Through its annual County Activities of Excellence Awards, the American Farm Bureau Federation celebrates county Farm Bureaus for their unique, volunteer-driven programming. Scioto County Farm Bureau was among 12 county Farm Bureaus recognized for their programs and activities in 2019 and 2020.
In February 2020, Scioto County (Ohio) Farm Bureau partnered with the local Soil and Water Conservation District to provide an evening of education for small farmers, homesteaders and others interested in learning about mushrooms, organic gardening, beekeeping, canning and freezing, maple syrup or salve making.
Conservation School is Cool, which cost $5 for Farm Bureau members and $10 for non-members, featured a quick dinner and a kids zone with activities and crafts. Adult attendees had the chance to sit in on two classes of their choice after dinner. The sessions were led by local experts who incorporated good land stewardship and conservation into their presentations and provided accessible resources.
Wanting to provide tools along with educational information, Scioto County Farm Bureau gave participants a raffle ticket for a drawing for prizes that related to the classes they took. For the session on beekeeping, for example, the raffle prizes included a beginning hive kit, a veiled hat, gloves and various honeybee books.
The event targeted a smaller segment of the county’s farming community, one that more typical Scioto County Farm Bureau members weren’t as familiar with. For these members, it was an opportunity to get to know more about their neighbors who were interested in farming or who were already engaged in farming, albeit on a much smaller scale. In addition, Conservation School is Cool allowed non-Farm Bureau members to learn more about the dynamic, inclusive programing the organization offers. And for all involved, it was a chance to expand engagement within the county’s agricultural community.
Conservation School is Cool was first held in 2019, with 125 adults and 15 children participating. In 2020, attendance jumped to 165 adults and 28 children. The event was not held in 2021 because of the pandemic, but Scioto County Farm Bureau is looking forward to hosting Conservation School is Cool in 2022.
Applications are open through Sept. 1 for the 2021 County Activities of Excellence. Up to 24 counties will display their winning activities at the 2021 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention and Trade Show in Atlanta in January. County award winners receive up to four free registrations to the Annual Convention (cost of travel and housing not included) and a $2,250 stipend to apply toward the cost of travel and exhibition.