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Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame announces inductees

The Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC) recently announced the 2016 Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees, including John C. (Jack) Fisher of Columbus, J. Richard (Dick) Isler of Delaware, Dr. Keith Smith of Hilliard, and Timothy White of Lancaster. These individuals — who have committed their lives to working in, promoting and advocating for Ohio’s farm community — will be inducted as the 51st class on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016, during a special breakfast ceremony at the Ohio Expo Center.

“Our Board is extraordinarily pleased to be honoring such an outstanding group of inductees into this year’s class,” said Jim Chakeres, OAC president. “Each inductee stands out individually for his exceptional contributions to Ohio agriculture, but together they represent the passion, creativity and hard work evidenced by their collective decades of unmatched experience.”

Induction will take place in the all-new Cardinal Hall on the fairgrounds, which will feature an expanded Hall of Fame display and salute to Ohio’s agriculture community.

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Unverferth’s Dan Fanger named NAMA Marketer of the Year

Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc. is pleased to announce Dan Fanger, vice president of sales and marketing was honored as the 2016 National Agri-Marketing Association’s (NAMA) Marketer of the Year award at its recent conference in Kansas City.

NAMA Marketer of the Year is the most prestigious honor awarded to an active member of the association and recognizes outstanding accomplishments in the field of agri-marketing. NAMA has been encouraging and promoting excellence in the industry by recognizing outstanding professional accomplishments for more than 50 years. The award is sponsored by Agri Marketing magazine.

Beginning in 1965 as the first full-time sales person for Unverferth Manufacturing Company, Fanger learned early how to build upon the company founders’ successes by listening not only to what customers say, but to dig deeper to determine what they really mean. The knowledge he gained has sparked the innovation of new products and initiated numerous product enhancements that made them more valuable to farmers and increased dealer-customer profitability.

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Janine appointed as ATI interim director

Thom Janini has been appointed interim director of The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, beginning Aug. 1.

TJaniniThe two-year degree-granting institution of the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Ohio State ATI is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the awarding of associate degrees in agriculture and related sciences.

Janini is associate professor of chemistry and chair of the Arts, Science, and Business Technologies Division at Ohio State ATI. He will take over for current interim director Jim Kinder and will lead the institution until a new director is appointed.

“I’m grateful for Thom’s willingness to provide leadership during this critical transitional period,” said Ron Hendrick, acting CFAES dean and vice president for agricultural administration.

“Thom has already provided valuable administrative leadership in his role as divisional chair, and he’s been a thought leader during the ATI re-envisioning and campus integration discussions. We look forward to his addition to the college’s leadership team.”

A native of northeast Ohio, Janini holds a Ph.D.

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Hirsch departs, Burkett now serving as OFBF president

Frank Burkett III of Massillon has been elected the 24th president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). Burkett now holds the highest elected OFBF office.

Burkett was elected by OFBF’s board of trustees upon the resignation of Steve Hirsch of Chillicothe, who left the OFBF board to stand for election to the Nationwide board of directors. Hirsch served as the organization’s president for five years.

Burkett has been OFBF’s first vice president for the past two years. He previously served as treasurer and has been on the state board since 2007. Burkett will continue to serve as the District 9 trustee representing members from Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage and Stark counties.

The new president is a long-time member of Stark County Farm Bureau where he was a board trustee, policy development chairman and farm tour chairman. He is a past board member for Ohio Dairy Producers Association and is a member of Rivertree Christian Church.

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Trupointe Cooperative announces retirement of Wallace

Vice President and COO of Trupointe Cooperative, Inc., Gordon Wallace, will retire August 31, 2016 after 42 years in the agricultural industry.

Wallace began his career in 1974 with Clark Landmark, as an agronomy salesman, after graduation from The Ohio State University. He went on to be named general manager/CEO in 1985 of the same cooperative, with sales of $24M his first year. Over the next 25 years, Wallace would lead the cooperative as CEO through many changes including the 2000 merger of AgriUrban, AgTech, Clark Landmark and Clinton Landmark to become Southwest Landmark. In 2010, Wallace helped to lead a vision to bring Southwest Landmark and Advanced Agri-Solutions Cooperatives together to form Trupointe Cooperative, with sales of $496M. Wallace has served as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Trupointe.

“Our cooperative would not be where it is at today without the contributions made by Gordon. He has provided much leadership over the years and we wish him well in his retirement,” said John Lowry, Board Chairman.

