Wayne honored at Ohio Farm Bureau

Wayne honored at Ohio Farm Bureau

The Ohio Farm Bureau Innovation and Collaboration Awards highlight county Farm Bureaus for their implementation of new and innovative programs within their communities and the teamwork required to make those efforts successful. Counties that received Innovation Awards earned $1,500, and winners of the Collaboration Awards were given $4,000 to be divided evenly among each of the counties involved. Award winners also were honored at the 2021 Ohio Farm Bureau annual meeting.

“Our counties are best at serving members by focusing on valued programming, networking, philanthropy and grassroots advocacy,” said Paul Lyons, vice president of membership with Ohio Farm Bureau. “These Innovation and Collaboration Awards are an opportunity for the Ohio Farm Bureau to recognize counties for the value they bring to their members through these excellent county programs.”

The 2021 Innovation Award winners included Wayne County for its involvement in the countywide Land Use Actions for the Future of Our County project, which stemmed from two local policies Farm Bureau generated that addressed land use. The county government updated its comprehensive plan in 2019 following a period of feedback from the community including a listening session organized by the county Farm Bureau.

A workshop was put together in 2020 to help catalyze action of the new plan around balanced land use including agriculture’s concerns. The workshop took place over four brown bag seminars, which drew 50-80 participants to each session.

The attendees included a diverse group of Farm Bureau members and community stakeholders. Overall, the feedback received suggested there is interest in continuing these discussions to engage stakeholders and develop shared solutions to the county’s biggest land-use challenges.

Among the 2021 Collaboration Award winners was a joint effort between Wayne, Ashland and Medina, the annual Ag Toy Drive, in which young farmer groups in neighboring Ashland, Medina and Wayne counties came together in a rallying response to a community need.

This project supported area children in a unique way while still featuring agriculture. The need by the local Toys for Tots was estimated to increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and toy donations were unknown as Toys for Tots’ supporters in the past were struggling with labor shortages, shutdowns and supply-chain challenges. The Ag Toy Drive program was completed in December 2020 and resulted in a total of $8,048 in agricultural-themed toys being donated to charities across a multi-county area.

Sixty-five Farm Bureau volunteers executed the planning, fundraising, pre and post event media campaigns, event execution, and toy shopping and delivery. This event was able to “give the gift of agriculture” to 402 families by providing them with an agricultural-themed gift for Christmas.

Other 2021 Innovation winners were Belmont, Sponsored Annual Meeting; Crawford, Farm Safety; Hocking, Youth Cooperative Leadership Experience; Pickaway, Pickaway County Buyers; Pike, Let’s Get Popping; Union, Farm Bureau Day at Rural King; and Wood, Hop Around Wood County.

Other 2021 Collaboration Award winners were Allen, Paulding, Putnam and Van Wert, Grain Bin Safety, and Jackson-Vinton, Pike and Scioto, Virtual Agriculture Day.

Ohio Farm Bureau’s mission is working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen communities. Learn more at www.ohiofarmbureau.org.