A school supply list usually consists of pencils, pens and a backpack. For several Nationwiders, their school supplies consisted of an iPad and — manure boots.
The school was developed in partnership with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences. Claims adjusters from Nationwide’s Claims operation and those from Nationwide Agribusiness Claims attended the sessions.
“The new farm technical school was enlightening, but the experience was somewhat surreal as we trekked through barns filled with animals at different stages of their productive lives,” said Barbara Davies, commercial property claims manager. “We saw the industry from the farmer’s eyes. It certainly changed my perception of what a farmer is today as well as what the farmer needs from a claims perspective.”
Part of the training includes a “Farm to Fork” dinner. Each dish is brought to the attendees separately and all the ingredients are labeled. Before the diners are allowed to eat, they are presented with the location where the ingredient was grown, the distance it took to ship the item to central Ohio to prepare and the cost breakdown of each food item including how much a farmer earns per dish.
At the conclusion of the dinner, a local farmer participates in the panel discussion with agricultural experts and local chefs to discuss the decisions and challenges involved in meeting consumer demand for safe and affordable food. Leah Dorman, director of Food and Animal issues for Ohio Farm Bureau, presented to one of the classes. Nationwide has benefited from the expertise brought to the partnership by local farmers, Farm Bureau and Ohio State.
“Agribusiness is really an important component for Nationwide. We are a company founded by farmers looking to solve their own problems. And that’s what we still do — we solve people’s problems,” says Dave Bano, chief claims officer. “This is an extension of that concept. This program and education is all part of the evolution of our helping others.”
Technology often found in use by farmers has been integrated into the school. Student activities are completed on iPads loaded with the participant guides and applications routinely used by farming operations. The topics the school covers
- Farm terminology
- Farm machinery
- Grain and livestock identification
- Metal coverings
- Farm structures
- Commodity market
- Grain bins
- Grain handling equipment
- Confinement structures
“This school is about where the rubber meets the road — at every level,” said Shannon Hagan, commercial claims manager. “Equipment cost, food cost, food production, equipment maintenance, farm life, farm smells, farm animals bundled up and presented to you by people who love to teach it, work with it and live in it every day. It was an awesome experience and a well orchestrated school from start to finish.”