Reflecting on our agricultural heritage

By Ken Ford - OSU Extension Fayette County

In 2001 the first individuals were inducted into the Fayette County Agricultural Hall of Fame. The idea of the Agricultural Hall of Fame came about by Larry Lotz, who was the Fayette County Extension Agent at that time and was about to retire.

Lotz mentioned the idea, and at his retirement party Roger Bonham suggested they start the committee to select members to be in this elite and distinguished group. Money raised from Lotz’s retirement party was used to kick-start a treasury, and so it began from there.

Since that first idea and committee was formed, 55 members have been honored and recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in the agricultural industry. Each of the inductees represents contributions to the agricultural industry not only here in Fayette County, but also includes contributions in agriculture at the state, national and many times international levels.

The people who are represented in the beautiful oak cabinet located in the hallway at the Fayette County Agricultural Center are former seed breeders, livestock producers, crop producers, agricultural education personnel, agricultural business people, agricultural extension personnel, and designers of agricultural equipment for both livestock and crop production — just to illustrate the diversity of the inductees and their agricultural accomplishments. The agricultural center is located at 1415 US Hwy 22 SW in Washington Court House.

The time has come for Fayette County residents to reflect on their agricultural heritage. During this reflection time, those interested are being asked to think of an individual or individuals who you have known that have many accomplishments in the agricultural industry. The accomplished individual may be a local farmer, agricultural business person, agricultural teacher, agricultural engineer, or an agricultural entrepreneur. The individual must have made contributions to the agricultural industry in Fayette County, the state level, the national level and possibly even the international level of the agricultural industry.

The most recent Fayette County Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees most definitely fit the aforementioned criteria. In 2018 the selection committee inducted two outstanding recipients for the award: John P. Gruber and Wayne E. Arnold. Gruber is a former County Extension Agent, still a very involved community leader and a well-known agronomist. Gruber and his wife, Sandy, reside outside New Holland and is the proud father of two daughters and five grandchildren. Arnold is still a very active community volunteer, involved in production agriculture and a member of the Fayette County Fair Board. Arnold and his wife, Leslie, live outside Washington Court House, and he is a proud father of his son and grandson.

It is time, once again, to nominate outstanding individuals for their accomplishments, contributions or involvement in the world of agriculture. The Ag Hall of Fame applications are available online at The format allows you to complete the application online, save it to print and bring to the extension office or email to

The application states the necessary information needed about a nominee. Once an application has been submitted for consideration by the committee, it will continue to be considered each year. Applications to be considered for the 2019 Fayette County Agricultural Hall of Fame are available and are due back to the extension office by Sept. 10.

The committee will be meeting on Sept. 25 to discuss the current nominations and set a date for the 2019 annual banquet. If you have any questions or if you would be interested in serving on the Ag Hall of Fame committee, please feel free to contact Ken Ford at 740-335-1150 or at .

By Ken Ford

OSU Extension Fayette County