Lynd, Buurma honored; growers create scholarships to thank OSU professors

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TOLEDO – Ohio fruit and vegetable growers got their recommended daily allowance of education and fellowship at the Ohio Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Congress and Ohio Roadside Marketing Conference’s award breakfast Feb. 8 in Toledo.

Distinguished Service awards were presented to three outstanding producers. The Ohio Vegetable and Potato Growers Association’s Distinguished Service Award was presented to Bruce Buurma of Willard, Ohio.

Buurma is a fourth generation farmer, and his father won the same award in 1996.

The Ohio Fruit Growers Society Distinguished Service Award went to Mitch Lynd of Pataskala, Ohio. He is an eighth generation fruit farmer and has received numerous awards throughout his career.

Although unable to attend, Bill Kline was named as the recipient of the Gene Cravens Distinguished Service Award.

Endowment funds.

Three scholarships were announced during the breakfast. The Dr. M. Eugene Cravens Scholarship Fund was established with gifts from the Direct Agricultural Marketing Association and Ohio Potato Growers Association.

Kirsten Hill of the direct marketing association presented Bobby Moser, executive dean of OSU’s College of Food and Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, with a check for $5,000. The fund will support undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in the college’s department of agricultural, environmental and development economics who are studying or researching fruit and vegetable marketing.

The Ohio Vegetable and Potato Growers Association established the Gene Wittmeyer Vegetable Endowment, named for Professor Emeritus Wittmeyer who joined The Ohio State University in 1950. The fund will support scholarships for an undergraduate or graduate student who has an interest in vegetable crops and/or involvement in the Ohio vegetable industry.

The association presented Stephen Meyers, chair of OSU’s department of horticulture and crop sciences, a check for $2,000 for the fund. It was announced that an anonymous donor will match contributions up to a total of $6,000.

Meyers also received a check for $1,695 to establish the OFGS Fred O. Hartman Endowment Fund. Additional contributions will bring the OFGS total to approximately $14,000, and an anonymous donor will match funds up to $6,000.

This fund will support undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in the OSU College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences who demonstrates an interest in fruit crops and/or the Ohio fruit industry.

“It is a wonderful feeling that (former students and peers) think that much of you,” said Professor Emeritus Hartman, who joined Ohio State in 1951.

Ohio’s top apple cider makers battled for bragging rights during the congress. The winner of the statewide cider contest was Moore Orchards in Oak Harbor, Ohio. Awards of Excellence were presented to Vogley Enterprises in East Sparta, Haus Cider Mill in Canfield and Kuner Fruit Farm in Green.

Dave Patterson was introduced as the president-elect of the fruit growers society, and Lou Kozma Jr. will replace Todd Michael as the president of the vegetable and potato growers association.

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