Buckeye People

Thomas family champions the small dairy farm

Step with us into the picturesque landscape of north Champaign County and witness the extraordinary journey of the Thomas family as they dedicate themselves to the small dairy farm.

Nathan and Jenny Thomas, along with their 35-cow herd at Triple-T Holsteins near North Lewisburg, have carved out a unique niche in the dairy industry. Focusing on show genetics and prize-winning cattle, they have earned a global reputation for their exceptional breeding program, all while participating in a unique milk market.

Join Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood to discover the relentless passion, hard work, and unwavering commitment of the Thomas family as they navigate the challenges of modern agriculture, showcase their cattle at prestigious events across the country, and uphold their deeply rooted values of cow care and sustainability.… Continue reading

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Zajkowski joins Ohio Ag Net

Jake Zajkowski is a sophomore at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. He is originally from the Buckeye State but now shares time in agriculture between both states. The Lucas County native is studying agriculture science with a concentration in policy analysis and minors in horticulture and applied economics and management. 

Zajkowski joined the Ohio Ag Net team in January of 2023. He grew up in the suburbs where car rides with the family would consist of country music, talk shows, and news — never a world he thought he would find himself working in. Zajkowski now works both as the afternoon farm broadcaster and summer intern for Ohio Ag Net. Throughout the week, he keeps up to date on markets and agriculture news and then produces, records, and edits farm shows for radio affiliates in Ohio. He also works on digital marketing campaigns, supports the video team and edits podcasts. … Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation awards nearly $60,000 in scholarships

 Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently awarded nearly $60,000 in scholarships to students across the state.

According to Jenny Cox, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation board president, the foundation has put intentional focus on its purpose and its work, and scholarship awards directly impact that purpose: to inspire and educate the next generation of agriculture.

“One in eight jobs in Ohio are related to food and agriculture. As the demands for employees to fill these roles increase, we want to do our part to cultivate the next generation of workers to grow their careers in agriculture. The opportunity to work with and get to know some of these young people and learn about all of their accomplishments and activities through reviewing scholarship applications is incredibly rewarding. The stories and successes of these young people confirm to me that the future of agriculture is bright.”

Annually, the foundation recognizes Ohio students for their academic effort, community engagement and career interests that link agriculture to community service, education or scientific research.… Continue reading

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Strickler announces retirement

Virgil Strickler announced that he intends to retire as general manager of the Ohio State Fair after this year. Strickler is the longest serving general manager of the Ohio State Fair and is known for implementing the Ohio State Fair’s nationally recognized Youth Reserve Program in 1995.

“Today is bittersweet. I will be forever grateful for the last three decades at the Ohio State Fair,” Strickler said. “I’ve grown up at fairs, and Ohio’s county and independent fairs are what makes our State Fair so strong. I’ve watched my children, and now grandchildren, grow up here. The State Fair means so much to generations of Ohioans, and I’m proud of the strong partnerships we’ve developed over the years, and how they have helped our State Fair grow and improve each year.”

Strickler began working at the Ohio Expo Center in 1993 as agriculture director and was named general manager in 2004. In the wake of Strickler’s announcement, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that a nationwide search for the next general manager of the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair is now underway.… Continue reading

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Funeral arrangements for Dave Brandt of Fairfield County

David Brandt, of Fairfield County, passed away at the age of 76 from complications resulting from an automobile accident. 

He was known around the world as the face of a meme associated with honest work. In agricultural circles, Brandt will be remembered as a global leader in no-till, cover crops, soil health, nutrient dense crops, and direct marketing. Agriculturalists from around the world visited his Fairfield County farm each year to see his soils first-hand and learn from his many years of experience. He also traveled the world speaking about his farm. Brandt served as a Marine and was a Vietnam veteran who returned home to farm in the late 1960s, but soon after his return, Brandt’s father died in a farming accident. He and his wife, Kendra (who passed away in 2020), were forced to sell the farm and start over with very little equipment. No-till was a way to reduce costs.… Continue reading

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Moffitt named Ethanol Specialist for Ohio Corn & Wheat

Ohio Corn & Wheat (OCW) is pleased to announce Brad Moffitt is the new Ethanol Specialist.

