Buckeye People



OAC scholarships awarded

Each year, the Ohio Agricultural Council offers up to three $1,500 scholarships annually to Ohio high school seniors who plan to pursue a degree in agriculture and up to three $1,500 scholarships to undergraduate college students from Ohio who are currently pursuing a degree in agriculture.

The OAC is pleased to announce the 2020-21 recipients of the Scholarship Program:

• Rachel Barrett of Rockford

• Cora Dorman of Croton

• Faith Hagelberger of Minster

• Mekenzie Jolliff of Kenton

• Ethan Kaper of Baltimore

• Ryan Patton of Logan

Scholarships are selected based on academic record, leadership qualities, community involvement and responses to application essay questions. Scholarship recipients are also provided a one-year complimentary student membership in OAC.

Scholarship applications for the 2021-22 school year will be available at www.OhioAgCouncil.org in fall 2020. Completed applications must be returned to the Ohio Agricultural Council by February 15, 2021.… Continue reading

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Steiners of Wayne County named the winners of 2020 Outstanding Young Farmer Award

Nathan and Lynn Steiner of Wayne County have been named the winners of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s 2020 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 Steiners 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 a $1000 cash prize courtesy of Ohio Farm Bureau.

The Steiners are partners in their family dairy and grain farm with Nathan’s father, grandfather and uncle. Nathan grew up working on the family farm and after high school was offered a full-time position. He and Lynn later took over the responsibility of the farm’s herd management, including the calf program, and worked to make it more efficient.… Continue reading

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JobsOhio names new Director of Food and Agribusiness

JobsOhio today announced the hiring of Tim Derickson, a longtime agribusiness entrepreneur and former state legislator, as its new Director of Food and Agribusiness. In his new role, Derickson will oversee a sector that includes hundreds of companies that cultivate, process, package, distribute and market foods and beverages enjoyed around the world.

“Tim understands Ohio and the incredible impact that the food and agribusiness sector has on our economy,” said Dana Saucier, JobsOhio vice president and head of economic development. “There is incredible opportunity to continue growing food and agribusiness jobs and investment in every corner of the state, and we are fortunate to have a person with Tim’s experience to move these critical efforts forward.”

Derickson comes to JobsOhio from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), where he worked as the Assistant Director since 2017. He formerly served as ODA’s Interim Director. 

“JobsOhio has proven its ability to retain Ohio business as well as attract new investment to Ohio,” Derickson said.… Continue reading

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Governor names Elizabeth Harsh an Ohio State trustee

Elizabeth A. Harsh, who has been appointed to The Ohio State University Board of Trustees.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine appointed Harsh, executive director of the Ohio Beef Council and the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, to a term as trustee that began Wednesday and ends May 13, 2029.

“I look forward to this exciting and challenging opportunity to help contribute to the continued success of The Ohio State University,” Harsh said Thursday. “Ohio State has always held such a special place in my life, with my family and my career, and I welcome this new role with great anticipation.”

The board of trustees has full fiduciary authority for both the university’s academic and health sciences organizations, and oversees academic programs, budgets, general administration, and employment of faculty and staff.

Harsh, of Radnor, Ohio, graduated from Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) with a BS in animal sciences in 1983.… Continue reading

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Jed Bower elected to the NCGA Corn Board

Delegates attending the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress, which was held virtually, elected five farmers to serve on the organization’s Corn Board. This included newly elected Ohioan Jed Bower from Fayette County. Bower lives and farms near Washington Court House and will take office Oct. 1.

“I am humbled by the vote of confidence delegates had in casting their vote for me. I look forward to representing both Ohio and national corn farmers as we work to advance an industry we love,” Bower said.

The NCGA Corn Board represents the organization on all matters while directing both policy and supervising day-to-day operations. Board members represent the federation of state organizations, supervise the affairs and activities of NCGA in partnership with the chief executive officer and implement NCGA policy established by the Corn Congress. Members also act as spokesmen for the NCGA and enhance the organization’s public standing on all organizational and policy issues.… Continue reading

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OFBF mourns the loss of Yvonne Lesicko

Yvonne Lesicko, Ohio Farm Bureau vice president of public policy, passed away suddenly on June 18 from an unexpected medical issue.

