YAP Conference to Educate, Empower and Encourage the Next Generation

The future of farming is just over the horizon. Are young farmers prepared to fill their predecessors’ boots? Do they have what it takes to conquer challenges facing the agricultural industry? Are they confident to lead themselves and others?

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Young Agricultural Professionals Winter Leadership Experience will take place February 3-4, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. 650 Young farmers from across Ohio are registered to attend the 2-day event.

“The YAP Winter Leadership Conference is where young farmers and Ag professionals can professionally and personally grow by attending a variety of educational breakout sessions,” said Melinda Witten, Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Leadership Programming. “It is a place to connect and build a community with folks who have shared experiences.”

The upcoming conference offers a wide variety of programming to educate, empower and encourage the next generation of Ohio farmers.


The Winter Leadership Experience prepares future farmers with knowledge and skills to build a farm business or successful career in Ag. Industry experts and educators will offer workshops in business and financial planning, strategies to manage risk and comply with regulations.

Marketing workshops will teach young farmers how to effectively position and sell their farm products. Attendees will learn how to find and communicate with consumers. Video and social media workshops will instruct young farmers how to harness the power of digital marketing to grow their agribusinesses.


The YAP Winter Leadership Experience empowers young farmers with confidence to lead. A compelling Discussion Meet Competition will showcase young agriculturalists in a dialog over issues impacting the agriculture industry. The winner of the Discussion Meet will receive a $1,000 cash award from Nationwide Insurance.

A panel of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation leadership featuring Farm Bureau’s OFB President Frank Burkett and Vice President Adam Sharp and will share their vision for the Farm Bureau’s future in an interactive session with young farmers. Additional workshops in conflict and human resource management will offer tools for young farmers can use to effectively lead themselves and others.


Networking at the Winter Leadership Conference creates meaningful connections. Young farmers will enjoy fellowship other farmers, explore potential partnerships, and meet mentors and business advisors.

On Saturday, The Ohio State University CFAES Center for Cooperatives will present a panel of grant experts from university, government and private organizations. The Agricultural Grant Opportunities Workshop will encourage attendees to utilize federal, state and private grant programs to develop value-added products, accomplish on-farm research and make conservation improvements.

Don’t forget the funYAP 2017

The Winter Leadership Conference has something for everyone. Fun workshops will teach attendees how to preserve food, make soap and prep for healthy meals. The conference kicks-off with Friday night food, games and entertainment featuring Big Bang Dueling Pianos.

Details about the upcoming conference are on the Ohio Farm Bureau website, https://ofbf.org/yap-winter-leadership-experience

Article originally published in Farm & Dairy Newspaper


Changes to Tax Law: Section 199A Deductions

The cooperative world has seen a lot of discussion this month about the potential consequences of the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 for agricultural cooperatives and their members. Explore these resources from Iowa State University’s Dr. Keri Jacobs and Dr. Brian Briggeman of Kansas State University with Dr. Philip Kenkel of Oklahoma State University to learn more.

“A Discussion of the Sec 199A Deduction and its Potential Impacts on Producers and Grain Marketing Firms” by Dr. Keri Jacobs in farmdoc daily.

“Impact of Tax Reform on Agricultural Cooperatives: Special Edition ACCC Fact Sheet Series Collaborative Research KSU/OSU” by Dr. Brian Briggeman and Dr. Philip Kenkel.


Ohio Produce Network 2018

Learning the produce industry’s latest and greatest at the Ohio Produce Network conference in Sandusky, Ohio. Growers, marketers and their families are having a wild time at Kalahari Resort and Convention Center! The convention brings together Ag business owners, supply and service providers, Ohio State University Extension educators and industry experts.

Ohio Proud: helping producers market local food

American food shoppers have a huge selection of food products to choose from. According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average U.S. grocery store stocks 38,900 products! ¹ On a recent visit to my local grocery store, I counted no less than 12 brands of mustard; each brand offered multiple product extensions to fit every taste preference.

Which product did I pick? Ben’s Sweet n’ Hot Mustard, because it is made right here in Ohio.

Ohio Proud companies

Ben’s Mustard is a licensed Ohio Proud company. Ohio Proud is a marketing program created by the Ohio State Department of Agriculture to promote locally grown, raised and processed foods. The Ohio Proud program began in 1993. Today Ohio Proud continues to support the marketing efforts of local farmers and food producers.

“Ohio Proud provides growers and producers an opportunity to increase sales and reach new markets and offers consumers a quick, reliable way to identify locally made products,” states Lori Panda, Senior Program Manager of the Ohio Proud program. “Currently, Ohio Proud has more than 520 partners. The program also has approximately 50 distributors, retailers and restaurants, known as our Ohio Proud Affiliate members, who promote and support Ohio Proud products throughout the year.”

Benefits for food producers

Ohio Proud makes local products stand out among national competitors. According to the Ohio State University report “Building Capacity for Local and Organic Ohio Proud Foods”, consumers see the value of locally produced food, and are willing to pay more when their purchases support a resilient local food system and local economy. ² A consumer survey detailed in the report found:

  • 81% of survey respondents indicated they prefer locally grown foods.
  • 90% percent of participants desire to increase their local food purchases.
  • 32% percent reported a willingness to pay up to 10% more for locally produced foods.

The colorful Ohio Proud label helps consumers identify local foods. The label bears the shape of the state with tagline “Made in Ohio- Grown in Ohio.” Consumers see Ohio Proud as an opportunity to support Ohio farms and food producers.

In addition to labeling rights, licensed Ohio Proud partners gain access to Ohio Proud promotional items. The Ohio Proud website promotes partners’ products and boosts businesses’ online presence with individualized profiles that showcase products and tell consumers where to buy.

Ohio Proud licensed producers gain access to new marketing channels. Grocers, restaurants and distributors that support local food can become affiliate members of Ohio Proud. Ohio Proud facilitates connections between partners and affiliates at networking and educational events.

Be Ohio Proud

Licensed Ohio Proud products must be at least 50% grown, raised of processed in the state. Products must comply with federal and state inspection and labeling regulations.

Interested producers should visit the Ohio Proud website, create a profile and complete an online application. Ohio Proud companies pay a $25 licensing fee annually. Visit the Ohio Proud website at www.ohioproud.org for more information.

  1. “Supermarket Facts” (2016). Food Marketing Institute.
  2. Inwood. S., Bergman. L., & Stinner. D. “Building Capacity for Local and Organic Ohio Proud Foods” (Sept 2003). The Ohio State University.

Ohio Proud: helping producers market local food