In this new role, Moffitt is serving as the technical specialist for ethanol-related matters from the cornfield to the gasoline dispenser. Moffitt is also responsible for promoting higher ethanol blends (Unleaded 88/E15, E85, and mid-level blends) to consumers. 

“For the past eleven years, I have served as the Director of Market Development and Membership, handling ethanol programs, export programs, and member services,” said Moffitt.  “I am really looking forward to specializing in ethanol for Ohio Corn & Wheat. I am excited to build on the network of great agriculturists and ethanol enthusiasts I have worked with since 2012 and expand this network.”

Ohio is ranked fifth in the U.S. when it comes to the number of registered cars on the road. The state is also the seventh-largest producer of corn and is home to seven ethanol refineries.… Continue reading

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Brandt passed away, leaving a legacy of conservation

Ohio agriculture has never before known a global cultural phenomenon quite like David Brandt, of Fairfield County, who passed away at the age of 76 from complications resulting from an automobile accident. 

He was known around the world as the face of a meme associated with honest work. In agricultural circles, Brandt will be remembered as a global leader in no-till, cover crops, soil health, nutrient dense crops, and direct marketing. Agriculturalists from around the world visited his Fairfield County farm each year to see his soils first-hand and learn from his many years of experience. He also traveled the world speaking about his farm. Brandt was a Vietnam veteran who returned home to farm in the late 1960s, but soon after his return, Brandt’s father died in a farming accident. He and his wife, Kendra (who passed away in 2020), were forced to sell the farm and start over with very little equipment.… Continue reading

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OAC scholarship recipients announced

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 2023-24 recipients of the Scholarship Program. 

Haven Hileman is a junior at The Ohio State University. She is the daughter of Ed and Robin Hileman. Through involvement with organizations like 4-H, FFA, and Farm Bureau, Haven has discovered a love for advocating and educating others about the agriculture industry. Haven is majoring in Animal Sciences at OSU and, upon graduation, plans to become an agricultural education teacher and raise livestock on her family farm. 

Lauren Mellott grew up on a small grain farm in Butler, Ohio, where she learned the importance of the agricultural industry and found her passion for providing education about and advocating for the industry that provides the world with food, fuel, and fiber.… Continue reading

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Part-Time Seasonal Job Opening at Ag Net Communications

Position: Media Specialist

Hours: Part-time Position – flexible hours – 10 hours a week

Pay: Based on experience

Location: Works remotely – home based

Deadline to apply: May 26, 2023

Start date: Immediately

Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net are looking for a highly detail oriented and organized individual to assist with website posts, graphic design and eNewsletter management. Ideal candidates should have some experience in Adobe Photoshop and InDesign; however, candidates without this experience may be considered.

Duties would include daily preparation of the content and advertisements in our eNewsletter Digital Dale, graphic design of digital and possibly print ads, and posting information to our website. Availability would be needed Sunday evening through Thursday evening from 4 to 5 p.m. to create the following day’s email newsletter. Other hours can be somewhat flexible if the needed work is completed by deadline.

This position is a temporary position for the summer; however, it is possible it could be extended.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau job opportunity to provide accounting services for Ohio Ag Net

Ohio Farm Bureau is looking for an accounting coordinator that will provide general business support, payroll and accounting functions and activities for Ag Net Communications. This is an exciting opportunity to work in a hybrid schedule that allows flexibility to work from home and collaborate in the office as well. Ohio Farm Bureau offers a generous benefit package that includes vacation, sick and personal time; nine observed holidays and extra time off during the Christmas and New Year Holiday; incentive bonuses and extra vacation days, a 401k retirement plan with company match; three health plans to choose from, a company provided contribution to a health savings account, dental, vision, life insurance, voluntary insurance, short-term disability, long-term disability; employee incentive plan, tuition reimbursement and bonus for employee referrals. Deadline to apply: May 26, 2023

