Buckeye People

Bower elected NCGA vice president

The National Corn Growers Association’s (NCGA) Corn Board has elected Jed Bower, of Washington Court House, Ohio, as the organization’s next first vice president for the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2024. 

 “It is an honor to be elected to this role by my fellow board members,” Bower said. “With a new strategic plan in place, this is an exciting time to serve in a leadership role on the board. I look forward to working with my fellow board members, in partnership with grower leaders and staff from across our national and state partner organizations, to lead NCGA toward a future that I am confident will best serve U.S. corn growers”

Bower raises corn and soybeans with his wife Emily and children Ethan and Emma on their fifth-generation family farm. Bower is a current NCGA board member, who serves as board liaison to the organization’s Stewardship Action Team, Field to Market and the National Coalition for Food and Agriculture research.… Continue reading

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4-H Roth Scholars program preparing student leaders

The National 4-H Council announced a partnership with Atlanta-based businessman and philanthropist, Joel Roth, who provided a $1.1 million gift to launch the 4-H Leadership Academy (The Academy). This two-year pilot will provide 25 high school students with employability skills that business leaders seek, including communication, leadership, ethics, conflict resolution and social responsibility.

 Known as Roth Scholars, The Academy’s first cohort are participants from five 4-H Cooperative Extension Land Grant Universities. Students from Ohio selected for the program are: Dane Creswell, Makenna Lybarger Campbell Pohlman, Logan Pridemore, and Campbell Reese.

“The 4-H Leadership Academy advances a commitment shared by 4-H and Mr. Roth to help young people develop the skills they need to prepare for work and life,” said Jill Bramble, President and CEO of National 4-H Council. “We thank Mr. Roth for his gratitude and this avenue to share leadership skills where our young people can learn, grow and be work ready.”  

Academy participants will receive stipends to support research projects that address community challenges.… Continue reading

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Deerfield Ag Services awarded Fair Funding Starter Scholarships

Deerfield Ag Services has awarded $5,000 in Fair Funding Starter Scholarships for the 2024 fair season. This year, Deerfield Ag Services is supporting 34 junior fair exhibitors through the scholarship program.

The program began in 2022 with the goal of supporting individual youth exhibitors at the start of their projects to offset some of the initial investments associated with fair livestock projects.

“Junior fair participants are the future of agriculture right here in our community,” said Bill Wallbrown, CEO. “It is important to us that we help ensure these young people have the opportunity to get involved in wonderful programs like 4-H and FFA and foster that love of hard work on the farm.”

While these scholarships will not likely offset the full cost of getting started, Deerfield hopes to make it more attainable for junior fair participants to take part in exhibiting the livestock of their choice.

The scholarship was eligible to students in Portage, Stark, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties.… Continue reading

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Sunrise names 2024 RISE FFA Career Program recipients

Sunrise Cooperative, Inc. is pleased to announce its 2024 RISE FFA Career Program recipients. Slated to join Sunrise as full-time employees following graduation are Riley Collins from Hillsboro FFA, Seth Crytzer and Braydon Rakovec from Hillsdale FFA, Cara Deam of West-Liberty Salem FFA, Skylar England of Bellevue FFA, Alex Lamma from Sidney FFA, Seth Lenke from Oak Harbor FFA, Bodie Rogers of Tecumseh FFA, Ethan Scaggs from Lincolnview FFA, Madison Shell of Clyde FFA, Boston Smith from South Central FFA and Ben Sonnanstine from Miami Valley Career Technology Center FFA. 

Following graduation, these individuals will officially join the team at Sunrise and will work their way through our RISE FFA Career Program, otherwise referred to as Sunrise University. Over the next four years, our new hires will gain hands-on, real-life job experiences, while learning all facets of the cooperative.

In addition to full-time employment, Alex Lamma was selected as the top recipient and will receive a 2023 Jeep Gladiator, that the 2023-2024 Ohio FFA President Luke Jennings drove during his tenure, as a signing bonus.… Continue reading

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Like elected to Ohio Farm Bureau Board of Trustees

Nate Like of Hamler has been elected to the board of trustees of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. As a trustee, he will represent Farm Bureau members in Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams counties and will help govern the state’s largest farm and food organization.

Like and his wife, Ashley, own and operate Buckeye Meats and Processing in Hamler, a federally inspected processing plant. On his farm, Like has a small herd of brood cows and grows corn and soybeans with his father-in-law, Greg Niese. He also raises calves for local youth involved in 4-H and uses his expertise as a judge at livestock shows across the country.