“This loss to our Farm Bureau family has hit us hard. Yvonne’s impact on our organization is immense,” said Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president in a letter to members. “Her work literally helped tens of thousands of members, every day of the week. But of course Yvonne did this work with a dedicated team of Farm Bureau staff colleagues, board members, county leaders and indeed members everywhere. This is where she shined the most as a professional: connecting with people, communicating about our work and inspiring us all to do better.”

Calling hours will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, June 25 at Schoedinger Funeral Home, 6699 N. High St, Worthington, OH 43085. A private service for immediate family will take place Friday, June 26 at 10 a.m.… Continue reading

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Schroeder and Stump reelected to AgCredit’s board of directors

Two farmers have been reelected to serve on the board of AgCredit, one of northern Ohio’s largest lenders to farmers, agribusinesses and rural home owners.

Scott Schroeder of Leipsic and Michael Stump of Bucyrus were reelected to serve three-year terms on AgCredit’s board of directors. Schroeder, who was originally elected in 2008, will continue to represent member-borrowers in Region 1, which consists of Paulding, Putnam and Van Wert counties. Stump, who was also first elected in 2008, will continue to serve member-borrowers in Region 7, which includes Crawford and Morrow counties.

AgCredit’s board of directors consists of 10 members, eight of whom are elected by stockholders and two who are appointed by the board to ensure greater diversity and a range of experience.

Eighteen members were also elected to serve on AgCredit’s nominating committee during the elections, which were held in May. Committee members represent the counties in the ag lender’s territory and identify suitable candidates for open director positions each year.… Continue reading

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Ohio agricultural teachers honored as finalists for Ag Educator of the Year

Agricultural teachers play a critical role in preparing future generations for successful careers. They devote countless hours and often their own resources to impact the communities they serve. To shed light on the contributions of Ohio’s teachers, Nationwide has honored 10 exceptional ag teachers as finalists for the Golden Owl Award.

In partnership with the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio FFA, Nationwide collected over 400 nominations from local students, fellow teachers, parents and community members from July to November 2019.

Ohio’s 2019-2020 Golden Owl Award finalists are:

  • Christi Bachman — Bloom Carroll High School
  • Nathan Birkhimer — Fayetteville Perry High School
  • Hannah Everetts — Edon Northwest School
  • Collin Gierke — Global Impact STEM Academy
  • John Koenig — Miller City High School
  • Sarah Lucha — South Central High School
  • Wendi Mizer Stachler — Miami Trace High School
  • Tyler Pope — Buckeye Central High School
  • Jeremy Ryan — West Muskingum High School
  • Erin Wollett — Cardington-Lincoln High School

Each finalist received an individualized plaque and a $500 donation to their school’s agriculture program before being entered into a final selection stage for the chance to be crowned as Ohio’s Ag Educator of the Year.… Continue reading

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Burns named Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Executive Director

Kelly Burns of Milford Center has been named executive director for the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.

With over 15 years of experience as a professional fundraiser, Burns has an extensive background in fund development, volunteer leadership and strategic planning. Her new role will allow her to play an integral part in growing the success of the foundation.

Prior to joining the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, Burns held positions of increasing responsibility within higher education at Purdue University, Ohio Northern University and, most recently, Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University. Burns and her husband, Tanner, are raising their two boys on their family farm in southern Union County. They are members of the Union County Farm Bureau.

Established in 1985, the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, a 501 (c) nonprofit, public charitable organization that strives to support student scholarships, fund innovation in communities and drive economic growth.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s seed industry loses a leader

Dan Fox of Thornville, co-founder of Seed Consultants, Inc. and longtime friend of the Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal staff, passed away suddenly on April 21 from an apparent heart attack.

Fox was 58 years old and a legend in Ohio’s seed industry. He was a graduate of Wilmington College who dedicated his professional career to the seed industry. He will be greatly missed by his family, co-workers and friends throughout Ohio agriculture.

“Dan always had a smile on his face and you could find him from across the room by listening for his infectious laughter,” said Bart Johnson, owner of Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal. “Dan was one of the very best.”

