Meet Intern Kyle Hellman

My name is Kyle Hellman; I am an incoming junior at The Ohio State University studying AgBusiness with a minor in Agronomy. Growing up farming was my first love and first passion.  I grew up on a family farm where my father and I farm around 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans and also sell Pioneer seed.  Most of my childhood memories involve riding in tractors with my dad or playing in the basement with my toy tractors.  That love for agriculture brought me to Ohio State where I am majoring in AgBusiness.  I was interested in coming to Ohio State because I knew of their excellent Ag program and it has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid to go to Ohio State.  I am also a huge buckeyes fan which just makes my experience at Ohio State even better.  I have loved every second of being a buckeye and am excited to see what these next two years will bring.

On our family farm we are members of two cooperatives, Farm credit and Jennings Gomer Equity which is an elevator in my hometown.  Other than knowing about those two cooperatives and a few others around my hometown, I did not really know much about Co-ops.  That is why I took the Co-op class at Ohio State, AEDE 3141.  At the end of the semester, our class was presented with a job opportunity through the CFAES center for coops.  Because I found the class interesting and it was an opportunity to learn more about cooperatives, I decided to apply. I was offered the position and I am enjoying working with them.  I am a student assistant for the CFAES center for coops at OSU’s South Centers. I am helping create a directory of professional cooperative service providers in Ohio and West Virginia.


Ag Action Network Meetings Cultivate Cooperation

Farmers build cooperatives to enhance market presence and power.

Join the Ag Action Network for cooperative development meetings:

  • Moorefield, WV, June 25, 2018, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Email to register:

  • Martinsburg, WV, June 26, 2018, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Email to register:

See flyer for details:

CFAES Center for Cooperatives Launches Co-op Mastery

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Center for Cooperatives launched Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101, a new and innovative online training course designed to educate cooperative members, boards, management, employees, and students.

Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101 is made possible by a grant from the CHS Foundation 2017 Cooperative Education Grants Program. The training is housed in The Ohio State University’s public-facing online education platform. It is free and can be accessed online at

Caption: Co-op Mastery is a new online learning tool launched by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Center for Cooperatives.

“Co-op Mastery curriculum focuses on mid-level knowledge about the cooperative business model,” said Center for Cooperatives Program Manager, Hannah Scott.  “Training modules build on existing fundamental materials by providing an in-depth look at governance, finance, taxation and other areas not typically covered by courses in fundamentals, yet challenging topics for stakeholders.”

The training features eight modules which include video interviews with numerous leaders in the cooperative movement:

  • Logan County Electric Cooperative General Manager Rick Petty discusses cooperative principles and various functions of cooperatives.
  • Dennis Bolling retired President and CEO of United Producers Cooperative shares the benefits cooperatives provide members.
  • Mid-America Cooperative Counsel Executive Director Rod Kelsay discusses effective education and training the Board of Directors.
  • Ohio State Univerisity Extension Educator Dr. Chris Bruynis gives insight to key factors that contribute to a cooperative’s success.
  • Nationwide’s VP of Sponsor Relations Devin Fuhrman shares the story of Nationwide’s history as a mutual cooperative company.
  • Agricultural attorney Carolyn Eselgroth of Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham and Eselgroth, LLP addresses legal considerations when forming a cooperative business.
  • Co-Bank Senior Relationship Manager Gary Weidenborner leads users through an interactive financial document exercise.
  • David Hahn, Professor Emeritus the Ohio State University, explains cooperative taxation.

“We invite folks to ask questions and receive answers from our Center staff in the online Co-op Forum,” said Joy Bauman, Program Coordinator.  “They can also browse an extensive collection of online resources in the Cooperative Library.”

The CFAES Center for Cooperatives offers customized in-person workshops to complement the online training. Workshops are designed to serve the requesting cooperative’s needs. Examples include: new employee education, board of director education, strategic plan development, cooperative marketing and policy development. Workshop participants receive a companion workbook with activities to fortify learning. They gain on-going access to Co-op Mastery online training materials, which they may work through at their own pace or search for specific information to meet immediate needs. Users can return to the Co-op Mastery online materials at any time to troubleshoot cooperative issues and they can receive ongoing technical assistance from CFAES Center for Cooperatives staff. To request a workshop or more information, visit or contact the Center for Cooperatives at or 740-289-2071 ext. 111.


