Ohio county Farm Bureaus receive national recognition for 2021 efforts

The American Farm Bureau Federation County Activities of Excellence awards celebrate unique, local, volunteer-driven programs that serve as models of innovation for local program development. The winning counties receive a grant to fund participation in the Farm Bureau CAE Showcase at the 2022 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention and Trade Show Jan. 7-12, 2022 in Atlanta. AFBF received more than 75 entries across all membership categories, with only 18 activities nationwide being selected to present at the convention. Again this year, Ohio had more winners than any other state.

“The creativity of our county Farm Bureau members continues to amaze me,” said Melinda Witten, Ohio Farm Bureau senior director of leadership development. “These programs are superb examples of Farm Bureau offering member value and being important community partners in their respective counties.”

Ohio’s winners:

Knox County: Date Night at the Orchard

Date Night at the Orchard served as a way to get the local community on a farm and show them local agriculture while also having a fun night out. The event also raised funds to support the county Farm Bureau scholarship fund. The event took place within a local orchard; the attendees were able to sit at tables scattered throughout the rows of apple trees within the orchard to enjoy their evening. Their ticket gave them a choice of two local food trucks, plus entertainment by a local favorite musician and a s’mores bar. The county exceeded its attendance goal of 100, with 146 participants. More than $1,500 was raised for the scholarship fund.

Jackson-Vinton County: Drive-Thru Breakfast with Santa in the Barn

Jackson-Vinton County made this previously in-person event a drive-thru event, free to the community. Families entered the fairgrounds gate where they were greeted by “The Grinch” and handed a rule sheet, then proceeded around a candy cane-lined road where characters, decorations and inflatables were viewed. Mrs. Claus greeted each car and gave passengers a hot breakfast  prepared by the board members. Then they made their way to Santa, but passed animals on display such as longhorn cattle, miniature donkeys, baby goats, and sheep as well as other small animals. Once they reached Santa, a photo was taken, compliments of Farm Bureau. This was an event in partnership with other local Farm Bureau members, businesses, and organizations such as FFA and 4-H.

Wayne County: Land Use Actions for the Future of our County

Wayne County Farm Bureau’s involvement in the countywide Land Use Actions for the Future of Our County project stemmed from two local policies Farm Bureau generated that addressed land use. The county government updated its comprehensive plan in 2019 following a period of feedback from the community, including a listening session organized by the county Farm Bureau. A workshop was put together in 2020 to help catalyze action of the new plan around balanced land use, including agriculture’s concerns. The workshop took place over four brown bag seminars which drew 50 to 80 participants to each session. The attendees included a diverse group of Farm Bureau members and community stakeholders. Overall, the feedback received suggests there is interest in continuing these discussions to engage stakeholders and develop shared solutions to the county’s biggest land use challenges.

Wood County: Hop Around Wood County

Wood County’s beer and wine tasting event was created to increase Farm Bureau awareness, and encourage networking and opportunities for potential new members in the future. The event put a spotlight on several local crafters of beer and wine and allowed them to explain the brewing/wine making process, share about the local ingredients that go into their products and allow attendees to make connections for future support of those businesses. More than $3,900 was raised from the event to fund the county Farm Bureau 2022 scholarship fund.

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