Farm Bureau honors Garwoods

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HANOVERTON, Ohio – John and Linda Garwood have provided more leadership to the Columbiana County agricultural community than many people twice their age.

Recognizing that commitment, the Columbiana County Farm Bureau board honored the couple with the 2003 Distinguished Service award, its highest honor, at the farm group’s annual meeting Sept. 8.

Service. The Garwoods, both Columbiana County farm natives, met through 4-H and continue to be strong supporters of the youth organization, with Linda serving as a 4-H club adviser.

Both John and Linda are past presidents of the Columbiana County Farm Bureau and served in numerous volunteer leadership positions within the farm group. They are 25-year members of the local Farm Bureau.

John is a past director and treasurer with the Columbiana County Agricultural Society, or fair board, and currently serves on the Fairfield Township Zoning Commission and on the board of Agland Co-op.

Pipeline fight. Recently, the Garwoods provided the leadership in the local and statewide battle against the Independence Pipeline.

“Their leadership was recognized statewide,” Ohio Farm Bureau state trustee Jeff Zellers said of the Garwoods’ pipeline fight.

Garwood said he used the grassroots lessons learned through Farm Bureau during much of the drawn-out pipeline struggle.

“Through the grassroots efforts and support of the Farm Bureau, we got attention,” Garwood said. “It took the counties to get it going.”

“This is quite an award for Linda and me,” Garwood said, adding an emotional thanks for the ag community’s support as their son, Zachary, lost a two-year fight against cancer last December. The couple also has a daughter, Leah, 11.

“We have been blessed with a great community.”

The Garwood family is dissolving its potato packing operation, which John was instrumental in expanding since joining the family business after high school. John is now an instructor at the Columbiana County Career & Technical Center in Lisbon.

Other awards. Last year’s Columbiana County Farm Bureau volunteer leaders earned honors in each of the categories recognized by the Ohio Farm Bureau.

Earning Star awards for their leadership were:

Connie Heffinger and Julee Kelly, chairs of the advisory council/young farm couple committee; Lucille Huston, information coordinator; Jim Skeels, marketing;

Shari Althouse and Fred Hippely, membership; Phil Greenisen, government affairs; Joyce Bailey, safety; Christine Miller, youth;

Susan Zehentbauer, promotion and education; Kevin Swope, ag ecology; and Jim Hoppel, policy development.

The county volunteers are led by president Homer Althouse.

The Farm Bureau also recognized Bruce Fitzsimmons, the county recipient of a new award last year, the Crop Adviser Award.

The county farm group also recognized its scholarship recipients, Esther Bardo and Tiffanie Heestand.

State trustee Jeff Zellers, a Stark County grower, updated members on state issues, but focused on the World Trade Organization talks slated last week in Cancun, Mexico.

Zellers, state Farm Bureau President Terry McClure and staffer Constance Jackson were official observers at the trade talks.

“I believe, like John and Linda, in fighting good fights,” Zellers said, adding that gaining access to world markets is critical for U.S. farmers.

“We will continue to persevere in world trade talks and government regulations,” he said.

Board election. Fred Hippely, Barbara Derringer, Susan Zehentbauer, Myron Wehr and Gerald Smith were re-elected to the county board of trustees. New trustees elected include: Jeff Wuthrick, Jim Grubbs and Wayne Smith.

Delegates elected to the 2004 state annual meeting were Jim and Liz Skeels, Jay and Pam Herron.

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