Friday, April 10, 2015

April News from the Central Ohio Young Farmers

April News from the Central Ohio Young Farmers

Save the Date: our next meeting of the Central Ohio Young Farmers council will be Tuesday 4/14.  Our special guest will be Jordan Hoewischer, Ohio Farm Bureau's new water quality specialist!  Jordan has served as a member of the Franklin County Farm Bureau Board, and is a graduate of the AgriPower program.  He will join our council to share what Ohio Farm Bureau is doing to promote water quality in Ohio, and how his new role will serve as a part of Farm Bureau's commitment to healthy waters.  Please join us at Gresso's at 961 South High Street, in German Village (same location as our Holiday party).  Cocktails start at 6:30pm, with Jordan presenting at approximately 7pm.  This will be a very fun social activity, and a great way to meet other young professionals in agriculture!

Special thanks go to Kylene Dietemyer, Cassie Williams, and Amy Zwayer for their efforts to plan the 2015 Women in Agriculture celebration at Jorgensen Farms!  The delicious brunch was catered by PBJ Catering of Ashville, and this local business did a fantastic job.  The honor of 2014 Woman of the Year was presented to Wilma Roberts.  Known affectionately as "Grandma", this dynamic lady volunteers her time to teach children at the Highland Youth Gardens.  Franklin County Farm Bureau supports this urban garden financially to assist with its mission of introducing children to raising produce.  The Franklin County Farm Bureau Board was delighted to honor Grandma Roberts for her dedication to teaching children, improving her community, and inspiring appreciation for gardening in an urban setting!

Several members of our council travelled to Clark County for the regional young agricultural professionals event on 3/21/15.  Two educational tracks were offered for attendees during the afternoon portion: one focused on small farms and the other addressed larger farms.  Thanks to Kylene Dietemyer of Franklin County Farm Bureau for helping to organize this event!  Kylene led a session which highlighted farm equipment, and did an outstanding job.  Neall Weber & Katherine Harrison had the opportunity to have dinner with keynote speaker Drew Hastings.  Mayor Hastings of Hillsboro was a fantastic speaker, and even gave a memorable shout out to Neall during his presentation!  Be sure to ask Neall about this!

Huge props go to the amazing Jody Carney for organizing Farm to City Day at Norwood Elementary School in West Jefferson!  This is an annual program that Madison County Farm Bureau puts on to teach young people about farming.  Each year, volunteers visit a different elementary school in Madison County.  Jody did a fantastic job of planning this event, and even recruited Katherine Harrison & Rebekah Headings to teach students about sheep & goats!  This program is a great example of how Farm Bureau members work to connect with their local community on farming.

DON'T FORGET: Applications for AgriPower are due on 4/17 to Ohio Farm Bureau.  Our council member Rebekah Headings graduated last month from this leadership program for individuals involved in agriculture!  It is an amazing opportunity to learn more about agriculture, gain an understanding of policy issues, and network with leaders from across the state of Ohio.  In addition, you are guaranteed to meet amazing  individuals who will be your AgriPower classmates!  For more information, visit or ask Rebekah about her experiences!

What is Farm Bureau?  Ohio Farm Bureau is made up of county organizations that work to promote farms, connect farmers with consumers, provide education & networking opportunities, and support policy that benefits the farm community.  As part of its grassroots efforts, county Farm Bureaus encourage the development of councils: groups of individuals who socialize, debate ideas, and support each other in our farm endeavors.  The Central Ohio Young Farmers (and young at heart) council was started in 2007, and is congenially known as the Irish Pirates.  It encompasses Both Madison & Franklin county farmers, and strives to address issues relative to being a BMF farmer!

