Buckeye People

Bluhm named Farm Bureau OD

Samantha Bluhm of Bluffton has been named organization director for Allen, Paulding, Putnam and Van Wert counties.

Bluhm grew up on a beef cattle operation in Wauseon with a crop family farm in Norwalk. She was a member of 4-H for 11 years and in FFA for three years. She showed livestock at the county, state and national level in her youth and has been involved with Farm Bureau since birth.

Her past Farm Bureau experiences include the county presidents and Young Ag Professionals trip to Washington, D.C., the YAP Winter Leadership Experience, Ag Day at the Capital, county membership campaigns and more.

Bluhm graduated from Ohio State University in 2018. Most recently, she was a registered representative for Western & Southern Life and the agricultural teacher at Kalida High School. In 2020, Bluhm was nominated for Nationwide’s Golden Owl Award, which recognizes outstanding agricultural educators.… Continue reading

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Nine graduate 2023 OABA LAUNCH program

Hosted by the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, in partnership with Shift-ology Communication, the LAUNCH program is geared to help Ohio agribusinesses Elevate People, Elevate Ideas and Elevate the Industry. Participants were identified by their companies as emerging agribusiness leaders:  individuals with a desire to meet higher level goals than the scope of their current positions, who seek to rise within their companies.

The nine OABA member graduates who successfully completed the 2023 LAUNCH program include:

  • Jordan Beck, Pettisville Grain Company
  • Blair Bennis, Corteva Agriscience
  • Alexis Busack, Luckey Farmers Inc.
  • Michael Karg, Luckey Farmers Inc.
  • Anton Kilburn, Global Impact STEM Academy
  • Tyler Miller, Cargill
  • Dan Smith, The Andersons
  • Reannen Sollars, Centerra Co-op
  • Grace Walter, Helena Agri-Enterprises

“With a focus on leadership development, the LAUNCH program equips today’s agricultural leaders with the confidence and tools they need to take the next steps in their careers, while also helping them identify and pursue opportunities that will advance their career goals,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO.… Continue reading

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Seiler named National Conservation Legacy Award winner

Les Seiler from Fayette in Fulton County was named the National Conservation Legacy Award winner at the annual American Soybean Association Awards Celebration event during Commodity Classic on March 10, 2023. 

At the event, four regional winners were recognized in the extremely competitive program and Seiler was announced as the overall national winner. The National Conservation Legacy Award is designed to recognize the outstanding environmental and conservation achievements of soybean farmers, which help produce more sustainable U.S. soybeans. A national selection committee, composed of soybean farmers, conservationists, agronomists and natural resource professionals, evaluated nominations based on each farmer’s environmental and economic program. The program is sponsored by ASA, BASF, Bayer, Nutrien, the United Soybean Board/Soy Checkoff and Valent USA.

Seiler Farms is part of the Western Lake Erie Basin, where Les and his brother, Jerry, have implemented a suite of farming practices to help mitigate soil loss and maximize soil health.… Continue reading

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Duling steps in as president of Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Putnam county farmer and Soil and Water District Supervisor, Jeff Duling, assumed the role of president of the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Districts during the annual Partnership Meeting held in Columbus. This meeting brought together nearly 500 conservation leaders throughout the state, including Supervisors and staff from Ohio’s 88 county SWCDs, agency and staff from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Ohio State University, commodity and environmental groups, and many more. The event focused on the theme “Conservation Conversations” and focused on the relationships Soil and Water Districts have with their constituents. 

“I am extremely honored and excited to assume the role of President,” Duling said. “This is a great time to be involved with Soil and Water Districts and to lead the Federation. During my tenure I want to focus on developing the relationships districts have with the people in their community to bring meaningful conservation practices to more people in Ohio.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Forestry Association holds annual meeting and selects new leadership

The Ohio Forestry Association (OFA) held its annual meeting and awards luncheon on March 2, 2023, at the Columbus Marriott Northwest – Dublin. Tree farmers, loggers, and industry representatives from across the state gathered to hear important industry updates and present outstanding service awards.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the presentation of industry awards:

OFA Logger of the Year – John Jefferson (Jefferson Logging Company, LLC, Crown City)

Outstanding Individual in Government Service Award – Donald Karas (Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, Columbus)

