Check YOUR Engine project

The 2023 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention took place Jan. 5-10. Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson, and Tuscarawas County Farm Bureaus were able to share their award-winning project, Check YOUR Engine, by setting up a booth at the trade show in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Jerry Lahmers, recently retired Ohio Farm Bureau state trustee, represented the county Farm Bureaus at the event.

“We had a very attractive display that drew a lot of interest and good conversation on agriculturalist mental wellness thanks to the work of Natalie Bollon, Mackenzie Deetz, Shelby Rhodes and Trevor Kirkpatrick,” Lahmers said. “Two things stood out from the conversations: One: mental wellness and the need to support it is pervasive in the agriculture community. Two: the program ‘Check Your Engine’ will work very well towards addressing the situation. I am confident as the program grows and matures it will be of immense value for our farmers, farm families, and farm workers.”

Newly elected Ohio Farm Bureau State Trustee Mackenzie Deetz, said, “The trade show brought forward a lot of creative ideas and the conversations are always a ‘cup filler’ for me personally.”

The conversations from the trade show booth seemed to be a highlight of the trip.

“I was surprised by the shift in people during our discussions,” said Natalie Bollon, executive director of the Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Carroll and Tuscarawas counties who also made the trip. “Many stopped to learn about the program but then would engage in discussions that lasted 20 minutes. There was a shift in their understanding of what ‘mental health’ is. It exists on a continuum of struggling to get out of bed and feeling hopeless or overwhelmed, to the more serious symptoms of suicidal thoughts.”

Farmer mental health is becoming a more common topic of discussion for many in the industry.

“The AFBF (trade show) had no shortage of counties that were focused on farmer and farm family mental health, especially from Ohio. We were able to learn from other booths and programs and came back with some tremendous ideas to add to Check Your Engine,” Bollon added.

Shelby Rhodes of Carroll County also reflected on her trip to Puerto Rico.

“I think I could fill a book with the things I learned. One of the biggest things I learned is how much properly advocating for agriculture is needed. This trip also taught me how valuable the Farm Bureau organization is and how much it cares for it’s members.”

Attendees also brought back some lessons from outside the convention. 

“I learned, from a culture born and raised to serve the tourists that visit the island, that I should adopt that practice in my own life. We all need to reach out a helping hand more often without the expectation of getting something in return. The people of Puerto Rico were so kind and welcoming. and I won’t ever forget the experience of traveling there,” Deetz said.

The Check Your Engine project was one of 24 County Activities of Excellence award winners that were invited to set up a booth at the American Farm Bureau convention. Of those 24 projects, 11 were from Ohio encompassing 14 total counties.


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.
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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.
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Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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