The Geauga County Farm Bureau held its 2020 Annual Meeting Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, at St. Mary’s Church parking lot in Chardon with 67 in attendance. This was a drive-in style meeting due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Local, state and federal candidates were invited to participate in a Candidate’s Minute, either in person or by video, to give a short introduction of themselves and to share what they will do for agriculture and the community, if elected. All in attendance enjoyed their choice of a boxed meal served by The Reserve House.
County President Kevin Holy presided over the event. Board trustees were elected for three-year terms: Kevin Holy, Rob Schwartz, Kristen Sirna and Kirk Walker. Ty Kellogg, Larry Sevich and Kristen Sirna were elected to serve as delegates to the Ohio Farm Bureau annual meeting in 2021.
Farm Bureau members also voted on the public policies that guide the county Farm Bureau and established member positions for proposals to the Ohio Farm Bureau, which will be voted on at the 2020 Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in December. Policy positions included agriculture’s role in protecting water quality, wildlife management, agricultural education programs, land conservation, road maintenance, and woodland management. All proposed policies passed.
The 2020 Distinguished Service to Agriculture Awards were given to Carmella Shale and Dee Belew for their exceptional contributions to Geauga County agriculture. Shale is the director/engineer for Geauga County SWCD and has gone above and beyond her call of duty to protect water quality and preserve the future of agriculture. Belew is a member of the Northeast Ohio Maple Producers and Ohio Maple Producers Association and as an active member, she encourages and helps maple producers promote their farm and products through educational seminars, social media and community events.
The OFBF Member of Distinction for Geauga County for 2020 was Kevin O’Reilly, Jr. for his dedication to Farm Bureau and its mission. O’Reilly has dedicated the majority of his life to Farm Bureau through volunteerism, serving as a board trustee, a delegate and in different officer capacities. He has always been instrumental in policy development and in helping members ensure their voice was heard.
Tiffany Mushrush-Mentzer of Harvest Bell Farm was presented with the One Step Ahead award. The award was created to honor those who have demonstrated excellent leadership, communication and innovation resulting in their endeavors being a step ahead. She has been a driving force in Geauga County agriculture and because of her efforts, the Geauga Fresh Farmers Market is alive and well, and a thriving part of the agriculture community in Geauga County.
Jordan Henry (left), Anna Sevich (certificate accepted by Lorraine Sevich- right) and John Steimle were acknowledged as the 2020 Geauga County Farm Bureau scholarship recipients.
Ohio Farm Bureau State Trustee Bill Patterson shared the current happenings of the Ohio Farm Bureau and remarks from the OFBF state board. He also thanked Organization Director Mandy Orahood for her dedication to Geauga County and for all the work she put into pulling together the annual meeting in such a trying year.
Orahood recognized the Geauga County Farm Bureau board of trustees, action team leaders and membership coordinators for their 2020 accomplishments and thanked them all for their commitment to the Geauga County Farm Bureau.
The annual meeting was also a celebration of the work members, volunteers and staff put into helping Farm Bureau in its mission: “advancing agriculture and strengthening our communities.”