The Ohio State Fair is kicked off its 157th year Wednesday morning as Gov. Ted Strickland officially opened the annual celebration of the state’s No. 1 industry – agriculture.
Perhaps nowhere on the fairgrounds is the cumulative contribution of Ohio agriculture celebrated as much as in the Nationwide Donahey Ag & Hort Building – home of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) “Land and Living” exhibit.
Celebrating its 10th year, the Land and Living exhibit has always been a favorite fair attraction for Strickland. The governor got a glimpse of this year’s exhibit while touring the building with First Lady Frances Strickland and Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs.
“Ohio agriculture is in great shape,” Strickland said while touring the building. “It’s the largest industry in our state; a lot of people don’t understand that. It employs a lot of people and contributes to our overall economy.”
OFBF Executive Vice President Jack Fisher led the tour, along with Ohio Farm Bureau Promotions Specialist Cara Lawson. They were joined by a number of Ohio Farm Bureau’s State Fair interns, who work to promote agriculture through the exhibit throughout the fair.
“I’ve met some really fine Ohio young people working here and doing great things for Ohio, and working in their local communities to foster agriculture and encourage greater knowledge about agriculture,” Strickland said. “Certainly, the young people in Ohio who grew up on our farms and in rural areas contribute so much to our state, and they will be the leaders of our future.”
Strickland continued to focus on the future during his tour.
“We honor our past and love our traditions, but we must always think of the future,” he said. “In agriculture, that means research, developing new uses for agricultural products, developing new methods to enhance productivity, and new ways to protect the soil we love and cherish and depend upon. And all of those things are happening in this building.”
“Agriculture has a great future,” he said. “We have water, rich soil, wonderful natural resources, great timberlands…we have it all in Ohio, and it is providing so much to our citizens. Agriculture may be the industry that saves our economy.”
Still, Strickland said he enjoys the exhibit because it invokes the past.
“I used to plow the earth behind a team of horses. Not many farmers have done that today with the new technology and new equipment…I used to milk cows with my hands. All that is displayed in this building, I am pretty much familiar with because of my own life experience, and I never want to forget it.”
“Land and Living” is supported by the Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio Corn Marketing Program and the Ohio Expositions Commission. Last year, the exhibit attracted an estimated 350,000 state fair visitors. “Land and Living” is located east of the giant slide and across from the south entrance to the midway. There is no additional charge for visiting the building or any of its displays.
The Ohio State Fair continues through Sunday, Aug. 8.
STATE FAIR LINKS AND ACTIVITIES
- What’s it like to be an Ohio Farm Bureau State Fair intern? Hear from our interns themselves in their State Fair blog.
- Did you know there’s a LIVE webcam on our ducklings, chicks and puppies at this year’s exhibit? Take a peek at what they’re up to.
- What’s happening at the State Fair this year? See a complete schedule here.
- What special events are happening at the Land and Living exhibit throughout the fair? Here are the details:
Gus the Giant Squash Carver will carve pumpkins weighing more than 800 pounds at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on July 31 & Aug 1.
Kids are invited to climb a 30-foot tall corn climbing wall and plant a flower to take home, all free of charge.
Children can also take a ride through the OFBF Country Cruise on a pedal tractor while adults can take a stroll to view facts about Ohio crops, animals and other important areas of Ohio agriculture.
Families can also have their picture taken, compliments of OFBF.
An animal agriculture pavilion will feature livestock farmers discussing how they care for their animals.
Register for a chance to win free breakfast from Bob Evans for a year
and much, much more!