More about Dan and the funeral arrangements are posted here.Continue reading

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Hawk takes new role as OACI project leader

The Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD) is pleased to announce Nikki Hawk as the new OACI Project Leader. In her new role, Hawk will work with producers, commodity groups, Soil and Water Conservation District professionals and other partners to achieve meaningful change to Ohio’s water quality into the future.

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) is an innovative, collaborative effort of the agricultural, conservation, environmental and research communities to improve water quality by establishing a baseline understanding of current conservation and nutrient management efforts and building farmer participation in a new certification program.

“We are excited to have Nikki in this position. Her education, experience and passion for conservation and agriculture make her the ideal leader for this initiative,” said Janelle Mead, OFSWCD CEO.

Hawk comes to the Federation having worked early in her career as an Organization Director with the Ohio Farm Bureau. For the past 18 years, she has served as the District Administrator/Education Specialist with the Mercer Soil & Water Conservation District.… Continue reading

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Cheryl Day named Ohio Pork Council executive vice president

The Ohio Pork Council (OPC) is pleased to welcome Cheryl Day to the staff as Executive Vice President, beginning Monday, March 23, 2020.

In this role, Day will work closely with the board of directors to execute strategic goals based on producer priorities; coordinate state checkoff programs; maintain working relationships with stakeholders and allied industry representatives; and execute legislative strategies.

“Given her professional experience in agriculture, Cheryl hosts a wealth of knowledge on the pig farming community and the issues that our industry faces,” said Dave Shoup, Ohio Pork Council President.

Hailing from Cerro Gordo, Illinois, Day most recently served as vice president of livestock management for Nedap Livestock Management, USA, where she provided strategic leadership to the Nedap, USA team. Day formerly served as editor of National Hog Farmer and executive director of the Illinois Association of Drainage Districts.

Additionally, Day has experience as a professional speaker and public relations consultant, through which she has provided leadership training, strategic planning, brand management, legislative strategy, and more.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation appoints officers, new board member

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently added one new board member and elected 2020 officers of the board, which oversees the charitable, nonprofit organization.

New to the board is Stephen White, vice president, external affairs, strategic initiatives, and business development for COSI. He replaces outgoing board member Angela Cauley, CEO and co-founder of Coalescence.

The board also elected officers of the 15-member board. Ohio Farm Bureau Trustee Wade Smith was named president; Mike Townsley, chairman, Bob Evans Farms/Post Refrigerated Retail, was elected first vice president; Ohio Farm Bureau Trustee Lane Osswald was elected second vice president; and Ohio Farm Bureau Treasurer Cy Prettyman was named the foundation’s treasurer.

Founded in 1985, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is a 501(c) (3) charitable, nonprofit organization. The foundation funds programming in four priority areas: cultivating an interest in agriculture, investing in tomorrow’s leaders, driving economic growth and promoting environmental stewardship and conservation.

To learn more or to apply for a scholarship or grant, visit ofbf.org/foundationContinue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau names Young Ag Professionals leaders

Charlie and Casey Ellington have been named the 2020 chaircouple of the Ohio Farm Bureau Young Ag Professionals Committee. Serving as committee co-chair is Aaron Harter and serving as secretary is Megan Brannon.

Charlie is the Director of Feed at Heritage Cooperative, Casey is the Executive Director for the Louisville Area Chamber of Commerce. The Ellington’s own and operate Ellington Farms, raising beef, pork, chicken, hay and grain crops, balancing direct to consumer and commercial sales. The Ellington’s also have three children.

Harter, an environmental manager for Denali Water Solutions, is an active Farm Bureau member from Preble County. He attended the Young Ag Professionals’ Washington, D.C. trip in 2017, has served as residuals committee chair of the Indiana Water Environment Association and as a volunteer of the Preble County Pork Festival.

Brannon resides in Tuscarawas County with her husband, Tyrone, where they have poultry, raise produce and herbs and specialize in microgreens.… Continue reading

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OABA Industry Conference focused on 2020

The annual Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference is underway, inspiring attendees to look forward into 2020 and beyond to the opportunities and challenges ahead.

