Buckeye People

Farm Credit Mid-America promotes Tara Durbin 

Farm Credit Mid-America, one of the nation’s largest financial services cooperatives serving rural residents and farmers, has promoted Tara Durbin to Chief Lending Officer, Agriculture. Durbin joins Farm Credit Mid-America’s restructured Executive Committee under President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Wagner and now leads retail and commercial agriculture lending sales and support teams across Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. 

Tara Durbin

“I am most excited to be a strong voice for our retail and commercial agriculture teams and the customers we serve across our four-state footprint,” Durbin says. “As part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, Farm Credit Mid-America secures the future of rural communities and agriculture by being a reliable, consistent source of credit. I look forward to using my experience to represent these voices at the highest level of our organization.” 

Durbin’s deep experience in agriculture began on her family’s small grain farm in Highland County in Southern Ohio.… Continue reading

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Ohio Agricultural Council announces 2022 Hall of Fame inductees

Four Ohioans who have committed their lives to working in, promoting and advocating for Ohio’s farm community will be honored Friday, August 5, by the Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC), when they are inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame. 

The Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC) will induct Leon Boucher of Dublin, Steven C. Drake of Colorado Springs, CO, Lisa Hamler-Fugitt of Lancaster, and Duane Stateler of McComb, into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame. The 56thannual event normally attracts more than 600 guests to honor the four professionals for their lifetime of service and dedication to Ohio’s agriculture community.

“We are pleased to recognize this impressive class of Hall of Fame inductees,” said Chris Henney, president of the Ohio Agricultural Council and president and CEO of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association. “Through their advocacy, mentorship and conservation efforts, the contributions to the agricultural industry of the 2022 class have been recognized across local, state, national and international levels.” … Continue reading

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Legacy Farmers Cooperative facilities Certification in 4R Nutrient Stewardship

Continuing their commitment to improving water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin, Legacy Farmers Cooperative facilities in Arcadia, Arlington, McComb and Pandora have achieved certified status for year six and the Custar facility for year seven through the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program.

The voluntary certification program is a concentrated effort by the agriculture industry to significantly reduce and prevent applied nutrients from running off fields, which has contributed to water quality issues in Lake Erie. Facilities are required to meet certain program goals each year to retain certified status. 

With the program in its eighth year, the Legacy Farmers Cooperative facilities are among the first to achieve years six and seven certified status.

“Legacy Farmers Cooperative is proud to be part of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program,” said Mark Sunderman, president and CEO of Legacy Farmers Cooperative. “It takes all of the efforts of our employee team and members/customers following the 4Rs to show our commitment to making a difference in water quality.… Continue reading

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Ohio State hosts and wins the 2022 All East Livestock Contest

The Ohio State University (OSU) hosted the 2022 All East Livestock Contest on the OSU Wooster campus from March 31 through April 3. This three-day collegiate livestock judging contest was sponsored by the Ohio State Department of Animal Sciences and the Agricultural Technology Institute (ATI). The event was attended by 64 contestants from eight four-year agricultural universities from across the eastern United States attended this contest. Attending universities included: Michigan State University, Mississippi State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, The Ohio State University, University of Illinois, University of Missouri, and University of Tennessee.

The contest consists of three separate contests held on consecutive days: market animal evaluation, breeding animal selection, and a traditional livestock judging contest. Awards were given to individuals and teams that excel in the individual contest categories. Results for the individual contests were also weighted across all three days on an equal basis to recognize high individuals and teams in the overall contest. … Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau hires ExploreAg and ag literacy program specialist

Jana Mussard of Mount Vernon has been named ExploreAg and ag literacy program specialist for Ohio Farm Bureau. She will oversee planning, marketing and implementation of the ExploreAg program, as well as create a comprehensive ag literacy program that aligns with the ExploreAg workforce development program.

Mussard grew up on her family’s dairy farm in Fulton County. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and a master’s degree in youth development and leadership.

Before joining the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation staff, Mussard was an Ohio State University Extension 4-H educator in Knox County. Prior to that, she specialized in administration and marketing with COBA/Select Sires.

