Ohio Farmers Pay it Forward

May 5, 2011 11:00 AM


Farmers in Ohio understand the importance of a helping hand, so with the help of the Ohio Farm Bureau a group from across the state plans to travel to Alabama on Sunday to help storm torn farmers put their farms back together.
Ten years ago VanWert County, Ohio was hit by severe tornadoes. Farmers from Paulanne County traveled to help their neighbors. Now, that same group of farmers will be providing the same type of help to others. The group contacted the Ohio Farm Bureau and told Jennifer Wilson, the organization’s director for their counties, their interest in traveling to Alabama to help farmers affected by recent severe weather.  
Typically in May, farmers spend most of their time in the field and they don’t pay much attention to Farm Bureau according to Wilson. However, recently, Ohio has been plagued with lots of rain and wet fields are slowing down the planting process for many farmers.
"In their minds, it was too wet [to plant] and they may as well put their efforts elsewhere," Wilson says.
The idea is to go to Alabama and help clean debris out of the fields and hopefully give other farmers the chance to experience the blessing of a helping hand that they remember cherishing in their time of need. The group opened up the trip to become a state-wide initiative, they are calling "Pay it Forward" and farmers across Ohio are pitching in to help in several ways.
"We’ve had a great outpouring of those wanting to help," Wilson says. "Even farmers that cannot leave the farm, like dairy farmers, are donating items to help out."
Some farmers are donating funds, while one dairy farmer is loaning a camper for the group to stay in.
"Pay it Forward" is receiving non-farm help as well.
"We’ve had a caterer offer to come along and do the cooking for our group," Wilson says.
The group has contacted the Alabama Farmer Federation (the equivalent of Farm Bureau) and has been put in contact with three farmers in Guntersville, Ala. Guntersville was one of the areas hit severely by the storms and is looking forward to the aid provided by Ohio farmers.
 "They’re definitely looking for some help," Wilson says.  "Lots of people are in Alabama helping those in the towns, but the farmers definitely need it too."
According to Wilson, OFBF has been working with the Alabama farmers to determine their greatest needs. The group of do-gooders plan to leave on Sunday, weather permitting.
 "Ohio farmers are itching to get into the field," Wilson says. "It’s nice out now and if we don’t get the forecasted rain, we might have farmers hesitant because they might be able to get into the fields on Sunday."
If it doesn’t rain the group plans to make the trip the week of May 16th after they have had some time to get crops in the ground.
"We definitely have a group of farmers that are willing to give back to other farmers," Wilson says. "We’re just playing weather roulette."
For more information contact the Jennifer at OFBF. info@ofbf.org  

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