Spring is around the corner. After a cold, snowy and damp winter across most of the state, the warmth of the upcoming planting season is a welcome change. Trees will start to bloom, much like ag careers at places such as Davey Tree Co., which is the backdrop of a feature about pathways into agriculture in the March/April edition of Our Ohio magazine. 

Youth Pathways is a cornerstone initiative of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation. The success of that initiative in 2021, as well as many others, is highlighted in the foundation’s annual report included in this issue. Another foundation cornerstone, ExploreAg, is also featured. We tell the story of three men who attended an ExploreAg experience and are now linemen apprentices for various utility companies.

Executive Vice President Adam Sharp’s Across the Table column addresses what members would like candidates who are running for office in 2022 to know about both the challenges and opportunities farming and living rural communities can present. To that end, Farm Bureau unveiled its Ohio Agriculture and Rural Communities Action Plan of 2022 priority issues in February. More about the action plan can be found in the March/April issue of Our Ohio.

Farmer mental health is a Farm Bureau priority issue, and in this issue we talk to two farmers at the center of a journey to better mental health. We feature a farmer who noticed the actions of a farming friend were warning signs that some intervention was needed. The farmer in need sought help from the encouragement and both are telling the story of the importance of looking out for your neighbor. 

Other items of interest in this issue include the latest OSU Impact from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and a story about a study that looks at the different types of rural Ohio that exist, as well as reader favorites — spring recipes and Grow and Know events

These are just some of what members will find in the latest issue of Our Ohio magazine, a benefit of Farm Bureau membership and Our Ohio Supporters. A digital edition is also available.

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

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