COLUMBUS – The Ohio Farm Bureau named Distinguished Service award winners, as well as the state’s top young farmer and young farm couple, at last week’s annual meeting in Columbus.
The organization saluted three men for their service to the agriculture community with its Distinguished Service Award: OSU’s Dr. Bob Moser, former state Rep. Joe Haines, and Hamilton County grower Edmund Motz.
Tom McNutt, retired extension agent and Ohio Agriculture Council director, received the group’s Cooperative Educator Award.
Bob Moser. When Bob Moser, vice president and dean of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, came to Ohio 16 years ago, one of the first people he met was Bill Swank, retired executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau, who introduced him to key people around the state.
Moser started his career as a 4-H agent in Kansas and served on the animal science faculty at the University of Nebraska before chairing the University of Missouri’s department of animal science. Just before coming to Ohio, Moser was associate dean of agriculture and ag extension program director at Missouri.
In accepting his Distinguished Service award, Moser called himself “just a country boy from Oklahoma” and said the award really goes to the staff of the college.
“Agriculture has been my career, my love,” he added.
Joseph Haines. Joe Haines retired in 2002 after two years as deputy director at the Ohio Department of Agriculture. For 18 years prior to that, Haines was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, and chaired the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee.
Haines is involved with a Greene County farm operation that has been in his family since 1812 and credits his earliest push into agriculture to his vocational agriculture teacher back in 1937. “He did a real job getting us involved in agriculture,” Haines said.
Haines and his wife, Joy, have four grown children.
Ed Motz. The Farm Bureau also honored one of its longtime volunteers, Ed Motz, with its Distinguished Service award. Motz rejoined his family’s Hamilton County farm after serving in WWII. Since then, the farm has been transformed from a wholesale and retail vegetable and cash grain operation to a diversified turf farm, Motz Family Turf Farms.
Motz has been a Farm Bureau volunteer for nearly 50 years. In presenting the award, Ohio Farm Bureau President Terry McClure said, “If there’s ever been a warrior for Ohio Farm Bureau, for Hamilton County Farm Bureau, it’s Ed Motz.”
Motz and his wife, Carol, have eight children.
Educator award. Tom McNutt, retired Franklin County extension 4-H agent, received the farm group’s Cooperative Educator award, following the footsteps of his mother who received the OFBF distinguished service award in 1975.
McNutt started his career teaching vocational agriculture in Belle Center and Dublin, then joined the OSU Extension in Franklin County. He retired in 1988 as professor emeritus.
Since 1989, he has served as garden expert for a Columbus television station. He is also the past executive director of the Ohio Agricultural Council and past executive coordinator of the Ohio Council of Cooperatives.
A 40-year Farm Bureau member, McNutt has also been involved with the Franklin County Fair for 40 years.
Young Farmer awards. Kent and Joy Bauman of Otway won the Ohio Farm Bureau’s Outstanding Young Farm Couple award and will travel to Hawaii in January to represent the state in the national competition.
The Baumans farm with Kent’s father in Adams County. They raise corn, soybeans, tobacco, greenhouse tobacco plants and registered Angus cattle.
Both are active in the Adams County Farm Bureau, as well as the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, 4-H and Grange. They have three young daughters.
Franklin County’s Neall Weber won the Outstanding Young Farmer award. He also won an expense-paid trip to Honolulu for the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting.
Weber, currently president of the Franklin County Farm Bureau, is involved on his family’s farm. They raise corn, soybeans, wheat and hay.
Finalists for the state honors included Ted Griffith, Hardin County; Clark and Angela Emmons, Fulton County; and Darren and Angie Newcomer, Medina County.
Other winners. Mandy Miller of Dover, Tuscarawas County, won the state discussion meet and will compete in the national competition in Honolulu in January.
A graduate of Kent State University, Miller currently attends law school.
In the finals, Miller and finalists John Buck, Marion County; Molly Barnes, Delaware County; and Isaac Rose, Jackson County; discussed the topic, “In what ways can agriculture’s newest advancements be made more attractive to the consumer?”
In the farm group’s newest award category, Excellence in Agriculture, Christopher and Sarah Helsinger of Germantown won the state honor.
The award recognizes young people involved in farming, but whose primary occupation is not farming or owning an agricultural business.
Chris Helsinger is a sales representative for a local grain elevator and Sarah is a high school science teacher. They also farm with Chris’ family, raising crops and cattle. Christ is currently president of the Montgomery County Farm Bureau.
Other finalists for the award were Jenifer Weaver, Mahoning County, and Barb Jackson, Morrow County.
Retirements noted. The Farm Bureau also gave surprise recognition to two veteran employees who are retiring.
Curt Dunham was a college recruiter for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company 36 years ago, when he accepted a job as organizational director for Ashland, Medina and Wayne counties. He is retiring as vice president of corporate affairs, after working up through the ranks.
Ken Walter, regional organizational director for northeastern Ohio, is also retiring after 34 years with Ohio Farm Bureau.