Roehm and Utter reviewing the President's Manual.

OFBF, County Farm Bureau presidents working toward success

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) works with new county Farm Bureau presidents every year to provide them with the skills needed to succeed at leading their organization.

County Farm Bureau presidents are volunteer leaders charged with:

  • leading the county Farm Bureau board and organization,
  • involving new people and mentoring prospective leaders,
  • working with the county’s action team leaders and organization director,
  • conducting board meetings, attending regional and state Farm Bureau meetings,
  • and developing good working relationship with county public officials and other community leaders.

Heather Utter, OFBF organization director for Clermont, Brown, Adams and Highland counties, works closely with each county’s volunteers, and particularly with their boards of trustees. This includes training the newly elected presidents.

“As an organization director I can pick out the people who will make good leaders and make good presidents and you start trying to get them more involved and progress them along toward that leadership role,” Utter said.

She is currently training Highland County Farm Bureau’s president-elect, Jeff Roehm.

“I’ve seen him, just in the last two years that I’ve been with Highland County, as a person who has excellent leadership skills, shows passion and thinks that he can direct Highland County in the direction that they need to be headed,” she said. “I think he has the potential leadership, management skills, everything to do the job right.”

Roehm, a corn and soybean farmer from Hillsboro, is also a member of the Ohio Soybean Association board and is a second generation county Farm Bureau president. Roehm attended a full-day new presidents training workshop held in the state Farm Bureau office this summer.

During the one-day training workshop the presidents learned the responsibilities and expectations of a president, met with each department in the state office, learned how to plan an effective meeting and working with their organization director and county office administrators. They also had a session on volunteer recruitment, succession planning and having the right people in the right places.

“One thing I took away (from the workshop) is that filling seats just to fill seats is not worth it,” Roehm said. “You’re better off to have an empty seat than to just fill the spot to fill it.”

Utter and Roehm both also expressed the value of new emphasis OFBF is putting on the vice president position.

“In years past the vice president couldn’t fill in (at state meetings or activities) and they are allowing that now,” Utter said. “When he (Roehm) is done serving as president the vice president will be ready to move into that position.”

Roehm is among several new county Farm Bureau presidents this year. In addition to the one-day workshop at Ohio Farm Bureau and individual training from organization directors, county presidents will also receive training at OFBF’s summer Leadership Conference, Annual Meeting, Ag Day at the Capital and Regional Cabinet meetings.

Callie Wells 

Callie Wells is the director of digital communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.

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