Nathan Vandenbroek smiles next to a campaign sign while running for treasurer.

From City Kid to Small Town Treasurer

Written by OSU student Kalyn Swihart

Growing up, the last thing Nathan Vandenbroek thought he’d end up doing is working in the agricultural industry. Nathan is now a resident of Van Wert County, Ohio, but he grew up on the west side of Toledo, a city boy. Now, he and his wife, Jessica, and son, Henrik, run a small sheep farm with Jessica’s parents.

Before life on the farm, Nathan had no thoughts as to where his food came from or how it got to his local grocery store. “Honestly, I probably laughed at people in tractors or someone who looked like they might have come from a farm,” said Nathan when looking back on his pre-agriculture past.

In 2013, that all changed when he met his future wife as they worked together at a local pet shop. She had just graduated from the University of Findlay with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and was pursuing a career in agriculture. She came from a small sheep farm where her family raised Tunis sheep for livestock shows.

Nathan smiles with his wife and young son.

This was when Nathan was first introduced to the world of livestock, and more broadly, the world of agriculture. “It was way different from what I experienced to that point and from what I expected,” Nathan said. “I ended up liking this new world — the way it operated and the people in it — more than I expected to.”

In 2016, Nathan had the opportunity to participate in Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPower program, a year-long, extensive introduction to agricultural issues and public policy. This caused him to fall further in love with the industry and also inspired a new interest: public service.

“That program is really what brought me to what I am doing today, and it is my favorite job,” Nathan said.

In November 2018, Nathan was elected to serve as Van Wert County Treasurer. “I get to serve people in a community I care about who are dependent on an industry I am passionate about. It really is the best job ever,” Nathan said with a “Vandenbroek for Treasurer” sign behind him.

On the farm, the Vandenbroek family is looking to expand. “I am really interested in beef cattle or reindeer, and we want to buy some land to grow crops,” shared Nathan. For now though, the young couple is focused on bettering their sheep flock, gathering eggs from their chickens and starting to teach their one-year-old son about the industry they find so vitally important.

Latest Blogs:

  • From the Suburbs to Agriculture: Bridging the Gap

    Mary Kate Waitkus wasn’t raised on a farm, but she’s pursuing a degree in agricultural communication at OSU to help farmers share their stories and consumers learn how their food is grown.

  • GMOs 101

    Are GMOs safe? Should you worry about them in your food? Why do farmers use them? Get your GMO questions answered in this basic breakdown of the science.

  • Top Five Spots to Grab Coffee in Columbus

    Looking for a new spot to study or chat over coffee with your friends? OSU student Emily Beal scouted out the best spots in Columbus to do so.

  • Common Food Labels: What Do They Mean?

    GMO free. All natural. Organic. What do these claims even mean? This guide will help you cut through the marketing schemes by defining the most common and confusing food labels.

  • From City Kid to Small Town Treasurer

    Nathan grew up a city boy just west of Toledo. Now, he lives on a small farm and serves his rural community as Van Wert County Treasurer.