Outstanding Individual in Industry Award – Mike Krol (American Wood Fibers, Circleville)

Outstanding Individual in Private Service Award – Daniel Castellucci (Frontier

Woodland Services, LLC., Alliance)

Outstanding Logging Activist Award – Arnold Matthews (Southern Ohio Logger Chapter, Crown City)

Walt Lange Conservation Education Award – Tom Mills (Ohio Tree Farm Program, Findlay)

Director’s Awards for Outstanding Contributions to OFA Programs – David Bergman (Westerville)

Lashbrook/Woyar Award for Outstanding Contributions to the OFA Foundation – Wayne Lashbrook (Jackson County) and Peter Woyar (New Marshfield)

Jeff Jenkins of Wheelersburg, Ohio, began his term as board president at the conclusion of the meeting.… Continue reading

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Bush promoted to communications specialist at Ohio Farm Bureau

Amanda Bush of Edison has been named communications specialist for Ohio Farm Bureau. She previously was the organization’s executive communications assistant, a position she had held since 2018.

As part of her new role, Bush will focus on developing communications targeted to young members that results in increased program participation, engagement and membership growth.

Bush, a member of Morrow County Farm Bureau, is the fifth generation of her family’s grain farm. She also serves as a Morrow County Senior Fair Board director and as an adviser for the Morrow County Junior Fair Board.… Continue reading

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Golden Owl finalists announced

Agricultural educators play a crucial role in their communities, dedicating countless hours and often their own resources to preparing students for successful careers and helping them follow their interests. To shed light on the contributions of Ohio’s leading agricultural teachers, the Ohio FFA, Nationwide, Ohio Farm Bureau, Farm Credit Mid-America and AgCredit are honoring 10 exceptional teachers as finalists for the Golden Owl Award.

From Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, 2022, the Golden Owl Award accumulated more than 500 nominations for the state’s top agricultural teachers from local students, parents, fellow teachers and community members across the state.

Ohio’s 2022-2023 Golden Owl Award finalists are:

  • Krysteena Lawrence, Elmwood High School 
  • Jeffrey Karcher, Bellevue High School 
  • Heather Tegtmeier, Northwestern High School
  • Donald Barnhart, Leipsic High School 
  • Erynn Hayes, Trotwood-Madison High School 
  • Jeffrey Stimmell, Big Walnut High School 
  • Judd Baker, Fairfield Union High School 
  • Kayla Richter, Monroe Central High School
  • Kelly Rickabaugh, Greene County Career Center
  • Katherine Dickson, Gallia Academy High School

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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King named OPC Senior Director of Communications and Public Relations

The Ohio Pork Council (OPC) announces Mike King as its new Senior Director of Communications and Public Relations. The veteran communications professional has worked in multiple roles in ag publishing and marketing communications agencies where he focused on communicating about agriculture products and services with an emphasis on swine. Most notably, King recently completed more than 13 years as science communications director at the National Pork Board in Des Moines, Iowa. 

 “We’re very pleased that Mike has joined the Ohio Pork team to help take our communications and marketing efforts to the next level,” said Cheryl Day, OPC Executive Vice President. “His extensive knowledge of the pork industry, along with his ability to make complex issues and topics relevant, understandable and useful, will serve Ohio’s pork industry stakeholders well.” 

During his tenure at the National Pork Board, King focused on delivering Checkoff-funded research information to producers as well as keeping them informed on key issues such as biosecurity, antibiotic stewardship, environmental footprint and foreign animal disease.… Continue reading

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The life of Paul Hall to be celebrated Feb. 25

Paul Edward Hall II of Williamsburg, Ohio, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023. Paul was born to Paul and Margie Hall, on July 7, 1957, in Foster, Kentucky.

