Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professionals program winners selected

Kelly and Michelle Abfall of Albany have been named winners of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) 2014 Outstanding Young Farmer Award.

The contest is designed to help young farmers strengthen their business skills, develop marketing opportunities and receive recognition for their accomplishments. Contestants are judged on the growth of their farm businesses and involvement in Farm Bureau and their community.

The Abfalls won 250 hours free use of an M-series tractor provided by Kubota, $1,000 in Grainger merchandise sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America and an expense-paid trip to the 2015 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in San Diego, Calif.

Kelly and Michelle are members of Athens County Farm Bureau, with Michelle serving on the board of trustees. They operate a 1,030-acre grain farm, where they raise corn, soybeans and wheat. They also raise beef cattle. Both have bachelor’s degrees in agriculture from Ohio State University and are active members of St. Paul Catholic Church.

Other finalists in the contest were Nicholas and Jessica Dailey of Sardinia, Andy and Tera Wentling of Navarre and Craig Pohlman of Venedocia.

In addition, Kristin Reese of Baltimore has been named winner of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) 2014 Excellence in Agriculture Award. The award recognizes successful young agricultural professionals who are actively contributing and growing through their involvement with Farm Bureau and agriculture.

Reese will receive an expense-paid trip to San Diego, Calif. to compete in the national Excellence in Agriculture contest during the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in January. She also will receive a John Deere Gator courtesy of Farm Credit Mid-America and a $1,000 technology package sponsored by OFBF.

Reese works as a realtor with Real Living HER and owns her own catering business, Local Flavor Foods. Along with her husband and children, Kristin raises Horned Dorset sheep, meat chickens and layers. She is an active Fairfield County Farm Bureau member serving as the food and animal issues action team leader and participating in numerous county and statewide events.

She is very active in the agriculture community. Some of her other activities include being a CommonGround volunteer, a member of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s Farm Team and involved with Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and National Lamb Feeders Association. Other finalists in the Excellence in Agriculture contest were Matt and Morgan Aultman of Greenville and Nicki Gordon-Coy of Carrollton.

In addition, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has named the newest members of its Young Agricultural Professionals Advisory Team: Liz and Matt Funderburgh of North Lewisburg, Terri Specht of Chickasaw, Ashton and Kyle Walls of Mt. Vernon and Karl Wedemeyer of LaRue.

As team members serving two-year terms, they will help develop and conduct activities that provide opportunities for young professionals to become involved in Ohio Farm Bureau programs.

Liz and Matt Funderburgh are members of Union County Farm Bureau, where Liz serves as president. They have 800 acres of corn and soybeans and operate a 1,200 head swine nursery. They also sell seed for Pioneer. Off the farm, Liz is a loan officer for Farm Credit Mid-America.

Terri Specht is a Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau member, where she has served on the board as secretary. She is a swine veterinarian with Minton Veterinary Service, a Four Star Veterinary Service partner. After graduating from Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine, she was a mixed animal practitioner in Sugarcreek for two and a half years prior to her current position. When available, she also helps on her family’s farm where they have 2,400 hogs, cattle, sheep and 100 acres each of corn and hay.

Ashton and Kyle Walls are Knox County Farm Bureau members where Ashton has served as treasurer, secretary and communication action team leader and Kyle has served as membership chair. They have a small, start-up cattle operation and off the farm Kyle works as a sales district manager for Monsanto, and Ashton is a project coordinator at Rolls-Royce Energy Systems. Both are involved in Knox County 4-H and county fair.

Karl Wedemeyer is a Marion County Farm Bureau member where he serves on the board and as policy development chair and Young Ag Professionals chair. He has a herd of 110 dairy cows and 74 acres of corn, which he rotates with rye in the winter. He has an associate’s degree in dairy science and a bachelor’s degree in animal science.

Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals program is open to individuals and couples between the ages of 18 to 35 who are interested in improving the business of agriculture, learning new ideas and developing leadership skills. To get involved contact Melinda Witten at mwitten@ofbf.org.

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