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Major contributions give boost to Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation

An historic year for the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation culminated with three leadership gifts announced during the recent Ohio Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting.

Nationwide announced its donation of $1 million to the foundation’s Fisher Fund for Lifelong Learning. The insurance and financial services company’s gift is the single largest donation in the 31-year history of the foundation and reaffirms Nationwide’s commitment to securing the future of Ohio’s food and farm communities.

The Fisher Fund also will benefit from a gift of $300,000 from Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, another $25,000 in personal contributions from Farm Bureau’s current board members and a $250,000 gift from Farm Credit Mid-America.

The Fisher Fund celebrates the legacy of John C. (Jack) Fisher, who recently retired from Ohio Farm Bureau after 20 years as its executive vice president. The fund emphasizes building public awareness of the interconnected food system, mentoring youth, developing technical and business skills for beginning farmers and providing career and personal development for prospective leaders.

Nationwide has been a strong supporter of Farm Bureau and agriculture since its inception as Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in 1926.

“When I think about where Nationwide began, and where we are today, I couldn’t be more proud of the company we’ve become with the support of the Ohio Farm Bureau, its leaders and members,” said Nationwide CEO Steve Rasmussen. “We are pleased to be among the first to celebrate Jack Fisher’s many contributions. His vision will continue to have a tremendous impact on agriculture and farming well into the future.”

Farm Credit Mid-America’s relationship traces to the 1920s and 1930s when Farm Bureau members were engaged in the creation of the lender’s predecessors. “We’re excited about the opportunity to work with the Ohio Farm Bureau and Nationwide and are pleased to invest in the Fisher Fund for Lifelong Learning,” said Tara Durbin, Farm Credit Mid-America’s senior vice president. “We understand that in order for Ohio’s rural communities to thrive, we must develop future leaders in agriculture and strengthen business skills for new and beginning farmers. This initiative allows us to empower the next generation.”

Adam Sharp, president of the foundation and the executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau thanked Nationwide, Farm Credit Mid-America and the Farm Bureau board members for their generous support of the foundation.

“The ag community is one of great, enduring partnerships, and we appreciate these significant commitments to support Ohio’s youth, communities and farm and food economy. As the philanthropic extension of Farm Bureau, our foundation’s goals are aligned with that of our membership organization, both aimed at making life better for the next generation,” Sharp said.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, which invests in tomorrow’s leaders, seeks to drive local economies, and advance care for the environment, set several milestones in 2016. It more than doubled the financial assets it has to invest in individuals and communities. It restructured, bringing together the previous foundation, the Animals for Life Foundation and the Ohio Center for Agricultural Law. Its first full-time administrator was hired, and two new scholarship programs were created in memory of long-time Farm Bureau employee Kenny Walter and sheep industry leader Jack Judy.

To learn more about the work of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation or to contribute to its efforts, visit ofbf.org/foundation.

This is a news release for use by journalists. Questions should be directed to Joe Cornely, 614-246-8230.