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OFBF awards Action & Awareness, Youth Pathways Grants

COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently awarded a total of $22,500 in grants to fund efforts in agriculture-related programming. The foundation funds programs that create a positive, measurable impact in four core areas of giving through its Action & Awareness Grant program:

• Education – Providing grants for professional development programs allowing individuals to advance their knowledge of agriculture, share ideas and improve people’s lives.

• Environment – Funding sensible solutions that contribute to a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable Ohio by focusing on increased care for land and water.

• Economic Development – Capturing opportunities that build prosperity, create jobs and enhance the quality of life for Ohioans by funding projects that spur economic growth in local communities.

• Human-Animal Bond – Promoting the proper care of animals and the many ways they bring quality to human life.

Following are this year’s fall 2020 grant recipients, which were approved by the foundation board of directors at its November meeting. Grant amounts can be awarded up to $3,000 and are provided for a one-year period.

Heart of Unlimited Boundaries, Inc. (HUB)

The grant will be used to support the initial pilot of HUB’s new 3-D Printing and Self-Employment training program for individuals with disabilities. Students will receive:

• 15 hours of 1:1 classroom instruction per week to learn and practice 3-D printing

• Support with business set-up and marketing

• 3-D printer and supplies to take home at the end of the program.

Rural Action, Inc./Walhonding Watershed

Rural Action plans to build a water quality Partner Producer program in the Walhonding, Kokosing and Mohican watersheds that will connect farmers and landowners with the tools, resources and information they need to implement targeted water quality improvement projects and implement conservation practices.

Preble County Historical Society, Inc.

The grant will allow the historical society to purchase and use equipment to capture high quality photos and videos that will record a significant collection of historical agriculture equipment, tools and artifacts documenting Preble County and Ohio agriculture history. This will enhance educational presentations and expand the organization’s digital collection.

Acres of Adventure

The purpose of the grant is to secure a commercial tent to be utilized by Acres of Adventure for Farm Fests. The tent will house displays related to the quarterly themed events, including maple syrup and timber in winter, water quality and the environment in spring, dairy and livestock in summer and agronomy and crops in fall. Each event will offer a day of hands-on activities and interactive demonstrations related to the topic.

Fairfield Local Schools

The grant will be used to promote and broaden understanding and awareness of all current and future career possibilities in agriculture, to obtain industry credentials in the agricultural area, to disseminate all positive aspects of pet therapy, to make students aware of all positive aspects of pet ownership and to share all positive aspects of 4-H and FFA membership and encourage participation.

Wayne County Fire & Rescue Association

These funds will cover the cost of the rescue tube, auger, training harnesses and accessories needed to begin training at the new indoor grain bin safety facility housed on the Wayne County Fire & Rescue Association’s training site. Over the last 2 1/2 years, two permanent bins and a grain leg have been erected, as well as a steel-framed building with a training platform around one of the bins so that training can take place in all types of weather, thanks to several community partners, including the county Farm Bureaus in the region and Nationwide.

StableMates, LLC

StableMates was founded in 2020 to provide animal relief service to small farm owners who own mixed-animals on their property in the state of Ohio. The company was created to provide exceptional care to animals and to provide peace of mind relief to small farm owners who may need support throughout the year to care for their animals. The grant will be used to recruit caretakers, specifically pre-vet students, vet students, vet techs, vet tech students and 4-H participants.

Pickaway Soil & Water Conservation District

Pickaway SWCD will provide all first grade students in Pickaway County with a children’s book about the farm-to-table process. “Right This Very Minute: a table-to-farm book about food and farming,” written by Lisl H. Detlefsen, illustrated by Renee Kurilla and published by American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s Feeding Minds Press, will reach both students and their families.

Leveraging the resources of the Fisher Fund for Lifelong Learning, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation launched a Youth Pathways initiative in 2018, focused on introducing students to and training them for careers in food, agricultural and environmental sciences. Each year, organizations throughout the state are invited to submit proposals for innovative projects that would help to address the need to attract more young people to careers in these fields.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is proud to announce that Noble Local School District and Mezzacello Urban Farms LLC are the 2021 recipients of the Youth Pathways for Careers in Agriculture Grants. A total of $100,000 will assist these two nonprofits as they develop programming that will prepare students for post-secondary training or direct placement in food, agricultural and environmental sciences industries.

Noble Local School District

The Green Acres Farm project will address multiple career exploration/experience needs throughout the Noble Local School District. First, Shenandoah High School plans to develop an agriculture pathway that leads to the Ohio AgriBusiness Association industry credential, which requires students to document 500 hours of work in an entrepreneurial, placement or research-driven project pertaining to the agriculture industry.

Additionally, the school district will provide Lean Six Sigma yellow belt training (3-point credential) and green belt training (6-point) to all high school students. Creating and implementing business plans for Green Acres Farm is consistent with earning these stackable business process improvement credentials, which will be instrumental in preparing students to be future ag-career ready.

Mezzacello Urban Farms, LLC

Mezzacello Urban Farms‘ project #BioLEGO seeks to dismantle the entire planning, planting, growing, harvesting and preserving of food in a community garden. By breaking each component into a project that relates to the building of a bioreactor to grow food anywhere, the #BioLEGO project aims to reduce the challenges of growing and to understand why food grows. As a result, the #BioLEGO project will help increase students’ understanding of sustainable agricultural processes.