(Updated at 3:30 p.m., May 10.)
COLUMBUS — The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s newest executive is no stranger to Ohio agriculture, nor the Farm Bureau structure.
Adam Sharp, who was named executive vice president of OFBF May 10, has been part of Farm Bureau for about as long as he can remember.
He grew up on his family’s dairy and crop farm, in Fairfield County, and was active in 4-H and FFA, prior to graduating from Ohio State in 1994, with a degree in ag communications, and a minor in international economic and social development.
He held various leadership positions at Farm Bureau, starting in 2004. Currently, he serves as vice president of public policy, in which he oversees state and federal government relations; legislative and regulatory affairs; legal, animal and food issues; grassroots policy development and the organization’s Agriculture for Good Government Political Action Committee.
Sharp succeeds John C. “Jack” Fisher, who has served as executive vice president since 1996. Last October, Fisher made public his intention to retire from the organization. Fisher’s compensation package was about $316,000 in 2014, according to public IRS records.
State and federal
Sharp’s knowledge of farm policy goes beyond state lines. Before joining OFBF, he held various policy and government relations roles with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the American Farm Bureau Federation. He also served as a teaching assistant for the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and as a radio producer for Agri-Broadcasting Network (ABN).
He was appointed executive VP by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Board of Trustees, and will take office July 18. The search committee was chaired by OFBF President Frank Burkett III, a Stark County dairy farmer.
Sharp said his dedication toward the organization and its members is what inspired him to apply.
“I believe in who we are and what we do,” he said. “I just have a profound dedication for this organization.”
Burkett said he has known Sharp for at least the last twelve years, and is confident in the knowledge and experience Sharp has acquired.
“It was a clear, easy decision,” Burkett said. “Adam just demonstrated his passion and his commitment.”
Burkett added that Sharp is “one of the nation’s foremost policy experts in agriculture” and will bring a lot of excitement to the organization.
Many Farm Bureau members, and lawmakers, have met Sharp on the annual Ohio county presidents’ trip to Washington, D.C., or while testifying at the Ohio Statehouse. He’s helped organize the county presidents’ trip for the past several years, working with Washington lawmakers and federal agencies, to meet with Ohio farmers.
Sharp credits a multitude of mentors who helped get him to where he’s at, including his father and farmer, the late Don Sharp Jr., his high school ag teacher, Chuck Miller, professors at OSU, and his former bosses at the American Farm Bureau and U.S. EPA.
As executive vice president, Sharp will serve as the chief executive of OFBF and lead efforts to advance its mission to forge a partnership between farmers and consumers.
He said his main focus will be on membership and serving members, various state issues, and ensuring “we have the best farm economy we can continue to have in the state of Ohio.”
Today, Sharp owns and operates part of the family farm where he grew up, along with his brothers. He and his wife, Lisa, have two children and reside in Amanda.
His appointment was the culmination of an 11-month search process led by a 10-member OFBF committee in partnership with executive search firm, BeecherHill.
Ohio Farm Bureau includes about 200,000 members and was formed in 1919. Its main offices are located in Columbus.