Save the Date . . .
4/16 Madison County Policy Lunch
4/20 Franklin County board meeting
4/28 Delaware County Board Meeting
5/5 COUNCIL MEETING: special tour of the Ft. Hayes FFA Chapter
5/18 Franklin County Board Meeting
5/28 Union County Farm Bureau Grow & Know event at Mitchell's Berries
6/2 Union County Policy Breakfast
6/2 COUNCIL MEETING: special guest Justice Judi French of the Ohio Supreme Court
6/3 Union County board meeting
6/6 Breakfast on the Farm hosted by Madison & Franklin Counties
6/23 Madison County board meeting
7/11 Ice cream with a Farmer hosted by Union County
7/12 COUNCIL MEETING: tentative date for summer picnic

Have an idea for a council event?  Want to highlight an activity in the council e-newsletter?  Curious how to get involved?  Contact Katherine Harrison at with your ideas!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Appomattox Day

150 years ago today, General Lee met General Grant at the McLean House at Appomattox VA to sign the instrument of surrender.  This was the beginning of the end for Civil War fighting.  Within a few months, the remaining Confederate generals would also surrender.  General Lee's troops were allowed to return home, permitted to keep their horses, given rations, and able to retain their side-arms if they were an officer.  The generosity shown by General Grant toward the defeated was unique for the victor of a civil war.  Winston Churchill later wrote that this magnanimity "stands high in the story of the United States."  

I love history, and I especially adore being able to see the history of the United States in my own family. Harrisons were on both sides of the Civil War.  Taps was actually written while General McClellan's Army of the Potomac was encamped at Berkeley Plantation, the home of the Harrisons in Virginia.  President Lincoln visited the troops there, and used this location as his base to visit Richmond after it was taken by Union forces.  Following the war, the Harrisons did not return to Berkeley.  My own branch of the family had migrated to Ohio after the Revolution, and they were raising sheep in Knox County by the time of the Civil War.  I find it interesting that the pioneer spirit led my ancestor David Harrison to travel to the new state of Ohio to build a life, while his cousins remained in Virginia and eventually lost their home when they fled before the Union troops.

David's son John Lum Harrison was a little too old to go off to battle when the Civil War began, and John Lum's son James Virgil was just a child during the war.  James Virgil was the paternal grandfather of my own grandfather Virgil Grube Harrison.  My grandfather's maternal grandfather, however, saw significant military action during the Civil War.

John Kurtz Grube was my great-great-grandfather.  At age 21, he enlisted in the 17th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  According to family legend, I had always heard that John Kurtz Grube marched with General Sherman from Atlanta to the sea.  This morning, I got out the picture I have of him, and decided to see if I could verify this family legend.  I was absolutely delighted -- thanks to Wikipedia -- to be able to trace the movements of his regiment and confirm that it did see action throughout the South in the time he served, including marching from Atlanta to the sea.

From genealogical research done by my grandfather, Private Grube was mustered out on 5 June 1865.  In 1868, he married Rebecca Ann Wagner.  They settled first in Carroll, in Fairfield County. They farmed there, and their first two children (Dora & Clarence) were born there.  Later, they moved to a small farm on Maize Road in Columbus.  According to my grandfather's records, John worked for the railroad and then for Columbus Door & Sash to supplement his farm income.  The latter job required John to walk from Maize Road to downtown Columbus to then take the horse drawn public transport car to West Columbus for a job that paid $1.25 per day.  John & Rebecca had two more daughters, Portia Katherine and Monnie Hazel (my amazing great-grandmother).  My grandfather was close to his aunt Portia, and was an advocate for the name Katherine when my father suggested it for me.  Portia Katherine was herself named after John's mother Katherine Kurtz Grube -- who was born in 1801 before Ohio was a state, had her son John at age 42, and passed away in 1889.  My mother Rebecca was named after John's wife Rebecca.  The Civil War feels much more recent when I think about these men & women who are my family.

I share this with you not simply because I am enamored of my own family history, but because I hope it serves as an example to remind us that the men & women who lived through the Civil War are not that distant.  They lived lives with many of the same struggles that we have, just at a different time.  John Kurtz Grube was only 21 when he went off to engage in fighting to protect the Union in a bloody Civil War.  He was just one young man, yet his efforts helped to contribute to preserving our nation and protecting equal rights for all.  I hope that in the present day, we are all willing to pledge our lives & fortunes to the same efforts: protecting our great nation and supporting equality of opportunity for all.