Jill Smith is organization director for Auglaize, Logan, Mercer and Shelby counties. In this role, she is a liaison between the county Farm Bureaus and Ohio Farm Bureau. She assists county groups as they develop and implement programs to strengthen their organizations, serve members and affect positive change in their communities.
She is a graduate of Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, majoring in animal science with a minor in agriculture business.
What is something you can point to that has been accomplished thanks to the joint efforts of farmers and community members in your area?
Mercer and Auglaize county farmers have had to work very hard in the last 10 years on water quality and agriculture/nonagriculture relationship building in the Grand Lake Watershed. Our efforts as a county Farm Bureau along with the other ag agencies have made huge in-roads in that dynamic. We had to work hard to not only make changes in the daily status quo in the ag community and how they did their jobs, but also help communicate messages to the public about what we are doing and why we do it. That relationship is so much better because of the struggles we worked through.
What is your favorite Farm Bureau member benefit?
Tell us about one big project one of your counties has planned or has recently conducted.
Shelby County completed its third Women in Agriculture: An Empowerment Celebration event. This is a great event were we offer speakers, demonstrations and educational information about the roles of women in agriculture. This event is a partnership with several agencies in our community and has grown in size each of the last three years. At this year’s event, keynote speaker was Shelly Tobe, who is a product innovation coordinator with Wendy’s International. She focused not only on what she does at her job, which is source and “invent” new food for their menu, but she also empowered our group about making your way in the agriculture/food industry and how to help those you meet along the way. We also had sessions on succession planning, cooking demos and a session on reshaping/redesigning old items. A great event and one of my favorite that we do.