Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dave Daniels told more than 200 guests attending the annual Groundhog’s Day Breakfast Friday morning that they should be proud that Fayette County is a rural county with great agriculture production and plays an important part each year in Ohio’s agriculture numbers.
“I also predict that 2018 is going to be another good year for agriculture in our state, ” he said.
Daniels was one of two guest speakers at the sixth-annual Fayette County Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event held at the Mahan Building, Fayette County Fairgrounds.
Daniels, a native of Greenfield, former mayor of Greenfield and Highland County Commissioner, was named Ohio Department of Agriculture director in 2012.
Daniels said it was, “fitting for me to be speaking on Groundhog’s Day because if there is ever an industry that is keen on repeating itself it is agriculture. We are thinking about what our season is going to look like each year, and always looking to see who will get the first seeds in the ground.”
He said Ohio farmers plant each March and April and take a break each summer for the fairs to work with FFA and 4-H groups, “Then we roll into fall and harvest season and usually a successful season. So yes, it is like Groundhog’s Day. We get an opportunity to do the same things each year and in the end it all works out for us in agriculture.”
Daniels said agriculture in Ohio is strong — $105 billion in Ohio’s economy annually and accounts for one in seven jobs. “These are numbers we are proud of. You look at places like Fayette County – where the agriculture landscape is king. You are in the heart of agriculture production in the state,” he told the Fayette County guests at the breakfast.
He pointed out that in Ohio, farmers grow a variety of crops, from corn and soybeans to being in the top 10 in the nation for specialty crops — non-traditional crops — such as Christmas trees, grapes, and maple syrup, “that make up about 200 different crops in Ohio,” he added.
“Our challenges? Our biggest challenge is helping understand what responsible food production in 2018 looks like. We try to let people know that we are lucky to have the food choices we have,” Daniels said.
A major challenge, he added, is continued work on water quality. “Our producers are responsible. They are the original environmentalists and they work hard every day to make sure they are current with land management practices.”
He pointed out that agriculture touches our lives in many ways. “On Sunday, at the Super Bowl, that leather for the football was made here in the midwest and the football was made here in Ada, Ohio.”
Also speaking at the breakfast was Dr. Steven A. Stovall, associate professor at Wilmington College. He gave a presentation called, “How to Think Like An Entrepreneur.”
He told the guests to think like an entrepreneur they must: Know what they do well; take risks; avoid negative people; don’t forget the basics; always be creative; your first employees should be your last employees; have good basic business sense; observe, learn and steal ideas; and have passion.
Presiding over the breakfast for the last time was Chamber president Whitney Gentry, who has taken a new job and was honored at the event for her services to the Chamber.
Also at the annual event was the “mystery” groundhog, a Chamber member dressed each year in costume in recognition of the day. This year’s costumed groundhog was revealed to be local businesswoman, Shirley Pettit.