Farm Bureau keeps strong roots in urban Mahoning County

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CANFIELD, Ohio – Mahoning County, home to metropolitan Youngstown and its sprawling suburbs, is also home to one of the state’s most active farm groups.
Don’t believe it? The Mahoning County Farm Bureau annual meeting Sept. 29 at A LaCart Catering in Canfield drew 160 members.
Total membership in 2004-05 stood at 7,816, including 901 “active” farm family members.
Strong programs. The county farm group’s strength goes beyond numbers; it’s one of the most active in the state. And volunteer leaders for each of the Mahoning County Farm Bureau’s programs received state recognition for achieving a certain level of achievement.
All 10 committee chairmen received Star awards through the state Farm Bureau Standards of Achievement Program: Alan Anderson, advisory council/young farmers; Ken and Sharen O’Brock, agricultural ecology; Jim Moore, government affairs; Sarah Schlegel, information; Maggie Mullen, membership;
Jenifer Weaver, Nationwide promotion; Marjorie Yerman, policy development; Meaghan Chismar, promotion and education; Mary Moore, safety; and Andrea Myers, youth.
County president Tom Koch was also recognized.
State Rep. John Boccieri, who gave a brief Statehouse update, also presented commendations to the committee leaders.
Educator lauded. Both the Mahoning County and Ohio Farm Bureaus presented educator Marie Pavlicko with awards during the banquet.
Pavlicko, currently the career development and economic education supervisor for the Mahoning County Career & Technical School District, received the county’s Cooperative Educator award and the state’s Award for Outstanding Service.
Pavlicko, whose career stretches from the elementary to the university classroom, has worked closely with the local Farm Bureau in developing professional development workshops for teachers. A career development advocate for both students and educators, Pavlicko is a recipient of the Ohio Pioneer in Education award from the Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction.
State update. The local members heard updates on state programming and issues from state trustees Gale Betterly and Jeff Zellers. Nan Still, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of agricultural law information, also reviewed hot topics, specifically drainage and local zoning.
Kurt Ely, Ohio Farm Bureau’s point person for information and education programs, briefed members on the “Our Ohio” branded communication efforts, which include a new television program beginning this month.
The program targets a nonfarm audience, Ely said.
“It’s important that we reach out,” he added. “We have an education job to do.”
“We are looking to position agriculture so it matters.”
Next generation. The farm group presented $100 U.S. Savings Bonds to its outstanding youth, Olivia Myers and Rachel Stanwood, and also awarded its $300 agricultural scholarship and the Alan J. Withers’ Agriculture and Leadership Scholarship to Brian Moff of Columbiana, who is studying at Ohio State University’s Agricultural and Technical Institute in Wooster.
Goshen Township young farmer Mike Miller was recognized as a participant in the OFBF Young Farmer trip to Washington D.C.
Policies, election. Members approved 15 county-level policy resolutions, voicing their support of funding for the county’s OSU Extension and soil and water conservation district offices.
Members also backed several recycling initiatives and pushed for keeping Mill Creek MetroPark’s Experimental and Educational Farm as a working farm.
Members also approved 12 state-level policy resolutions and one national policy recommendation
Dave Kenreich, Ken O’Brock, Jenifer Weaver and Marjorie Yerman were elected delegates to next year’s Ohio Farm Bureau annual meeting. Alternates are Alan Anderson, Mary Moore, Maggie Mullen and Andrea Myers.
Committee leaders for the upcoming program year include: Jenifer Weaver, advisory council/young farmers; James Moore, ag ecology; Marjorie Yerman, government affairs; Andrea Myers, information; David Kenreich, membership; Maggie Mullen Nationwide sponsorship; Sharen O’Brock, policy development; Mary Moore, promotion and education; Steve Ramseyer, safety; and Marguerite and Paul Gillern, youth.
(Editor Susan Crowell can be reached at 1-800-837-3419 or at editorial@farmanddairy.com.)

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