A graduate of Wilmington College with a degree in agricultural business, Like has been a member of Henry County Farm Bureau for 15 years, most recently serving as president of the organization for the past 10 years. His leadership helped to create local efforts like the award-winning Shine in the Show Ring event, an alternative livestock show for individuals with developmental disabilities partnering with Junior Fair livestock exhibitors as mentors to present livestock projects to professional judges.… Continue reading

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United Producers, Inc. welcomes Jake Osborn as vice president of livestock marketing

United Producers, Inc. (UPI), the Midwest’s largest livestock marketing cooperative, is pleased to announce the hiring of Jake Osborn as the vice president of livestock marketing. In this role, Osborn will lead the strategic direction of livestock marketing initiatives to drive growth and enhance market presence within the industry.

“With his extensive experience and deep-rooted passion for agriculture, Osborn is a valuable addition to our leadership team,” said Mike Bumgarner, UPI President & CEO. “We are excited to leverage Jake’s expertise to further strengthen our livestock marketing operations and deliver exceptional value to our members.”

Osborn brings a wealth of livestock industry knowledge and leadership experience to his new role. Prior to joining UPI, he served as the National Account Manager and Retail Account Manager for the Eastern United States at Merck Animal Health. Osborn holds a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in animal science from The Ohio State University.… Continue reading

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Conrad named general manager of AXIS Ohio

Adam Conrad of Richwood has been named general manager of AXIS Ohio. Nathan and Julie Louiso, AXIS Ohio owners, announced that Conrad will take responsibility for carrying out the Axis mission of providing best-in-class crop inputs and service for farmers all across Ohio.

“With our increased growth the timing is perfect for Adam to lead our team to the next level,” Louiso said. “Adam has been a part of our AXIS Ohio mission to better serve Ohio farmers from the start, and in this new position, he will be able to better apply his unique skill set to the benefit of our customers and our growing team all over Ohio.”
Conrad has been with AXIS Ohio since 2018, but his work with Louiso goes all the way back to an internship in 2008. In his new role, he will be responsible for building the AXIS Ohio seed business as well as serving farmers with innovative crop inputs from Meristem Crop Performance.… Continue reading

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Ohio Agricultural Council to honor the 2024 Hall of Fame inductees

The Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC) is set to honor the 2024 awardees who have significantly contributed to the advancement of Ohio’s agricultural community. The 2024 OAC Hall of Fame ceremony will celebrate the achievements of the late David W. Brandt of Carroll, Bill and Janet Butler of Hillsboro, Fred Finney of Wooster and the late Raymond A. Miller of Hilliard. Each has uniquely impacted Ohio agriculture through innovation, education and leadership.

“It is with great honor and respect that we celebrate the lasting legacies of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees,” said Tadd Nicholson, President of the Ohio Agricultural Council and executive director of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “Their visionary leadership and relentless commitment have propelled our agricultural industry forward, making significant contributions at both local and national levels.”

The ceremony, marking its 58th year, is expected to draw over 600 attendees including community leaders, industry professionals and family members who will gather to pay tribute to the inductees’ lifelong dedication and service to Ohio’s agricultural sector.… Continue reading

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Ohio Beef Council Hires Anna Gest as manager of nutrition education programs

The Ohio Beef Council (OBC) Operating Committee, responsible for Beef Checkoff demand building investments in the state, recently expanded its beef nutrition focus through the creation of a full-time position. Anna Gest of Grafton, Ohio will serve as the Manager of Nutrition Education Programs. Gest was most recently the part-time Nutrition Coordinator for the council.

Gest is a Registered Dietitian who has been working with OBC since 2018. As Manager of Nutrition Education Programs, Gest will engage with medical professionals, health organizations, educators, and school nutrition stakeholders to share beef, nutrition, and health information. She will also assist with digital and social media campaign creation related to beef as part of a healthy lifestyle. 

A graduate of The Ohio State University, Gest also has a Masters degree from Kent State University. She has previously worked as a hospital dietitian. She and her husband, Andy, have a small feedlot and grain farm in Lorain County. … Continue reading

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Armstrong appointed to FCMA Board

Farm Credit Mid-America’s Board of Directors has appointed Allen Armstrong of South Charleston, Ohio to an open director position. Armstrong has more than three decades of farming experience and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the cooperative’s board.

