Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Agfact: Ohio promotes Ag and Outreach programs

While I was in Nashville last week for the Agchat Foundation's social media conference I participated in an agchat swap meet. Several of the attendees brought gifts from their local area, personal farm or something ag-related from their state or region. I was very impressed with the facts that went along with the gifts and the great stories that each gifts told. My friend Ryan Goodman is an agfact collector and wrote a great blog about the swap meet.

Ryan presented his readers with a challenge to dig up, raise or produce some facts from all of our own areas and  write a blog about them. So I'm here writing a blog about my great state of OHIO. While mostly associated with recent problems in our college football program we also have a lot of great agfacts to present to the world.

Agritourism is an important part of the state of Ohio. Two specific places that I hear people talk of and associate with Ohio when I'm traveling is The Bob Evans Farm.  Located in Rio Grande, OH (Southeastern Ohio). Bob Evans began his business by making sausage on his Ohio farm to serve at a little 12 stool diner that he owned. As his reputation for great sausage grew, he invited folks to come to his farm and visit THE SAUSAGE SHOP that he served meals at. The shop now seats 134 and the farm has grown into a tourist attraction because of the history & heritage of the farm. The Bob Evans Company has restaurants all over the Midwest and grew from the midwest states with the acquisition of Owens Food, based in Texas and Mimi's Cafe, based is California.

Young's Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs,OH
The other place is a local dairy called Young's Jersey Dairy. They have an in house, fully operating dairy and create their own milk, cheese and most importantly ice cream. Young's has incorporated a "farmers petting zoo" with goats,  dairy feeders, pigs, and sheep. They also have built a restaurant and ice cream store, 2 mini golf courses that are agriculture themed, batting cages, water wars, driving range and in the fall a corn maze & pumpkin patch. They are a great community supporter and developer.

I live in Clark County Ohio which happens to be where A.B. Graham founded 4-H. In 1902 Graham formed the Boys and Girls Agriculture Experiment Club in an effort to promote agriculture to children and help them grow into leaders among their community. In 1903 The Ohio State University formed a cooperative effort with Mr. Graham and was dubbed 4-H when he emphasized his focus on developing the childrens head, hands, heart & health. 4-H continued to grow and now reaches to every corner of the country 4-H has over 6 million youth in urban, rural and innner city neighborhoods. 540,000 volunteers help with the program across the country and roughly 60 million alumni of 4-H have worked over the years to promote agriculture across the country.

A.B. Graham has helped raise more leaders in several ag industries and has helped build many connections between producers and consumers across the world.