Bernadette Arehart will be honored as the 2018 Ag Woman of the Year by the Central Ohio Farm Bureaus at their annual Women in Ag Brunch in March. Since 1983, this yearly event has recognized outstanding women in the field of agriculture for their invaluable contributions. Recipients of this award have consistently demonstrated proven leadership, passion and dedication for the better of Ohio agriculture.
Bernadette’s story begins on a dairy farm in Yorkshire, Ohio where she was the youngest of six children. Bernadette learned a strong work ethic and a love of people from her parents. Her mother always had an extra plate at the table for anyone stopping by the farm for a visit. Hard work, hospitality and loving people came naturally in the Bruening household. While in high school, Bernadette was a leader in her church youth group, 4-H and FFA, holding several local, state and national positions. Later, while in college at The Ohio State University, she was a farm editor for the Agri-Broadcasting Network and began a journey of networking and working with agricultural leaders. After college, Bernadette held corporate communication and sales positions with the Dow Chemical Company and Zeneca Ag Products. She also served as the executive director of the Ohio FFA Foundation and was instrumental in establishing the FFA Toy Tractor Program with Quality Farm and Fleet and the Ertl Company.
As Bernadette started a family in the 1990s, it was important for her to find more time to be at home with her children, so she began a freelance communication business and collaborated with her agricultural network to build her client base. Bernadette worked with commodity groups and youth organizations, as well as corporate clients including City Barbeque restaurants.
In 2012, Bernadette expanded her skill set and began recruiting agricultural professionals across the country for positions with a strategic consulting, marketing and communication company. This new career outlet opened the door for Bernadette to mentor young agricultural professionals.
She is a member of the Ohio Ag Council and provides the voiceovers for the Ohio Ag Hall of Fame recipient videos. She volunteers and assists FFA chapters and the Ohio FFA Association, and has received the local, state and American Honorary FFA Degree. She is a long-time member of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and while serving as a trustee in Delaware County, she was recognized for her contributions as a co-chair of the Benefit in the Barn fundraiser which won national recognition in 2017 by the American Farm Bureau.
Bernadette chased a dream in 2017 and went back to school to become a licensed esthetician in the skincare industry. Today, she works with clients in the Columbus area on addressing their skincare needs. The most enjoyable part of her new career is connecting with guests and helping them relax and feel confident. Her personal motto on this new journey is—relax, renew and be the best version of YOU!
Throughout her professional and personal journey, there is one common thread—her passion to give back to the industry, people and programs that have helped her become who she is today. Bernadette and her husband, Randy, live in Grove City, Ohio and work together to serve others through their professional careers and community activities. They agree, the best times are when their house is full of family including Bernadette’s adult children, Mary and Jarod, and Randy’s teenage daughter, Garbrielle.
This year’s Women in Ag event will be held on Saturday, March 2 at the Nationwide Hotel & Conference in Lewis Center. The event is open to the public and is child friendly. Tickets and more information can be found at: https://2019womeninagbrunch.eventbrite.com.