Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation
Mike Townsley

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.

Farm Bureau is an incredible organization that has given me countless professional development opportunities in addition to advocating for all sizes and types of farmers.
Shana Angel's avatar
Shana Angel

Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau

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, D.C.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
Through its policies it brings together people in the agricultural community and invests in building vibrant communities that support agriculture.
Eric Bernstein 's avatar
Eric Bernstein

Wyandot County Farm Bureau

Future employees, leaders
If you have issues with local planning or have legal questions, someone at the Farm Bureau has the answer for you, or they’ll connect you with someone who does.
Gayle Hansen's avatar
Gayle Hansen

Cuyahoga County Farm Bureau

Hansen's Greenhouse
As a member of Farm Bureau, I am glad that this organization takes action when necessary to protect and advance agriculture.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Policy Development
We go to a lot of Farm Bureau events, and there’s a lot of camaraderie built because you’re meeting with people who have similar interests and goals.
Andy Hollenback's avatar
Andy Hollenback

Licking County Farm Bureau

Event Calendar
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