Ohio Farm Bureau Awards Members

The Ohio Farm Bureau recognized several of their members during the harvest banquet at their annual meeting on December 1st.

Pat Wheeler of Muskingum County was recognized for signing up 51 new members.




Matt and Rachel Heimerl of Johnstown received the Outstanding Young Farmer Award.

Matt and Rachel Heimerl of Johnstown have been named winners of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) 2011 Outstanding Young Farmer Award. The award recognizes successful young farmers for achievements in the business of farming and leadership in the agricultural community.

The couple will compete in the national contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual meeting in Honoluluin January.

The Heimerls raise hogs and manage their own trucking business and feed mill on their Licking County farm. They have served as chairs of the Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professionals Advisory Team, are both alumni of OFBF’s AgriPOWER Institute leadership program, the DuPont Young Leaders program and are members of the American and Ohio Soybean Associations and the Pork Producers Council. The Heimerls also serve as agriculture spokespersons and are active as 4-H advisers. Both are graduates of Ohio State University.

As winners the Heimerls receive an expense-paid trip to the AFBF meeting in Hawaii, $1,000 in Grainger merchandise courtesy of Farm Credit Services of Mid-America and a year’s free use of a Kubota M-series tractor courtesy of Kubota.

The Excellence in Agriculture award went to Scott and Tracey Isler of Prospect.

Scott and Tracie Isler of Prospect have been named winners of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) 2011 Excellence in Agriculture contest. The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes successful young agricultural professionals who are actively contributing and growing through their involvement with Farm Bureau and agriculture.

The Islers receive an expense-paid trip to Honolulu to compete in the national contest during the annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation in January.

The couple raises swine, corn, soybeans and wheat on their Marion County farm, where Scott serves as the swine production manager for the family enterprise. He is also heavily involved in improving swine genetics. Tracie is a second grade teacher, who enjoys integrating agricultural concepts into her curriculum to help her students understand farming.

The Islers are past chairs of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals Advisory Team, are graduates of the OFBF AgriPOWER Institute leadership program and have been involved with the Ohio Pork Producers, an assisted living beautification project and student mentor programs. Both are graduates of Ohio State University.

In addition to the Hawaii trip, the Islers receive a John Deere Gator courtesy of Farm Credit Services of Mid-America and a $1,000 technology package sponsored by OFBF.

Paul Wright was awarded the Distinguished Service Award.

Paul Wright

Paul Wright’s career includes 29 years of service with Ohio State University in Extension and teaching and as as county 4-H agent. He later earned his law degree from the University of Toledo.

Wright continued to work with Ohio State University Extension, serving as state specialist in agriculture law. He retired from Ohio State University in 1988 as an associate professor, and has been practicing law ever since.

He is the founding principal in Wright Law Company, LPA of Dublin, giving emphasis to estate planning, business planning, business succession planning and agricultural law issues.

Wright has received numerous awards and recognitions including the Distinguished Service Award from the American Agricultural Law Association and the Ohio State University Distinguished Alumni Award. He was inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2006.

Howard Skiles was awarded with the Distinguished Service award.

Howard Skiles

Farmer Howard Skiles has assumed many leadership roles, serving on the local school board, county Farm Bureau board, Landmark Cooperative board, Ohio Farm Bureau Board of Trustees, as well as the Maumee Valley and state Resource Conservation and Development Boards. He has also served as a county commissioner.

Skiles has received several honors including the Goodyear/National Association of Conservation Development award for outstanding accomplishments in resource conservation. He has been a first elder for the Bethlehem Christian Union church for 36 years, taught a Sunday school class for 64 years and has also served as the church’s Sunday School superintendent.

Fred Pursley was awarded the Distinguished Service Award.


Fred Pursley

Fred Pursley has a long relationship with Farm Bureau. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in vocational agriculture from Ohio State University in 1945 and was hired by the Hamilton County Farm Bureau in 1947.

In 1956, he became a Nationwide Insurance agent, a job he continued until 1989. Pursley has been very involved in several community organizations including the Optimist Club and Lions Club and has been a volunteer for the Ohio Reads program.

Pursley has received many honors, including the Chamber of Commerce President’s Special Award, the Spirit of Otterbein Award and the Warren County Farm Bureau Outstanding Service Award. For several years, Pursley earned the Ambassador Award from the Warren County Farm Bureau for recruiting new members.


Judy Roush was recognized with the Cooperative Educator Award.

Judy Roush

Besides working alongside her husband on the family’s farm, Judy Roush has volunteered with several agricultural groups including the National Agriculture in the Classroom organization.

She helped organize and then worked for the Ohio Agriculture Awareness Council, promoting agriculture in the classroom around the state. In 1992, Ohio Farm Bureau took over administrative duties of the council, which brought Roush to the organization.

Judy considers some of her most notable accomplishments helping Farm Bureau members and others in agriculture reach teachers and students with the message of where food comes from.

Roush was on Ohio Farm Bureau’s development team for the COSI on Wheels Agriculture Adventures mobile unit, which reached an estimated 482,333 students at 1,183 events.

She has held many leadership positions including president of the National Agriculture in the Classroom Consortium. She received an honorary state FFA degree and the VIP award from ABN Radio and Television.

The late Lindsay Hill was awarded the Communicator Award. It was accepted on her behalf by her parents, Lowell and Donna Hill.

Lindsay Hill (posthumous)

Lindsay Hill grew up on the family farm near DeGraff and went to Ohio State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture communications.

She started her communications career working for broadcaster Ed Johnson of ABN as a studio producer. She delivered market reports for his farm radio network and later advanced to coordinating producer for the Agri Country television program.

At the age of 25, Hill co-founded the Buckeye Ag Radio Network, which eventually acquired ABN. She later joined the AgDay and U.S. Farm Report television broadcast team and also served as co-host of Ohio Farm Bureau’s television program Ohio Farm and Country.

Hill was elected president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the youngest person to hold this position. Hill has been recognized by the NAFB with the Horizon Award, and she was recently inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame. She received the Ohio State University Alumni Association’s William Oxley Thompson Award for early career achievement, the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Young Professional Achievement Award and the Meritorious Service to Students Award.


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