Mandy Orahood is organization director for Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties. In this role, she is a liaison between 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.
Orahood is a graduate of Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute with an associate’s degree in livestock sciences with a beef & sheep production specialization and holds a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from Ohio State University.
What is something you can point to that has been accomplished thanks to the joint efforts of farmers and community members in your area?
It’s so hard to narrow down to one thing. Every event the county Farm Bureaus hold or support is a direct example of farmers and community members working together. Farmers and community members are working closely with elected officials and leaders to identify key issues affecting each county that range from water quality, opioids, hunger, and even safety of roads and traffic. We have held food drives where over 500 pounds of nonperishable foods and over $800 was donated to the local food bank. We have had an event where over 150 were in attendance to participate in a discussion with the local drug task force on the drug epidemic affecting the county. It truly takes a village.
What is your favorite Farm Bureau member benefit?
The advocacy OFBF does on behalf of our members. I also love the Rocky Boots/Lehigh Outfitters discount – a girl can never have too many boots!
Tell us about one big project one of your counties has planned or has recently conducted?
Ashtabula County held its Ag Day May 12. All the first graders from all the schools in the county were transported to the county fairgrounds where they learned about agriculture firsthand: livestock, crops, soil and water, fruits and veggies, alternative ag, and so much more. They got their hands dirty planting potatoes and digging up potatoes, they made butter, tossed “manure,” and they even “milked” Callie the Cow. Callie is a life-sized replica of a Holstein cow that is filled with water giving kids the chance to milk a cow.
Farm Bureau partners with Ashtabula Extension to hold Ag Day with donations from local businesses and farms throughout the county. Volunteers include elected officials, FFA, 4-H, Farm Bureau, and so many more. It’s such a great event because the majority of these children have never been on a farm and with Ag Day, this may be the only time many have the chance to experience a farm firsthand.