The Ohio Landowner Hunter Access Partnership provides annual payments to landowners for providing hunting access to their property.Read More
Mike Townsley, president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, grew up on a farm, so it is no surprise that his career led him back to one as CEO and president of Bob Evans Farms, Inc., where he now serves as chairman. Townsley has dedicated his life to food and agriculture, starting in the meat industry. As president and CEO of Bob Evans Farms, Townsley led the company’s incredible growth in the refrigerated sides business. He believes in putting the right people in the right positions and empowering them to execute the vision that has been set for the organization.
Q: Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation continues to grow. What are you most excited about as the philanthropic organization really starts to come into its own?
One of my biggest priorities for our board this year is to increase our visibility by sharing our story — who we are, what we do and why our work is so vitally important to the future of Ohio agriculture. By sharing these stories, we will continue to grow our fundraising efforts and the impact we’re able to have in our communities, our region and throughout the state.
Q: You are president of the foundation board. Tell us a little about the make-up of the board and what’s in store for the year ahead.
The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation’s 16-member board is one of the most energetic and diverse boards that I have had the pleasure of serving on and leading. We have representation from the Ohio Farm Bureau trustees, our Young Agricultural Professionals group (YAP), county Farm Bureaus, and a dynamic group representing some of the most successful Ohio-based businesses such as Nationwide, COSI, The Kroger Co. and Bob Evans Foods, just to name a few.
In 2021, the board will be focused on developing a strategic campaign plan that will propel us into 2022 and beyond. We want to establish set priorities and goals for the next three to five years that will enable us to grow our scholarship funds, increase our grant opportunities and support our innovative programming like ExploreAg.
Q: What would you tell anyone who is contemplating becoming a donor or active volunteer of the foundation?
I would say ‘join us!’ The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is a great way for individuals, families and businesses to support Ohio agriculture. We envision a future where tomorrow’s greatest leaders are passionate about and drawn to careers in agriculture, but we need incredible support to make it happen. Whether you choose to make a gift, participate in our annual Golf Invitational or volunteer your time with us, your partnership will result in a harvest of new leaders and innovation for tomorrow.
Finally, I would encourage those who are interested in learning more about the foundation or who are interested in making a gift to please visit the foundation website or contact our executive director, Kelly Burns, at [email protected] or 614-246-8275.
I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.Available scholarships
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.Leadership development
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.Growing our Generation
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.Business Solutions
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.Young Ag Professionals program
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.Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
Safety Intervention Grants are available to provide financial assistance toward the purchase of equipment to sustainably reduce or eliminate injuries and illness associated with a particular task or operation.Read More
Farm Credit Mid-America operating loans offer cash back, flexibility and a tailored, one-on-one experience with a farmer-owned lender.Read More
Ohio Farm Bureau wrote a letter to Ohio’s congressional delegation urging swift action to avert a rail strike or lockout that would lead to shutdowns or slowdowns of rail-dependent facilities.Read More
Ohio Farm Bureau staff members Julie Shull, Jennifer Taylor and Kelsey Turner have been elevated to director positions within Ohio’s largest farm and food organization.Read More
I came home from Communications Boot Camp knowing that I would be using this priceless opportunity that I had participated in to continue to speak for agriculture and my Ohio Farm Bureau.Read More
A $25,000 gift from The Kroger Co. serves as a match for the upcoming national day of philanthropy Nov. 29.Read More
28 counties across Ohio became eligible for disaster assistance through designations from USDA and Gov. Mike DeWine.Read More