Paul was involved with Kentucky 4-H and went on to serve as President of Kentucky 4-H Teen Council and attend the University of Kentucky. After graduating, Paul married his sweetheart, Jill Conrad Hall, and went to work for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation for 10 years. In 1988, he opened an insurance agency with Nationwide Insurance in Mount Orab, Ohio with one employee. While receiving numerous awards over the years, the business now includes seven offices and nearly 40 employees. His faith in Jesus led him to a love of serving others. This gave him a passion for giving back to his community, especially the youth. He was involved in Kentucky 4-H Foundation (Chair), Brown County Republican Party (Chair), Brown County Board of Elections, Georgetown Church of Christ (Deacon), Brown County Jail Task Force (Chair), Southern State Community College (Chair), Brown County Junior Fair, Hospice of Hope Board and helped lead the Georgetown Church of Christ “God is Able” Campaign.… Continue reading

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Inaugural David Brandt Soil Legacy Award

The No-till on the Plains board announced a new award in 2022 to spotlight producers that had committed their lifework to improving soil health. This award was named The David Brandt Soil Legacy Award and recognizes innovation, disrupting the norm, promotion of building soils and soil biology for our future. “Long live the soil.” 

It seemed only fitting that when you have an award named after you, that you would be nominated for the inaugural award. The 2022 No-till on the Plains David Brandt Soil Legacy award was presented to, of course, David Brandt. 

Upon receiving the award, Brandt’s only comment he could get past happy tears was, “All I did was plant the seed. You all took it further than I could have ever imagined.”

Brandt farms 1,150 acres, all no-till, in Fairfield County in central Ohio. He began no-till farming in 1971 and has been using cover crops since 1978. Brandt… Continue reading

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Wendell Waters: A career of collaboration in Ohio agriculture

By Matt Reese and Joel Penhorwood

Farmers working together can accomplish big things — few have demonstrated this better than Wendell Waters of Coshocton County who has played instrumental roles in several significant collaborative accomplishments in Ohio agriculture. Recently, Waters was recognized with the Pork Industry Excellence Award at the Ohio Pork Congress held in Lima. 

“Working as a group for a goal — that always brings people together,” Waters said in a 2020 video for his induction into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame. “If you have a common cause, you can work together to accomplish your goals.”

From teamwork with his wife, Marsha, to collaboration with fellow farmers on various boards, to the creation of a vital cooperative, Waters has demonstrated a keen ability to leverage efforts of others to make positive progress. Along with row crops, and hogs, the Waters were also involved in berry production for many years.… Continue reading

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Elchingers win Excellence in Agriculture

Nick and Bailey Elchinger of Henry County are the winners of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals 2023 Excellence in Agriculture competition. The results were announced Jan. 28 during the YAP Winter Leadership Experience.

The Excellence in Agriculture Award competition is designed as an opportunity for young agricultural professionals who do not derive the majority of their income from production agriculture to earn recognition for their contributions to the agriculture industry, while actively contributing and growing through their involvement in Farm Bureau and agriculture.

Nick was born and raised in northwest Ohio on a small family farm where he learned to love farming alongside his grandfather, father and brother. Bailey was born and raised on a small family hog farm in southern Michigan. On their Henry County farm, they produce corn, soybeans and wheat along with baling both hay and straw commercially. Bailey also works off the farm for StoneX Financial Inc.… Continue reading

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Weaver named Outstanding Young Farmer

Brad Weaver of Wyandot County is the winner of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals 2023 Outstanding Young Farmer competition. The results were announced Jan. 28 during the YAP Winter Leadership Experience.

The Outstanding Young Farmer Award competition 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.

Weaver is a sixth generation farmer from Upper Sandusky, Ohio. Following his high school and 4-H career, when he showed cattle and hogs at the Wyandot County Fair, he attended The Ohio State University and received a bachelor’s degree in ag business and economics with a minor in education. His family raises wheat, corn, and soybeans as cash crops and uses a wide variety of cover crops on their farm. Weaver is currently the vice president of both the Wyandot County Farm Bureau Board of Trustees  and Wyandot County Soil and Water Conservation District board.… Continue reading

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Baldridge appointed ODA Director

By Matt Reese

Brian Baldridge was appointed the 40th Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture by Governor Mike DeWine Feb. 1, 2023. 

In this position, Director Baldridge provides leadership for the agriculture industry and oversees numerous regulatory, food safety, and consumer protection programs for the State of Ohio. Food and agriculture add more than $124 billion to the state economy each year. 

