Buckeye People

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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Hannewald wins 2023 AFBF Discussion Meet

Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professional Mike Hannewald of Lucas County is the winner of the 2023 American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet. The contest was held as part of the 104th American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. 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.

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.… Continue reading

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National Association of State Departments of Agriculture hires Montoney-Crawford

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture is excited to announce the hiring of Josie Montoney-Crawford as Manager of Public Policy. 
Montoney-Crawford will elevate the organization’s advocacy efforts through her experience in federal pesticide policy.  Montoney-Crawford will lead NASDA’s Food Systems and Nutrition Policy Committee and the Plant and Pesticides Policy Committee.
“I am thrilled to join the NASDA public policy team at a time when the agriculture industry faces both exciting opportunities and new challenges,” she said. “I look forward to working closely with our nation’s secretaries, directors and commissioners of agriculture to ensure we can continue to feed, clothe and fuel the world for generations to come.”
Montoney-Crawford holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in public management, leadership and policy and one in agricultural communication from The Ohio State University. Montoney-Crawford most recently served as Government Relations Coordinator and CLPAC Manager for CropLife America and holds consulting experience in government affairs from her former service at Byers, Minton & Associates in Columbus. … Continue reading

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Friend of Extension honors presented to five Ohioans

A lifetime 4-H supporter, an Ohio State Fair general manager, and three Darke County judges are being honored for their work, commitment, and dedication to Ohio State University Extension.

Pat Brundige, the biggest individual benefactor in the history of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), along with Virgil Strickler, the longest-running general manager in the history of the Ohio Expo Center & Ohio State Fair, and Darke County judges Jonathan Hein, Julie Monnin, and Jason Aslinger, are each being honored with a Friend of Extension award from the Ohio chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) for their outstanding support and personal involvement in Extension efforts.

The award is the highest state-level recognition for non-Extension laypersons, companies, or organizations presented by chapters of ESP, the national Extension fraternity. Part of the mission of Epsilon Sigma Phi is to foster standards of excellence in the Extension system. Every state in the United States has an Extension program through the land-grant university system.… Continue reading

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First group completes OSU’s AgOne program

Ohio State’s Leadership Center graduated its first co-hort of the AgOne program, a new, year-long program for agricultural industry board members which focused on self-leadership, team leadership and stewardship. These six co-hort members all serve as board members within their industry and earned a Foundational Leadership Certificate, developed a leadership plan, strengthened their network and understand board effectiveness throughout their time in the program.

The inaugural co-hort for the AgOne included:
• Nathan Eckel with the Ohio Soybean Council
• Rose Hartschuh with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation
• Sandra Lausecker with the Ohio Poultry Association
• John Linder with the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association
• Mike Videkovich with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation
• Chris Weaver with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation

“Individuals who serve on boards want to make a meaningful impact during their time of service,” said Shannon Washburn, professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL), “This program allows its members to transform the individual influence they can have on their industry through leadership and boardmanship.”… Continue reading

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Zuckers pointed to AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee

Jonathan and Alyssa Zucker of Marion County have been appointed to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee for the 2023-2025 term beginning in February.

“Engaging with consumers and elected leaders to build trust while sharing agriculture’s story and advancing leadership skills are important foundations of national program committee work,” said Zippy Duvall. AFBF President. “We welcome these newly appointed Farm Bureau members.”

As Marion County Farm Bureau members for the past 13 years, both have been very involved in local activities and are currently serving as co-chairs on the Young Agricultural Professionals state committee, creating outreach efforts and programs geared toward Farm Bureau members ages 18-35. 

Jonathan is a 7th generation farmer working in partnership with his grandfather, Roy Loudenslager. They produce corn, soybeans, and sweet corn in Marion County. Alyssa keeps books for Stansbery Seed and Service and Tactical Ag and her family’s farm is in Wyandot County where they raise cattle, sheep, chickens, hay, corn, soybeans and wheat. … Continue reading

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Kirk Reese to manage Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network

Kirk Reese of Lexington, Ohio, has been named project manager for the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network.

The demonstration farms showcase and demonstrate conservation practices that improve agriculture’s impact on downstream water quality in Ohio. A Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project, the demo farms network is a joint partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and Ohio Farm Bureau. 

Reese grew up in Trumbull County, Ohio raising cattle. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and a master’s degree in weed science at Ohio State University. Previously, Reese worked with OSU Extension, then with Pioneer Seeds in various product and agronomy roles over 25 years. He is currently entering his fifth season as agronomic consultant and owner of Insight Ag Solutions, LLC.

Reese and his wife, Lori, have been married 29 years and have three grown sons. … Continue reading

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Rose recognized with Y Prize

Ashley Rose, organization director for Clinton, Fayette, Greene and Warren County Farm Bureaus, is the recipient of the 2022 Yvonne Lesicko Perseverance Prize. Known as the Y Prize, the award is presented by the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation and recognizes individuals for their innovative work on farmer mental wellness initiatives.
The Y Prize was created last year through the Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Fund, which was started in 2020 to honor Yvonne Lesicko, former vice president of public policy for Ohio Farm Bureau. The fund, within the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, was established to support the causes and initiatives that were important to Lesicko. 
“It is such an honor to be thought of for this award, especially because Yvonne was such an incredible person in our organization,” Rose said. “Mostly I’m hoping that by bringing awareness of this award, it will really encourage people to be brave. I want people to be brave enough to go seek help and know that if they’re using mental health services, it’s not because they’re broken or they’re incapable.… Continue reading

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Soybean farmers elected to national roles

Two Ohio soybean farmers were elected to national leadership positions. Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) board member Steve Reinhard was elected to lead the national United Soybean Board (USB) as its vice chair. Reinhard has served on USB since 2017 and previously served as the Demand Action Team Chair and treasurer.

