A sellout crowd turned out Friday morning for what organizers described as a very successful 2nd annual Agriculture is Everyone’s Business event sponsored by the Highland County Chamber of Commerce and held at the Southern State Community College Patriot Center in Hillsboro.
The featured speaker was Max Armstrong of “This Week in AgriBusiness,” whose broadcasts have been heard nationally by farmers and consumers for nearly 30 years.
Brad Elmore, a chamber committee member who helped originate the event, said Armstrong told lots of stories, but spoke mostly about genetically modified products and how farmers need to be using all the technology available to them. Elmore said Armstrong also spoke about how many jobs depend on agriculture, from people in the fuel business, fertilizer business, seed business and more, to farmers themselves.
“So many hands touch each each aspect of farming,” Elmore said. “Agriculture touches everyone’s life in one way or another, whether they realize it or not.”
Elmore said the event not only serves as a fundraiser for the chamber, but helps promote the importance of agriculture locally.
“It’s a great deal for the chamber, but the big thing we talked about three years ago when we were trying to put this thing together is that you all hear about all the industry and other big business in this area, but agriculture gets overlooked. Without agriculture in this county, it wouldn’t be half of what it is. You think of what agriculture means around here; it means a lot.”
Chamber president Melissa Elmore said the chamber sold all 425 of its $15 tickets. In addition, about 60 FFA members, mostly officers, from each of the five public school districts in the county helped serve a steak and eggs breakfast provided by the Highland County Cattlemen’s Association, as did the agriculture students from Southern State.
The event had 24 other sponsors who made in-kind donations or donations of $1,000.
An auction of toy and model tractors, donated by local individuals and businesses, also helped make the event a success.
An International toy tractor first sold for $1,500 to South Central Power and Merchants National Bank. They donated it back and it sold the second time for $1,000 to Hess Auction, Fender Realty and Holbrook Farms.
John Deere Model H and a John Deere 720 toy tractors sold for $600 each, one of them to Brown Farms, a model Farmall tractor sold for $1,000 to Five Points Greenhouse in Sardinia, and a model John Deere sold for $350 to Thompson Funeral Homes and the Susan Davis Law Office.
Greenfield native and Ohio Director of Agriculture David Daniels also spoke, as did Jim Gorman, a lifelong Highland County resident who has won several national competitions with the miniature toy farm equipment he builds from scratch.
Melissa Elmore said plans for next year’s event are already in the works.
“It was great. Fantastic,” she said. “I’d say we had over 500 people total with the FFA students and everyone else. It’s all about about how important agriculture is to the local community. Our speaker, Max Armstrong, was very, very personable. He said he’s been to a lot of ag events and was very, very impressed.”