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Lee and Orahood named organization directors for Ohio Farm Bureau


Amanda Orahood of Canfield has been named Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) organization director for Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

As organization director, Orahood will act as liaison between the county Farm Bureaus and OFBF. She will assist the county groups as they develop and implement programs to strengthen their organizations and enhance their ability to serve members and affect positive change in their communities.

Before accepting the position with OFBF, Orahood spent more than three years as a meat inspector for the Ohio Department of Agriculture. She grew up on a small farm in Caldwell and is a member of the Columbiana-Mahoning-Trumbull Cattlemen’s Association. Orahood is an advisory member for the association’s beef ambassador program. She is a graduate of both the OSU Agricultural Technical Institute, with a associate’s degree in livestock science and Ohio State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in animal sciences. She and her husband, Lee, live in Canfield with their son, Colter.

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TFI honors Ohioans

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) honored five American farmers and their fertilizer retail partners last week at the 2016 Commodity Classic in New Orleans, La. These 2016 4R Grower Advocates are dedicated to the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship: using the right nutrient source at the right rate, the right time, and in the right place. These practices help increase yields, improve soils, and enhance ecosystems. Each of the 2016 4R Advocate growers operate multi-generational family farms.

“Our 4R Advocates really understand the value in implementing the 4R practices and have been excellent examples of how using these principles can help farmers be great businessmen and stewards of the environment,” said Chris Jahn, TFI President. “I am extremely pleased to honor their work, and I hope they serve as an example to all farmers that the 4R program can really benefit them for years to come.”

These winners were awarded an expense-paid trip to the 2016 Commodity Classic, where they were honored at an awards banquet hosted by TFI.

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Wells promoted to OFBF director of digital communications

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) has promoted Callie Wells of Columbus to director of digital communications.

Wells, who started at Ohio Farm Bureau in 2012 as a communications specialist, will provide leadership for the organization’s website and social media. Last year, Ohio Farm Bureau launched a new website, ofbf.org, which combines the former Farm Bureau and Our Ohio sites into a comprehensive source of useful information and provide access to the organization’s resources. Wells also produces videos as well as contributes to Our Ohio magazine and Buckeye Farm News, Ohio Farm Bureau’s consumer and farm publications.

Wells grew up in Butler County. She has a master’s degree in agricultural communications and a bachelor’s degree in animal science and agricultural education from Ohio State University. She is a 2013 graduate of AgriPOWER, Ohio Farm Bureau’s year-long leadership training program.

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Wilmington College names Brandi Montgomery Agriculture Student Recruiter

When Brandi (Fornshell) Montogmery joined Wilmington College’s admission staff in 2014, she was no stranger to WC, as she is an alumnus from the Class of 2013. Her recent appointment as the College’s primary recruiter of agriculture students was, in turn, especially appropriate as she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in agirculture.

She returned to WC in 2014 after working two years in the agriculture industry.

Adam Lohrey, director of admission, said her job experience, coupled with that gained as a former agriculture student and Student Ambassador with the Admission Office, have set up Brandi for success in her new role.

“She will continue building relationships with high schools and other agriculture programs, in addition to working closely with our faculty in student recruitment and cultivating relationships within the agriculture industry,” he said.

Lohrey said Montgomery will coordinate Wilmington College’s presence at the Ohio, Indiana and National FFA conventions, while also interfacing with FFA and agriculture instructors throughout Ohio and beyond.

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Caraway wins 2016 Ohio Farm Bureau Discussion Meet

Stephen Caraway of West Union is the winner of the 2016 Ohio Farm Bureau Discussion Meet. The final round of the competition was held during Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals Leadership Conference Jan. 29 in Columbus.

The annual contest tests participants’ subject knowledge, problem solving abilities and personal and small group communications skills.

Caraway won $1,000 from Nationwide Insurance, a Polaris Most Versatile Generator and an expense-paid trip to the 2017 American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Phoenix where he will represent Ohio in the national Discussion Meet contest.

Caraway, an Adams County Farm Bureau member, serves as an Adams County commissioner. He is a member of West Union Lions Club and numerous other civic organizations. He grew up on an 124-acre pumpkin and agritourism operation.

The other finalists were Mike Derringer of Eaton, Andy Korb of Oxford and Joy Sizemore of Monroeville.