Find and Hire Seasonal Help for your Farm

description: Harvesting at Green Gulch Farm Photographer: Joshua Wickerham

Farmers are gearing up for a busy growing season. Planting, hauling, caring for livestock, harvesting, marketing and distributing farm products — are you wondering how you’ll manage the workload? Seasonal help can boost your farm’s productivity and profitability, but good help can be hard to find.

Farm labor challenges

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population in Ohio was stagnant from 2010 to 2017, increasing only 1.1 percent. Rural counties, especially Ohio’s Appalachian counties, suffered declines, resulting in a smaller pool of potential applicants seeking farm work. ¹

Farmers depend on skilled workers to carry out critical tasks. Finding employees proficient in handling livestock, operating equipment and managing production can be a challenge. However, delegating critical tasks to inexperienced employees raises safety concerns. On my farm, I am reluctant to let inexperienced workers operate equipment or stand on moving hay wagons. Workers not used to laborious tasks often overestimate their physical capabilities and underestimate the importance of hydration. I have found that such workers slow the process down instead of speeding it up.

Offering a competitive wage while maintaining farm profitability is a challenge for farmers, especially when competing with the non-farm market for skilled employees. Without additional compensation, some workers find an air-conditioned office more appealing than working outdoors under the hot summer sun.

How to find and hire seasonal help

Assess labor needs. Make a list of tasks the new employee(s) will accomplish. Estimate the amount of time each task will take an average employee. Keep in mind inexperienced workers will likely take longer to accomplish a task than those with experience.

Identify desired skills and knowledge. What skills and knowledge will the ideal candidate bring to the farm? List skills and knowledge employees must have from day one, and skills and knowledge you are willing to train.

What new skills and knowledge can an employee contribute? The owner of an agritourism operation was delighted when her generation Z employees took her farm’s social media to the next level, “Staff posted pictures and videos that got a lot of likes and shares. They taught me how to boost posts and create online ads for my business.”

Develop a labor budget. Review your seasonal projections and cash flow estimates to determine what you can afford to spend on labor. If you come up short, keep in mind that money is a motivator but applicants also seek opportunities to learn and advance. Food and lodging are other benefits that farmers use to supplement wages.

The Ohio State University Extension Farm Office website offers farm management tools to create labor budgets. View Ohio Custom Rates for labor and contract services. The United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) publishes wage rates for farm labor in multiple regions.

Write a job description. After you have assessed your labor needs, identified desired skills and knowledge, and developed a labor budget, you are ready to write a job description. Purdue University offers job description templates for various farm positions.

Advertise the job. Strategic advertising will attract qualified applicants to the position. Instead of blasting the ad everywhere, place the ad on relevant platforms where it is likely to be seen by your ideal candidates. This will save you time and money. Farm and Dairy classifieds is a great place to start. Farm and Dairy’s help wanted ads reach applicants seeking jobs in agriculture. Your ad dollars stretch twice as far, appearing in-print and online.

Advertising jobs on social media is a low-cost and effective way to reach applicants. Facebook job posts and social media promotions allow employers to target potential applicants by location, specify the length of time they wish to run an ad, and set an advertising budget. Promoted posts on Facebook cost as little as $2.50 a day and reach hundreds of potential job applicants in the local area.

Farm internships give students an opportunity to learn new things and develop skills. Farmers benefit from student workers that are eager to learn. Contact the local Ag college’s career development office to explore hosting interns on your farm.

Apprentice programs match willing workers with willing teachers. The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) offers an apprentice matching program. Learn how you can share your knowledge with a farm apprentice.

Word-of-mouth advertising travels far in a rural community. Post the job on community boards and publish it in local newsletters. Contact your county’s OSU Extension Office, Farm Bureau chapter and Ag teachers. These organizations and individuals know the local Ag scene and can help spread the word in your community.


“Population Percent Change April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017.” Quickfacts. United States Census Bureau.

Article was originally published in Farm Forward, Farm & Dairy Newspaper,

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,

Article originally published in Farm & Dairy Newspaper