Across the Table: 100 Years of Ohio Farm Bureau

We’re 100 years old. A lot has changed in Ohio Farm Bureau’s first century, and yet a lot hasn’t changed a bit.

In 1919, our fledgling Farm Bureau existed in a different world. Some 30 percent of Ohioans lived on farms, Farm Bureau was promoting higher fertilizer use to boost our 26 bushels per acre corn yield, we were fighting to bring electricity to rural areas and feeding consumers who wanted the new amenity of processed and packaged foods. Today, about 2 percent of us live on farms. We’re figuring out how to use less fertilizer and still make more than 200 bushels per acre, bringing reliable broadband to the countryside and meeting consumers’ craving for food that’s super fresh and ultra local.

The reason Farm Bureau is around to celebrate our centennial is partly because we’ve always addressed the challenges of the day. But I credit our longevity not so much to what we’ve done but more to how we’ve done it.

“People have within their own hands the tools to fashion their own destiny.” Murray Lincoln, Ohio Farm Bureau’s first executive vice president, famously rallied farmers around an idea, that a century later, still defines who we are. Lincoln spoke of “cooperation amongst the rural folks of Ohio along commercial, economical, legislative, social, and educational lines.” That’s us today, unwavering from our belief that Farm Bureau enables individuals to do together what can’t be done alone.

That conviction has paid a century of dividends. We electrified rural Ohio, preserved farmland by achieving equitable taxes, set standards to assure high quality care for food animals and most recently are tackling the complex challenge of protecting water quality. The list of policy accomplishments that serve the food chain, from farmer to the family dinner table, is extensive. Along the way, we’ve spun off cooperatives and organizations that remain today. Undoubtedly the greatest is the Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, which sold its first policy in 1926 and in 1955 became Nationwide, now a Fortune 66 company and the country’s largest farm insurer. Nationwide is still our most important and valued partner.

Through the course of the coming year, in this magazine and across our many social channels, you’ll share in 100 years of Farm Bureau’s greatest hits. I hope you’ll read, watch and listen to the stories of Ohioans who across a century, whatever the need, made lives and communities better through Farm Bureau. l

SOME CHANGES TO OUR OHIO

The front page of the February 1919 Ohio Farm Bureau Monthly, pictured below, newspaper reported on the formation of the organization, distribution of war emergency seed corn, cabbage disease and youth and community development. Since then, the printed page has remained an important tool for members to stay informed about their organization. Buckeye Farm News launched in 1961. Our Ohio was introduced in 2001. This month brings our newest upgrades — a design refresh of Our Ohio. For active members (those who farm or whose income is tied to agriculture) you will continue to receive both Our Ohio and Buckeye Farm News, only now they will alternate months. If you’re a community member and you would like to receive Buckeye Farm News, just let us know by visiting bfn.GrowWithFB.org.

As Farm Bureau welcomes more Ohioans who are connected to farmers and food, our content will inform, entertain and hopefully motivate your involvement in your organization. I think you’ll like what you see!

How to order Our Century Together

To order a copy of Our Century Together visit the Ohio Farm Bureau centennial store.