“First, I want to say thank you to Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Gov. Husted and their team for giving us the opportunity. Jan. 31 was my last day in the Ohio Legislature serving down in southern Ohio as a state representative in Adams, Brown and Scioto counties. [ODA Director] was the position that I would always look forward to if it ever came available,” Baldridge said. “I grew up the seventh generation on a family farm and we were very diverse as tobacco farmers in southern Ohio with grain, cattle, hay, and we had a hybrid seed corn business, which was not common in southern Ohio.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation appoints new leadership

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently added one new board member and elected officers of its 16-member board, which oversees the charitable, nonprofit organization. 

For 2023, Ohio Farm Bureau Trustee Jenny Cox was named president; Amy McCormick, corporate affairs manager, The Kroger Co. was named first vice president; Ohio Farm Bureau Trustee Nathan Brown was named 2nd vice president; and Ohio Farm Bureau Treasurer Chris Weaver will serve as the foundation’s treasurer.

“One of the primary goals of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is to cultivate pathways for young people to learn about careers in agriculture, which will help ensure the future progress and prosperity of the industry in Ohio,” Cox said. “Through our scholarship opportunities, grant funding, and ExploreAg programs, we are committed to helping Ohio youth discover their own career in agriculture. I am looking forward to building on the past success of the foundation and continuing to impact the future of agriculture positively.”… Continue reading

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Gower leaving a legacy of excellence in Ansonia

Darrell Gower, manager of the Ansonia Nutrien Ag Solutions facility, will start the new year by celebrating his 35th anniversary with Nutrien and legacy companies while gearing up for his next adventure — retirement. 

“In today’s world, it’s rare to find someone who has been working in the same place for over 30 years,” said Steve Emery, Southern Ohio Division Manager. “The fact that Darrell has been in his position at the Ansonia branch for 35 years speaks volumes about the value of his leadership to his employees, peers, and suppliers. Darrell consistently delivers successful results and is held in the highest regard by those he works with.”

Gower’s passion for agriculture runs deep in his veins — his parents, grandparents, and uncles were all farmers, and growing up on his family farm, he got to experience the agriculture industry from an early age.

“When I would get home from school, I’d always help on the farm.… Continue reading

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Baldridge nominated as next Ohio Director of Agriculture

Governor Mike DeWine announced he will nominate Brian Baldridge of Winchester to be the next Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. 

State Representative Brian Baldridge is currently serving his third term in the Ohio House of Representatives. He represents the 90th House District, which encompasses all of Adams and Scioto Counties and eastern Brown County.

He served as a firefighter and paramedic for the Wayne Township Fire Department. In addition to serving his local community, he also served as a career firefighter and paramedic with Anderson Township Fire Department. Baldridge served four terms as Adams County Commissioner, and was also elected to the Ohio County Commissioners’ Association Board of Directors. He has also served two terms as a Wayne Township Trustee, where he was elected to serve on the Ohio Township Association Board of Directors. Baldridge was raised on a seventh generation family farm, and is still active in the family’s agriculture seed business.… Continue reading

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Hetrick joins OFBF public policy team

Leah Hetrick of Columbus, Ohio, has been named director of legal education and member engagement for Ohio Farm Bureau. 

Hetrick grew up in Perrysburg, Ohio, where she participated in equestrian activities, mainly in the hunter, jumper and equitation disciplines. A 2014 graduate of Notre Dame Academy High School, she earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture at Ohio State University then furthered her education by completing her Juris Doctorate at the University of Toledo in 2021.

Prior to joining Ohio Farm Bureau, Hetrick worked for Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose as a chief legal assistant. … Continue reading

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Anderson wins AFBF Excellence in Ag

Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professional Stacie Anderson of Wood County is the winner of the 2023 American Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture Award. The contest was held as part of the 104th American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Excellence in Agriculture Award spotlights young Farm Bureau members who are agricultural enthusiasts but have not earned a majority of their income from an owned production agriculture enterprise in the past three years. Competitors are evaluated on their understanding of agricultural issues, leadership experiences and achievement, and their ability to communicate their agricultural story.

Anderson grew up on her family’s farm raising corn, soybeans, wheat, and specialty crops, while participating in 4-H and FFA. She is a graduate of Ohio State University where she earned her undergraduate degree in agribusiness and applied economics and a master’s degree in agricultural communications. She and her husband, Brian, grow corn, soybeans and wheat, as well as raise poultry for direct-to-consumer products and a small herd of beef cattle.… Continue reading

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