Representatives from OFBF, Bob Evans and other supporters join exhibitor Troy Elwer following the sale.

Hog purchase involved entire community

Buckeye Farm News

When Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) partnered with Bob Evans Farms, Inc., to purchase the Reserve Grand Champion Barrow at the Ohio State Fair, it had a bigger vision in mind.

In addition to building its relationship with the Ohio-based food company and supporting youth livestock programs, Ohio Farm Bureau saw this as an opportunity to build community throughout the food chain.

Bob Evans and OFBF worked with Ohio State University to process the hog, which was donated to Mid-Ohio Foodbank. OFBF also reached out to others to promote the partnership including the hog breeder, the exhibitor Troy Elwer of Van Wert County and other pork industry and food chain partners. The purchase was featured through the organization’s state, county and online communications. A photo from the sale was provided to all partners to allow them to promote the effort through their communications. OFBF also reached out to the local television station and newspaper to feature Elwer’s success.

In addition, OFBF developed “Thank You” cards that local Farm Bureau members can use to build a relationship with their Bob Evans restaurants. The cards read “Ohio Farm Bureau is proud to partner with Bob Evans to build a strong agricultural community.”

“This effort has proven the value of involving the entire community in a project,” said Janet Cassidy, OFBF senior director of marketing communications. “We hope this can be a model for county Farm Bureaus who want to attract more community involvement to their local programs.”

The $20,000 from the sale of the barrow will go to both Elwer as well as the Youth Reserve Program, which provides youth exhibitors with funding for various programs. These include scholarships, the Outstanding Marketing Exhibitor Program, showmanship contests, skill-a-thon contests, dairy cattle program, breeding livestock program, FFA and 4-H.Elwer and his family have also been offered an all-expense paid trip to this year’s Bob Evans Farm Festival to showcase his champion barrow and commitment to his industry. Bob Evans Restaurants will congratulate Elwer with a celebration at his hometown restaurant.

Mike Townsley, president of Bob Evans Farms Foods, Inc., said Bob Evans himself believed strongly in causes related to conservation, agriculture, education, hunger, children and family.

“Working with the Ohio Farm Bureau has allowed us to support these efforts by giving back to the state’s youth,” he said.

Ohio Farm Bureau was equally happy to partner with Bob Evans, said OFBF Executive Vice President Jack Fisher.“The Bob Evans team and our members share many of the same values. It’s gratifying to cooperate with them in support of Ohio farmers and youth,” he said.

Photo Credit:  Lyndsey Murphy

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