Building for the future of agriculture display

For many years, the Muskingum County Farm Bureau has put up displays in the 3-Gables building at the Muskingum County Fair. These displays have changed and looked very different from year to year. When the county board decided they needed to do something new and innovative to create a bigger impact, they started planning for the “Building for the Future of Agriculture.” These plans included adding interactive displays visitors could touch and manipulate, hands-on activities, adding technology, and linking everything back to careers in agriculture. 

Once plans were made, the county Farm Bureau went to work on finding and applying for grants. Muskingum County Farm Bureau received an Ag Literacy and Workforce Development Grant from the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation as well as a White-Reinhardt Grant from the American Farm Bureau Foundation. Alongside the grants, the county Farm Bureau also used funds donated to the county fund to make this project happen.

steering wheelOnce the county secured funding for the project, they hired Laura Schull, an agriculture communications major at Ohio State University to serve as an intern to bring their vision to life. Schull was excited and passionate about this project and was instrumental in its overall success. She created a layout for the building that categorized careers in and related to agriculture, and she designed banners highlighting many of the different careers. But her vision did not stop there. She researched different hands-on ways to present information to fairgoers, coming up with the idea of building flip boards, spinning wheels, installing a drone flight area, and even a display that simulates taking a soil sample.

Building for the Future of Agriculture
Patrick Hodges created displays with the help of Zane State College Idea Lab.

To build the hands-on displays, the county partnered with a local engineering student, Patrick Hodges, who is also attending Ohio State. Hodges was able to use his connections as an alumnus of Zane State College to help the county Farm Bureau form a partnership with the Zane State College Idea Lab. All of the hands-on displays were constructed in the Idea Lab at Zane State. Hodges used a laser cutter, woodworking equipment, 3-D printers, and his knowledge of design software to bring the ideas to life.

The county was even able to involve local high school students in the project; students at Shenandoah High School printed four of the 11 new banners used in the building.

Muskingum SWCD
Muskingum SWCD

Other project partners were Muskingum County Soil & Water Conservation District, 4-H Jr. Fair Board, and OSU Extension. These partners served as volunteers, helped create displays, source activities, and promote local programs and opportunities in agriculture.

Throughout the entire process, county Farm Bureau volunteers helped with proofreading, idea sharing, painting displays, and most of all, they were cheerleaders for the students who truly made this project exceptional. This incredible group of volunteers was all in on the idea of this project being all about career development, not only as part of the fair display but also for Laura, Patrick and the students who printed the banners, who gained valuable career experience. Laura gained experience leading the way in communicating the endless opportunities in agriculture to the community. Patrick was able to gain experience working with a “client” and coming up with, drafting, and building a solution. The students who printed the banners experienced what it is like to work with a client and how printing services can help them bring their vision to life.  

Activity schedule
Activity schedule


Putting it all together

At the fair, the displays were set up by a group of volunteers. Each day of the fair, there were two one-hour activity sessions where people could do a hands-on activity and learn about a field in agriculture. Wool carding, corn starch silly putty, and beeswax candles were just a few of the activities held in the building. Each activity had 30-250 kids participate. We reached over 800 youth throughout the week during the activity hours alone. There were nearly 15,000 visitors to the Muskingum County Fair this year. Muskingum County Farm Bureau can confidently say their reach was much broader as the building was open for visitors to interact with displays all day. 

With this project, the Muskingum County Farm Bureau is truly “Building for the Future of Agriculture.”

Want to know what is next with this project? Read this article on plans to make more improvements. Building for the Future of Agriculture “What is Next?”

For more information on how we built our displays, our career banners, or hands-on activities, please email [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.
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Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
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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.
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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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