2022 Murray Lincoln Award Winners
Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau member Ernie Welch farms with his wife, Molly, their four children and “great farm hand” Tyler Richey in northwestern Ohio. In 2022, he secured 50 Farm Bureau memberships, making him a first-time Murray Lincoln Award winner (pictured above).

During membership campaign season, Welch shares his thoughts on the importance of bringing new farmers and agriculturalists into the Farm Bureau family:

Q: What is your connection to agriculture and how long have you been a Farm Bureau member in Van Wert County?
A: We are grain farmers with a 2,400 head hog operation as well. We’ve been members for about 10 years.

Q: In 2022 you were a Murray Lincoln Award winner for the first time. What advice would you give to someone who might be interested in securing memberships for the organization but is not sure how to go about it?
A: Start simple. Look at where you and other ag-related folks do business or may be affected by the same policies the Farm Bureau protects. Make a list, pay them a visit and follow through. Even the people who said “yes” right away may need a follow-up to get the right person to sign or to pay for the memberships. I personally had more success with face-to-face interactions versus phone or email contacts.

Q: Why is it important for farmers and those in agribusiness and ag-related fields to be members of Farm Bureau?
A: Ohio Farm Bureau membership may be your best value for the protection and promoting of the practices, values and lifestyles of agriculture. You are literally partnering with an advocate to protect your interests, and to scale, the interests of all ag-related fields.

Q: Why are you an Ohio Farm Bureau member?
A: I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. I have personally experienced the advocacy on a local level. I have also witnessed the impact with professionals in our community from judges and police to politicians and first responders, that voice has an audience locally and all the way to the Statehouse. The extras that are included with membership are wonderful, but I’m a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.

The 2023 membership campaign runs through March 31. Contact your county Farm Bureau to get involved.


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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