Ohio Ag Hall of Fame inductees have CFAES ties

The Ohio Agricultural Council recently announced its 2016 Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees, and some faces familiar to CFAES are among them: alumnus and supporter Jack Fisher, alumnus Dick Isler, and former OSU Extension director Keith Smith. 

All four nominees — the fourth is retired Ohio Farmer editor Tim White — have committed their lives to working in, promoting and advocating for Ohio’s farm community. They will be inducted as the Hall of Fame’s 51st class during a special breakfast ceremony Aug. 5 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.

“Our board is extraordinarily pleased to be honoring such an outstanding group of inductees into this year’s class,” said Jim Chakeres, OAC president. “Each inductee stands out individually for his exceptional contributions to Ohio agriculture, but together they represent the passion, creativity and hard work evidenced by their collective decades of unmatched experience.”

Induction will take place in the all-new Cardinal Hall at the fairgrounds, which will feature an expanded Hall of Fame display and salute to Ohio’s agriculture community. This year’s inductees will join 217 prior recipients named since 1966 when the program began.

John C. (Jack) Fisher, Columbus, Ohio

Often described as a visionary leader, Jack Fisher has served as executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation for two decades. From the farmer and consumer connection to political advocacy on behalf of the community and industry, Fisher’s efforts have helped the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Ohio agriculture shape strong policies that impact all Ohioans.

Previously, Fisher served as deputy director and assistant director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and Marketing Board, executive director of governmental affairs and commodities for Illinois Farm Bureau, and plant manager for Wyandot Inc.

Fisher has served on numerous agricultural boards and committees and has received state and national recognitions for his leadership to the industry.

J. Richard (Dick) Isler, Delaware, Ohio

Born and raised on a livestock farm, Dick Isler has devoted his entire career in service to Ohio agriculture. For more than 40 years, Isler served as the executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council. Under his leadership, the Ohio Pork Council was considered by many as one of the top state pork associations in the country. Farmers, 4-H’ers, processors, marketers, elected officials, researchers, fair managers and consumers have all benefited from Isler’s commitment and leadership to agriculture with an emphasis on swine.

Isler has received many awards and recognitions, including the Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame, Animal Sciences Department Hall of Fame and National Pork Producers Council Executive Professional Award.

Keith L. Smith, Hilliard, Ohio

For more than four decades, Keith Smith has dedicated his life to engaging and strengthening individuals’ lives and communities through research-based educational programming. His career began as an agricultural science teacher in Brigham City, Utah. Through the years, he has served as professor, associate vice president for agricultural administration, director of OSU Extension and associate dean of CFAES.

Serving as the director of OSU Extension for more than 20 years, Smith managed a $68 million budget and oversaw nearly 800 faculty and support staff. Under his leadership, OSU Extension was recognized as one of the best Extension programs in the country.

Timothy F. White, Lancaster, Ohio

Tim White has helped translate the science and issues of agriculture to both farmers and consumers for nearly 40 years. When writing for farmers, his stories about production, policy, economics and industry trends provided valuable knowledge and insight. When writing to consumers, his stories positioned Ohio agriculture as interesting and relevant. As a veteran farm writer for Ohio Farmer magazine, White has been recognized as one of the most admired ag-beat writers in the company’s history.

In addition, White has been an active contributor to the agricultural community. He has dedicated his talents to the extended farm family as a supporter of youth development, a participant in farm organizations, and a leader in state and national journalism organizations. He is also a recognized leader in the advocacy of land conservation and land use.

The annual recognition event is expected to attract 500 guests to honor these four professionals for their lifetime of service and dedication to Ohio's agriculture community.

For further information about sponsorship in honor of the inductees or to obtain tickets induction ceremony, contact the Ohio Ag Council at 614-794-8970 or info@ohioagcouncil.org.—Rachel C. Rittinger, Senior Executive Assistant, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation