52nd Ohio Ag Hall of Fame inductees announced

The Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC) recently announced the 2017 Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees, including Dwight B. Beougher of Westerville, James J. Buchy of Greenville, Opal Holfinger of Troy, and Virgil L.  Strickler of Lakeview. These individuals  who have committed their lives to working in, promoting and advocating for Ohio’s farm community will be inducted as the 52nd Hall of Fame class on Friday, August 4, 2017, during a special breakfast ceremony at the Ohio Expo Center.

“Our Executive Board is very pleased to be honoring such outstanding individuals, whose passion, creativity and hard work epitomize those qualities sought in inductees for the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame,” said Jim Chakeres, OAC president. “Each stands out individually for exceptional contributions, and their collective decades of service have truly impacted Ohio agriculture.”

Induction will take place in the Cardinal Hall on the fairgrounds, which opened in 2016 and features an expanded Hall of Fame display and salute to Ohio’s agriculture community. The following four inductees will join 221 prior recipients named since 1966 when the program began.

Dwight B. Beougher of Westerville

Dwight Beougher has dedicated his life to serving the US feed industry and agriculture. His career in product sales began with twenty years at a major research and animal feed manufacturer, where he especially enjoyed teaching dealers and employees good manufacturing practices and animal husbandry. Later, he and his wife created a successful retail feed and farm supply business in central Ohio and were recognized nationally for their turn-around strategies.  Dwight served as chairman of the Ohio Feed & Grain Dealer’s Association’s Feed Committee where he headed up rewriting the “Ohio Feed Law.”

Combining his love of agriculture, education and communication, Dwight now retired, has been instrumental in many programs as president of the Franklin County Farm Bureau.  He continues to engage and share the story about his favorite subject — agriculture.

James J. Buchy of Greenville

James “Jim” Buchy is valued as a true statesman and a selfless leader who has served the state and agriculture in many ways.  Jim grew up in Greenville working in and later owning his family’s meat packing plant as the fifth generation. Called to public service, he served in the Ohio House of Representatives for 22 years and later as an assistant director in the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Serving on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee during his Ohio House tenure, Jim assisted other legislators in understanding agriculture, worked to create a favorable business environment in the state, protected the environment; all while pushing the agricultural industry for continual improvement and growth. Jim’s work also invested in the youth of Ohio through legislation that brought 4-H and FFA programs to students in urban areas.

Opal Holfinger of Troy

Opal Holfinger has shared her quiet leadership for the betterment of Ohio agriculture and the state of Ohio through thousands of volunteer hours. For more than five and a half decades, Opal and her late husband Carl, fed cattle in Miami County. As a staunch advocate of Ohio’s beef industry, she served on the Ohio Beef Council Operating Committee from 1988-1996, helping shape the state’s beef council in the very early years of the national beef checkoff program. She also served in many capacities for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Cattle Women, and the Miami County Cattlemen’s Association.

Opal’s service extended into board leadership for 15 years and as treasurer of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Miami County Planning Commission and Zoning Board, Ohio Bicentennial Board and the Ohio Expositions Commission.

Virgil L. Strickler of Lakeview

Virgil Strickler has a lifetime of experience in the agricultural industry and serves as the longest-running General Manager in the history of the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair. Raised on a farm in Fairfield County, Virgil began his career as an agricultural lender.  In 1993, he was named Livestock and Agriculture Director of the Ohio State Fair, and Strickler also has served since 2004 as the General Manager.

Virgil has been passionate about supporting and educating Ohio’s youth about agriculture, as demonstrated through the 4th grade Ag is Cool program and the Youth Reserve Program for livestock participants, which created a multi-million dollar scholarship program.  Strickler has created one of the top fairs in the nation, allowing the general public to better connect with the number-one industry in Ohio.

The Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame induction annually attracts more than 500 guests to honor the Ohio agricultural community and the select inductees dedicated to Ohio’s largest industry.

For further information about sponsorship in honor of the inductees, or to obtain tickets to the Agricultural Hall of Fame induction ceremony, contact the Ohio Agricultural Council at 614-794-8970 or via email at info@ohioagcouncil.org.

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