By Leigh Ann Rutledge
Two longtime influential Farm Bureau members and two area businesses were honored during the annual Carroll County Farm Bureau Meeting Sept. 12 in the Muskingum Discovery Center at FFA Camp Muskingum.
Dr. Keith Burgett was inducted in the Carroll County Farm Bureau Hall of Fame and Kim Davis was named the Member of Distinction. Brace Power Equipment in Carrollton and Straight A’s Ranch Supply in Malvern were named “Partners of the Year.”
Hall of Fame Inductee Burgett grew up one of four boys on a farm in Jefferson County. He graduated from high school in 1961 and The Ohio State University in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1969. He served two years in the Army Veterinary Corp. then purchased Dr. Kelch’s practice in 1971.
He served as the Carroll County Fair veterinarian for several years and on the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board. He received the Outstanding Veterinarian Award in 2016 from the College of Veterinary Medicine Ohio State University. He was involved with eight projects in Russia, teaching veterinarians and farmers.
Dr. Burgett served several terms on the Carrollton Exempted School District board and the Carroll Soil and Water Conservation District board.
“I want to thank the people in Carroll County who have supported me very well as a vet. The county has been very good to me,” Dr. Burgett said. “There is no place better than Carroll County and eastern Ohio.”
Dr. Burgett and his wife, Judy, have operated Burgett Angus Farms since 1984 with their sons, Phillip and Bryan, where they produce and sell commercial Seedstock Angus bulls.
Davis was honored for her contributions in making Carroll County and Ohio Farm Bureau a better organization. She grew up in Coshocton County where her parents were involved in Farm Bureau. She married her husband, Todd, who became an organization director for Ohio Farm Bureau and Kim saw the works of Farm Bureau first hand.
She became involved with Farm Bureau 14 years ago, serving as membership chair before taking on various roles in the organization. She served as the four-county state trustee to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) board for nine years. After her service with the state board, she purchased the Rodger Roof Nationwide Agency in Waynesburg and continued serving as county Public Policy Action Team Leader. She supports numerous Farm Bureau activities such as Tailgates to Touchdowns and the Straight from the Heart ladies day event. Kim has also served as a state delegate to the annual meeting and on the state Policy Development Committee.
Kim and Todd live outside Carrollton. They have three children, Garett, Kady and Allison.
Brace Power Equipment and Straight A’s Ranch Supply were honored for their assistance with the plastics recycling program. The program allows for agricultural plastics to be turned into sidewalk block material by Terrecon in California.
Farmers can pick up special bags to fill and drop off at Brace’s or Straight A’s. Bags can weigh up too 400 lbs. when filled and can contain bale wrap, silage wrappers, baler twine, bunker covers and fertilizer sacks.
Both businesses have been accepting the recycling bags and assisting with the program for six years.
Norman Agrudakes explained how Straight A’s became involved with the program, saying, “Bill [Findley] convinced my youngest daughter to save the planet.”
Beau Brace of Brace Power Equipment gave advise to recyclers, saying, “It’s a great thing for all. Those who pack bags and bring them to us, pack them as tight as you can and tie the bags.”
It was announced CCH Environmental (Solid Waste District) is going to join the program by purchasing the recycling bags.
Organizational Director Michele Specht opened the meeting reminding the group that the membership approved a policy to work with the local Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services board (ADAMHS) on the substance abuse crisis going on locally and statewide the previous year.
Specht noted county leaders and volunteers did just that, accessing the problem and meeting with the ADAMHS board to be educated.
“Did you know from 2000-2015, our state’s death rate due to unintentional drug overdoses has increased 642 percent? In 2012, the epidemic cost our state’s citizens on average $5.4 million daily in medical costs and work losses,” Specht stated. “In 2016, our state recorded the country’s most deaths; one in nine heroin deaths and one in 14 synthetic opioid deaths. These statistics are something Ohio is not proud of.”
County leaders and volunteers began to promote awareness of the epidemic and learned to make a difference, they needed to work with who Specht termed “our people.”
Specht explained, a meeting was held with representatives from Ohio 4-H, FFA Camp Muskingum, the Ohio Attorney General’s office and the Ohio Drug Free Alliance.
“We learned Ohio has over 300,000 4-H and FFA youth. This room is filled with “Got Your Back” yard signs that were posted all over the county fairgrounds,” Specht continued. “Sharing the theme from [Farm Bureau] state representative Al Landis, all four of my counties used this theme.” (The signs featured an FFA or 4-H member and an adult or mentor with a comment against drug use.)
Specht said Farm Bureau is planning a statewide substance abuse youth rally called “Hope for Ohio” Dec. 2 at the Ohio Farm Bureau and Nationwide 4-H Center on The Ohio State University Campus.
“To say the least, we are taking this topic very seriously,” Specht said quietly. “We all have or will be touched by this crisis.”
Specht thanked volunteers for “all they do” and told the group she is proud to be their organizational director.
For membership, Carroll County has earned the President’s Award five consecutive times. She praised Bobbie Jo Tinlin and Paul Bregenzer for signing 10 or more new members during the March membership drive, saying, “The end goal is farmer gain plus five percent.”
Jerry Lahmers, state board trustee, told the group, “Things and the world are changing. Farm Bureau has not. We are still a grassroots organization.”
He talked about a 20-page strategic plan that shows the importance of county, state and national levels. He emphasized all levels are equally important.
He shared results of a recent survey showing what the membership thinks is important. They include advocacy, consumer education and the future of agriculture professionals.
“Your voice is important,” Lahmers said.
Carroll County Farm Bureau President Bernie Heffelbower closed the meeting congratulating winners and reminding the membership to support the businesses who belong to Farm Bureau. “They support us,” he said. “I also challenge each and everyone of you to sign one new member. Then we’ll be done.”
A total of $3,100 was given in scholarships. Kaitlyn McCaulley received $1,000 and the following each received $300: Angela Bregenzer, Austin Bregenzer, Kady Davis, Jakob Green, Mia Moore, Travis Rutledge and Jay Stoneman.
The following were elected to serve on the county board of trustees: Bernie Heffelbower, District 4 (Rose-Harrison Twps.); Kevin Spears, District 5 (Monroe-Orange); Bobbie Jo Tinlin, District 6 (Union-Lee); and Steve Pridemore, District 7 (Perry-Loudon). Katie Lee was elected as trustee at-large #3. Delegates selected to attend the State Annual Meeting in 2018 include: Cliff Brown, John Davis, Bill Finley and Bill Newell.
The 2016-17 Board of Trustees included: Heffelbower, president; Luke Logan, vice president; Nicki Gordon-Coy, secretary; and Bill Newell, treasurer. Board members are Lynn Anderson, Wayne Ferguson, Tim Gartrell, Dan Kirk, Steve Pridemore and Paul Robertson.
Other personnel include: Speck, organizational director; Carol Hoffman, office administrator; Danielle Dufour, regional supervisor; Lahmers, state board trustee; and Mike Boyert, state board trustee at-large.
To learn more about Farm Bureau, visit www.ofbf.org.