Buckeye People

Ohio couple named National Outstanding Young Farmers

Brian and Jennifer Harbage of South Charleston, Ohio, were selected national winners at the 58th annual National Outstanding Young Farmers Awards Congress held Feb. 13 to16 in Rapid City, S.D.

Four national winners were selected from a group of 10 finalists for the award based on their progress in an agricultural career, extent of soil and water conservation practices, and contributions to the well-being of the community, state, and nation. The three other national winners for 2014 are from Louisiana, Michigan, and Wyoming. National winners received a savings bond from corporate sponsor John Deere and the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., during National Ag Week in 2015.

Brian and Jennifer Harbage raise corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, and beef cattle. To diversify the operation, they have opened a “cow spa” to house dry cows for two local dairies. The barns used in this venture are registered with the state historical society, but they have been modernized for energy efficiency with the addition of solar panels.… Continue reading

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OFBF names discussion meet finalists

Four finalists have been named in Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) 2014 Discussion Meet. They are Elaine Beekman of Wellington, Christen Clemson of Cortland, Elizabeth Mead of Mechanicsburg and Victoria Shaw of Litchfield.

The annual contest tests participants’ subject knowledge, problem solving abilities and personal and small group communications skills. These young agricultural professionals will compete in the finals at the Young Agricultural Professionals’ Summer Reach Out Conference June 28 at Mohican State Park.

The finalists were named after preliminary competition at the annual Young Agricultural Professionals Winter Conference in Columbus. The topics discussed were “How should Farm Bureau engage diverse members and help them work together to better promote a more positive image of agriculture?” and “What are the best practices for youth working on farms and ranches to ensure their safety and provide them learning opportunities in the area of agriculture production?”

“I am very excited with the performance of the Discussion Meet finalists.… Continue reading

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Wilhelmy new partner at Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham & Eselgroth

The law firm of Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham & Eselgroth (BECE) is pleased to announce that Kristi Kress Wilhelmy has become a partner in the firm. Kristi has worked as an associate attorney at BECE since July 2011. She will continue to handle a variety of matters for the firm including counseling clients on agribusiness issues, litigation and resolution of contract and general business disputes, administrative law such as OSHA, employment matters, real estate, and oil and gas litigation.

Prior to joining BECE, Kristi worked at the law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, for three years. Prior to that, she was employed as an attorney at Bryan Cave in Kansas City, Missouri. She also clerked for Judge Mary Beck Briscoe (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Lawrence, Kansas) and Judge James G. Carr (U.S. District Court – Northern District of Ohio).

Kristi is a member of the American and Ohio State Bar Associations, and is admitted to practice in the states of Kansas, Ohio and Missouri (inactive), and in various federal courts.… Continue reading

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Damron named Ohio FFA Alumni Association Outstanding Member for 2013

Jason Damron of the Talawanda FFA Alumni Affiliate was awarded a clock trophy for being named the Outstanding Member of the Ohio FFA Alumni Association during the 42nd Ohio FFA Alumni Convention held in Columbus on Jan. 25, 2014. The FFA Alumni Association appreciates members that go the extra mile to support agricultural education programs and the FFA in Ohio.… Continue reading

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Ohio Corn Marketing Program and Small Grains Program elect new officers

The Ohio Corn Marketing Program (OCMP) Board of Trustees elected officers for 2013-14 during their January meeting. These executive committee positions include the offices of chairman, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary. Those elected to these positions are responsible for the implementation of board policies and procedures, as well as carrying out the roles for their respective office.

John Linder, a corn, soybean and wheat farmer from Morrow will take leadership as OCMP chairman. He previously served on the executive committee as OCMP secretary and has served on the board for two years. Linder is also active at the national level as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Trade Policy and Biotechnology action team.

Pickaway County farmer, Les Imboden, was elected as vice-president. He previously served on the executive committee as OCMP treasurer and is active in agriculture at both the state and national level.