Ohio Farm Bureau is looking for a candidate that is a self-started, problem-solver and wants to contribute to the team and the success of the organization.… Continue reading

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A presidential example to follow…

By the Ohio Ag Net Staff

It was 40 years ago today (May 6, 2023) that Ohio Ag Net general manager and farm broadcaster Dale Minyo was elected as the Ohio FFA President. 

In the decades since then, Dale has tirelessly promoted the national blue and corn gold. Beyond FFA, though, the key leadership role for Dale four decades ago has led to hundreds of thousands of miles traveled, countless county fair visits, an untold number of agricultural events, and steadfast service to Ohio agriculture. Dale’s unwavering dedication to his craft — from (very) early morning radio broadcasts through late night farm banquets — during the last 40 years was certainly shaped by his experiences and leadership development in the FFA.  

Plenty has changed with agriculture and FFA in this timeframe, but fresh off the 2023 Ohio FFA Convention, it is clear the passion for agriculture, dedication to service and work ethic remains much the same as it did in Dale’s era in the organization.… Continue reading

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Kennedy “The Voice of the Shoe”

Ohio Ag Net’s affiliate WDLR recently lost public address announcer and “The Voice of the Shoe” Bob Kennedy, who died in his home April 29, 2023. He was 59. For the past 23 years, Columbus sports fans have heard Kennedy’s voice boom out of the speakers inside Ohio Stadium.

He was also the athletics PA announcer for his alma mater, Otterbein University, and for the Columbus Clippers. He worked seven years at WDLR as an on-air talent, Workdays with Bob Allen.… Continue reading

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Kennedy promoted to senior organization director

Nick Kennedy of North Canton has been promoted to senior organization director for Ohio Farm Bureau. He will continue to serve members in Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage and Stark counties, and adds the role of lead organization director in the North Royalton office to his duties.

Kennedy is a native of Wauseon, Ohio where he worked on the family dairy and crop farm. An alumni of Wauseon FFA, he was a member of Fulton County 4-H and Fulton County Jr. Fair Board as well.

Kennedy has been with Ohio Farm Bureau for 20 years, beginning his career after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University in 2004. While at Ohio State, he was a member and past president of the Collegiate 4-H Club and a member of the student council for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Professionally, Kennedy was a member of the 26th class of Leadership Stark County and received the Stark County Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award in 2020.… Continue reading

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Cockerill named interim president at Wilmington College

After the departure of president Trevor Bates as president of Wilmington College, Corey Cockerill, a respected leader within the Wilmington College community, was appointed interim president March 31. Cockerill, a faculty member since 2008, serves as assistant dean of academic affairs/professor of communication arts and agriculture. Agriculture is the largest academic area for Wilmington College.

“I come out of academics, came out of the classroom in communication arts and agriculture and then last year I started a position as Assistant Dean of Sciences,” Cockerill said. “In this interim role, my goals are to serve the needs of the students, primarily, which is no different than the last 15 years. Besides that, I’ll be working on budget and our Higher Learning Commission visit, which is our accreditors. They’re coming in the next academic year.”  

The Wilmington College Board of Trustees will engage the entire College community as it commences a search to select the College’s 20th president.… Continue reading

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Durbin joins AXIS Ohio

AXIS Ohio recently added another veteran sales agronomist to meet demand for seed and other agronomic services. Nathan Louiso, owner of AXIS Ohio, announced that Jeremiah Durbin has joined his team as district sales manager in Southern Ohio. 

“I’ve always believed in making positions for good people, not people for positions,” Louiso said. “With our increased growth, the timing is perfect for Jeremiah. He brings a unique skill set that will benefit our customers.” 

