Kim Harless is senior organization director for Jackson-Vinton, Pike and Scioto 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 attended high school at Eastern High School and continued her education courses through Ohio State University and received a degree in business management from PBC.
What is something you can point to that has been accomplished thanks to the joint efforts of farmers and community members in your area?
The OSU OARDC Research Farm in Jackson was in discussion to be shut down, several years ago. When our community and farmers heard this, they partnered with the local Farm Bureau, put together a huge tractor/equipment convoy through the middle of town and drove to a county commissioner meeting. They all went in and expressed their concerns and emphasized why it was important for agriculture and the community to keep it in Jackson County. The commissioners made a great decision to keep it in Jackson with a life-time lease. This is an example of farmers working together with the community for a great cause.
What is your favorite Farm Bureau member benefit?
Our public policy department – there is no other organization that provides this type of benefit to their members.
Tell us about one big project one of your counties has planned or has recently conducted.
Well, all four of my counties do an amazing Agriculture Day for all the 2nd, 3rd or 5th graders in their respective counties. It’s a free field trip to the local fairgrounds or OARDC research farm. Local producers, businesses and agriculture agencies/organizations come together for a full day of educating our youth about agriculture through hands-on presentations. Our local FFA and 4-H teen leaders assist with this event by doing presentations or serving as teacher helpers and guides. There is a Design a T-shirt Contest and the winning design goes on the Ag Day T-shirt that all the kids receive free, compliments of local business sponsors. We also have a canned food drive with this event and the food is distributed to a local food pantry. These are true grassroots events, involving the whole community in some way.