Gail Lierer, beginning her second year on the board, will serve as secretary.… Continue reading

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Westlake Family inducted into Suffolk Hall of Fame

The United Suffolk Sheep Association recently honored the Bud and Julia Westlake Family, of Union County, as inductees into the inaugural class of the Suffolk Hall of Fame. The Westlakes, along with 25 other inductees from around the nation, were selected as pioneers of the Suffolk breed of sheep, and commended for their efforts in promoting, raising and selling Suffolk sheep at the North American International Livestock Exposition.

Bud Westlake has devoted his whole adult life to the breeding, managing, and promoting of purebred Suffolk, Hampshire, and Shropshire Sheep and the entire sheep industry. During this period, he has developed his Suffolk flock to National prominence at shows and sales throughout the nation. He has also coordinated export of United States sheep into foreign countries, such as Canada and South America. Throughout this time he has always approached the sheep industry with integrity required of a purebred livestock producer.

Along with farming 700 acres of soybeans, corn, oats, and hay, Bud showed and judged across the nation.… Continue reading

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OABA welcomes Margo Long as education and event coordinator

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association has hired Margo Long as its education and event coordinator. Long will help provide leadership and direction for OABA’s educational programs, including workshops, seminars and conferences.

“I’m excited to have Margo join the team at OABA,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO. “Her background in land grant extension work and her passion for agriculture is a great combination that will benefit the association and our member companies.”

Long is a 2011 graduate of Ohio State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications with a minor in meat science. For the past two years, she has been a youth educator with Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service. At Purdue she supervised more than 250 4-H adult volunteers and provided educational resources, fund-raising guidance and service learning opportunities to assist in 4-H clubs and advisory board development. She served on the Purdue Women in Agriculture state team and provided support for the organization’s website and Facebook page.… Continue reading

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Connie Hendershot passed away

The sheep industry lost a great booster this past week with the passing of Connie S. Hendershot. Many in Ohio agriculture may know of Connie through her husband Bob Hendershot, who has been Ohio Sheep Improvement Association president and has served on the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program. Connie loved working at the Ohio State Fair “Taste of Ohio Cafe” and traveling with sheep production groups around the world. Connie will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

She was born Jan. 31, 1953, in Marion and graduated from River Valley High School of Marion in 1971, then graduated from The Ohio State University in 1976 with a major in education. She was an active member of Crossroads Church of Christ in Christian Union, where she enjoyed serving on the missionary committee. She was honored by being named the Mission Minded Woman of the Year in 2010. Connie was privileged to be part of 16 mission teams since 2000.… Continue reading

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Kasich names Butler interim Ohio EPA director after Nally resignation

Gov. John Kasich recently announced that he will appoint Craig Butler interim director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency following the sudden resignation of Scott Nally. Butler is currently senior policy advisor for the administration on environmental, energy, public utility and agricultural issues.

Nally is pursuing other opportunities.

“I am grateful for Scott’s service to the state and wish him well in his next endeavor,” Kasich said. “For the past three years, Scott worked hard to keep Ohioans and our environment safe, but he also helped begin to make the agency more business-friendly. Today, Ohio has some of the strongest environmental regulations in the nation, but they are also grounded in common sense. I value his counsel and will continue to rely on it. I have no doubt that Craig will work to continue to improve the agency and ensure both a safe and healthy environment for Ohioans, as well as a predictable and consistent business climate for Ohio’s job-creators.”… Continue reading

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Ohio FFA member receives $1,000 grant from National FFA Foundation

The National FFA Foundation has awarded a $1,000 grant to FFA member Miranda Maggart of Casstown.

Maggart is a member of the Miami East-MVCTC FFA Chapter and was selected over 600 applicants nationwide. Maggart will use the grant funding to expand her specialty crop supervised agricultural experience (SAE).

Maggart raises pink pumpkins, the Porcelain Doll, and donates half of all proceeds to breast cancer research. The grant money will be used to purchase her own gardening equipment so she will not have

to borrow from her family. She also raises chrysanthemums that she markets at the Troy Farmers Market in the fall. She offers a variety of colors to her customers and will use the grant money to expand her plants by 50% so that she can offer more selection to her customers.