Durbin says soil health is one of his passions. He has been an independent consultant since 2016 and has even served as the Soil Health Specialist for the Tennessee Association of Conservation.

“Farming is about building relationships,” Durbin said. “It’s about working together to figure out those crop production baselines and then growing together. Working with Axis Ohio allows me to have the best of both worlds, soil health and the forefront of seed quality.

“Axis has a systems approach to their seed selection and placement.… Continue reading

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Rudd joins Farm Bureau as organizational director

Emily Rudd of Bucyrus has been named organization director for Clinton, Fayette, Greene and Warren counties.

Rudd grew up on a small market goat farm in north central Ohio and began showing lambs and goats through 4-H and FFA. Her parents are long-time Crawford County Farm Bureau members. 

Rudd’s own Farm Bureau history began as a county scholarship receipt and intern for the Crawford, Marion, Morrow, and Richland County Farm Bureaus. She was a Collegiate Farm Bureau member at Wilmington College and has been a Young Agricultural Professionals member in Crawford County the last two years. Rudd has also attended Farm Bureau’s Washington, D.C leaders trip and Ag Day at the Capital through her YAP membership. 

Rudd, who earned her FFA American Farmer degree in 2021, graduated from Wilmington College with a bachelor of science in agriculture in December 2022.… Continue reading

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A conversation with Ohio Director of Agriculture Brian Baldridge

The director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Brian Baldridge, recently sat down for a conversation hosted by the Ohio Agricultural Council and moderated by Ohio’s Country Journal Editor Matt Reese. This full-length chat touches not only on the Director’s background and agricultural upbringing, but also his perspective on several topics near and dear to Ohio’s farmers including administration priorities, land preservation, and disaster response among much more after his first three months in the job.… Continue reading

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Looker joins Ohio Farm Bureau team

Erica Looker of Edison, Ohio, has been named administrative assistant, organization, for Ohio Farm Bureau.

Looker was raised in a family of farmers and currently lives on a small livestock operation with her husband, Heath, and two daughters, Olivia and Olesia, where they raise pigs and sheep. Looker grew up active in 4-H and FFA. Prior to joining Ohio Farm Bureau, Looker spent more than 20 years in the healthcare industry, starting as medical assistant and ascending to practice management. She also has worked as a data quality analyst. … Continue reading

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2023 OAC Spring Meeting with ODA Director Brian Baldridge

Join the Ohio Ag Council, as we get to know Brian Baldridge, the new director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Matt Reese, editor of Ohio’s Country Journal, will lead us in this visit.

Baldridge was appointed as the 40th Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture in February 2023. He provides leadership for the agriculture industry and oversees numerous regulatory, food safety, and consumer protection programs for the great State of Ohio. Director Baldridge has strong Ohio and agricultural roots, as the 7th generation raised on the family farm in Adams County. 

The event will take place Wednesday, April 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center at OSU 2201 Fred Taylor Dr., Columbus, OH 43210.

Click here to register by April 12.Continue reading

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OSU Extension seeks next Assistant Director for Agriculture and Natural Resources

Ohio State University Extension is seeking applicants for our next Assistant Director, Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Assistant Director is responsible for the leadership of Ohio State University Extension’s Agriculture and Natural Resources program area. This includes overall direction of educational programming within and across Ohio’s 88 counties. 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-Director–Extension-Agriculture-and-Natural-Resources–Associate-or-Full-Professor_R74003.

The Assistant Director reports to the Director of OSU Extension and serves as a member of OSU Extension’s Administrative Cabinet. Specifically, the Assistant Director provides leadership and direction for Agriculture and Natural Resources programming with emphasis on program and curriculum development; applied research; identifying potential collaboration and partnerships with universities, colleges, departments, peer agencies and industry partners; securing funding to support related activities; administrative leadership for the state Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources  office; and professional development of faculty and staff.

Education Required:  an earned Master’s Degree required, Ph.D.… Continue reading

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