The Discussion Meet is hosted by Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals – singles and married couples ages 18 to 35 who are interested in improving the business of agriculture, learning new ideas and developing leadership skills.

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Gearhardt joins Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham & Eselgroth LLP

Larry R. Gearhardt of Covington has joined Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham & Eselgroth LLP (BECE) in an “of counsel” capacity.

Gearhardt’s wealth of experience dovetails well with BECE’s focus on providing legal services to the agricultural industry. Most recently, he has been directing Ohio State University’s Income Tax Schools and serving as the resource person on tax issues for OSU Extension. He serves on the Rural Tax committee, which reviews and edits IRS Publication 225 (the Farmer’s Tax Guide) on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service.

Gearhardt has combined his love of farming and law throughout his career. While actively farming, Gearhardt has engaged in the private practice of law in Miami County. He developed the Legal and Local Affairs department at the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) and gained in-depth knowledge of federal, state, and local government as OFBF”s senior director of State Legislative Affairs.

Gearhardt is known for his ability to communicate complex topics in an understandable way.

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ODA announces senior staff appointments

Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director David T. Daniels today announced the appointment of Jared Parko as a new deputy director to the department’s senior management team.

As deputy director, Parko will primarily focus on laboratory operations and animal health, dairy, food safety and meat issues. Prior to his new appointment, Parko served as laboratory operations manager for the Food Safety Net Services in Columbus, Ohio. He also previously worked in the Dairy Food Safety Laboratory at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He is a graduate of Michigan State University, with a master’s degree in food safety and a bachelor’s degree in microbiology.

In addition, ODA has recently made appointments to several senior staff positions:


  • Terri Gerhardt became chief of the Division of Food Safety. Gerhardt has been with ODA since 2000 and previously served as the assistant chief of the Division of Food Safety. She earned her bachelor’s degree in dairy science and her master’s degree in agricultural economics, both from The Ohio State University.
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Boyer appointed Ohio Farm Bureau director of public policy

Korre Boyer of Lucas has been named director of public policy for Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). In his position, he will manage Ohio Farm Bureau’s public policy outreach team covering livestock, animal care, food policy, food safety and commodity issues.

Boyer’s most recent position was with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources where he served as manager of Malabar Farm State Park and Mohican State Park and oversaw the state parks’ wastewater treatment plants. Previously he was an OFBF organization director in Crawford, Marion, Morrow and Richland counties and a vocational ag teacher for the Lucas Local School District.

A 1999 graduate of Ohio State University, he has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education and was a member of the 1998 livestock judging team. He is a 13-year member of the Richland County Farm Bureau and a member of the county Cattlemen’s Association. He has a beef cattle operation in Ashland County, and he and his wife, Belinda, have three children.

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OFBF Young Ag Professionals State Committee leaders announced

Matt and Liz Funderburgh of North Lewisburg were recently elected chair couple of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) Young Agricultural Professional Advisory Team. Kyle and Ashton Walls of Mount Vernon were elected co-chair couple. Terri Specht of Johnstown was elected secretary.

The team develops and directs programming, activities and contests for Ohio Farm Bureau’s program for young adults who are interested in improving the business of agriculture, learning new ideas and developing leadership skills.

Other team members are Greg and Theresa Corcoran of Chillicothe, Eric and Shelly Prysi of New Philadelphia, Doug Toops of South Vienna, Karl Wedemeyer of La Rue and Jennifer Wilson of Jenera.

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OFBF leaders elected

Steve Hirsch of Chillicothe was re-elected president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) during the organization’s 97th annual meeting Dec. 2-4. Hirsch holds the highest elected office in the state’s largest and most inclusive farm organization. He is the 23rd president of OFBF, which was founded in 1919.

Hirsch also is District 15 trustee, representing members in Fairfield, Hocking, Pickaway and Ross counties. He began his Farm Bureau career 22 years ago and has served on OFBF’s state board since 2001.

The Hirsch family farm dates back to 1890 and today is run by Steve, his father and his brother. They produce apples, peaches, grapes, strawberries, raspberries and other crops and operate an on-farm and an off-farm retail market and a cider making facility. He and his wife, Kimberly, have three children.

Frank Burkett III of Massillon has been re-elected first vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) as well as District 9 trustee.

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2016 Young Ag Professionals Discussion Meet finalists announced

Four finalists have been named in Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) 2016 Discussion Meet. They are Stephen Caraway of West Union, Mike Derringer of Eaton, Andy Korb of Oxford and Joy Sizemore of Monroeville.

