Portage County Farm Bureau let members, awards shine through

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RAVENNA, Ohio – Awards showered Portage County Farm Bureau members with praise at the farm group’s annual meeting Sept. 10.

All 10 committees, including the two new committees, received Star awards and Fred Ahrens, president, received an award for his county’s high achievement.

Committee chairmen recognized with Star awards include Linda Neiss, advisory council; Eleanor McConnell, information; Jennifer Weaver, marketing; Peg and Ken Royer and Cal Brant, membership; and Gordon Weber, government affairs.

Other chairmen receiving Star awards were Jim Donovan and Bob Winkler, safety; Debi Heppe, youth; Ray and Helen Gless, promotion and education; Aaron Harnar, ag ecology; and Ken Tackett, policy development.

Once again, the county received the Golden Tractor award and Superstar award for membership. This is the second year in a row that the county has increased its Farm Bureau membership by more than 100 people.

This year, there was a 102-member gain; last year, it was 167 members. Total membership is now 2,396.

Highest honor. Bureau organization director Joanne Menning presented the Distinguished Service award, the highest laurel Farm Bureau can bestow upon a member, to Robert Ebie of Brimfield, Ohio.

Ebie did not know he was going to be honored with the award and had already made plans to be on vacation during the week of the banquet. His daughters, Karen Northrup and Deanna Fertig, accepted the award on his behalf.

Ebie was a Nationwide agent and “worked Farm Bureau membership for more than 37 years and has signed more members than most [people] can imagine,” Menning said.

In addition, he has been a farmer all of his life. He started out on his parents’ farm, raising grain, corn, hay, dairy cows and hogs. In 1957, he sold the dairy cattle and started raising beef.

Fourteen years later, the farm was sold and he and his wife, Midge, bought a 100-acre farm where beef, hogs, grain, corn and hay are still raised.

After Ebie retired, he and his wife sold part of the farm to their son, Dan, and his wife, Kim. Nevertheless, Ebie still helps on the farm.

Voting. Trustees elected for two-year terms include Jim Donovan, Helen Gless, Michael Herchek, Linda Neiss, Ken Tackett and Robert Winkler. Alan Loos was elected for a one-year term.

Cal Brant and Ken and Peg Royer were selected as delegates for the state’s annual meeting in 2003.

Proposed policies. Proposed local policies include stressing the importance of USDA regulations to maintain a healthy domestic food supply, encouraging farmland preservation and supporting trespassing laws to discourage acts of bioterrorism.

Other local policy included recommending the Ohio Fence Law, maintaining the tax base to keep CAUV constant and increasing awareness of the farmers’ cost vs. retail cost.

Proposed state policies include supporting ethanol and biodiesel production to offset the need for oil, enforcing stricter trespassing laws, and requiring all-terrain vehicles to display a license plate.

Other state policies include supporting a moratorium on charter schools, encouraging better land management and suggesting restructuring the state funding for public education to eliminate the dependence on residential property tax.

(You can contact Kristy Alger at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 23, or by e-mail at kalger@farmanddairy.com.)

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