COLUMBUS: Four Ohioans who have committed their lives to working in, promoting and advocating for Ohio’s agriculture industry will be honored Friday, August 7, 2009 by the Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC), when they are inducted to the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame.
The Ohio Agricultural Council will induct Irv Bell of Zanesville, John Foltz of Columbus, Andrew Stevens of Ostrander and the late Roy Wallace of Pemberville, into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame during a special breakfast ceremony held during the Ohio State Fair, Friday, August 7, in the Rhodes Youth Center at the Ohio Expo Center.
The 44th annual event will attract 600 guests to honor these four professionals for their lifetime of service and dedication to the agricultural industry.
“Without a doubt, this year’s class of inductees represents extraordinary leadership from Ohio’s agriculture industry,” said Elizabeth Harsh, president of the Ohio Agricultural Council. “Individually, they have made unparalleled contributions that have improved our industry. Collectively, they have had a profound impact on the past, present and future of agriculture in our state and across the country, and for that, we are so pleased to give them this distinct honor.”
Bell and his family own and operate Bell Farms Ag LLC in Zanesville, an 850-head sow farm. The family also farms about 1,600 acres of grain. Bell has devoted decades of years and hours of his time and resources in service to the agriculture community. He has served on boards, commissions and organizations at county, state and national levels. A recognized leader, Bell has spearheaded efforts to address major farm industry issues, including farmland preservation, risk management, the changing future of animal agriculture and national strategic planning. A 36 year member of the Muskingum County Farm Bureau, Bell also has held leadership positions with a number of state and national commodity groups. Bell Farms has been awarded numerous state and national awards for excellence and environmental stewardship. The farm has supported 4-H and FFA by providing affordable animals for youth projects, and Bell played an integral role in the planning and development of the Nationwide/Ohio Farm Bureau Federation 4-H Youth Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.
Fairfield County native John Foltz is retired as deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and agency administrator. A graduate of The Ohio State University, he also served in positions with the Ohio Department of Agriculture and as the first executive of the Ohio Agribusiness Association. Foltz also has held several federally appointed positions in the agriculture field. Foltz’s agriculture commitment extends to youth education. He held a number of volunteer leadership roles with the Boy Scouts of America, FFA and 4-H. Foltz and his wife Anne successfully led the $15.5 million campaign to construct the 4-H Center at The Ohio State University, the first “green” building on campus.
Andrew “Andy” Stevens has devoted nearly a half-century of service to Ohio’s agriculture industry, including almost three decades in editorial positions with Ohio Farmer. In 1992, he founded American Small Farm magazine. His journalism career is just one element of his service to farming. Stevens also has served as a dairy farmer, a vocational education teacher and an instructor for the Farm Business Planning Association. A tireless advocate for small farmers, he has encouraged the establishment of small farm centers at key agriculture events like the Farm Science Review. A leading breeder of Ayrshire cattle, Stevens also held volunteer leadership positions with countless agriculture trade associations and commodity groups. He has received many state and national awards in journalism, agriculture and community service, including the Oscar in Agriculture for agriculture writing and the Distinguished Service Award from the National Soil and Water Conservation Society.
In early 2008, Ohio’s beef industry lost one of its champions and a genetic breeding pioneer with the passing of Roy Wallace. He spent more than 40 years in service to the cattlemen of Ohio and of the nation through his career with COBA/Select Sires, Inc., where he began his work in 1967 as a beef field representative. He was a founder of the National Beef Improvement Federation (BIF), a group that has played a critical role in shaping how genetics have improved the beef industry. He attended every BIF convention from 1967 to 2007. Wallace served in an advisory capacity to several breed organizations in the area of sire evaluation and was a sought-after speaker for his expertise. Wallace was a devoted supporter of The Ohio State University and of the Ohio State Fair. His accomplishments include being honored in 2004 with induction in The Ohio State University Animal Sciences Hall of Fame. He also was named to BEEF Magazine’s Top 40, a significant honor given to the top 40 leaders nationwide who have made major contributions to the beef industry.
For further information about sponsorship in honor of the inductees, or to obtain tickets to the Agricultural Hall of Fame induction ceremony, contact the Ohio Ag Council at (614) 890-2832 or via email at [email protected].