The annual contest tests participants’ subject knowledge, problem solving abilities and personal and small group communications skills. These young agricultural professionals will compete in the finals at the Young Agricultural Professionals’ Leadership Experience at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus Jan. 29.

The finalists were named after a preliminary competition at the Ohio Farm Bureau’s Ohio Farm and Food Leadership Forum in Columbus where they discussed topics impacting the agriculture industry.

“The Discussion Meet contest is a great opportunity for young ag professionals to strengthen their skills in working together to solve issues facing agriculture today. I look forward to watching these finalists compete at the finals in January,” said OFBF Young Agricultural Professionals Coordinator Melinda Witten.

The finalists will compete for a $1,000 cash award from Nationwide Insurance, a Polaris Most Versatile Generator and an expense-paid trip to American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention in 2017.

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John Stevenson passed away

John A. Stevenson, 82, of Circleville, passed away October 29, 2015, from a ruptured brain aneurysm.

John was born March 12, 1933, to the late John Beryl and Florence Adah Grimes Stevenson in Circleville, Ohio. He graduated from Circleville High School in 1951 and Ohio State University in 1955, where he joined the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. In 1955 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and served as a fighter interceptor pilot flying F-86D jets during the Cold War.

To Ohio agriculture, John was well known for his work on his family farm in Pickaway County and his countless hours spent in service to the industry. John served agriculture in many capacities, including Farm Bureau, county campaign manager for Jim Rhodes, president of Circleville Chamber of Commerce, founder and president of Ohio Corn Growers Association, president National Corn Growers Association, state executive director USDA Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, federal associate director USDA ASCS, state executive director USDA Farm Service Agency, agricultural specialist for office of Congressman Boehner, agricultural affairs liaison for Senator Voinovich, agriculture specialist for Ohio EPA, and division chief for Ohio Department of Agriculture.

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Baker named Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation director of development

Chris Baker of Hilliard has been named director of development for Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, a 501 (c) nonprofit, public charitable organization. Established in 1985, the foundation strives for measurable agricultural community improvement in Ohio through the support of projects that focus on agricultural education, environment and economic issues in rural, suburban and urban neighborhoods.

Baker will be developing and executing both annual and special fundraising campaigns for the foundation. He also will be helping secure financial support from individuals, foundations and corporations. Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation’s board consists of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) board members and staff as well as representatives from industry and the public. The foundation was reorganized this year and now encompasses the Animals for Life Foundation and Ohio Center of Agricultural Law, Inc.

Previously, Baker worked as director of development and marketing for RiteCare of Washington in Seattle and in various executive roles with Boy Scouts of America.

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Ohio Farm Bureau’s Fisher to retire, board seeking new executive

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has announced the impending retirement of Executive Vice President John C. (Jack) Fisher. The Ohio Farm Bureau board of trustees has begun its search for a successor, with the transition to new leadership expected in mid-2016.

Calling Fisher a “visionary leader,” OFBF President Steve Hirsch said the organization and Ohio agriculture have benefited greatly from Fisher’s management of the state’s largest and most influential food and farm organization.

“Ohio has become a national leader under Jack’s guidance. His insights into complex political, social and economic issues have allowed Ohio Farm Bureau to protect and advance the interests of our state’s largest and most important industry. We congratulate him on a stellar career and are deeply grateful for his service,” Hirsch said.

Hirsch announced that Ohio Farm Bureau First Vice President Frank Burkett III is chairing the search committee, which is composed of the board’s 10-member executive committee.

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Ohio Soybean Association elects officers for 2015-2016

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) Board of Trustees elected officers for 2015-2016 during the September board meeting. These executive committee positions include the offices of president, first vice president, vice president, treasurer and secretary.

The immediate-past president continues to serve on the executive committee as chairman of the board. Individuals in these positions are responsible for the implementation of board policies and procedures, as well as carrying out the roles for their respective offices.

Adam Graham of Logan County was elected president of OSA. This is Adam’s third term on the executive committee after previously serving as secretary and first vice president. He has taken on multiple leadership roles on the board and committees. He holds a degree in agriculture from Wilmington College and currently grows soybeans and corn on his farm in North Lewisburg and Marysville.

Elected first vice president was Todd Hesterman of Henry County. This is Todd’s second term on the executive committee, previously serving as treasurer.

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