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].


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

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.
Ernie Welch's avatar
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.
Matt Aultman's avatar
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.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
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.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
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.
Jared Hughes's avatar
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.
Austin Heil's avatar
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.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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