Ohio’s county Farm Bureaus again lead the nation for quality programming, winning seven of the 24 County Activities of Excellence awards presented by the American Farm Bureau.

The awards celebrate unique, volunteer-driven programming at the local level and serve as models of innovation for local program development.

As winners, the counties have the opportunity to participate in the Farm Bureau CAE Showcase at the 2018 AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show in Nashville in January. American Farm Bureau received 122 entries across all membership categories, with only 24 activities nationwide being selected for show at the convention.

“Ohio counties have a strong record in this competition,” said Melinda Witten, Ohio Farm Bureau director, leadership programming. “It is gratifying to see the accomplishments of our members recognized in this way.”

Ohio’s winners were:

Adams County: Strong Ag Partners/Youth Beginner Beekeeper Scholarship
Adams County Farm Bureau in cooperation with the County Beekeepers Association offers Youth Beginner Beekeeper scholarships to students in grades 7-12 who are a resident of the county and new to beekeeping. Included in the award is a one-year membership to the County Beekeepers Association, a beginning beekeeper guidebook, a set of woodenware for the beehive, a nucleus of bees, beekeeping gear, and the mentorship of a member of the County Beekeepers Association.

Carroll and Tuscarawas Counties (joint program): Weeding Out Substance Abuse in Rural America and Farm Bureau’s Got Your Back Campaign
These counties wanted to support educating students, parents and community members on drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues. Working with the local Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, the groups began by assessing the problem and created the Weeding Out Substance Abuse in Rural America campaign.

Jackson-Vinton County: Farm Fest in the Park
This event was held to connect the community with Farm Bureau by providing an opportunity to learn about agriculture. A variety of farm equipment, farm animals, local producers, agriculture agencies, and organizations set up in a park in the middle of town. This kid friendly, free event provided a family atmosphere with membership opportunities. Farm Bureau partnered with agriculture organizations such as OSU Extension, SWCD, FFA chapters as well as Farm Credit.

Ottawa County: North Coast Jackpot Show
Lamb and goat enthusiasts gathered at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds. Once arriving at the show, they weighed their livestock in before animals were sorted in classes and divisions by breed and weight. 4-H and FFA members were able to compete for prizes within their classes, divisions, and overall placings. A nationally known livestock judge was hired to select the winners of the show. Proceeds from the show benefited the county Junior Fair.

Paulding County: County Farm Bureau Day at the County Fair
Paulding County Farm Bureau, along with three other local businesses, sponsored the last day of the fair so attendees could enjoy a free day at the county fair. The county Farm Bureau chose this date based on the Farmer’s Share Breakfast also held in conjunction with the Junior Fair Livestock Sale. Along with the breakfast, the county donated T-shirts to the Junior Fair participants, and kids of all ages could drive a full-size tractor around the track with a local farmer at the fairgrounds.

Shelby County: Conservation Day Camp
Conservation Day Camp is a three-day conservation and agriculture education camp for children ages 8-11. The camp offered 15 sessions using a conservation or agriculture theme, and all include a hands-on element to maximize camper interaction. The camp is a collaborative project with Shelby County Farm Bureau and Soil and Water Conservation District.

Wood County: Sheriff Department Training
During the county policy development breakfast, a representative from the sheriff`s department explained the need for a livestock capturing and retaining system that would aid officers capturing escaped animals. The sheriff`s office also explained a need for more training handling anhydrous ammonia tanks due to a recent leak. The board of trustees saw this as a community need and developed a training day held at the local fairgrounds.

Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
Ernie Welch's avatar
Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
The plan we are on is great. It’s comparable to my previous job's plan, and we are a sole proprietor.
Kevin Holy's avatar
Kevin Holy

Geauga County Farm Bureau

Ohio Farm Bureau Health Benefits Plan
We work terrifically with the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau, hosting at least one to two outreach town hall events every year to educate new farmers and existing farmers on traditional CAUV and woodlands.
David Thomas's avatar
David Thomas

Ashtabula County Auditor

CAUV: Past, present and future
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
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