Mussard is a member of Knox County Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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Ohio agriculture teachers named finalists for Ag Educator of the Year

Agricultural educators serve a critical role in the communities they serve, devoting countless hours to preparing students for successful careers and helping them pursue their passions. To shed light on the contributions of Ohio’s leading agricultural teachers, Ohio FFA, Nationwide, Ohio Farm Bureau, Farm Credit Mid-America and AgCredit, ACA are honoring 10 exceptional educators as finalists for the Golden Owl Award.
From Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2021, Ohio FFA collected nominations for the state’s top agricultural teachers from local students, parents, fellow teachers and community members across the state.
Ohio’s 2021-2022 Golden Owl Award finalists are:

  • Tricia Schoen, Genoa-Penta FFA, Genoa
  • Laura Ringler, Plymouth FFA, Plymouth
  • Lowell Moodt, Grand Valley FFA, Orwell
  • Barrett Zimmerman, Clyde FFA, Clyde
  • Sarah Heilers, Anna FFA, Anna
  • Aaron Thompson, Upper Scioto Valley-OHP FFA, McGuffey
  • Jeff Tilley, Amanda-Clearcreek FFA, Amanda
  • Tim Kilpatrick, Coshocton County Career Center FFA, Coshocton
  • Eric Heeg, Blanchester Great Oaks FFA, Blanchester
  • Abby Campbell, Fort Frye FFA, Beverly

Each finalist was presented with an individualized plaque in front of fellow teachers and students and received a $500 donation to their school’s agricultural program to support future educational efforts.… Continue reading

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Marissa and Travis Hake honored with Forward Thinker Award from Farm Credit Mid-America

Marissa and Travis Hake of Edon, Ohio are the recipients of Farm Credit Mid-America’s inaugural Forward Thinker Award. This award is given to young, beginning or small farmers who exemplify outstanding leadership, community involvement and implementation of unique practices that drive the growth of their operation.

The Forward Thinker Award is made possible through Growing Forward, the financial service cooperative’s program for young, beginning and small farmers. This multi-year program provides eligible customers with continuing education opportunities that focus on financial management and help these customers position their operations for growth and long-term success.

“We felt it was important to highlight and reward innovative thinking among our young, beginning and small farmer customers,” said Dakota Everts, vice president of Growing Forward and Lending Partnerships. “This award is just a small way we are able to acknowledge Marissa and Travis for their exceptional work. We hope their story will inspire other young, beginning or small farmers to pursue fresh ideas for their operations.”… Continue reading

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Members of Class XII graduate from Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER program

Eight farmers and agribusiness professionals from around Ohio recently graduated from Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER Institute Class XII. The elite leadership program was started in 2008 to help agricultural advocates gain influence over public policy issues that impact their businesses and communities.

Class XII graduates are Brian Herringshaw of Bowling Green, Paige Hunt of Delta, Camille Klick of Massillon, Krysti Morrow of McConnelsville, Christine Snowden of New Albany, Melanie Strait-Bok of Ney, Greg Tholen of Lynchburg and Emily Warnimont of Findlay.

Over the course of a year, Class XII participants learned from experts on how to become better leaders and advocates for the agricultural industry, including spokesperson and media training, etiquette training, social networking and communications. They learned about public policy matters important to their local communities, as well as the state, nation and world. They visited Washington, D.C. where they learned about national and global issues, and they visited diverse agricultural operations in California so they could better understand the differences and similarities in agriculture from state to state.… Continue reading

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Farm Bureau Foundation names director of donor engagement and giving

Kelly Warner of Harrod has been named director of donor engagement and giving for the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.
With over 15 years of experience as a professional fundraiser, Warner has a proven track record in building annual giving and donor relations programs. She brings extensive expertise in multichannel marketing and fundraising with a strong background in strategic planning that will assist in the success and long-term growth of the foundation. 
In this role, Warner will be responsible for broadening the base of annual support for the foundation by focusing on donor engagement and stewardship initiatives. She will provide oversight to the foundation’s annual events including the Golf Invitational and Foundation Breakfast at the Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. In addition, she will work with volunteers and donors to enhance the foundation’s scholarship program. 
Warner and her husband, Kyle, are raising their 2-year-old twins in Allen County. They are members of the Allen County Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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Magyar reappointed to USB

U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the appointment of nine new U.S. soybean farmers to serve on the United Soybean Board (USB) and reappointed eight directors for an additional term, including Jeff Magyar from Orwell, Ohio in Ashtabula County.

“With different uses of soy continuing to grow, this is an exciting time to be a USB farmer-leader. I look forward to working with these passionate individuals who will bring additional perspectives and insights, expanding our group of creative and innovative thinkers,” said Ralph Lott, USB Chair and farmer from New York. “The reappointed leaders bring back valuable experience, having worked through our Value Creation Framework process determining future checkoff investments. Together, we will move U.S. Soy forward and bring value back to the farm gate of all U.S. soybean farmers.”

