In the Interest of Full Disclosure…

Lindsay and I have the opportunity to serve on a number of Boards, Committees, Advisory Panels, and Task Forces by the virtue of our roles in the agricultural community. Typically, these Boards have been for non-profit organizations that benefit all of agriculture, for example my service on the Ohio FFA Foundation Board of Trustees, or Lindsay’s tenure as President-Elect of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. We’ve traditionally abstained for seeking or accepting positions of leadership in policy-driven member organizations as part of our commitment to being fair-minded journalists covering the business, science, industry, and lifestyle of agriculture. For example, we may be in Washington, DC covering the National Farmers’ Union Legislative Fly-In one week, and be in town the next covering the policy efforts of the American Farm Bureau Federation. We are, in that sense, non-partisan and multi-organizational.



My background and passion in farming, however, is in the beef industry. I grew up in a small farm family where Dad managed a feedlot, and later I owned a small herd of cow/calf pairs. My love of beef cattle and cattle people led me to participate in the state and national Beef Ambassador programs, and last year to begin assembling a herd of elite Shorthorn cows and genetics. I love being back in the beef business, and I especially enjoy speaking as an advocate for farm families in the cattle sector.



To that end, I was seated today on the Board of Directors of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation. I’ve long been a member of OCA, and have always been impressed with the organization’s ability to serve its members and lobby on their behalf. The staff is excellent, and the volunteer leaders of the Association are some of the top farmers in our state. I’m honored to have been elected to this position by the members in my District.



I felt I owed it to you to share this information up front so you knew that I had taken an exception to my vow of “objective observation only” in regards to matters of policy. As part of my role on the Board I’ll be asked to help guide the policies of our organization, and occasionally to speak to our elected representatives in Columbus and Washington on issues affecting farm families in our membership. I look forward to doing so, and especially look forward to representing the members who’ve placed in me their trust.



I also promise you that when you hear my voice on your local radio station, you’ll know that I am both a professional broadcast journalist dedicated to giving you the story “straight down the middle,” and that I take my role as an advocate for all Ohio agriculture very seriously. I’m here for you regardless of the crop you grow or to what organizations you might pay dues.



My hope, by the way, is that you’ll join me in being an active leader in our industry. As I wrote in my column last week, Ohio is the land of leadership in the farm community. We have literally dozens upon dozens of outstanding volunteers leading farm organizations at the local, state, and national levels. This servant leadership is the backbone of our success as a farm community. Our ability to forge coalitions as with the Issue 2 campaign, and to advocate for common sense legislation in Columbus and Washington is because we have strong relationships formed by strong farm leaders.



Step up and get involved; we’ll be glad to have you serving, whatever your area of service leadership may be.