COLUMBUS — One of the highlights of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting is the recognition of top award recipients.
This year, OFBF presented Distinguished Service Awards to Ken Davis, of Highland County, and Fred Finney, of Wayne County.
Davis, who farms 2,300 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa and raises beef cattle near Leesburg, Ohio, joined the OFBF board of trustees in 1989, elected first vice president in 1994 and president in 1998. He joined the Nationwide board of directors in 1999, and also serves as the chairman of South Central Power Company, Inc.
Finney, who owns and operates Moreland Fruit Farm, was recognized for years as a collaborator and leader. He served on the state Farm Bureau board and as OFBF president. He also has provided leadership to various educational efforts within the produce industry, most recently the Mid-Ohio Growers Meeting, now in its sixth year, the main conference for growers from the Amish and Mennonite communities.
Finney and his wife, Marilyn, are retiring at the end of the year, but have sold their farm and farm market to an Amish family who plan to continue the operation.
Ag Educator award
Longtime director of OFBF women’s and youth activities, Shirley Boyd, received the organization’s Agriculture Educator Award. Boyd, a native of Holmes County, started her career as a teacher, but joined OFBF in 1963 to work in youth activities and was named director in 1973. In her 35 years of leadership, it’s estimated she influenced 54,000 young people in their leadership, self-confidence, and social skills.
She is a member of the Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame, and the National Safety Council awarded her its first-ever Honorary Life Membership.
Young farmer awards
Christian Hoffman, of Stoutsville, is OFBF’s 2017 Outstanding Young Farmer. He farms with his parents, in Fairfield County, raising beef cattle, grains and hogs. He serves on the Fairfield County Farm Bureau board of trustees, has been active in the local Young Agricultural Professionals program and has also been active in local and state cattlemen’s association activities.
He will compete for the national award in January at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting.
Other finalists were Nicholas and Brandi Anderson of Mechanicsburg and Matthew Vodraska of Doylestown.
Greg and Rose Hartschuh, of Sycamore, won OFBF’s 2017 Excellence in Agriculture Award.
Rose is a seed adviser, contributes to the family farm and manages their additional family businesses. Greg farms full time, raising corn, soybeans and operating a dairy. The Hartschuhs have partnered with two other farm families to revitalize a neglected farm property in Bucyrus, which now offers a farm market in one barn and an event venue in another.
Rose has held many offices in the Crawford County Farm Bureau, including president. Greg has been active in the county organization, and together they served on the Ohio Young Agricultural Professionals state committee.
Other finalists were Jennifer Osterholt of Alexandria and Terry Specht of Johnstown.
Danielle Burch of Salem won the 2017 Discussion Meet and will also compete at the AFBF meeting in January. The Columbiana County woman was also one of 15 recent graduates of AFBF’s 11th annual Women’s Communications Boot Camp.
A teacher at United Local High School, Burch is president of the Columbiana County Farm Bureau, is a county action team leader and served on the OFBF Young Ag Professionals State Committee from 2013-2016.
The other finalists were Shana Angel of Bolivar, Katie Lee of Magnolia and Micaela Wright of Arcanum.
2018 Discussion Meet
The first round of the 2018 discussion meet was held during the annual meeting. The four finalists announced Dec. 7 are Casey Ellington, Stark County; Jacob Hoelscher, Darke County; Seth Middleton, Shelby County; and Annie Specht, Tuscarawas County.
They will compete in the state finals Feb. 2 as part of the Young Agricultural Professionals Winter Leadership Experience.
Twenty county Farm Bureaus received awards for engagement/outreach programming (divisions are based on county membership):
- Division 1. Harrison, Jackson-Vinton, Holmes, Fayette and Henry counties;
- Division 2. Logan, Crawford, Fulton, Putnam and Mercer counties;
- Division 3. Greene, Hancock, Washington, Richland and Carroll counties;
- Division 4. Hamilton, Tuscarawas, Lake, Stark and Medina counties.
Three collaboration awards, each carrying a $5,000 prize, were also awarded. Winners were: Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Trumbull and Mahoning counties; Carroll and Tuscarawas counties; and Crawford and Wyandot counties.
At the 2017 American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting last January, Ohio counties received seven of the 24 County Activities of Excellence awards: Adams; Carroll and Tuscarawas; Jackson-Vinton; Ottawa; Paulding; Shelby; and Wood.
Fifteen members received the Murray Lincoln Award, named for OFBF’s first executive director and presented to volunteers who sign at least 50 new members: Barbara Biery, Hal Brehm, John Fitzpatrick, Marilyn Morrison, Paul Morrison, Brian Nusbaum, Bruce Patterson, Ervin Raber, Michael Ralph, Levi Richards, Dean Shoup, Susan Shoup, Daniel Stevenson, Chris Weaver and Sparky Weilnau.
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