COLUMBUS – Ohio county Farm Bureaus won one-third of the nation’s top county programs.
Every year American Farm Bureau Federation recognizes the top 24 county Farm Bureau programs through its County Activities of Excellence awards. Ohio received an impressive eight awards in the contest, which identifies programs that serve as models of innovation for local activities and showcase the value of volunteers working together to build and strengthen their communities.
“Outstanding is the word that comes to mind when describing Ohio’s county Farm Bureaus’ programming. County volunteers pour their hearts into these projects, which help make a difference in their communities whether it’s raising money for the needy, improving local water or educating youngsters about where their food comes from,” said Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp.
The county Farm Bureaus competed along with Farm Bureaus of similar membership size in one of these categories: education and ag promotion, member services, public relations and information, leadership development, and policy implementation.
Each Ohio winner will receive a $2,250 stipend to use toward travel and exhibition costs at AFBF’s Annual Convention where they will display their programs during the IDEAg Trade Show in Phoenix. The winners also participated in Ohio Farm Bureau’s Community Showcase during its annual meeting Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
A look at the winning programming:
Ashland, Holmes and Wayne’s Grain Bin Rescue Tubes: The county Farm Bureaus partnered with a local Nationwide agency to purchase 11 grain bin rescue tubes for volunteer fire departments. Ohio State University provided training for rescue personnel, including those who didn’t receive a rescue tube. The project resulted in strong approval from other community groups and invitations for Farm Bureau volunteers to speak at various events about agriculture and the rescue tubes.
Delaware County’s Benefit in the Barn: Nearly 700 people enjoyed a meal, beverages and a concert by the Central Ohio Symphony on the property of a Farm Bureau member. The county Farm Bureau organized the event, which had two dozen sponsors and raised $30,150 for Delaware County Hunger Alliance programs. During the event, “surprise” $1,000 grants were awarded to the Delaware County Agricultural Society, Ohio 4-H Foundation, Ohio FFA Foundation and Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.
Hamilton County’s Drones, a County Farm Bureau and Public Policy Effort: The county Farm Bureau worked to correct and update OFBF and AFBF policies regarding unmanned aircraft systems (also known as drones). Working year-round, the county reached out to aviation experts, met with Federal Aviation Administration staff, interviewed regional airport managers and had Farm Bureau members attend a half-day program on drones. These actions resulted in the successful adoption of new state and national Farm Bureau policies on drones.
Jackson-Vinton’s Agriculture Experience Day: About 600 second-grade students visited a farm for a fun-filled day that connected them with farmers and food. The students rotated through 17 hands-on educational stations. About 400 pounds of food was collected from the students for a local food pantry. Students competed in a contest for the best design of a T-shirt depicting what agriculture means to them and each student received a free shirt.
Jefferson County’s Agriculture Merit Badge Day and Cubby Camp: The county Farm Bureau helped 40 Boy Scouts earn merit badges by connecting them with experts in the fields of surveying, soil and water conservation, ag mechanics and veterinary science. An Ag Day took place at the same location for Cub Scouts where they learned about farm animals and lawn tractor and ATV safety. More than 80 families were introduced to Farm Bureau.
Lawrence County’s Drive-It-Yourself Ag Tours Galore: More than 450 people attended this first ever drive-it-yourself tour in the county. The county Farm Bureau partnered with the local Extension, 4-H and Soil and Water Conservation District on the tour, which received extensive media coverage. Five Farm Bureau families opened their farms and businesses up to the public so consumers could learn more about agriculture. About 20 people signed up for Farm Bureau memberships during the event.
Medina County’s Ag Fact Ads: The county Farm Bureau had a colorful ad printed every month in a free newspaper that is delivered to every home in the county. The ads were seasonally timed to coordinate with the commodity being harvested or planted at the time. The ads contained easy-to-read facts and interesting trivia to connect readers with what they were seeing on farms during their daily commutes. The ads contained the county Farm Bureau’s website and phone numbers.
Tuscarawas County’s Harvest for Hospice: This sold-out event on a Farm Bureau member’s farm raised $26,000 for Community Hospice. Farmers and local businesses donated food and other items for the farm-to-plate meal and auction. A video shown during the meal prepared by a well-known chef featured local Farm Bureau members talking about their farms and the importance of agriculture in the area.