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Buckeye Farm News
Mary Ellen Grafton, Jefferson County
Mary Ellen Grafton has helped promote the importance of agriculture for years to Jefferson County residents and especially students. She has served as Jefferson County’s promotion and education chairman and worked to get OFBF’s Children’s Literature Award winning books into schools and libraries.
“I do the Ohio Reads program and try to instill in students the importance of agriculture and where our food comes from,” she said.
Grafton has been a member of Jefferson County Farm Bureau since 1961 when she married her now deceased husband, Lee. She lives on the outskirts of Steubenville and has a Black Angus cattle and hog operation. Her son Lee Jr. helps her out on the farm. The farm is part of her late husband’s family farm. She also has three daughters, Ellen, Emilee and Joy, and grandchildren. All of her children are Farm Bureau members.
“I’ve loved it here,” she said of her farm. “I like to do the hay and run the tractors as much as I can. I’ve enjoyed having my children raised here and involved in farming.”
Grafton was a nurse in Steubenville for many years. She is an organist and pianist at First Christian Church in Steubenville and Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.
“We have to stay on top of things to make sure our food supply is kept healthy and reasonably priced and that farmers don’t lose jobs to any radical people that are trying to come in and dictate to us on how we should raise our animals,” she said.
David White, senior director of issues management
As senior director of OFBF’s issues management, David White also serves as executive director of the Ohio Livestock Coalition and Animals for Life Foundation. He was OLC’s first executive director. White started at Ohio Farm Bureau in 1989 serving as an organization director for seven years and then director of commodity relations for nine years. He also was senior director of OFBF’s policy research & development for two years.
White helped craft the master settlement agreement that led to the creation of the Southern Ohio Agricultural Community Development Foundation. He also served on the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Rules Advisory Committee that developed the rules after the state’s livestock permitting program was transferred from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to ODA.
Before coming to Farm Bureau, White taught vocational agriculture and served as an FFA advisor for three years. He has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education from Purdue University. He grew up on a farm that raised Polled Hereford cattle, and the farm has been in his family since 1824 in Orange County, Indiana.
White attends Vineyard Community Church and is active in the singles ministry. He is very supportive of FFA and continues to serve as a judge for the national FFA proficiency contest. He has served as the operating chair of Alpha Gamma Rho’s National Fraternity. He likes to hunt and went duck hunting for the first time last year.
“I got to go on a market study tour of Vietnam in spring 2008. That really opened my eyes as to the global market agriculture is actually in,” he said.