COLUMBUS – The Ohio Poultry Association honored its 2013 award recipients April 5 at the organization’s annual banquet in Columbus. These awards recognize businesses, farms and individuals who have made significant contributions to Ohio’s egg, chicken and turkey sectors.
Awards and recipients at the 28th Annual Banquet included:
Ohio Soybean Council. The Ohio Soybean Council mission is to maximize the profitability of Ohio’s soybean checkoff funds in targeted domestic and international research, promotion and communication initiatives. The Ohio Soybean Council has worked with OPA on an array of projects to advance and grow Ohio agriculture for several years.
The Legacy Award was presented to Cooper Farms of Van Wert, Ohio.
Cooper Farms was founded in 1938 by Virgil Cooper who raised approximately 300 meat turkeys mainly for the holidays. Today, Cooper Farms produces 4.6 million turkeys, 32 million dozen eggs, and 105 million pounds of live market hogs per year.
The company employs more than 1,550 people at four locations and works with nearly 300 family contract farms who help raise Cooper Farms’ turkeys, hogs and chickens.
The OPA Golden Feather award is given annually to an individual who has distinguished himself or herself as a champion of livestock agriculture or poultry issues. This year’s award was presented to Dr. Mo Saif, of Wooster, Ohio. He is recognized internationally as a leading researcher in the field of poultry diseases.
He began his 50-year relationship and career with The Ohio State University in 1965 as a research assistant. Through the years, he has held various positions within the university as a post-doctorate fellow, an assistant professor, and most recently served as the head of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s Food Animal Health Research Program since 1993.
Saif announced his retirement earlier this year.
Connie Cahill; The Golden Egg Award is given to an individual who has provided extraordinary service to Ohio’s egg, chicken and turkey farmers. Connie Cahill, of Dublin, Ohio, received this year’s award. Food has been a part of Cahill’s life ever since she received her first blue ribbon in a 4-H competition when she was 7. She has been involved in consumer and agricultural initiatives for more than three decades, and, for many of those years, has represented the Ohio Poultry Association as a spokesperson.
Ralph Stonerock. The recipient of the 2013 Good Egg Award is Ralph Stonerock, of Marysville, Ohio.
Stonerock has worked in the poultry industry for more than 40 years. During this time he has held a variety of positions from managing a broiler complex and operating egg layer farms to marketing eggs and serving as a production superintendent for a feed manufacturing facility.
Ohio ranks No. 2 in the nation in egg production — second only to Iowa — and produces more than 7.6 billion eggs per year with a retail value of more than $490 million.
Ohio is also ninth in the nation for turkey production and produces more than 375 million pounds of Ohio chicken annually.