(Scroll down to see photos from the awards banquet.)
DUBLIN, Ohio — Twelve years ago, Becky Vincent’s employer, PBS Animal Health, asked her to attend the 2000 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association summer roundup in Jackson County.
Husband Kris tagged along.
The Vincents, who had purchased the family farm, Tri-Pine Farm, near East Canton, in 1996, were so impressed with the cattlemen’s association, the people and the exchange of information, that they joined the OCA that day.
Since then, the couple have been two of the cattle group’s staunchest supporters, building a cattlemen’s association in Stark County, lending their leadership to the local and state groups, earning state and national membership recruitment recognition, and promoting beef everywhere they turn.
This year, the Vincents received the association’s highest honor, its industry Excellence Award, during the OCA annual awards banquet at the Columbus Marriott Northwest.
Accepting the award, Kris Vincent said they were humbled to be so honored by their peers.
“It’s because of the passion we have within us for agriculture,” he said of their motivation.
During the banquet, four other top awards were presented.
Christian Hoffman, of Stoutsville, in Fairfield County, was named the Commercial Cattleman of the Year.
Hoffman, 24, and his wife, Brynn, farm with his father, Bob, and mother, Val. But make no mistake about his young age, the growing cattle feedlot operation is his and the cropping enterprise is his dad’s. Together, they pencil out the most profitable use of all their resources, and have added a new 100-head feed barn this winter, with plans for another barn and capacity to feed out 400 head.
Missing Rail Simmentals, Peggy and Tim Brinkman of Holgate, Ohio, received the Seedstock Producer of the Year award, and Allen Robison, of Champaign County, received the Young Cattleman of the Year honor.
Ohio’s state veterinarian, Dr. Tony Forshey, received the association’s Industry Service award.
In accepting his award, Forshey recalled his own youth, growing up on a small, ramshackle (in his eyes) farm in Noble County where “nothing made any money.”
As he headed to Ohio State, Forshey said he asked his dad, “Why do we even keep this farm?”
He recalls his father answering, “Some day you’ll know.”
It’s that farm heritage that Forshey is most proud of today, he said.
During the afternoon Ohio Cattlemen’s Association annual meeting, President Sam Sutherly expressed the board’s disappointment that the statewide vote to increase the Ohio beef checkoff from $1 to $2 per head failed in September.
“We failed to ignite passion” in members, Sutherly admitted. He added the board still feels an increase is warranted, and will pursue one down the road, but only “when our members tell us to.”
He did hint that the association might seek legislative help to change the numbers that are needed to approve a checkoff referendum to a simple majority. Currently, an Ohio beef checkoff referendum generally needs a two-thirds approval by voters who represent at least 51 percent of the cattle represented.
Of the 674 votes certified in last year’s ballot, 47 percent of producers voted in favor of the increase; 53 percent, against.
During the policy development session, members debated oil and gas-related policy at length, and also heard a severance tax explanation and update from Ohio Farm Bureau Federation director Dale Arnold. While members generally supported the improved economic opportunities the shale gas is bringing to Ohio, several members voiced concerns about the loss of cattle ground to oil or gas production.
Three counties were honored for their local promotion and education programming.
Beef ambassadors. The Ohio CattleWomen have phased out the statewide queen program for a broader leadership development and promotional effort called the Ohio Beef Ambassador Program, which mirrors the national ambassador program.
Interviews were held the day of the annual meeting with the selection announcement made during the evening banquet.
Hayley Beck, of Huron County; Sierra Jepson, of Fairfield County; and Josie Vanco, of Gallia County, were selected to serve as ambassadors during the coming year.
The Steve R. Rauch Benchmark of Excellence Scholarships were awarded to three students: Bailey Harsh, Radnor; Lindsey Grimes, Hillsboro; and Megan Hunker, Bellevue.
The $5,000 award is dispersed over three years to each student, as long as a 3.0 gpa is maintained.
Four $1,000 Tagged for Greatness scholarships, funded through the sale of the Ohio beef specialty license plates, were also presented. Recipients include: Jordan Bonham, Washington Court House; Sierra Jepsen, Amanda; Shyla Kreager, Newark; and Justin O’Flaherty, Olmsted Falls.
Three $1,000 Cattlemen’s Country Club scholarships, funded by the miniature golf course operated at the Ohio State Fair, were awarded to Lauren Prettyman, New Bloomington; Laura Schmuki, Navarre; and Lydia Ulry, Johnstown.
CattleWomen scholarships were presented to Kayla Hinds, Tuscarawas County; Amber Watkins, Logan County; and Sandra “Molly” DePue, Geauga County.