Ohio Farm Bureau honors 4 for contributions to agriculture

For Immediate Release

December 12, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (OFBF) – Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) honored four individuals Dec. 11 for their lifelong contributions to agriculture.

Distinguished Service Awards were presented to William Batchelder, speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, and agriculturalist William “Bart” Montgomery. John Davis received the Cooperative/Agriculture Educator award, and Celeste Baumgartner was honored with the Agricultural Communicator Award.

The awards recognize the outstanding careers of individuals who have contributed to agriculture, their communities and Ohio Farm Bureau. Nominations for the awards came from county Farm Bureaus and individual members. The presentation was made during Ohio Farm Bureau’s 96th annual meeting held Dec. 10-12 in Columbus.

Batchelder was speaker of the House of Representatives for 30 years and returned in 2007 where he is completing his fourth consecutive term. He is the second-longest serving representative in the House. During his tenure in the House, Batchelder has received the Watchdog of the Treasury Award several times. He has a long career in practicing and teaching law and serving as a judge in Ohio. Batchelder also has been awarded the 4-H Meritorious Service Award, Friends of 4-H Award and Conservation Legislators Award from the League of Ohio Sportsmen and the National Wildlife Federation. Batchelder is a member of Ohio Farm Bureau, Medina County Township Association and the Grange.

A Fayette County Farm Bureau member and farmer, Montgomery started out as an Ohio Farm Bureau youth participant in the 1940s and advanced to serving as treasurer and vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau board of trustees. In 1985 he was elected to the Nationwide Board of Directors and served nine years. He was on the board of directors for the Fayette County Landmark Co-op, served seven years on the state Producers Livestock board, was an adviser for a hog and beef cattle 4-H club for 25 years and served 10 years as treasurer of the Fayette County Commision on Aging. He is a 60-year Masonic Lodge member.

Davis is a retired agriculture teacher who was state director of agriculture education for the Ohio Department of Education from 1987 to 1992 and also supervised vo-ag teachers in 16 northeast Ohio counties. He was director of FFA Camp Muskingum for 20 years and touched the lives of 32,000 FFA members. He also was a Carroll County commissioner and has received numerous honors including Vocational Educator of the Year, Ambassador of Agricultural Education and Distinguished Service Awards from the Ohio FFA Alumni Association and Central States Agricultural Education Supervisors. He is involved with two family farms and served a term as Carroll County Farm Bureau president.

Baumgartner, a Butler County Farm Bureau member, has been a Farm World correspondent for 25 years. She’s written for Ohio Rural Electric’s Country Living magazine, Ohio Outdoor News, Bird Watcher’s Digest and wrote a farm and bicycling column for the Hamilton-Journal News for 19 years. Baumgartner has won writing and photography awards from the Outdoor Writers of Ohio (where she served as president from 2007-2009) and the Outdoor Writers Association of America. She received the Butler County Farm Bureau Friend of Agriculture Award in 2009 and Friend of Extension Award from OSU Extension Butler County in 1999.

High resolution photos of the award winners are available to accompany this story. To download go click here.


CONTACT: Joe Cornely

PHONE: (614) 246-8230

E-MAIL: [email protected]


Callie Wells 

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