ARCHBOLD, OH -- The agricultural community in Fulton County was proud to induct four deserving individuals in the Fulton County Agricultural Hall of Fame on August 22, 2016 at Ruihley Park in Archbold. The annual event began in 1983 to recognize selected farmers or agribusiness leaders from our county who have committed over 25 years or more of service to the agricultural industry in our county, state or region. To date, 136 people have been inducted into the Fulton County Agricultural Hall of Fame. Inductees are selected by the Hall of Fame Committee in July after all applications have been reviewed. Hall of Fame honorees will have a permanent plaque hung in their honor at the Merchants Building on the Fulton County Fairgrounds. However, for the 2016 fair, these four individuals’ plaques and biographies will be hung in the Hall of Fame Pavilion, just south of the Fulton County Junior Fair Building.
The 2016 Fulton County Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees are Larry Burkholder, Raymond Kruez, B Neuenschwander and Richard Rufenacht.
Larry Burkholder has spent a lifetime serving the agricultural community in Fulton County as a farmer, township trustee and on the Fulton County Fair Board.
As a Dover Township farmer for over 38 years, Larry has raised corn, soybeans, hay and previously hogs. He enjoys exploring new agricultural technology and practicing good land stewardship. Several years ago, Larry and Karen’s farm was recognized as a “Clean Water Farm” by the Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation District for the conservation practices implemented.
Larry has served as a Dover Township Trustee for 16 years and was elected Fulton County Township Association President during that time. He has also represented the county on the Ohio Township Association Nominating Committee. Larry has served the agricultural community as a member of the Gerald Grain Association Board of Directors for 12 years which included being President for 11 years. Currently, Larry is serving as Treasurer of the Fulton County Agricultural Society and has provided years of volunteer service to the Fulton County Fair Board. At the Fulton County Fair, you can see Larry helping out with daily tasks, addressing potential issues and tackling tough jobs, to make sure the fair remains one of the best in Ohio.
In high school Larry was involved in the Wauseon FFA, serving as President and earning the State FFA Degree. Currently, he is involved in the Pettisville FFA Alumni through sponsorship of the Derek Burkholder Scholarship Award which supports and encourages four agricultural students each year who are future agricultural leaders. Additionally, he sits on the Northwest State Community College Agricultural Advisory Board and enjoys the opportunity to encourage and mentor the next generation of agriculturalists in the community.
Outside of agriculture, Larry has served as an elder, Sunday School teacher and sound director for Pettisville Missionary Church. Larry and his family always find time to make others a priority.
Larry has been described as diligent, professional, honest, generous and faithful. He is known in the community as a quiet leader who seeks no fanfare for his service.
Raymond A Kreuz farmed for 59 years in rural Metamora raising grain, strawberries, vegetables, and processing tomatoes, peppers and pickles for market in Fulton County and the surrounding areas. Raymond lived a life of serving his country, fellow community members and the agricultural community.
Raymond’s life of service began in the United States Army, as he served in the Korean War. After his service, he was a lifetime member of the CWV Post 306 and held many offices over the years. Upon returning home, Raymond began a long career as a produce and grain farmer. He was a member of the Toledo Farmers Market Association and sold at markets within the county.
Never shying away from leadership, Raymond served the county as Farm Bureau President, sat on the Fulton County Planning Commission and was a Amboy Township trustee for 8 years. He was active in the Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation Districts’ programs and was one of the first county and Amboy Township residents to construct a clay lined pond to be used as a water source for his produce, livestock and home.
Beyond agriculture, Raymond was a lifelong member of the Catholic Knights of Ohio, a member of the Wauseon Elks Club and served the Holy Trinity Catholic Church Parish in many capacities. Raymond was a dedicated servant leader in his family roles as husband, father, and grandfather. Raymond passed from this life in 2014. His distinct laugh and friendly personality will be remembered by all who knew him. Donna Farnsel, Raymond’s daughter, accepted the award on his behalf.
Brent “B” Neuenschwander is being inducted into the Fulton County Agricultural Hall of Fame for his service to fellow Northwest Ohio farmers through J&B Feed Company and Neuenschwander Seeds. Additionally, B has been a respected farmer in rural Wauseon since 1958.
To many youth showmen, their parents and livestock farmers in Wauseon and the surrounding communities, B Neuenschwander is known as “the man at the feed mill who mixes and loads their feed”. As co-owner/operator of J&B Feed, he continues to work with local farmers to source grain and grind feed to meet the needs of the local livestock farmers. He can often be found at the mill seeking and giving advice to local customers and student workers, always with sincerity and sometimes with a chuckle and a nod. B has worked with many Wauseon High School agribusiness students over the years to teach them work ethic, how to treat customers and better prepare them for careers in the agriculture industry. As a seed salesman and farmer, B was known to treat customers fairly and assist them in their operations when they needed it.
He himself was a 4-H member for seven years and FFA member at Wauseon. He continues to support 4-H and FFA youth by teaching youth how to handle and feed livestock and by buying livestock at the Fulton County Fair. At the fair, he has been instrumental in getting the Orville G. Spangler building constructed and has donated the Spangler tractor back to the fair. He volunteers his time during fair at the Wauseon Music Booster booth and Pork Producers stand.
B has been an active life member of Emmaus Lutheran Church and served on various church boards. During the Vietnam War, he served in the National Guard.
While he’s not one for the limelight, he would give you the shirt of his back and is always willing to share a joke of the day, a smile and a good conversation. It’s for B’s humble, caring and giving attitude that he was named the Grand Marshal for the Wauseon Homecoming in 2014.
Richard Rufenacht has been a lifelong dairy farmer in rural Pettisville for over 40 years. Richard maintains a small but prolific herd of Holstein cows and raises corn, soybeans, hay and wheat. He applies many conservation practices to his diversified operation, including windbreaks, filter strips, conservation tillage and no tillage. Currently he is implementing a manure management plan that includes cover crops and improved manure handling. Over the years, Richard has been content with his size operation, choosing to focus on things like somatic cell count, protein, milkfat, the environment, profitability and customer relations.
For many years since 1978, Richard operated a Chore Boy dairy equipment business out of his home. He served customers in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, installing and servicing parlors of any size or configuration. Still today, he is an integral part of setting up and preparing the dairy milking parlors at the Fulton and Henry County Fairs, where the general public observe and learn about how farmers care for livestock and ensure milk safety. He further volunteers at the Milkshake Stand at the fair as a shift leader and milkshake maker.
Richard is also well known for encouraging young people to come back to agriculture. His three sons and at least 8 other former employees, who started working for them when they were young, are employed in the agricultural industry today. He trains them on proper milking techniques, tractor and equipment operation and repair and hay making. Currently, he is mentoring a college student who hopes to start up a dairy operation in the future. He and Darlene have hosted numerous elementary children to their farm to educate them about milk and agriculture. Five county schools have been known to use his facilities to practice for dairy judging and he also provides cattle to various Pettisville FFA service projects.
Richard has been very active on the Fulton County Dairy Association Board, serving as President, Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer. He has helped the board remodel the milkshake stand and helps maintain the milkshake machines as needed.
Richard has been active as a youth mentor and trustee at West Clinton Mennonite Church for many years and has is a founding member of the Food Resource Bank steer feeding project. He is a member of Ohio Farmers Union, Farm Bureau and the Pettisville Ag Advisory Committee.
Congratulations to these inductees into the 2016 Fulton County Agricultural Hall of Fame! To obtain an Ag Hall of Fame application, visit www.fulton.osu.edu.