“Farm Credit Mid-America has played an important role in our family farm’s success through the years. I am honored to have this opportunity to now represent our customer-owners on the Board of Directors,” says Armstrong. “As a father to two children who are actively farming, the work we do to secure the future of rural communities and agriculture hits close to home. I will work alongside my fellow board members to ensure the next generation of farmers have the same support that I received from Farm Credit Mid-America.”

Armstrong and his wife, Amy, have been growing corn and soybeans since 1988. Armstrong has served on several industry boards throughout his career.… Continue reading

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Share named ExploreAg and Youth Development Specialist

Katie Share of Columbus has been named ExploreAg and Youth Development Specialist for Ohio Farm Bureau. She was most recently the organization’s operations coordinator. With this promotion, Share will oversee planning, marketing and implementation of the ExploreAg program, which the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation established to encourage young people to think critically about the food and farm industry and the issues associated with providing safe and sustainable food and fiber. Share will also continue to serve as staff lead with Collegiate Farm Bureau members.

Originally from Coshocton, Ohio, Share is a graduate of The Ohio State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, majoring in agribusiness & applied economics with a minor in communication technologies.

Prior to joining the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Share worked with Prospective Student Services in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. In that role, she provided administrative support, met with prospective students, and co-advised the ambassador team.… Continue reading

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Witten named OABA president and CEO

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) is pleased to announce Melinda Witten as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective June 3, 2024. This leadership appointment continues the association’s ongoing efforts to enhance advocacy and service for Ohio’s agribusiness community.

“We are thrilled to welcome Melinda to the team,” said Grant Gates, chair of the OABA Board. “Her exceptional leadership skills and comprehensive understanding of agricultural challenges and opportunities assure us that our association is in very capable hands.”

Witten brings a wealth of experience and a robust track record in agricultural leadership to her new role. She spent over a decade at the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, where in her most recent role as Senior Director of Leadership Development she was instrumental in transforming the Young Ag Professionals program and directing the AgriPOWER Leadership Institute. Additionally, Melinda played a pivotal role in the creation of the ExploreAg and Ohio Farm Bureau Ag Literacy programs, significantly enhancing agricultural education and engagement across the state.… Continue reading

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Klopfenstein named Young Ag Professional and Ag Literacy Program Specialist

Mary Klopfenstein of Delphos has been named Young Ag Professional and ag literacy program specialist for Ohio Farm Bureau. She was most recently the organization’s ExploreAg and ag literacy program specialist. Her new role will add the duties of working with the Young Ag Professionals State Committee and focusing on YAP programming, which provides leadership development and professional growth opportunities for Farm Bureau members ages 18-35.

A former Ohio FFA state president, Klopfenstein grew up on a small row crop farm in McCartyville, where her love for agriculture blossomed as she showed horses through 4-H and sold sweet corn as her Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) for FFA.

Before joining the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation staff, Klopfenstein was at Illinois Farm Bureau as a youth & collegiate program coordinator. She currently serves as the northwest Ohio representative on the CFAES Alumni Society Board of Directors and is an Allen County Farm Bureau member.… Continue reading

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Long-serving 4-H program manager Allen Auck retiring

After nearly four decades of unwavering commitment to Ohio State University and its 4-H program, Allen Auck, the esteemed program manager for events and activities, is retiring April 19, 2024.

Throughout his tenure, Auck has been instrumental in shaping the landscape of Ohio’s 4-H program, leaving an indelible mark on countless youth and colleagues alike. His leadership and coordination have been pivotal in organizing numerous initiatives, including the Ohio State Fair 4-H guidebook and project judging, the Ohio 4-H Conference, Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center activities, and fostering youth participation in numerous state and national 4-H conferences.

“Allen’s dedication and passion for the Ohio 4-H program have been unparalleled,” said Kirk Bloir, the state 4-H leader. “His leadership has not only shaped countless lives but has also laid the foundation for our organization’s continued success and growth.”

Auck’s legacy extends far beyond his role as a program manager; his impact has resonated deeply within the Ohio 4-H community, touching the lives of generations of youth and instilling in them the values of leadership, service, and personal growth.… Continue reading

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Ohio Corn & Wheat Emerging Leaders Summit

Ohio Corn & Wheat (OCW) selected and hosted 10 farmers across the state of Ohio to participate in its Emerging Leader Summit, a two-day program designed to help growers develop skills in leadership, communication and advocacy. 