To kick off the event on Jan. 30, Michael Swanson, an economist with Wells Fargo Bank, talked about how the three-point line changed the strategy of the game of basketball with the addition of an arbitrary line added to the court. Coaches, players and teams all had to adjust their game plans to account for the change and those who adapted most quickly and effectively had the advantage. Agriculture certainly has some similarities.

“Every day someone is drawing a new three point line on our court. It could be a regulatory three-point line. It could be a technology three-point line. Either way, it changes the game,” Swanson said. “Agriculture used to be a labor intensive industry and now it is an input driven industry. You used to be able to get up earlier, work later and out produce your neighbor.… Continue reading

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Ohio leaders on American Lamb Board

The American Lamb Board (ALB) elected FY2020 leadership at its meeting Jan. 22, held prior to the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) convention. The national board saw the retirement of one Ohioan, Jim Percival or Greene County, and the addition of another, Donald Hawk of Knox County.

The newly elected chair is Gwendolyn Kitzan, South Dakota. vice chair is David Quam, Texas. Elected for a second term as secretary is Greg Deakin, Illinois, and treasurer is Rob Rule, Iowa.

 … Continue reading

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Pontsler named Ohio Farm Bureau organization director

Taylor Pontsler has been named Ohio Farm Bureau Federation organization director for Champaign, Clark, Darke and Miami counties.

In her new role, Pontsler will serve as a liaison between the county Farm Bureaus and Ohio Farm Bureau. In addition, she will assist county groups in the development and implementation of programs to strengthen their organizations, enhance their ability to serve members and affect positive change at the community level.

Pontsler received her associate’s degree from Clark State Community College, where she studied agricultural business, and her bachelor’s degree from Wilmington College, where she studied agronomy. She previously served as marketing and media associate for Champaign, Clark, Darke and Miami county Farm Bureaus.

Pontsler resides in New Carlisle has been an active member of Clark County Farm Bureau for the past four years.… Continue reading

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Thomison retires

Peter Thomison, professor and Extension state specialist for corn production, retired from Ohio State University at the end of December 2019 after 30 years of service.

Thomison was an active member of Ohio State University Extension’s Agronomic Crops Team and was often featured in Ohio’s Country Journal articles. He contributed hundreds of timely, high-impact articles to the CORN newsletter, wrote several bulletins and Fact Sheets, and could be seen throughout Ohio during winter Extension meetings and field days.

Thomison was at the forefront of corn production research, including corn hybrid by management interactions, causes and identification of abnormal corn ears, phenological responses of corn to heat accumulation, and agronomic performance and grain quality of specialty corn. His Extension and research efforts to develop cropping systems that minimize production inputs and impact on environmental quality will have a lasting impact on Extension, farmers, and the ag industry.… Continue reading

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Houghton named Farm Bureau Foundation development director

Luke Houghton of Westerville has been named director of development for the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, as part of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Strategic Partnerships department. He will be focusing his efforts on fundraising for the foundation and maintaining its scholarship programs.

Years as a legislative aide at the Statehouse in Columbus have given Houghton an extensive background in advocacy, fundraising, and strategic campaign management at the state and national level, and a solid understanding of agricultural and rural issues. Most recently, Houghton was with the Sportsmen’s Alliance as its director of state services. He received his bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Wright State University, where he began his membership with the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.

He is a native of Pickaway County where his family’s corn, soybean and wheat operation is located.… Continue reading

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Dorrance named associate dean and director of The Ohio State University Wooster campus

Plant pathologist Anne E. Dorrance has been named to the top leadership position at The Ohio State University Wooster campus.

On Jan. 1, 2020, she will begin a four-year term as associate dean and director for the Wooster campus and associate director for the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

When announcing Dorrance’s new position, Cathann A. Kress, vice president for agricultural administration of Ohio State and dean of CFAES, said “Dr. Dorrance’s appointment to this position is essential to the continuing success of our Wooster campus and the college.”

In her new role, she will also serve on the Vice President and Dean’s Administrative Cabinet, providing leadership and oversight for the Wooster campus. The campus is home to both the two-year Ohio State ATI and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).

Dorrance has been a faculty member in CFAES’ Department of Plant Pathology and based in Wooster since fall 1997.… Continue reading

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