'Ag Is Everyone's Business' draws large crowd (2024)

Local farmers, students, educators and other professionals in the agriculture industry braved the snow to attend the Highland County Chamber of Commerce's second annual "Agriculture Is Everyone's Business" event, held Friday, Jan. 17 in the Southern State Community College Patriot Center.

According to Highland County Chamber of Commerce Executive Assistant Benjamin Gullett, nearly 500 individuals attended the event, which included breakfast and a number of speeches that concluded with keynote speaker Max Armstrong of "This Week in AgriBusiness."

Visitors perused Hillsboro resident Jim Gorman's award-winning farm toy display in the Patriot Center lobby before and after the event. Gorman, a lifelong resident of Highland county, has become nationally renowned for his building of scratch-built toy farm equipment. Gorman has won scratch-built model competitions at the National Farm Toy show located in Dyersville, Iowa in 2004 and 2007, as well as competitions at the Gateway Toy Show of St. Louis, Missouri in 2010 and 2011. Most recently, he took second place for his farm display at the National Farm Toy show in November 2013. Gorman has been featured in the international monthly Toy Farmer Magazine and also in Episode Two of online Farm Toy TV.

Following breakfast, Chamber of Commerce President Melissa Elmore thanked the event's sponsors, the agriculture committee and the Chamber of Commerce board members for their assistance in making the event a success.

Sponsors of "Ag is Everyone's Business" include The Highland County Chamber, Southern State Community College, Highland County Cattlemens Association, BioGene Seeds, Buckeye Country 105.5, Carraher Ag, Crop Production Services, Ervin Hill Inc./Mark Edenfield Fuel/Holtfield, LLC, The Equipment Superstore, Farm Credit Mid-America, First State Bank, Five Points Implement Co., Garman Feed and Supply, Hamilton Insurance, Lerch's Barnlot, Master Feed Mill/Ventura's Feed and County Store, Merchants National Bank, NCB, Ohio Asphaltic Limestone, Rick Williams Auction Company, South Central Power, Southern Hills Community Bank, Tom Pitzer Trucking, Union Stock Yards and Zimmerman Bros.

Dr. Kevin Boys, president of Southern State Community College and a board member of the Chamber of Commerce, also spoke briefly and introduced Dr. Andrew Shepherd, director of unmanned aerial systems with Workforce Development at Sinclair Community College.

Shepherd spoke about his work with this year's Real World Design Challenge, a national food production-based contest for high school students that offers scholarships from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for winning team members. Shepherd also said that Sinclair and Southern State are partnering to offer a Precision Agriculture course through Sinclair's UAS Training and Certification Center.

FFA State Secretary Sydney Snider served as the FFA organization's speaker for the event. Elmore joked in her introduction that Snider "may have a familiar face," as she is the twin sister of last year's speaker, Carley Snider.

Snider, a member of the Felicity-Franklin FFA, spoke about the significance of the FFA jacket, reciting the poem "The Jacket" by Tyson Huckaby, a Texas FFA member. Snider talked about what wearing the FFA jacket means to her and invited two local FFA members, Hillsboro's Michaela Chaney and Lynchburg-Clay's Julie Arnett, to speak about their feelings of pride in wearing the familiar blue corduroy FFA jacket.

Highland County FFA members also served as waiters and assisted with clearing tables and other jobs during the event.

Ohio Director of Agriculture David Daniels, a lifelong Highland County resident, spoke about the county and the state's impact on agriculture.

"It's extremely good for me to know the residents of my county realize and understand [the importance of agriculture]," Daniels said.[[In-content Ad]]

Daniels used the steak and eggs breakfast served at the event an example, stating that it was an appropriate meal.

"We have 1.25 million head of cattle in the state of Ohio," Daniels said. "There are 7.1 billion table eggs produced in Ohio yearly."

Daniels also spoke about the number of family farms that have been in operation for generations. He reported that there is at least one centennial farm in each of Ohio's 88 counties and that there are 64 bicentennial farms, with one farm reaching its 250th anniversary this year.

Of the 64 bicentennial farms, Highland County is home to 14 of them, Daniels said.

"Our people do a fantastic job as responsible producers," Daniels said.

In his keynote address, Armstrong amused guests with humorous anecdotes about tractors and his work with last year's keynote speaker Orion Samuelson.

Armstrong is one of the most widely recognized and highly regarded agriculture journalists in America. His broadcasts have been seen and heard by millions of farmers and consumers for nearly 30 years. From studios in Chicago, Armstrong is heard daily with his agriculture and business news broadcasts on legendary radio powerhouse WGN.