U.S. soybean farmers receive an estimated $12.34 in value for every dollar they invested in the checkoff. Those investments continue to fund programs that build preference for U.S.… Continue reading

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Hodges named Farm Bureau organization director

Kaitlynn Hodges of Cambridge has been named organization director for Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and will serve members in Morgan, Muskingum, Perry and Washington counties. She will work with the county Farm Bureaus to address issues important to members and their communities.

Hodges, along with her family, operates a multi-century cow-calf and timber farm. She received her bachelor’s degree from Wilmington College, where she majored in agriculture. She was a long-time member of 4-H and served as chapter president of the Mid-East Career and Technology Center FFA.

Prior to joining the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation staff, Hodges served as the outdoor and environmental event and program planner for the Parks and Recreation Department of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Hodges is a member of Guernsey County Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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Eberhart wins 2022 Collegiate Discussion Meet

Riley Eberhart of Harrison County will represent Ohio at the 2022 American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet.
The Collegiate Discussion Meet follows the same model as the Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet. The competitive event simulates a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. The competition is evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a predetermined topic. Participants build basic discussion skills, develop a keen understanding of important agricultural issues and explore how groups can pool knowledge to reach consensus and solve problems.

Eberhart, a six-year Harrison County Farm Bureau member, is currently a student at Wilmington College where she studies political science, focusing on agricultural advocacy and food policy. Prior to college, Eberhart spent 15 years as a member of 4-H, raising beef, hogs, chickens and rabbits and was involved in FFA, participating in many career development events (CDEs).… Continue reading

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OABA elects officers

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association is pleased to announce the newly elected members of the Board of Directors. Representing the Grain industry is Rhoda Crown, Coshocton Grain Company. Representing the Members-at-Large are Andrew Gladden, Luckey Farmers Inc. and Neil Rupp, Pettisville Grain Company.

In addition to new members, the Board of Directors has new leadership for 2022-2023. Robert Mullen of Heritage Cooperative will serve as Chairman of the Board. Grant Gates of Morral Companies, LLC was elected to serve as Vice Chairman. Jackie Siebert of L W Siebert Farms, LLC transitions from her role as Chairwoman to Past Chairwoman. 

“Our Board of Directors contribute their time, experience and expertise for the good of the industry and the association,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO. “We are pleased to welcome our newest board members and look forward to the leadership of our new officers.”

The newly elected members were announced at the OABA Annual Meeting on Jan.… Continue reading

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American Dairy Association Mideast leadership elected for 2022


The Board of Directors for American Dairy Association Mideast, the dairy promotion checkoff program serving about 1,600 dairy farmers in Ohio and West Virginia, elected their 2022 officers during their annual re-organization meeting.

  • Chair: Greg Conrad of New Holland, Ohio
  • Vice Chair: Greg Gibson of Bruceton Mills, West Virginia
  • Secretary: Lois Douglass of Marshallville, Ohio
  • Treasurer: Joe Miley of West Salem, Ohio

Greg Conrad and Bill Besancon of Wooster were elected to represent ADA Mideast on the United Dairy Industry Association board. Lois Douglass will continue to serve on the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board per her USDA appointment. Conrad, Besancon and Douglass also serve on the Dairy Management Inc. board.… Continue reading

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Hannewald wins 2022 Farm Bureau Discussion Meet

Mike Hannewald of Lucas County is the winner of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals 2022 Discussion Meet competition. The results were announced Jan. 29 during the YAP Winter Leadership Experience.  
The Discussion Meet tests participants’ subject knowledge, problem solving abilities and personal and small group communications skills. It is designed for young agricultural professionals to work together to find solutions around issues facing agriculture today.
Hannewald developed a strong interest in farming while growing up on the family farm, just outside of Waterville, and became very active in 4-H and FFA. A Lucas County Farm Bureau member, he earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy from The Ohio State University. He is an agronomist and precision farming adviser for Beck’s Hybrids, covering northern Ohio and northeastern Indiana and remains actively involved on the family farm. 
As the winner, he receives a $3,000 cash prize, complimentary registration to the 2023 YAP Winter Leadership Experience and an expense-paid trip to 2023 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Puerto Rico.… Continue reading

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OSU Extension seeks a new agronomic systems field specialist

Ohio State University Extension is seeking applicants for a faculty position of Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems. The summary of duties is listed below and a complete listing of the position description can be found: at https://osu.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/OSUCareers/job/Columbus-Campus/Assistant-Professor–Field-Specialist–Agronomic-Systems_R36703.

