Ohio Ag Hall of Fame announces 2023 inductees

The Ohio Agricultural Council is set to honor four individuals who have dedicated their lives to working in and promoting Ohio’s farm community. On Friday, August 4, Kenneth D. Davis of Leesburg, Terry McClure of Grover Hill, Thomas Menke of Greenville, and Dr. Don Sanders of Urbana will be inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame, an esteemed recognition of their contributions to the agricultural industry.

“It gives us great pleasure to acknowledge this outstanding group of Hall of Fame inductees,” said Chris Henney, president of the Ohio Agricultural Council and president and CEO of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association. “Their commendable contributions to the agricultural industry, including advocacy, mentorship, leadership, and conservation efforts, have garnered recognition at the local, state, national and international levels.” 

In its 57th year, the annual event is typically attended by over 600 guests who gather to honor the inductees for their lifetime of service and dedication to Ohio’s agriculture community. With the induction of these four individuals, the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame will have honored 249 recipients since its inception in 1966. 

Kenneth D. Davis – Leesburg, Ohio 

Ken Davis has provided decades of service with an unwavering dedication for rural life and agriculture, especially for farmers. He has dedicated time serving in many organizations that prioritize the interests of agriculture. He continues as a fervent supporter of maintaining local extension presence in Ohio and of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Davis has been active in advocating for these and other causes, demonstrating his unrelenting passion to rural life and the youth of his county by working to ensure that the 4-H program remains. 

As Chairman of the Board for Ohio’s largest rural electric cooperative for more than 25 years, the South Central Power Company, Davis’ dedication and understanding of the cooperative concept within Ohio agriculture has greatly benefited the members in this region, including his leadership in providing rural communities with access to high-speed internet. Through his active participation in addressing legislative and supportive issues handled by the Ohio Farm Bureau, serving on the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company’s Board of Directors, and the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, Davis has extended his advocacy for agriculture to the national level.

Ken’s commitment to preserving the rural community’s assets, where agriculture and families can flourish, is apparent in all his endeavors. Whether managing Davis Farms’ operations, engaging with his community, or promoting agriculture, his authentic passion for sustaining the rural way of life is always on display.

Terry McClure – Grover Hill, Ohio

Terry McClure is a farmer-leader who exemplifies excellence in both farming operations and selfless service for the advancement of agriculture. A former Ohio Farm Bureau president and member of the Nationwide Board of Directors, McClure is the fifth generation on McClure Farms where he started a grain hauling and purchasing business in 1978.

While beginning his leadership with the Paulding County Soil & Water Conservation District, he later became involved in association work after understanding more about farmers’ needs and has since held various leadership positions, including serving on the boards of the  Ohio Soybean Council, the Ohio Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau. He also was one of the leaders who founded Heartland AgDeavor, a non-profit that assists farmers in value-added investments. In 2004, he was elected to the Nationwide board and provided leadership in the company’s growth as a Fortune 100 Company.

McClure has demonstrated his commitment to Ohio agriculture through volunteering and community contributions. He has been a leader in promoting water quality by implementing conservation practices on his farm and supporting research to improve agriculture’s understanding of this issue. He possesses an exceptional talent for bridging the gap between the practical realities of the farm and the strategic vision of the boardroom. His collaborative approach has been instrumental in solving problems related to Ohio agriculture and his unwavering dedication has left a lasting impact on Ohio agriculture, benefiting the farming community for many generations to come.

Thomas Menke – Greenville, Ohio

Tom Menke has been providing advice to Ohio livestock and crop farmers for over 40 years in areas such as animal nutrition, nutrient management, and livestock environmental permitting. Menke started his career at the Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center South Charleston Branch after completing his BS in Biology. He later joined Brookside Labs Inc. in New Knoxville, Ohio, and worked as an independent consultant, offering soil testing services to farmers in Western Ohio. Menke’s client base grew rapidly as he showed farmers how to reduce fertilizer use, improve yields, and enhance herd health. He later became a sought-after livestock and environmental consultant, and worked with various organizations, state agencies, and commodity groups over the course of his career.

Menke has voluntarily served on committees and worked with various state agencies, shaping agriculture and environmental rules, laws, and policies. He has also worked with Ohio commodity organizations, developing manure brokerage services and organizing poultry manure auctions. Menke has made international trips to China and Japan to promote Ohio agriculture and provide nutrient management expertise.

Menke has a thoughtful and helpful personality and speaks from his extensive experience. He is known for mentoring interns and other consultants, and for sponsoring new consultants around the world. His ability to help people and his calm demeanor have made him a sought-after livestock and environmental consultant and agriculture advocate for more than four decades.

Dr. Don Sanders – Urbana, Ohio

“Doc” Sanders’ impact has been felt across various areas of agriculture both locally in Ohio and across the globe. After graduating from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1968, Don Sanders established a veterinary practice in Champaign County, Ohio, with his wife Judy that focused on large and small animal care while also farming. He wrote books on dairy and swine management that were translated into multiple languages and consulted in several countries. Later, he joined the faculty at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine for eight years before retiring from practice. He has since authored several more books and continues consulting and expert witness work.

Dr. Sanders has received various awards and honors for his work alongside his wife in veterinary medicine and agriculture, including being named “National Hospital of the Month” by Veterinary Economics Journal and being recognized as a top bovine veterinarian by The Bovine Practitioner Journal. His expertise and work have also been honored in Japan, China, Russia, and South Korea.

Locally, many people in across Ohio have been positively influenced by Sanders, making him a true difference maker. In addition, there are veterinarians around the world who have been taught by Dr. Sanders in not only veterinary medicine, but also how to live a balanced life and make a positive impact on the world around them.

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