COLUMBUS – The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Board of Trustees Tuesday named Adam Sharp the organization’s new executive vice president effective July 18.
Sharp succeeds John C. “Jack” Fisher, who has served as executive vice president since 1996. Last October, Fisher made public his intention to retire from the organization.
In an interview with Rural Life Today Tuesday, after the announcement, Sharp was asked what his priorities will be in his new position. He said communications and membership are the keys.
“All the way up and down, we have to have as seamless an organization as possible. Making sure that we communicate with the members – that is really important. We have to have interaction with all our members at the county level, state and national level. We are only as strong as we can be if we have that communication with membership,” he said.
Sharp said the future membership of the Farm Bureau is another priority. “What do we want it to be? What will our organization look like and how will it serve our members? That is the key,” he said. “We want to make sure that when you buy your membership that you are getting the services you want, and that we are serving you the best way we can. That is very important to me. We must reach out and talk with our agriculture partners. We have so many jobs in our communities, including the suburban and urban communities that support agriculture. We want to be sure we are looking at all of these opportunities.”
What does he see as the biggest issue or issues facing the Farm Bureau and its members in the future?
“The farm economy, and making sure we have as strong a farm economy as possible here in Ohio is always important to us, for farmers large and small. Some commodity prices are down right now, corn and wheat prices. How long are they going to be down? This is a big issue with us. Another issue is water quality and the things we are doing, our efforts in this area. The series of things we are doing are very important for the state,” Sharp said.
He said the final issue is politics. “Here in an election season, it is very important for anyone in any party to be knowledgeable in food production in Ohio and how important that is to our economy. It is important for our farm economy to engage in that political process to educate those who are currently in office or running for office that they understand how important that is for our state.”
Sharp has held several key positions at Ohio Farm Bureau since 2004. Currently, he serves as vice president of public policy, in which he oversees state and federal government relations; legislative and regulatory affairs; legal, animal and food issues; grassroots policy development and the organization’s Agriculture for Good Government Political Action Committee (AGGPAC).
Prior to joining Ohio Farm Bureau, Sharp held various policy and government relations roles with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the American Farm Bureau Federation. He also served as a teaching assistant for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and as a radio producer for Agri-Broadcasting Network (ABN). Sharp graduated from Ohio State University in 1994 where he majored in agricultural communications with a minor in international economic and social development.
“Adam is one of the nation’s foremost policy experts in agriculture and has a deep understanding of the rapidly changing food and agriculture industry,” said OFBF President and chair of the search committee, Frank Burkett III. “We are confident that Adam will provide strong and collaborative leadership as the Ohio Farm Bureau moves toward an exciting future,” Burkett said.
As executive vice president, Sharp will serve as the chief executive of the statewide organization and lead efforts to advance its mission to forge a partnership between farmers and consumers.
Sharp grew up working on his family’s farm in southern Ohio, which he now owns and operates with his brothers. He and his wife, Lisa, have two children and reside in Amanda.
Gary Brock is the editor of the Civitas publication Rural Life Today. He can be reached at 937-556-5759 or on Twitter at GBrock4.