“The Emerging Leaders Summit is our opportunity to equip industry leaders and build on the skills they have already begun developing through their own practices and work,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of Ohio Corn & Wheat. “Our goal is to provide them with the tools necessary for continued growth, so they walk away feeling confident to fight for their farms and tackle the issues Ohio’s grain farmers face on a daily basis.”

The selected participants included Jana Caudill (DeGraff), Nolan Chamberlain (Bowling Green), Jared Cox (Dresden), Karyn Forman (Goshen), Liza Musselman (Orient), Jason Oman (Findlay), Nate Schroeder (Columbus Grove), Kip Shoemaker (Leesburg), Ken Swartz (Perrysburg), and Roger Wright (Springfield). 

At the summit, participants learned more about membership organizations, commodity checkoff programs and policy priorities.… Continue reading

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Flynn elected treasurer of Ohio Farm Bureau

Adele Flynn of Wellington has been elected treasurer of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and now holds the 3rd highest elected office in Ohio’s largest and most influential farm organization.

Flynn was elected by OFBF’s Board of Trustees upon the resignation of Chris Weaver of Lyons, who left the OFBF board to stand for election to the Nationwide Board of Directors. He was elected to the Nationwide Board of Directors April 4.

Weaver served on the organization’s board for 10 years where strengthening partnerships with key groups such as Nationwide was a part of his work. Ohio Farm Bureau founded the Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in 1926, which later became Nationwide. Today, Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau maintain a close relationship and share a focus of providing valued services for farmers and agriculture. Nationwide is the No. 1 insurer of farms in the nation and supports agriculture nationally. Weaver’s election to the Nationwide board demonstrates the company’s continued deep connections to the industry.… Continue reading

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Josh Snyder named 2024 Ohio CCA of the Year

The Ohio Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) Program is proud to announce Josh Snyder as the recipient of the 2024 CCA of the Year award. Snyder serves as a Precision Agronomy Solutions Advisor at the Crestline Agronomy Location of Sunrise Cooperative, demonstrating his commitment to advancing agricultural practices through precision agriculture.

“Josh’s strong integration of technology with traditional agronomy continues to set a high standard for agronomic advice and service,” said Kevin Otte, chairman of the Ohio CCA board. “His work at Sunrise Cooperative in precision agriculture, fertility recommendations, soil sampling, data management, and variable rate seeding and nitrogen recommendations, showcases his dedication to enhancing crop yields and farming efficiency.”

Sponsored by the Ohio CCA Program, the state award recognizes individuals like Snyder for their exceptional service to farmer clients, outstanding contributions to nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management, and crop production, and for their role in fostering knowledge exchange within Ohio’s agricultural industry.… Continue reading

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YAP State Committee leadership announced

Leading Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals State Committee in 2024 are Chaircouple Luke and Kayla Durbin of Coshocton County, and serving as co-chairs are Tim and Sarah Terrill of Montgomery County. Serving as secretary for the committee is Carly Fitz of Perry County.

The Durbins farm full-time with their families on their grain farms in Tuscarawas and Coshocton counties, respectively. In addition, they own and operate Durbin Land and Cattle raising Simmental cow/calf pairs with their daughter, Finlay. They have participated in various state and national Farm Bureau events, including the American Farm Bureau annual convention and Young Farmer & Rancher conferences and the Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professionals Winter Leadership Experience. They are active in their county young agricultural professionals program. In addition to their Farm Bureau activities, they sit on FFA chapter advisory boards, participate in their county 4-H endowment and take time to mentor young showmen.… Continue reading

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Tom honored with Friend of the Expo Award at 2024 Ohio Beef Expo

At the 2024 Ohio Beef Expo, hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), Bill Tom of Washington Court House was posthumously awarded the Friend of the Expo Award for his dedication and contributions to the Ohio Beef Expo’s success.

The Ohio Beef Expo is the premier event for Ohio’s beef industry covering many facets of the beef world with seedstock shows and sales, a trade show, a competitive junior show and much more all in one place. At the time of his passing in December 2023, Tom was the OCA vice president and served on the board of directors. He was also vice chair of the Ohio Beef Expo. Prior to this he served in many Expo leadership roles, including chairing the Expo Junior Show. 

Tom provided tremendous leadership for the Ohio Beef Expo including planning the event, helping juniors in the show ring, manning a trade show booth, or serving as a ringman at an Expo sale.… Continue reading

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