Armstrong's Tribune Radio Network program "Farming America" is carried on a network of approximately 165 radio stations reaching every region of the country. In pursuit of the news of agriculture, Armstrong has originated broadcasts from every state in America and at least 30 nations. His work has earned dozens of honors from agriculture groups, trade associations, professional organizations and fraternities.

Armstrong thanked veterans in attendance and led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, saying that attention needed to be paid to the large flag behind the podium.

Armstrong also spoke about the need for a major farm bill and urged those in attendance to be vocal with politicians, as Armstrong said animals rights activists shouldn't be dominating the discussion.

"If you're not out there talking to your lawmaker and keeping that line of communication open, you better believe somebody else is," Armstrong said.

Armstrong encouraged those in attendance to "think about how you can give back" to organizations like FFA and 4-H or by mentoring students or donating to scholarship funds.

"You have so much you can share," Armstrong said. "It's selfish to take it with you when you go."

Armstrong ended his speech by "commending the great agriculture industry" in Highland County and left the audience with a quote from the late basketball coach John Wooden.

"Whatever the business, I think it's important to remember this: 'Things turn out the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out,'" Armstrong said. "We all have challenges, but you need to position yourself to weather any storm."

The event concluded with an auction conducted by Rick Williams of Rick Williams Auction Company. Pedal tractors donated by Steve Thompson of Thompson Funeral Home and Susan Davis Thompson of Davis Law Office; Five Points Implement; Brad and Melissa Elmore; and The Equipment Superstore were auctioned off, with proceeds benefitting local agriculture projects.

Individuals and businesses purchasing tractors in the auction included South Central Power and Merchants National Bank; Hess Auction Company and Donald E. Fender Real Estate; Nathan Brown and family; Five Points Greenhouse; and Steve Thompson of Thompson Funeral Home and Susan Davis Thompson of Davis Law Office.

'Ag Is Everyone's Business' draws large crowd (2024)


Is agriculture the nation's largest employer? ›

Agriculture and its related industries provide 10.4 percent of U.S. employment. In 2022, 22.1 million full- and part-time jobs were related to the agricultural and food sectors—10.4 percent of total U.S. employment.

How many people are employed in agriculture-related fields in the US question 2 options 22 million 100000 10 million 1 million? ›

In the United States, approximately 2 million Americans work in agriculture-related career fields, many of which do not require a specific degree in agriculture. This means that option b, 2 million, is the correct answer to the question provided.

Is agriculture the single largest employer in the world? ›

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) note that agriculture is the single largest employer in the world. Globally, 40 percent of the population earns its income from agriculture. The SDGs urge the international community to make the investments needed to double agricultural incomes of small-scale food producers.

Who is America's largest employer? ›

Overall, the federal government is the largest employer in the US. As of September 2023, approximately 2.95 million individuals were part of the US Federal workforce.

How many people work in the ag industry? ›

22.1 million people were employed in full- and part-time jobs across the entire agricultural and food sector in the United States in 2022. This represents 10.4% of total U.S. employment.

How much of the US population is dependent on agriculture? ›

The amount of farm labor in the United States has changed substantially: in 1870, almost 50 percent of the U.S. population was employed in agriculture; As of 2008, less than 2 percent of the population is directly employed in agriculture.

How many people can one US farm feed? ›

On average, one U.S. farm feeds 166 people annually in the U.S. and abroad. The global population is expected to increase by 2.2 billion by 2050, which means the world's farmers will have to grow about 70% more food than what is now produced.

Is agriculture the largest industry in the world? ›

Overview. Agriculture is the world's largest industry. It employs more than one billion people and generates over $1.3 trillion dollars worth of food annually. Pasture and cropland occupy around 50 percent of the Earth's habitable land and provide habitat and food for a multitude of species.

Is agriculture a big industry in the US? ›

Agriculture is a major industry in the United States, which is a net exporter of food.

Which agency is the nation's largest employer? ›

OPM has an opportunity to position the federal government — the nation's largest employer — as a model that sets an example for other private and public sector employers in America and around the world.

Is the agriculture industry the largest overall employer than any other industry in the world? ›

Agriculture has long been the backbone of human civilization, providing sustenance and livelihood to billions of people across the globe. As of 2021, an estimated 27% of the global workforce was employed in agriculture, though the sector represents only 4% of global GDP.


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