May 2008

Rural and Farm Residents Recognized as Neighbor of the Year

COLUMBUS, OH - In this age of computers, text messaging and cell phones, some might think the art of being a good neighbor is long gone. Not so for two special recipients of this year's Ohio Livestock Coalition (OLC) Neighbor of the Year Awards.
The OLC and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation created the neighbor award program to recognize livestock producers and rural residents who work hard to build bridges between neighbors in Ohio's countryside. This year's winners were honored at the 2008 OLC annual meeting and industry symposium held April 8.

Being a good neighbor means being responsible, courteous and respectful of others. A good neighbor is considerate of private property and the need for farmers to safeguard their business that helps preserve the rural landscape that everyone enjoys. Exemplifying these characteristics are the 2008 Neighbor of the Year nominees: Gene Humbarger of Williams County and Hord Livestock of Crawford County.

Humbarger, the 2008 Non-Farmer Neighbor of the Year, was nominated by Leon Weaver of Bridgewater Dairy LLC. "Gene is always talking up the dairy, animal agriculture and agriculture in general to the neighbors and friends throughout the greater Montpelier area," said Weaver. "He interacts with youth with an interest in animal agriculture and has contacted the dairy to explore internship opportunities for such youth."

According to Weaver, he was first contacted by Gene when he was in the fields making haylage. Gene walked to the middle of the field, introduced himself, said he welcome the dairy into the neighborhood and wanted to schedule a time to visit with Leon and learn more about the dairy operation. Since then, Gene has arranged for various tours and travel provisions to the dairy for friends and church members.

In recognition of his neighborly ways, Humbarger was presented with a plaque and proclamation of gratitude from Ohio Governor Tom Strickland. In addition, Humbarger received a $250 cash donation to his favorite local charity, Compassion Medical Clinic, courtesy of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.  

The second award, Livestock Farmer Neighbor of the Year, was presented to Hord Livestock of Bucyrus, which was nominated by the Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC). "The Hord family and their team members are easily described as responsible, courteous and respectful of others," said Dick Isler of the OPPC. "A family and company culture of high values has been observed by working with Pat, Janel, Matt and many others within the organization."

Hord Livestock has taken great measures to become leaders and role-models in the area of neighbor relations. One example being the D-Card they have developed as a means to tell their business story and educate neighbors on modern pork production. They also contact neighbors through their Neighbor Newsletter that invites the community to share dates and times of special occasions, which Hord Livestock plans their manure application around.

They are also involved in the community by participating in the Bratwurst Festival Parade, job fairs, and county fair booths, donating pork to area soup kitchens, plowing neighbors' drives with their equipment and delivering Christmas hams to their immediately surrounding neighbors. Such qualities make Hord Livestock, represented by Pat and Janel Hord and Matt Davis, a worthy winner of this honor.

In recognition of their community commitment and dedication toward being a good neighbor, Hord Livestock received a plaque, a proclamation from Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and a $250 cash donation to their favorite local charity. This award was presented courtesy of Ohio Farm Bureau.