Front: Esther Welch, Sarah James; Rear: Micki Zartman, Jim Buchy

Distinguished Service Awards presented by Ohio Farm Bureau

For Immediate Release

December 4, 2009

CINCINNATI, Ohio (OFBF) – Four outstanding leaders in Ohio agriculture were honored with Distinguished Service Awards presented by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF).   The honorees were former state representative Jim Buchy, volunteer Sarah James, communicator Esther Welch and educator Micki Zartman.

The awards recognize lifetime contributions to Ohio’s agricultural community and to the Ohio Farm Bureau.  The awards were presented during the 91st annual meeting of Ohio Farm Bureau Dec. 2–4 in Cincinnati.

Jim Buchy of Darke County served 18 years in the Ohio Legislature where he was on numerous committees and held several leadership roles including the Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Assistant Majority Whip and Majority Whip.  He was very involved in Senate Bill 141, which was the original bill to transfer oversight of livestock operations to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.  Following his legislative career he served as assistant director for the Ohio Department of Agriculture and as policy director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses. He is president and CEO of Buchy Food Service Company.

Sarah James of Butler County served 37 years as an active volunteer for the Butler County 4-H program. She also served as a committee member, president and secretary of the county Extension Advisory Committee.  James has been an active member of Butler County Farm Bureau for more than 42 years, serving on the board of trustees, as advisory council chairperson and chair of the county women’s committee.  She was the originator of the Butler County Ag in the Classroom program, and has also earned the honor of being the top membership worker in the southwest region.

Esther Welch of Ashland County is a long time communicator, farm wife and Farm Bureau volunteer.  She served as an area reporter for local newspapers and contributed agricultural news to many top farm newspapers.  She has also served as editor of Ohio Holstein News. She has served as a volunteer and leader for Buckeye Dairy Boosters, OSU Extension and Advisory Council and OARDC support committees, Ohio Holstein Association, Holstein Association USA, Ashland County Board of Education and Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center Board of Education, all while volunteering in various Farm Bureau leadership roles. 

Micki Zartman of Franklin County was presented with the Agricultural Educator Award.  She founded Scarlet and Gray Ag Day at Ohio State University in 1999, which is an outreach program designed to bring elementary students from surrounding schools to campus to learn about the industry and opportunities within agriculture.  In the past 10 years, more than 6,000 elementary students have been a part of this program and more than 1,000 Ohio State students have been involved.  She has been honored by numerous Ohio State affiliated clubs and organizations for her dedication to enhancing awareness of and appreciation for the agricultural industry.

Candidates for Ohio Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service Awards are nominated by Farm Bureau volunteers, county organizations and state leaders. 


CONTACT: Joe Cornely

PHONE: (614) 246-8230

E-MAIL: [email protected]