It was in Ohio State’s Botany and Zoology building on Neil Avenue, now Jennings Hall, where Farm Bureau members representing 76 counties along with many Ohio State University county Extension agents convened for the very first meeting of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation 100 years ago. Now in that same location, a new historical marker commemorating that meeting is being displayed.
“The fact that the meeting took place on the campus of The Ohio State University was appropriate,” said Ohio Farm Bureau President Frank Burkett III during the plaque unveiling Jan. 28. “At that first annual meeting, Ohio Farm Bureau pledged its support to its friends at Ohio State and as you can see, Ohio State University, its Extension service and Ohio Farm Bureau are lifelong partners.”
The marker displays OFBF logos, past and present, and highlights how Farm Bureau adopted its first resolutions, pledging to support farm legislation, pressing for organization of a national Farm Bureau, supporting expansion of county Extension agent work and cooperating with Ohio State’s College of Agriculture and Experiment Station.
“The work of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is crucial to the success of farmers and to every link in the food chain across Ohio, the nation and the world,” said Adam Sharp, OFBF executive vice president. “Today, just like 100 years ago, Farm Bureau knows the value of Ohio State’s teaching, research and extension efforts and we are proud to support those efforts by communicating with lawmakers, the public and others about the importance of that work.”
Other representatives celebrating the organization’s founding included Mark Berven, Nationwide president and chief operating officer, and Brent Porteus, former OFBF president, who now serves on both the Nationwide Board of Directors and OSU Board of Trustees. Berven noted that Nationwide’s beginnings in 1926 all started as what was then known as the Ohio Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company.
Sharp and Dr. Cathann Kress, vice president of agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State, highlighted the ability to work collaboratively for the betterment of both organizations and their communities.
“You can’t easily accomplish something so ambitious as harnessing the only energy source for our planet, the sun, and converting it to use for the collective human species, who want it cheaply, fast, sustainable, delicious and high in value,” Kress said. “We have our own set of challenges today but we also have resources, technology and communications that our predecessors would have envied. That is why our partnership with Ohio Farm Bureau is so important. It was 100 years ago, it was 50 years ago and it is today.”
Also on hand was Ohio Senator and past OFBF President Bob Peterson. He presented a proclamation from the Ohio Senate recognizing the achievements of Ohio’s largest farm organization over the past century. Proclamations also were given by the Ohio House of Representatives and on behalf of U.S. Congressman Steve Stivers and the Ohio delegation of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Learn more about Ohio Farm Bureau’s centennial events, projects
Coverage from Ohio Farm Bureau’s 100th annual meeting
Town Hall Ohio centennial episode
Photos by Dave Gore