TOLEDO – When Todd Michael of Urbana, past president of the Ohio Vegetable and Potato Growers Association and recently elected president of the National Potato Council, was announced as the 2001 winner of the Gene Wittmeyer Distinguished Service Award at the Ohio Fruit and Vegetable Growers Congress Feb. 6, he was quick to accept on behalf of his entire family, especially his brothers.
“While I have been involved in the trade association and public relations activity,” Michael said, “someone else has had to take my place on the farm.”
Michael and his family operate a third generation farm in Champaign County, farming 2,200 acres planted in potatoes sweet corn, and other vegetables.
Michael’s father, Doug Michael, was president of the national council in 1985 and was named NPC Potato Man of the Year in 1993.
“What makes this award so special to me,” Michael said, “is because we can continue what my father and my grandfather started.”
Fruit growers award. The Ohio Fruit Growers Society distinguished service award was presented to Joe Burnham of Berlin Heights in Erie County. Burnham Orchards has been in the Burnham family since 1837, granted to Burnham’s great-great-grandfather as a Connecticut firelands grant in the Western Reserve for being burned out in the Revolutionary War.
The orchard has 180 acres of apples and 32 acres in peaches.
“He is a modern minded grower who has kept up with the changes in the industry,” said Peggy Caudill in presenting the award.
Ag marketing award. The Gene Cravens’ Direct Agricultural Marketing Award from the Direct Agricultural Marketing Association was presented to Debbie Pfizer of White House Fruit Farms in Canfield, Ohio.
Pfifer was president of the association in 1998-99, and continues to serve on the board.
Annual meetings. At the annual meeting of the vegetable growers association Lou Kozma of Luckey was reelected as president of the association. Daryl Knipp of Oak Harbor was reelected first vice president and Todd Michael as past president.
Also reelected were Bob Jones of Huron, vice president of marketing; John Brown of Hamilton, vice president of truck crops; Don Bench of Elmore, vice president of processing crops; Loren Buurma of Willard, vice president of much crops, and Ken Zellers of Hartville, vice president of greenhouse. Newly elected was Jeff Huddle.
Huddle and Brown were reelected as trustees as were Scott Graf of Akron, James Doran of New Albany, Ron Guess of Jamestown, and Jody Harrigan of Urbana.
In the annual meeting of the fruit growers society George Lawrence of Marion was elevated from president elect to president, and Joe Burnham from vice president to president elect. Jeff MacQueen of Holland was elected vice president; Gary Vogley of East Sparta, secretary; and Gregg Bauchman of Carroll as treasurer.
Dick Scaife of Tiffin was reelected as trustee for small fruits and Andy Lynd of Jamestown as tree fruit trustee. Other trustees reelected are Steve Hirsch of Chillicothe, Betty Eshleman of Clyde, and Roger Maurer of Wooster. Doug Bauman was elected to the vacant position on the board.
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