Four individuals who have made significant contributions to agriculture and Farm Bureau were honored by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Farm Bureau volunteers and farmers Dennis Heyob of Hamilton County and Charles Lausin of Geauga County received the Distinguished Service Award. Farm Bureau leader and educator Alfred DiVencenzo was presented posthumously with the Cooperative/Agricultural Educator Award. Long-time Nationwide board member James Bachmann received the Ezra C. Anstaett Heritage Award.  

Each honoree was recognized for lifetime achievements that benefited Ohio’s farming community. The awards were president Dec. 6 in Columbus at the 100th annual meeting of Ohio Farm Bureau.  

Heyob is a lifelong farmer and Farm Bureau volunteer who served as county Farm Bureau president in four different decades and held numerous other offices and committee assignments. He initiated and led county events including the Farm to Family project that provided fresh produce and education on healthy eating to underserved urban families. He led efforts to provide food to local food banks, organized farm tours for nonfarmers and headed the county Farm Bureau’s work to wholly fund the $80,000 4-H Community Fair Show Pavilion at Stricker’s Grove. He regularly hosts local, state and national elected officials on his farm and is a frequent spokesperson for agriculture with local media. He also served on many community, agricultural and school organizations.

Lausin has spent his career in farming and in Farm Bureau, serving as Geauga County Farm Bureau president and holding various other leadership positions. He was on the state Farm Bureau board for 10 years. He was active in 4-H, local agricultural cooperatives and engaged in local government as a township trustee and planning commission member. He served on the Ohio Public Works Commission and served in leadership roles with Ohio State University Extension. He held many leadership roles with dairy organizations including  Milk Marketing, Inc., Ohio Dairy Farmers Federation, OSU Dairy Science advisory groups and the American Farm Bureau dairy committee. He served on the county SWCD board, the Geauga Landmark board and was active with the local maple festival.

DiVencenzo was a 23-year Farm Bureau volunteer, who passed away unexpectedly this past July. He served as president of Lorain County Farm Bureau plus in many other leadership roles including state trustee for Ohio Farm Bureau representing members from Cuyahoga, Erie, Huron and Lorain counties. He served as vice president of the Ohio Christmas Tree Association and led its popular Ohio State Fair exhibit. His tree farm included a pre-cut lot to benefit a local school and library fund. He served on the Ohio Public Works Commission Natural Resource Assistance Council and was a 4-H adviser. DiVencenzo spent 30 years in public education including service as an adjunct professor at the Firelands campus of Bowling Green State University.

Bachmann is a longtime business and community leader and served on the Nationwide board of directors from 2003 to 2018. He retired as managing partner for Ernst & Young’s Columbus location in 2003, where he led the office for 11 years. In addition to his board work at Nationwide, Bachmann also serves on other public company boards of directors as well as non-profit organizations which have included The Ohio State University Hospital, The Ohio State University Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees, United Way of Central Ohio, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the Columbus Museum of Art, and the McCoy Performing Arts Center. The  Ezra C. Anstaett Heritage Award recognizes partners who help Ohio Farm Bureau achieve its mission. It’s named after the first policyholder of Ohio Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, which later became Nationwide Insurance.

Candidates for the awards are nominated by Farm Bureau volunteers, county organizations and state leaders.

This is a news release for use by journalists. Questions should be directed to Joe Cornely614-246-8230.


A high resolution photo of Dennis Heyob is available to accompany this story.

A high resolution photo of Charles Lausin is available to accompany this story.

A high resolution photo of The Alfred DiVencenzo Family is available to accompany this story.

A high resolution photo of James Bachmann is available to accompany this story.

I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.
Bethany Starlin's avatar
Bethany Starlin

Hocking County Farm Bureau

Available scholarships
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
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
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

Business Solutions
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
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

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