A change in leadership

Andy and Tera Wentling are guest editors of the Growing our Generation enewsletter. This column appears in the Oct. 10, 2016 edition.

It seems there have been many changes going on with Farm Bureau. Ohio Farm Bureau had a change in two big leadership positions with the retirement of Executive Vice President, Jack Fisher and Steve Hirsch moving to the Nationwide Board of Directors. Together, these men fought for agriculture for a number of years helping farmers, ranchers, and agriculture professionals by being their voice, whether it was in Ohio or at Washington, D.C. And let’s not forget one of biggest changes in Farm Bureau, the retirement of Bob Stallman the American Farm Bureau President.

While many people are scared of change or just do not like change, we are very excited with the recent changes. Adam Sharp, the new executive vice president, is not a stranger to Farm Bureau since he previously worked for American Farm Bureau and Ohio Farm Bureau. He has had different jobs involving different aspects of agriculture, he worked for the EPA and grew up on his family’s dairy farm. The diverse knowledge that Mr. Sharp has will be a huge help to Ohio Farm Bureau now and into the future. The new Ohio Farm Bureau President, Frank Burkett III, is also not a stranger. He has served on the state board of trustees for the past nine years and co-owns the family’s dairy farm. We also would like to mention that Mr. Burkett is a Stark County resident as well and has been involved in many aspects of Stark County Farm Bureau.

Now, to the biggest change, the new American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. Tera had the chance to meet Mr. Duvall at the state board meeting she attending. He and his wife, Bonnie, were traveling to different state Farm Bureau meetings to get his name out there in hopes to be elected the next American Farm Bureau President. Mr. Duvall seemed to be a genuine, down to earth, and knowledgeable guy who valued family. Recently, Tera got to meet again with Mr. Duvall when he was touring some farms around Ohio. He gave some information on his background and spoke about some issues other states are having. But, one of the most influential things he said was that agriculture as a whole needs to get along to get things accomplished. Meaning, conventional, organic, corn growers, wheat growers, ranchers, cotton growers, peanut growers so on and so forth need to get along because they are all working toward a common goal and will never be able to accomplish everything if they are fighting amongst themselves. Genius!!

We all know this but to actually hear it from a leader who will strive to make it happen is wonderful.

Photo caption: State President Frank Burkett’s dairy farm, Clardale Farms Inc., is a fourth generation family owned dairy with three generations involved with the operation. Pictured, left to right, are David Vollnogle, Columbiana County Farm Bureau president; Tera Wentling, Stark County Farm Bureau president; AFBF President Zippy Duvall; Gale Betterly, Summit County Farm Bureau president and Burkett.

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