“I had some family members that had cancer and I knew people who had breast cancer. The money goes toward research for finding cures for cancer,” she said.… Continue reading

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Kerrick Wilson named Beck’s Young Farm Leader of the Year

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) and Beck’s Hybrids are proud to announce that Kerrick Wilson of Preble County was named Beck’s Young Farm Leader of the Year.

The Beck’s Young Farm Leader Program was established to highlight young Ohio farmers who have taken leadership roles in their communities while developing a foundation for farming success.

“OSA is proud to have Kerrick representing the Beck’s Young Farm Leader Program,” said Jerry Bambauer, OSA president and soybean farmer from Auglaize County. “He showcases commitment and perseverance through his involvement with the agriculture community and wants to be a part of solving issues facing Ohio soybean farmers.”

Each Beck’s Young Farm Leader was chosen quarterly by a selection committee consisting of OSA and Beck’s Hybrids representatives with one farmer selected as the Beck’s Young Farm Leader of the Year. The 2013 Beck’s Young Farm Leaders included: Jeff Adams of Champaign County, Nathan Brown of Highland County and Kerrick Wilson.… Continue reading

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OFBF Young Ag Professionals Advisory Team leaders announced

Latham and Katie Farley of Clayton were recently elected chairs of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) Young Agricultural Professional Advisory Team.

The team develops and directs programming, activities and contests for OFBF’s program for young adults who are interested in improving the business of agriculture, learning new ideas and developing leadership skills.

Also elected to leadership positions for the coming year were Aaron and Sarah Heilers from Anna as co-chairs, Jennifer and Nathan Brown of Hillsboro as secretaries and Katie Farley and Brad Heimerl of Johnstown as the social media co-chairs.

Other team members are Andrew and Danielle Burch of Salem, Ron Burns of Milford Center, Greg and Janet McGlinch of Versailles and Duayne and Monica Wetherell of Mingo Junction.

Latham Farley manages the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency office for Shelby County and helps his father-in-law farm. Katie works as a graphic designer. Latham earned a degree in biology from Mississippi State University and Katie graduated from Miami University with a degree in graphic design.… Continue reading

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A dynamic duo for Ohio’s sheep industry

There are two things that are undeniable as you take a tour of the farm of Sam and Pat Wiford near Wapakoneta — the gray house with the scarlet roof and block Os everywhere make it no secret that they love The Ohio State Buckeyes and nicely kept barns full of beautiful sheep showcase their pride to be a part of Ohio’s sheep industry. As many would tell you, the Wifords have the same passion, drive, and top-notch performance as their beloved football team, and the winning record to prove it.

Last weekend, the Wifords were recognized for their career achievements by their industry peers when they received the Charles Boyles Master Shepherd of The Year Award at the 2013 Buckeye Shepherd Symposium.… Continue reading

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2013 Ohio Agriculture Women Award winners announced

Ohio First Lady Karen W. Kasich and Ohio Agriculture Director David T. Daniels announced four 2013 Ohio Agriculture Women of the Year Award winners at a reception at the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Gardens.

“These compelling Ohio women have spent their lives working to strengthen and advance the state’s largest industry,” said Mrs. Kasich. “I am so pleased to honor their incredible accomplishments and help share their stories.”


Joanne Kick-Raack (Pataskala)

Kick-Raack has more than 35 years in the agriculture industry. In her capacity as the state director for the Pesticide Safety Education Program at The Ohio State University Extension, she built a community of cooperation and participation for the education needs of the 30,000 licensed pesticides applicators in Ohio. She was also instrumental in creating the certification process and implementation for the Ohio Certified Crop Advisor program.


Lisa Schacht (Canal Winchester)

Schacht and her husband, David, manage their family farm, the Schacht Farm Market located in Canal Winchester.… Continue reading

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Kinder elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

James Kinder, interim director of the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute (Ohio State ATI), has been elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), honored by his peers as a significant contributor to the scientific community.

