Ag is Cool! contest underway


Staff Reports



ODA LAUNCHES 2017 “AG IS COOL!” CREATIVE EXPRESSION CONTEST

REYNOLDSBURG (April 05, 2017) –The Ohio Department of Agriculture today announced it will begin accepting entries for the 2017 “Agriculture is Cool!” Creative Expression Contest. Children enrolled in school or home schooled in Ohio during the 2016-2017 academic year have until June 5, 2017 to capture their personal interpretation of why Ohio agriculture is cool for their chance to win prizes, including tickets to the Ohio State Fair.

“Ag is Cool!” entries, which can include an original video, photograph, drawing or painting, will be judged in the following age categories. One winner from each age group and category will be chosen:

Grades K-2: Photography, Drawing or Painting

Grades 3-5: Video, Photography, Drawing or Painting

Grades 6-8: Video, Photography, Drawing or Painting

Grades 9-12: Video, Photography, Drawing or Painting

Entries will be judged by a panel that may include representatives from the Office of Governor John Kasich, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio State Fair and professionals in the areas of video production, photography, drawing, painting and other visual arts. Judging will be based on the student’s visual representation of the “Ag is Cool!” theme, if it accurately reflects 21st Century agriculture, use of Ohio images, creativity and quality of work.

Winners of the art contest will be recognized by the Office of Governor Kasich and other state officials at the Ohio State Fair on July 26, 2017.

For additional information about the contest, a complete copy of the rules and entry form visit http://www.agri.ohio.gov/AgIsCool/ or call 614-752-9817.

Ohio Receives National Award for Exporting

The Ohio Development Services Agency’s International Marketing Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) program was recently honored with the 2017 Advancing International Trade State Award by the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE) at its annual conference in Spokane, Washington.

In 2016, Ohio exported nearly $50 billion worth of goods and services worldwide. The IMAGE program, a state and federal grant, helps marketing internationally more affordable to Ohio small businesses.

“Ohio consistently ranks as one of the top ten exporting states in the U.S.,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “By helping small businesses market internationally, Ohio remains competitive in a global marketplace.”

For the last four years of the program, IMAGE has provided a total of 441 grants to Ohio small businesses to assist with international marketing activities. Participating companies reported a total of $188.4 million in expected global sales generated from the activities supported by the IMAGE program.

Also, to increase the rate of success for Ohio small businesses in the global economy, the State of Ohio also offers programs to help small businesses hire an export intern, conduct market research and improve export processes. For more information, visit: www.exportassistance.development.ohio.gov

The IMAGE program supported by the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) offers financial assistance to small businesses to promote their products and services into international markets.

For information about the IMAGE program, visit: www.image.development.ohio.gov

Farm Bureau records active membership gain

COLUMBUS – Thanks to the efforts of Ohio Farm Bureau volunteers and staff, the organization had an increase in its “active” membership for fiscal year 2017. OFBF had an increase of 2,146 active members, bringing the total to 63,605. Active members are farmers or other Ohioans whose jobs or livelihoods are directly impacted by the agricultural industry. As active members, they are eligible to vote on Farm Bureau policies and hold elective office in the organization.

“Our campaign theme ‘Together with Farmers’ helped our volunteers, organization directors and state staff deliver a compelling message about the mission of our organization,” said Paul Lyons, senior director of membership. “I am very proud of their efforts to communicate this message and their commitment to grow our organization. That commitment shows in our results.”

A record 15 Farm Bureau members earned the Murray Lincoln award — named after OFBF’s first executive secretary — for signing 50 or more new members. That’s nearly double the number from last year. Some were able to reach Murray Lincoln status by getting businesses to sign up for a group membership, Lyons said. Murray Lincoln winners have their choice between attending American Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention in Nashville in January or receiving a $500 Visa card. Those named Murray Lincoln winners are Sparky Weilnau, Erie County (180); Bruce Patterson, Portage County (84); Susan Shoup, Wayne County (63); Ervin Raber, Holmes County (62); Brian Nusbaum, Defiance County (58); Chris Weaver, Williams County (55); Marilyn Morrison, Darke County (53); Dean Shoup, Wayne County (52); John Fitzpatrick, Wayne County (52); Michael Ralph, Marion County (52); Daniel Stevenson, Defiance County (52); Barbara Biery, Mahoning County (51); Hal Brehm, Fulton County (51); Paul Morrison, Darke County (50); and Levi Richards, Wood County (50).

Also invited to attend AFBF’s convention are 63 county Farm Bureau membership coordinators whose counties had at least a four percent increase in active memberships than the previous year. In addition, 59 members earned the Ambassador Club award for signing a minimum of 10 new members.

OFBF staff and volunteers are already starting on the 2018 membership campaign, which kicked off April 1.

Ohio Farm Bureau has several membership categories because the organization doesn’t just represent farmers and the agricultural industry. OFBF advocates on a wide range of issues that are important to most Ohioans, including private property rights, safe food and good government policies. OFBF’s nonactive categories are community members (for those interested in local foods, landowner rights and issues and protecting agriculture) and Our Ohio Supporters who are not members but still support the work of Ohio Farm Bureau.

“Farm Bureau helps everybody from the landowner who has a question about the state’s trespassing law to the backyard gardener selling to the local farmers market to a food packing plant,” Lyons said, noting that OFBF has an extensive benefits program. Some of the more popular benefits include members savings on some Nationwide Insurance products, cost savings at thousands of retailers and restaurants across Ohio and the United States through Member Savings Advantage, and discounts on hotels and tourist activities.

Ohio Farm Bureau is the state’s largest, most inclusive farm and food organization. Learn more about its efforts to improve local economies and Ohioans’ quality of life at ofbf.org.

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Staff Reports