Nationwide, OFBF, Golden Owl

Agricultural teachers play an essential and selfless role in the communities they serve. As they prepare future generations for successful careers, many also devote countless hours and often their own resources to make a difference.

To shed light on the contributions of Ohio’s leading agricultural teachers, Nationwide, the No. 1 insurer of farms and ranches in the U.S¹., is honoring 10 exceptional teachers as finalists for its Golden Owl Award.

In partnership with the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio FFA, Nationwide collected nearly 400 nominations from local students, fellow teachers, parents and community members from August to December 2020.

Ohio’s 2020-2021 Golden Owl Award finalists:

  • Don Hammersmith – Ayersville High School
  • Mike Hoffman – Wynford High School
  • Shari Anderson – Marysville High School
  • Kari Roberts – Talawanda-Butler Tech High School
  • Andrew DeLong – Chief Logan High School
  • Ryan Sell – Archbold High School
  • Ryan Rosselot – Western Brown High School
  • Abbey VanTyne – Norwayne High School
  • Pamela Schultz – Fayette High School
  • Mark Hoffman – Hillsdale High School

Each finalist will receive an individualized plaque and a $500 donation to their school’s agricultural program and will be entered into a final selection stage for the chance to be crowned as Ohio’s Ag Educator of the Year. In addition to the Ag Educator of the Year designation, the grand-prize winner will also receive a $3,000 Nationwide-funded donation to their school’s agriculture program and the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy. 

“Similar to Nationwide’s mission of delivering extraordinary care, teachers across the country go above and beyond to bring new educational opportunities for their students and help them pursue their passions,” said Nationwide Agribusiness President Brad Liggett. “We created the Golden Owl Award in 2018 to honor the contributions of teachers, highlight the growing need for their services, and supply additional resources to help boost their programs and provide students with optimal learning experiences.”

In the award’s second year, Nationwide broadened the program from two states to five, recognizing the efforts of 31 agricultural teachers across California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania with the 2019-2020 Golden Owl Award. As a result of the positive response from the communities that Golden Owl Award nominees make a difference in, Nationwide expanded the 2020-2021 Golden Owl Award even further to include Indiana and New York.

“We’re proud to recognize hardworking teachers in seven states for their dedication to preparing future generations for success,” said Liggett.

Nationwide is also investing $5,000 in each participating state’s FFA organization, including the Ohio FFA, to further support aspiring agriculture professionals.

The Golden Owl Award is the result of partnerships between Nationwide, the California FFA, California Farm Bureau, Illinois FFA, Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers, Farm Credit Illinois, Indiana FFA, Farm Credit Mid-America, the Iowa FFA Foundation, New York FFA, New York Farm Bureau, Ohio FFA, Ohio Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania FFA, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and Compeer Financial.

1 Source: A.M. Best Market Share Report 2019
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.
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Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
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Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
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.
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Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
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.
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Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
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.
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Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
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Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
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.
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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.
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Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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