Ohio Young Farmers announces state winners


COLUMBUS – The Ohio Young Farmers recognized many state winners at its annual convention, Feb. 17-18.

Nancy Zimmerman of the Ridgewood Chapter was named the Top Young Farm Woman. She and her husband, Frederick, are the parents of two children and own a 288-acre dairy operation. Zimmerman has been a member of the OYF for nine years and has attended the state conference. Zimmerman is involved in the dairy operation. She not only takes care of the accounting but is involved in feeding calves, milking cows and helping in the fields. Zimmerman’s goal is to continue at the current production level and strive for continuous improvements.

Finalists for the award were Irene Luersman of the Delphos Chapter, Judy Hamilton of the Lynchburg Clay Chapter and Jennifer Zehentbauer of the United Chapter.

This year’s Top Young Farm Man is Jim Miller of the Delphos Chapter. He and his wife are the parents of three children. He owns 45 acres and rents an additional 330 acres for grain and a beef operation. Miller has been active in the young farmers for 30 years, attending the state conference, summer tour and national institute. He continues to make improvements to the farm and uses hedging to market his cattle. Miller hopes to purchase additional land, expand the beef operation and improve his marketing skills.

Finalists for OYF’s Top Young Farm Man were Ronald Bowsher of the Spencerville Chapter, Harold Hutchinson of the Allen East Chapter, Bret Lowmiller of the United Chapter, Stanley Markey of the Lynchburg Clay Chapter and Leigh Miller of the Amanda Clearcreek Chapter.

The Chapter Award was given to the Oak Harbor Chapter. The chapter was chartered in 1969 and Louis Damschroeder serves as the adviser. This chapter is involved in the Ottawa County junior fair auction and is providing a college scholarship program to a graduating senior.

They also support the local FFA by working on the school farm and donating money to the leadership and camp programs. Emphasis is also given to the educational programs which include trips to two new equipment dealerships, crop insurance coverage, market outlook, Bench’s Greenhouse and an agronomy presentation.

Other finalists were the Delphos, Lynchburg and United chapters.

The purpose of the James Dougan Award is to recognize the chapter which has shown outstanding leadership within the community and is selected from the top outstanding chapters. The award is given in recognition of James Dougan who was the director of agriculture education in Ohio for 17 years. This year’s winner is the Delphos Chapter.

The Delphos Chapter also won the Chapter Ag Promotion award. Their adviser is Mike Miller and Alan Schnipke serves as president. This past year, Delphos hosted 10 college students from Capital University for a day on the farm with some of the OYF families. The group also created a dairy theme for Right to Read week for the elementary students. At Summerfest, the group designated a farm day where they were involved in planning the dancing tractors, antique tractor show, skid steer rodeo and kiddie tractor pull. During Ag Week, all patients in the pediatric unit were given a toy tractor and a balloon.

Other finalists were the Lynchburg Clay and United Young Farmers chapters.

Irene Luersman was the winner of the Community Service Award. She has been involved with the safety tent at Farm Focus, several ag week activities including radio ag trivia contests, presenting gifts to the first baby born during ag week and putting ag related place mats at local restaurants. She also hosted German and Japanese visitors on her farm. Luersman helps with many 4-H projects throughout the year and serves as a livestock adviser and also volunteers at her children’s school.

The other finalist was Jeff Creeger of the Allen East Chapter.

Dick and Joyce Hummel presented the Hummel scholarship to Melissa Karcher, the daughter of Bill and Kay Archer. She is representing the Mohawk Chapter and is a sophomore at The Ohio State University. She has been a member of the FFA, 4-H, community and college activities.

The winner of OYF’s Corn Award is Jason Unger of the Fairfield Chapter with a yield of 241.202 bushels per acre. Unger conventional tilled 54 acres of Pioneer 33G26 at a seeding rate of 27,000 seeds per acre. His herbicide program consisted of a pound of Princep, two pounds of Atrazine and five ounces of Northstar per acre.

Other finalists were Jim Friedrich of the Delphos Chapter, Mike Graham of the Tri Valley Chapter, Jeff Holbrook of the Lynchburg Clay Chapter and Leigh Miller.

The winner of the Wheat and Small Grain award was Leigh Miller with a yield of 98.144 bushels per acre. He raised 22 acres of Hopewell Wheat at 110 pounds per acre. He applied 200 pounds of 18-46-0 and 30 gallons of 28 percent nitrogen.

The other finalist was Mike Graham.

Leigh Miller was also the winner of the Soybean Award with a yield of 70.687 bushels per acre. Miller no tilled 20 acres of Pioneer 9396 with a seeding rate of 90 pounds per acre. His herbicide program consisted of one quart of Round Up Ultra.

Other finalists were Ron Bowsher, Jim Friedrich, Jeff Holbrook and Steve Spitler of the Mohawk Chapter.

The Specialty Crop Award went to Ron Bowsher. His crop is alfalfa and mixed hay. He had 21 acres of hay with an average yield of 6.703 tons per acre, with a net income of $415.75 per acre.

OYF’s Swine Award was given to Toby Strayer of the Spencerville Chapter. Strayer has a farrow to finish swine operation. He started his operation with eight gilts and has grown to 343 sows. They sold 7,200 finished hogs in 2000.

Other finalists were Bill Flinner of the West Holmes Chapter and Mike Graham.

The Outstanding Service Award was presented to Brian Powell of the Ridgewood Chapter. He has given three years of service to the OYF State Council, serving as the president and the past president this past year. He has served as president and secretary of the Ridgewood Chapter and also served on state council from 1993-1995.

Other recipients are Leigh and Toni Miller of the Amanda Clearcreek Chapter. The Millers are active members of the local, state and national organizations. They were instrumental in organizing the 2000 OYF Summer Tour. They also served on State Council from 1996-1998

The OYF Excellence Award is sponsored by Robert and Catherine Bean in memory of their son Richard and recognizing an individual or couple who have contributed their leadership to the Young Farmers. This year’s winners are Jerry and Irene Luersman of the Delphos Chapter. They have served many times on the local chapter officer team, both have served as a State Council member, been active at the Farm Focus, Farm Science Review and Power Show Ohio. They have been supportive of OYF auctions and have been to many National Institutes.

Jim Miller won OYF’s Beef Award. Miller’s operation consisted of 400 head of finished cattle. His average daily gain was 2.4 pounds.

Harold Hutchinson was a finalist for the award.

The Homestead Preservation award went to Mike Graham. Graham’s preservation practices include installing grade stabilization structure from waterways to creeks, installing six spring developments using discarded tires for troughs, implementing grazing systems by installing over 10,000 feet of woven wire fence and planting willows in creek beds for erosion control. He has put in over 76,000 feet of tile in the past five years. He also added an office onto the house.

Jim Miller was a finalist for the award.

Rich Zehentbauer was the winner of the Dairy Award. Zehentbauer and wife Jenny are the parents of three children. They currently milk 150 head of Holsteins producing over 3 million pounds of milk last year and nearly 117,000 pounds of butterfat. The Zehentbauers have run a closed herd for more than 20 years.

The Chapter Safety Award was presented to Delphos Chapter. This group is active at the Farm Focus where they gave demonstrations on grain handling safety at the children’s safety tent. They also sponsored a pesticide recertification class and gave demonstrations on the dangers of suffocation with flowing grain to third grade students and their chaperones during an annual trip to the farm.

Other finalists were the Lynchburg Clay and Oak Harbor chapters.


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