Kinder was recognized for his distinguished contributions in reproductive endocrinology research and as an administrator in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Ohio State ATI, located in Wooster, is the college’s associate degree-granting unit.

In all, six Ohio State faculty and 388 AAAS members have been elected Fellows this year in recognition of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be welcomed in a ceremony at the AAAS annual meeting in Chicago in February.

“The consistent recognition of Ohio State scientists at this level speaks to the exceptional quality of our faculty and their important contributions in their disciplines,” said Ohio State Interim President Joseph A.… Continue reading

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Barry McGraw joins Ohio Soybean Council

The Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) recently welcomed Barry McGraw as the new Director of Product Development & Commercialization. Tom Fontana, former OSC Director of New Use Development will take on a new role as Director of Research & Education.

As Director of Product Development & Commercialization, McGraw will lead OSC’s new use program. This includes exploring opportunities for new soy technologies and the commercialization of new products into the marketplace.

McGraw joins OSC after 15 years with Battelle where he worked in program management, engineering and marketing. He played a key role on Battelle’s bio-based materials team, working to develop and commercialize soy-based technologies. Four of those technologies have received R&D 100 awards.

McGraw also worked on Battelle’s national security team in technology areas such as critical infrastructure, environmental challenges, information systems and defense technology. He holds an undergraduate degree in plastics engineering from Shawnee State University in Portsmouth.

“We are very proud to welcome Barry to the staff,” said John Motter, OSC chairman and Hancock County soybean farmer.… Continue reading

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ODNR announces new chief of the Division of Soil and Water

Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director James Zehringer announced that Mike Bailey has been named chief of the ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources. Bailey has served as deputy chief of the division since 2012.

“His agricultural background and experience in the field of soil and water made Mike the ideal candidate for this job,” Zehringer said. “Behind his leadership, I anticipate the division will make great strides in furthering ODNR’s efforts to improve the health of Ohio’s waters and lands.”

Karl Gebhardt, former chief of the division, has been serving as division chief and deputy director. He will continue to serve in his role as deputy director of the department.

As chief of the division, Mike will be responsible for day-to-day operations, including issues related to agricultural nutrients, soil and water conservation districts, watershed programs, water resource issues and dam safety.

Previously, Bailey worked at the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) for eight years in various capacities.… Continue reading

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Grum attends Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference

Frankie Grum from Thornville joined more than 550 of the top collegiate agriculture students on Nov. 7-10 in Kansas City, Mo., to engage in career preparation training at the Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference.

For four days, Grum, who studies agricultural systems and technology at the Ohio State Ag Tech Institute, participated in soft skill training provided by agriculture, education and facilitation professionals. In the conference environment, Grum was surrounded by like-minded students, who are passionate about agriculture, and by agriculture professionals, who have invested financially as well as relationally in these students’ lives.

Cargill is one organization that partners with AFA to make this training possible. The company specifically invested in developing a relationship with Grum. While at the conference, Grum was invited to a special breakfast hosted by Cargill. During this breakfast, Cargill representatives and Grum were able to connect and discuss Cargill’s career opportunities and Grum’s interests.… Continue reading

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Wuebker joins agricultural law firm

The law firm of Barrett,Easteday, Cunningham & Eselgroth LLP (BECE) is pleased to announce that Matt Wuebker will become the firm’s newest associate attorney. The Supreme Court of Ohio announced on Oct. 25 that Matt was among those who passed the July 2013 Ohio bar examination. The oath of office as an attorney and counselor at law were administered on Monday, Nov. 4, to Matt and other successful applicants who have also satisfied all of the Ohio Supreme Court’s other requirements for admission. Matt has been working as a law clerk at BECE since graduating in May from the University of Dayton School of Law. Matt grew up near Maria Stein, Ohio, where his parents operate a farm. Matt is a member of Marion Local Young Farmers Association and is an active outdoorsman. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in marketing from Wright State University in Dayton and earned his Juris Doctorate in an accelerated 2-year program at the University of Dayton School of Law.… Continue reading

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