Knox, Jackson-Vinton, Wayne and Wood County Farm Bureaus are winners in American Farm Bureau Federation’s County Activities of Excellence awards and will showcase their programs at AFBF’s Annual Convention Jan. 7-12, 2022 in Atlanta.

The awards celebrate unique, local, volunteer-driven programs that serve as models of innovation for local program development. AFBF received 77 entries from across the country. Although all applications showed quality and innovative thinking, only 18 activities were named winners, including these four from Ohio.

“The creativity of our county Farm Bureau members continues to amaze me,” said Melinda Witten, Ohio Farm Bureau senior director, leadership development. “These programs are superb examples of Farm Bureau offering member value and being important community partners in their respective counties.”

About the programs

Knox County: Date Night at the Orchard

Date Night at the Orchard served as a way to get the local community on a farm and show them local agriculture while also having a fun night out. The event also raised funds to support the county Farm Bureau scholarship fund. The event took place within a local orchard; the attendees were able to sit at tables scattered throughout the rows of apple trees within the orchard to enjoy their evening. Their ticket gave them a choice of two local food trucks, plus entertainment by a local favorite musician and a s’mores bar. The county exceeded its attendance goal of 100, with 146 participants. More than $1,500 was raised for the scholarship fund.

Jackson-Vinton County: Drive-Thru Breakfast with Santa in the Barn

Jackson-Vinton County made this previously in-person event a drive-thru event, free to the community. Families entered the fairgrounds gate where they were greeted by “The Grinch” and handed a rule sheet, then proceeded around a candy cane-lined road where characters, decorations and inflatables were viewed. Mrs. Claus greeted each car and gave passengers a hot breakfast prepared by the board members. Then they made their way to Santa, but passed animals on display such as longhorn cattle, miniature donkeys, baby goats, and sheep as well as other small animals. Once they reached Santa, a photo was taken, compliments of Farm Bureau. This was an event in partnership with other local Farm Bureau members, businesses, and organizations such as FFA and 4-H.

Wayne County: Land Use Actions for the Future of our County

Wayne County Farm Bureau’s involvement in the countywide Land Use Actions for the Future of Our County project stemmed from two local policies Farm Bureau generated that addressed land use. The county government updated its comprehensive plan in 2019 following a period of feedback from the community, including a listening session organized by the county Farm Bureau. A workshop was put together in 2020 to help catalyze action of the new plan around balanced land use, including agriculture’s concerns. The workshop took place over four brown bag seminars which drew 50 to 80 participants to each session. The attendees included a diverse group of Farm Bureau members and community stakeholders. Overall, the feedback received suggests there is interest in continuing these discussions to engage stakeholders and develop shared solutions to the county’s biggest land use challenges.

Wood County: Hop Around Wood County

Wood County’s beer and wine tasting event was was created to increase Farm Bureau awareness, and encourage networking and opportunities for potential new members in the future. The event put a spotlight on several local crafters of beer and wine and allowed them to explain the brewing/wine making process, share about the local ingredients that go into their products and allow attendees to make connections for future support of those businesses. More than $3,900 was raised from the event to fund the county Farm Bureau 2022 scholarship fund.

Ohio Farm Bureau’s mission is working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities. Learn more at

This is a news release for use by journalists. Questions should be directed to Ty Higgins, 614-246-8231 or [email protected].


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.
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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.
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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.
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Andy Hollenback

Licking County Farm Bureau

Event Calendar
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