A historical marker commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation is now on display on the campus of Ohio State University. The plaque is outside Jennings Hall, the former Botany and Zoology Building, where in 1919 representatives of 76 county Farm Bureaus, with the assistance of university and county Extension leaders, established the organization.
“The fact that the meeting took place on the campus of Ohio State University was appropriate,” said OFB President Frank Burkett III during the presentation of the new marker. “At that first annual meeting, Ohio Farm Bureau pledged its support to its friends at Ohio State; and as you can see, Ohio State University, its Extension service and Ohio Farm Bureau are lifelong partners.”
The marker displays OFB logos, past and present, and it highlights Farm Bureau’s first resolutions to support farm legislation, press for organization of a national Farm Bureau, support expansion of county Extension agent work, and cooperate with OSU’s College of Agriculture and Experiment Station.
“The work of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is crucial to the success of farmers and to every link in the food chain across Ohio, the nation and the world,” said Adam Sharp, OFB executive vice president. “Today, just like 100 years ago, Farm Bureau knows the value of Ohio State’s teaching, research and Extension efforts; and we are proud to support those efforts by communicating with lawmakers, the public and others about the importance of that work.”
Cathann Kress, OSU’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, highlighted the ability to work together for the betterment of their organizations and their communities.
Collaboration is key
“Farming and its related industries have always been fraught with challenges, and you can’t easily accomplish something so ambitious as harnessing the only energy source for our planet, the sun, and converting it to use for the collective human species — who want it cheaply, fast, sustainable, delicious and high in value,” Kress said. “We have our own set of challenges today, but we also have resources, technology and communications that our predecessors would have envied. That is why our partnership with Ohio Farm Bureau is so important. It was 100 years ago, it was 50 years ago, and it is today.”
Another partner of both OFB and OSU is Nationwide. In 1926 OFBF formed the Ohio Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., which in 1955 changed its name to Nationwide.
Mark Berven, Nationwide’s president and COO, said the values shared by the company and Farm Bureau helped expand Nationwide into one of the nation’s largest insurance providers. Brent Porteus also represented Nationwide at the presentation and exemplified the links between the organizations and OSU. Porteus is a past president of OFB, a current trustee for Ohio State University and is on the board of directors at Nationwide.
Also on hand was Ohio state Sen. Bob Peterson, also a former Ohio Farm Bureau president. He presented a proclamation from the Ohio state Senate recognizing the achievements of Ohio’s largest farm organization over the past century. Proclamations were also given by the Ohio House of Representatives and on behalf of Rep. Steve Stivers and the Ohio delegation of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Additional information about Ohio Farm Bureau’s yearlong centennial celebration can be found at ofbf.org/centennial.
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