COLUMBUS - Six Ohio county Farm Bureaus have been chosen as winners in the 2015 American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) County Activities of Excellence Awards (CAE) program. They are the Champaign, Franklin, Gallia, Knox, Muskingum and Tuscarawas county Farm Bureaus.
The CAE program showcases up to 24 of the top county Farm Bureau programs in the nation.
"It's outstanding that Ohio had one-fourth of the total winners. It shows that our county Farm Bureaus have excellent programming across the state and have a strong understanding of what type of programs and events are appealing to both farmers and consumers," said Ohio Farm Bureau Executive vice president Jack Fisher.
The CAE program identifies programs that serve as models of innovation for local activities and display the value of volunteers working together to build and strengthen their communities. The competition focuses on county efforts in education and agricultural promotion, member services, public relations and information, leadership development and policy implementation. Counties compete along with Farm Bureaus of similar membership size.
All six Ohio winners will display their programs, which were conducted in 2014, at the AFBF annual convention and IDEAg Trade Show in San Diego, Calif., in January. County Farm Bureaus also will receive a $2,250 stipend to apply toward travel and exhibition costs.
The winning county Farm Bureaus also are invited to participate in Ohio Farm Bureau's Community Showcase during its annual meeting in December.
Champaign County Farm Bureau won in the membership services category for its Farm Watch program, a joint rural crime watch program between the local sheriff's department and the county Farm Bureau. The sheriff's department notifies the county Farm Bureau about crimes and Farm Bureau then sends an email blast to members with details of the crime. Farm Watch signs have been posted on barns and outbuildings.
Franklin County Farm Bureau was honored in the education and agricultural promotion category for its Breakfast on the Farm event. A collaboration between Franklin and Madison county Farm Bureaus, the event featured made-to-order omelets, farm animals and conversations about how food goes from farm to plate. The target audience was urban and suburban residents so they could experience life on the farm.
Gallia County Farm Bureau's education and agricultural promotion award was for its Agriculture Awareness Day, a free field trip for all fourth graders in county and city schools. Local Farm Bureau members and producers provided hands-on educational presentations about agriculture. Before the event, students drew a picture of what agriculture meant to them as part of a "Design Your T-shirt Contest." The winning design was featured on free T-shirts for the students.
Knox County Farm Bureau's Taste of Summer won in the education and agricultural promotion category. About 120 people attended the "friend-raising" event at a local beef cattle farm. Participants enjoyed a four-course dinner prepared by a local chef as well as local wine and craft beer tastings and hors d'oeuvres. The sold-out event helped create connections between farmers and consumers and raised $2,500 for the United Way.
Muskingum County Farm Bureau won in the public relations and information category for its ATV Conservation & Farm Tour. The event connected community members with farmers by having 310 people on 135 ATVs travel more than 40 miles through eight unique agriculture operations. Participants had 30 minutes at each stop to listen to owners describe their operation and ask the owners questions.
Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau's Farmtastic Google Agventures won in the education and agricultural promotion category. The Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau worked with four other county Farm Bureaus to develop science and reading curriculum focused on agricultural topics for fourth and fifth grades. The "Agventure" consisted of students receiving an Ag Mag that provided background on the topic to be presented. Students later interacted with agriculture experts from their working environment through a live 45-minute video and audio session using Google Hangouts.
To learn more about county Farm Bureau activities, visit ofbf.org/counties.