Buckeye People



Naming of Ohio State center cements Lal’s legacy

The legacy of Rattan Lal, one of the world’s top scientists, has been bolstered with the addition of his name to a center at The Ohio State University. The honor was bestowed on Oct. 15, in a virtual ceremony hosted by Ohio State, Nationwide Insurance, and Ohio Farm Bureau.

Earlier in the day, Lal received the 50th annual World Food Prize, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize in Food and Agriculture.”

Lal serves as Distinguished University Professor at Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and is the founding director of what will now be known as the CFAES Rattan Lal Carbon Management and Sequestration Center (C-MASC).

“Although it would be an exception for a current faculty member to be acknowledged with an honorific naming, Dr. Lal’s accomplishments and the notoriety he has brought to our university warrants this exception,” said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES.… Continue reading

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Leonard named new OFBF chief information officer

Pete Leonard of Westerville has been named chief information officer for Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. He will be serving in a newly created leadership position in the organization.

Prior to joining the Ohio Farm Bureau staff, Leonard was in an IT leadership role at Nationwide for 10 years and has been in IT consulting for more than 20 years with HP, Covansys and Claremont Technology Group. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“Pete believes that IT is more than a cost of doing business, but that IT can provide the means for doing all aspects of OFBF business better,” said Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp. “Creating this new role is an indication of the central role technology will have in our organization to serve our members today and for years to come.”

Leonard and his wife, Bonnie, are parents of two grown daughters Rachael and Sarah.… Continue reading

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Irvin named vice president of public policy for Ohio Farm Bureau

Jack Irvin has been named vice president, public policy for Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. He will be responsible for managing the organization’s policy development process and its legislative, regulatory, political and legal activities at the federal, state and local levels. He has been Ohio Farm Bureau senior director of state and national policy since 2016.

Prior to joining Ohio Farm Bureau, Irvin served as director of government and industry affairs with the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association where he directed development of public policy and legislative priorities at the state and national levels. He also served that organization by managing communications efforts and developing grassroots volunteers. He also previously served as legislative aide to several senators including Tom Niehaus, Larry Mumper and Doug White.

He received bachelor’s degrees from Miami University in human resources and organizational behavior. He is an active member in Vista Community Church in Worthington. He and his wife, Erika, reside in Columbus with their two daughters.… Continue reading

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Lal to speak at Borlaug Dialogue, receive World Food Prize, and be honored by Ohio State

Rattan Lal, one of the most decorated professors to teach and conduct research at The Ohio State University, will receive the 2020 World Food Prize on Thursday, Oct. 15, during the virtual Borlaug Dialouge streaming from Des Moines, Iowa. That same day, he will also be honored by Ohio State in a virtual ceremony to honor his legacy.

The renowned soil scientist and Distinguished University Professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) was named recipient of the 50th World Food Prize in June. He will be honored on Thursday, Oct. 15, at the World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony, set for 9 to 10 a.m. CDT and 10 to 11 a.m. EDT. The prize includes a prestigious $250,000 cash award and a sculpture by noted artist and designer, Saul Bass. Join in the special celebration at www.worldfoodprize.org/live.

Later that afternoon, friends and colleagues from Ohio State and around the world are invited to honor the 76-year-old Lal’s legacy by participating in a virtual side event hosted by CFAES.… Continue reading

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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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