Ohio Farm Bureau honors ag leaders

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COLUMBUS – Their careers took them around the world or took root close to home, but the life paths of John C. Foltz, Mike Wagner and Marjorie Yerman converged onstage last week at the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting.
The three ag leaders received the Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service Awards for their individual contributions to agriculture.
Marge Yerman. The Distinguished Service Award presented to Marjorie Yerman of Lake Milton celebrates a lifetime of volunteer leadership.
A Farm Bureau member “since birth” she says, Yerman has served on the Mahoning County Farm Bureau board for 45 years.
In addition to serving five years as president, she has chaired the membership, information, ecology, policy development and government affairs committees. She also served on the state policy development committee.
Yerman, who farmed 102 acres with her late husband, George, retired from Farmers National Bank after a 44-year career.
A former 4-H’er and 4-H adviser for 13 years, Yerman is a founding member of the Mahoning County 4-H Alumni Club and has served as its treasurer for more than 25 years. She has also served as treasurer of the county’s 4-H endowment fund.
For many years, Yerman was chairman and secretary of the Mahoning County Extension Advisory Board. She has also served on the Mill Creek MetroParks advisory committee and the Lake Milton/Craig Beach Library board.
In 1993, Marge and George were named the Canfield Fair’s Outstanding Rural Family, and in 1999, the couple received the Mahoning County Friend of 4-H award.
John C. Foltz. John Foltz served as administrator of the Federal Grain Inspection Service, appointed by former president George H.W. Bush in 1990; assistant administrator of the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and deputy undersecretary of agriculture.
During his 20 years of government service, he also served with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and was chief of markets at the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
From 1979 to 1990, he was executive secretary of the Ohio Grain and Feed Association. Early in his career, he served as a 4-H agent and vocational agriculture teacher, and then served on the national staff of the FFA.
Currently, Foltz, who lives in Lakeside, Ohio, serves on the board of eMerge Interactive, whose products focus on food safety technology and livestock management software.
Mike Wagner. Mike Wagner, of Marion, is the retiring executive director of the Ohio Corn Growers Association. He has been with the association since 1987 and was instrumental in gaining passage of the corn growers’ checkoff in 1989. Since then, he has led programs to increase corn market development and research, both on the state and national levels.
He has traveled extensively to promote Ohio corn, and recently Wagner chaired Gov. Bob Taft’s Biofuels and Renewable Energy Task Force.
He began his career as a rural resident organization director for the Delaware and Franklin county Farm Bureaus. He later joined the Illinois Farm Bureau to manage its dairy marketing program, then developed the Illinois Corn Growers Association and was instrumental in developing the Agrivisor program. He also worked for the Florida Farm Bureau, developing a similar Agrivisor program there.
Communication award. During the annual meeting, the Farm Bureau also presented its Agricultural Communicator Award to Tim White, editor of the Ohio Farmer.
Prior to being named editor at Ohio Farmer in 1991, White served as a reporter with Successful Farming magazine and later as agribusiness reporter for The Columbus Dispatch.
State board. During the final day of the annual meeting, five trustees were re-elected to state Farm Bureau board. Merlin Wentworth of Pleasant City represents Belmont, Monroe, Noble and Washington counties; Bob Slicker of Canal Fulton, Ashland, Medina, Summit and Wayne counties; William Lowe of Marysville, Delaware, Franklin, Madison and Union counties; Randy Leis of Farmersville, Butler, Hamilton, Montgomery and Preble counties; Steve Hess of St. Paris, Champaign, Clark, Darke and Miami counties.
(Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell can be reached at 1-800-837-3419 or at editorial@farmanddairy.com.)

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