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Jack Fisher, who announced his retirement in 2016, presided over his last Harvest Banquet as executive vice president.

OFBF annual meeting highlights

The 97th annual meeting of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) featured many highlights from the previous year and many plans and policies for the year ahead.

There was much ground covered in the broad policy debate.

“One of the issues addressed is Ohio’s drug epidemic, specifically in rural areas statewide. What are the programs OFBF should be supporting to help us deal with the drug problem in Ohio — opiates in particular? Other discussions revolved around our continuing opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state. Water quality is a big deal for agriculture in the state and the delegate body is discussing supporting a statewide water trust that could be developed and funded through bonding measures in the state to help our water quality issues,” said Adam Sharp, with OFBF. “You learn something new every year here. Agriculture has such a wide impact in the state and because of that we have a wide range of issues that we deal with and every policy session is fascinating. It is impressive when you hear the expertise on the delegate floor talking about these issues. We come up with really good policy because of that.”

Nearly 350 delegates debated the organization’s stances on policy. Other issues included energy development, meat inspection regulations, improvements to property tax laws, invasive species and the structure of local governments.

Attendees were also updated on the roll out of Farm Bureau’s new membership structure that was approved by delegates at last year’s annual meeting. A special session introduced members to the reorganized Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.

At the Harvest Banquet, the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award was presented to Irv and Jean Bell from Muskingum County. The Cooperative/Agricultural Educator Award was presented to Joe Sloan of Preble County (posthumously) and Stephanie Gompf Jolliff of Ridgemont High School in Hardin County.

Marlene Eick of Radnor was recognized as the winner of OFBF’s 2015 Excellence in Agriculture Award. Eick received an expense-paid trip to Orlando, Fla. to compete in the national Excellence in Agriculture contest during the American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention in January. She also will receive a John Deere Gator courtesy of Farm Credit Mid-America and a $1,000 technology package sponsored by OFBF.

Eick and her husband, B.J., own Herdmark Media, a visual media company where Eick serves as client lead. They also own a small show pig operation. She has served on the Delaware County Farm Bureau board of trustees, participated statewide in Young Agricultural Professionals programs, is co-leader of the Delaware County Young Agricultural Professionals and is a graduate of AgriPOWER Institute Class VI. She also serves on the Ohio Pork Council’s Showpig Committee, Ohio FFA Foundation’s Sponsors Team, is a member of Shepherd of the Peace Lutheran Church and is a recipient of the Honorary State FFA Degree.

Nick and Jessica Dailey of Sardinia are the winners of OFBF’s 2015 Outstanding Young Farmer Award. The Daileys won 250 hours free use of an M-series tractor provided by Kubota, a Polaris Ranger provided by Polaris, $1,000 in Grainger merchandise sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America and an expense-paid trip to the 2016 American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention in Orlando, Fla. in January.

Nick and Jessica farm 1,800 acres of grain crops in Adams, Brown, Clermont and Highland counties. They also own a trucking company. They are 11-year members of Brown County Farm Bureau where Nick has served on the board of trustees. Both are Sunday School teachers at Hillsboro Bible Baptist Church. Nick also serves as a Franklin Township Trustee.

The 2015 Discussion Meet winner is Elizabeth Long from Madison County.

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