Yvonne Lesicko Y Prize

Farm life can be demanding and stressful, and the mental health challenges that come with it is an ongoing problem. Ohio Farm Bureau has been a part of many initiatives to raise mental health awareness and reduce stigma surrounding the issue in rural communities. Yvonne Lesicko, former Ohio Farm Bureau vice president of public policy who died unexpectedly in June 2020, was one of the leaders who helped to create the state’s “Got Your Back” farm stress coalition.

The Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Fund was created last year to recognize her life and career. The fund, within the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, was established to support the causes and initiatives that she cared so deeply about, including farmer mental health. To date, due to the generosity of more than 300 donors, the fund has raised more than $80,000.

The Yvonne Lesicko Perseverance Prize, the “Y Prize” for short, is a new award created by the fund. This award will be used to recognize groups or individuals working to find innovative solutions to farmer mental health issues, including addressing issues of access to resources, lessening of stigma around mental health issues and collaborating among health care, rural medicine and agriculture groups.

“We hope the Y Prize can provide recognition and a ‘thank you’ to groups and individuals working to advance this cause,” said Kelly Burns, executive director of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.

Winner recognition

The Y Prize award winner, and the program or work he or she represents, will be given a platform to share their work and efforts. As part of the award, Ohio Farm Bureau will feature the award winner in membership and outside media, and the Young Ag Professionals Winter Leadership Experience will feature the award as part of the conference program. All of this is part of the award’s goal of lessening the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Nominations

Check back for 2022 nomination information.

Contribute to the Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Fund.

Meet the 2021 Y Prize winner, Jami Dellifield.

Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially.
Sara Tallmadge's avatar
Sara Tallmadge

Ashland County Farm Bureau

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.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
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.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
I was gifted the great opportunity through an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Pathways grant to run a series of summer camps here. That really expanded my vision of what ‘grow, maintain, sustain and explain’ could actually be.
Jim Bruner's avatar
Jim Bruner

Mezzacello Urban Farms

Farming for Good
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.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
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.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
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