OFBF staff learns about agriculture’s impact

Three times a year, Ohio Farm Bureau staff goes on a tour to see parts of Ohio agriculture and the food chain they may have not seen before, plus enjoy an opportunity to get to know each other better. In March, the staff spent most of a day in Jackson, in southeast Ohio.

A committee composed of staff members plans each outing. Kim Harless, whose organization director area includes Jackson-Vinton County, spearheaded the trip. “Southern Ohio is the best kept secret in Ohio and I wanted to showcase what we have.”

Staff members toured the Bellisio Foods processing facility in Jackson.

Staff visited Ohio State’s Jackson Agricultural Research Station, Bellisio Foods and Speyside Cooperage. “Every stop was a member of Farm Bureau,” Harless added. The stops were within 10 minutes of Jackson, and the tours concluded with a group lunch at Rowdy’s Smokehouse, also a Farm Bureau member. During lunch the owner shared his positive experience with the $2,500 Reward Property Protection Program, which was instrumental in surfacing the person who committed a theft against his business.

Learning how bourbon barrels are built at Speyside Cooperage in Jackson using locally sourced white oak was one of the day’s highlights.

“As a whole, the trips are a great way for staff to get an inside view into the daily operations of farms and businesses owned by our members,” said Dave Gore, who manages the print services area for Farm Bureau. Tammy Moore, senior accounting assistant, said she has been buying Michelina frozen meals for years and after seeing them being prepared at Bellisio Foods, as well as the food safety measures taken, she felt even better about feeding them to her family.

“I appreciate seeing jobs directly on farms, but having access to processing jobs, when the food leaves the farm, takes our learning and knowledge of agricultural jobs to a much higher level,” said Jennifer Baldwin, administrative assistant in the public policy department. “Thank you to Adam Sharp for his foresight into our employee enrichment and all those who help coordinate our employee tours.”

Photos courtesy Kim Harless