This faculty position provides overall leadership for developing and implementing a comprehensive and balanced teaching and applied research agenda for Agriculture and Natural Resources within the Department of Extension in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.  Working collaboratively with a team of OSU professionals within OSU Extension as well as with cross-disciplinary department and colleges, the faculty member functions as a consultant with clientele to address statewide issues as expertise is needed; provides unbiased research-based alternatives; evaluates and responds to large scale statewide needs vs. individual requests; and secures resources (grants, contracts, user fees) to focus on these issues. The faculty member will seek courtesy faculty status within the appropriate department to maintain an integrated connection with campus departments and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).… Continue reading

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Heritage Cooperative ramps up ag technology leadership with the hire of Robert Mullen

As the agriculture industry continues to evolve with digital technologies, it is imperative that retailers provide an infrastructure to support their growers with these ever-changing tools. Always striving to be an industry leader, Heritage Cooperative is excited to announce the hiring of Dr. Robert Mullen as Vice President of Agricultural Technology. 

Dr. Mullen is a native of Southwest Oklahoma and graduated from Cameron University with a B.S. in Ag Business and a minor in chemistry. He completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science and Soil Science, respectively, from Oklahoma State University. He moved to Ohio to join The Ohio State University in 2004 as an Assistant Professor and as the Soil Fertility Extension Specialist. 

“As a trusted advisor, our role is to help customers evaluate, implement, and integrate new technologies and production practices to achieve their business goals”, said Jeff Osentoski, President and CEO of Heritage Cooperative. “We are excited to have Robert on the team as he is an incredible resource to help support the mission of Heritage Cooperative.… Continue reading

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Wellman passed away

James A. Wellman, 67, of Delphos, passed away January 18, 2022, at Mercy Health St. Rita’s.

He was born January 16, 1955, to the late Elmer John and Phyllis (Davis) Wellman. On November 18, 1989, he married the love of his life, Jean Ditto, who survives in Delphos.

James Wellmann

James was a very devoted and loving husband and father. He was a very humble, unassuming and faithful man. The most memorable times of his life were spent with Jean, Father Andrew and Chelsea.

James was a 1973 graduate of St. John’s High School and a 1977 graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture with a major in Agronomy. His first job “off the farm” was from 1973 to 1977 when he worked with Joe Parsons and Dave Roach broadcasting high school ballgames on WDOH. James was president of Wellman Seeds, Inc., Wellman Farms, Inc.,… Continue reading

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Congratulations to Harold Watters on his retirement!

By Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

After 20+ years at Ohio State, Harold Watters retired earlier this year. Most recently, Harold was an Ohio State University Extension Field Specialist for Agronomic Systems, but his history at OSU dates back to 1975 when he was a student employee at the Farm Science Review. In his own words, Harold’s goal has been “…to do the work that needed to be done for row crop farmers — whether it was in response to drought in 2012, or floods and late planting in 2015…or the concerns of nutrient management and water quality.”

I cannot even begin to list Harold’s involvement, achievements, and impact he has had on Ohio’s agricultural community (and also international work in the Ukraine). Harold was co-leader of the OSU Extension’s AgCrops Team from 2004 through 2019. He helped move the team forward into the digital age with a website, easier transfer of the CORN newsletter, and provided lots of support for agronomic crops meetings.… Continue reading

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OPA elects new officers

The Ohio Poultry Association (OPA) announced its 2022 officers during the organization’s recent board meetings held in Columbus. Three individuals were elected to the Board and will work over the next year to further advance the organization’s mission. 

The 2022 Board officers include: 

• OPA President Sandra Lausecker. Lausecker is vice president of Nature Pure and co-owner of Outward Farms located in Raymond. She also serves on the board of the American Egg Board and United Egg Producers.  

• OPA Vice President Jeff Cutler. Cutler serves as the eggs division manager for Cooper Farms located in northwest Ohio. In addition, he also serves on the board of the American Egg Board. 

• OPA Secretary Drew Bowman. Bowman is co-owner of Bowman & Landes, based in New Carlisle, Ohio.  

• In 2022, Doug Mack will move into the past president role for the association. Mack currently serves as the chief operating officer for Trillium Farms, in Croton.  

 “I look forward to working with these exceptional leaders over the next year as they each bring unique perspectives to the table to further advance our work,” said Jim Chakeres, OPA executive vice president.… Continue reading

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