Scott Metzger, OSC and Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) board member from Ross County, was elected to serve as the American Soybean Association (ASA) treasurer for the upcoming year. He previously served as on ASA’s executive committee and as president of OSA. Metzger is also on the OSC Board of Trustees.

“Congratulations to Steve on his newly elected position,” said Jeff Magyar, OSC chairman, who farms in Ashtabula County. “Steve is a sound leader with years of experience on checkoff boards, and we can rely on him to represent the best interests of soybean farmers from across the country in his new role.”… Continue reading

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OFBF recognizes award winners at annual meeting

Two individuals who have made significant contributions to agriculture and Farm Bureau were honored by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. The 2022 Distinguished Service Award recipients are Judy Loudenslager of Marion County and Terry McClure of Paulding County.

Both honorees were recognized for lifetime achievements that benefited Ohio’s farming community. The awards were presented Dec. 8 in Columbus at the 104th annual meeting of Ohio Farm Bureau. Candidates for the awards are nominated by Farm Bureau volunteers, county organizations and state leaders.

Judy Loudenslager (posthumous)

The family of Judy Loudenslager was recognized at the meeting, including her husband Roy.

A native of Marion County, Judy Loudenslager and her husband, Roy, are well known in the community where the family farm continues to thrive. Many remember Judy from her term on the Ohio Farm Bureau board of trustees, where she represented the Northwest Region from 2005 to 2012. In addition to being a state Farm Bureau trustee, she was a former Marion County Farm Bureau president.… Continue reading

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Sulc retires

By Laura LindseyDave Barker, Ohio State University Extension

Mark Sulc, Professor and Extension State Specialist for Forage Production, retired from Ohio State University at the end of October 2022 after 30 years of service.

Mark was an active member of OSU Extension’s Agronomic Crops Team. Over his career, Mark authored 443 extension newsletter articles, bulletins, and Fact Sheets and gave 312 in-state presentations and 46 out-of-state presentations. (Yes, Mark gave us his exact numbers before he left.) Mark is recognized nationally and internationally for his research on topics including, development of predictive equations for alfalfa quality (i.e. PEAQ sticks for alfalfa management), integrated crop livestock systems, field evaluation of potato-leaf hopper resistance in alfalfa, and (most recently) field evaluations of low-lignin varieties of alfalfa. His program will have a lasting impact on farmers not only in Ohio, but across the globe through his international efforts.

Although Mark’s research and extension efforts are notable, perhaps his greatest contribution was through his mentorship.… Continue reading

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Three promoted at OFBF

Ohio Farm Bureau staff members Julie Shull, Jennifer Taylor and Kelsey Turner have been elevated to director positions within Ohio’s largest farm and food organization.

Julie Shull has been promoted to director of events for Ohio Farm Bureau. She will add to her over 25 years of service at Ohio Farm Bureau by continuing to provide vision and leadership in the planning and execution of major events for the organization, including the state annual meeting, the Land & Living exhibit at the Ohio State Fair, and the Young Ag Professionals Winter Leadership Experience. Shull also will lead the effort to continue to grow Ohio Farm Bureau’s Travel Program.

Jennifer Taylor has been named Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of county support. In her new role, she will be a liaison to assist county Farm Bureaus with support on accounting processes, as well as oversee accounting services in the new Ohio Farm Bureau service delivery pilot program for 8 county Farm Bureaus in northwest Ohio.… Continue reading

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A chat with the GrowNextGen Teacher Leader of the Year

Shelby Guthrie of the Global Impact STEM Academy in Springfield has been named the GrowNextGen Teacher Leader of the Year for 2022-2023. Click on the audio player to listen to this interview as Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo talks with her about the honor, her strategy as a teacher, and how she brings agriculture to life in the classroom as well as much more.

GrowNextGen brings agriculture science to the classroom by providing real-world educational tools to engage the next generation workforce. Backed by funding from the Ohio Soybean Council and Ohio soybean farmers, GrowNextGen helps expose students to different career fields in a thriving industry. Resources include teacher workshops, curriculum, e-learning courses, and virtual field trips. To learn more go to www.grownextgen.org.… Continue reading

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A weed’s dream come true

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off

It is a weed’s dream come true, that is if weeds had dreams. After 35 years of service as the Ohio State University Extension State Weed Specialist, Mark Loux, (a.k.a. Dr. Death to weeds) is retiring. 

Loux has been a farmers’ best friend and a weed’s worst nightmare. While a true statistical count has not been conducted, it could reasonably be estimated that Loux is responsible for the literal death of millions, possibly even billions of weeds in the State of Ohio and around the world. Add to that number the untold millions of weeds that were never able to germinate because of his persistent recommendation for the use of residual herbicides, and it is no wonder that the weed world is breathing (or respirating in plant terms) a collective sigh of relief. 

Loux’s career in weed science began, in part, due to his dad, who worked as a chemist for Dupont on the East Coast.… Continue reading

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