the people in the region. “I never would have stayed here so long if it weren’t for the people and the availability of good Swiss cheese,” Steiner laughed.
“You’ve got to treat people well and I hope I have done that. People need to be needed. Everyone needs a livelihood. If you don’t sleep well at night it’s because you weren’t honest enough and didn’t work hard enough,” said Steiner.
Steiner officially retired from Lowe and Young in December 2011. He and Harlene are planning a trip to Germany and Austria. He wants to spend more time in the garden and continue to enjoy the vintage farm tractor collection that he swears he is finished growing.
In the meantime, Steiner still stops at Lowe and Young each day to say hello to everyone. “He’s a phone call away if I need him,” said Bill Hartzler, current Lowe and Young president. “I’ve been here 28 years so it is definitely strange without C.K.”
Published: January 25, 2012