Ohio’s county Farm Bureaus won eight of the 24 County Activities of Excellence awards presented by the American Farm Bureau. The awards celebrate unique, local, volunteer-driven programming and serve as models of innovation for local program development. The winning counties receive a grant to fund participation in the Farm Bureau CAE Showcase at the 2019 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show in New Orleans in January. AFBF received more than 100 entries across all membership categories, with only 24 activities nationwide being selected to show at the convention.
“Once again, Ohio has more CAE winners than any other state,” said Melinda Witten, Ohio Farm Bureau director, leadership programming. “We are always proud of the county Farm Bureau programming in Ohio, but we are thrilled to see 11 counties recognized at the American Farm Bureau level.”
Belmont County: Veteran’s Salute
The county Farm Bureau’s partnership with KFC and a local Ford dealership provided the opportunity to provide a free thank-you dinner to veterans and showcase the Ford member benefit. The county Farm Bureau worked with its local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts to advertise and encourage attendance.
Butler, Preble, Hamilton and Montgomery counties: Farm Safety IS a Big Deal
The program provided a well-rounded education about Farm Safety to three age levels. Topics included SMV (slow moving vehicle) and SIS (speed indicator sign) signs, teenagers operating tractors, riding ATVs safely and more. The counties developed a plan to encourage elementary students to learn about farm safety by using a county designed AgMag. Volunteers spoke to high school students and reached out to local farmers to post Caution Farm Equipment signs on roadways that experience large farm equipment traffic.
Fayette County: Celebrity Chef Competition
A local Celebrity Chef competition highlighted the county’s Farm to Fork Dinner. Local chefs participated in a fun competition to show their recipe development skills and cooking abilities. The chefs received a list of seasonal produce available from local growers and requested the produce they needed. At the dinner, chefs showcased their restaurant and dish, interacted with guests and talked about their dishes. The winning chef received a plaque and the winning recipe will be used on the event promotional materials for next year.
Jefferson County: ChickQuest
Using curriculum developed by Ohio State University, Farm Bureau volunteers placed egg incubators in 3rd grade classrooms throughout the county. Volunteers visited each classroom several times and carried out STEM experiments. Students learned about the life cycle of chickens, and the composition and attributes of an egg and cared for the chicks for 3-5 days. As a result of this program, over 800 students in 33 classrooms throughout 14 elementary schools were exposed to hands on STEM and ag education at no cost to the schools.
Lucas County: Nutrient Management Meeting
The Nutrient Management Meeting brought farmers, researchers and educators together to better understand the agriculture impact on water quality. The meeting demonstrated that the county Farm Bureau wanted to encourage farmers to have access to and use information about best management practices and enhanced production systems. This activity positioned the county Farm Bureau as a resource for water quality issues.
Noble County: Ag School Days
4th grade students were invited from two counties to the event at an area research farm hosted by SWCDs. Farm Bureau presented a program on corn for all 800 students. A popcorn popper was set up and students tasted samples as they learned about the varieties of corn and its many uses. American Farm Bureau’s AgMag on corn was distributed to all of the students.
Pike County: Rural Family Safety Day
The event informed the public of the importance of various safety challenges that are faced everyday. Farm Bureau partnered with the local Extension office, SWCD, the county sheriff, county fire departments and a local insurance agency to present displays and demonstrations that covered multiple safety topics including sun protection, ATVs, food, animals and rural crime. A second day of the event hosted 30 first responders from nine local fire departments who received training on grain bin rescues.
Wood County: Crafting Cocktails with Herbs
The spring event took place at a local greenhouse. The greenhouse owner explained the tools needed to grow a successful herb garden. Guests learned from a mixologist who demonstrated how to use herbs in cocktails. Attendees selected and potted herbs to take home. The county Farm Bureau gained new members, expanded knowledge and awareness about horticulture and agriculture, promoted a local ag business and encouraged growth in the industry.