The agricultural community in Fulton County was proud to induct four deserving individuals into the Fulton County Agricultural Hall of Fame Monday, Aug. 24. The annual event is to recognize selected farmers and agribusiness leaders from Fulton County who have committed over 25 years or more of service to the agricultural industry locally, the state or region.
Since 1983, there have been 128 honorees inducted into the Hall. Inductees are selected by the Hall of Fame Committee in July after all applications have been reviewed.
This year’s winners were recognized at Monday’s ceremonies and will have a permanent plaque hung in their honor. The past winners will be on display in the Merchants Building on the fairgrounds and the 2015 class will be on display in the Hall of Fame Pavilion, just south of the Junior Fair Building.
During the year, the Hall of Fame plaques hang on the walls of the Robert Fulton Agriculture Center, 8770 State Highway 108, across the road from the fairgrounds.
The 2015 Fulton County Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees are Paul Andre, Jay Beck, Dr. Tony Forshey, D. V. M. and Edward Garrow.
Paul N. Andre has made nearly four decades of commitment to soil and water stewardship in Fulton County and Northwest Ohio through his Andre Land Forming earth moving business and Andre Farms crop operation, located in Dover and Chesterfield townships, north of Wauseon. Paul has implemented innovative tillage and planting practices along with soil conservation practices such as grass waterways, control stands and windbreaks on his farms.
In 1975, Paul earned his American Farmer Degree and in the late 1970’s, he was instrumental in bringing no-till practices to Fulton County. In 1982, Paul and his brother, Nathan Andre had the opportunity to buy out the farming and land forming business from their father, Norris Andre, Hall of Fame class of 1994.
As the managing partner in Andre Land Forming, Paul has helped farmers in the five county area conserve their soil and water resources, design and build ponds and construct livestock waste management systems. In 2012, Paul helped construct a Class Il licensed Environmental Protection Agency composting facility and lagoon as a part of Andre Farms.
As a leader in the agriculture industry, Paul has been a long time board member and co-chair of the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors Association (OLICA). Through OLICA he has helped construct a research wetland at OSU Lima, contribute to drainage research being done at Defiance County OSU Extension, coordinate Farm Science Review demonstrations and construct a two-stage ditch at The Ohio State University’s Waterman Farm.
Paul was appointed by Governors Voinovich and Taft to the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission in the late 1990’s. In Fulton County, he has served over 10 years on each of the Fulton Soil and Water Conservation District and Fulton County Farm Bureau Boards.
Paul is an active alumnus of Wauseon High School FFA and The Ohio State University. Following a tradition started by his father, Andre Land Forming is soon to exhibit machinery and promote agriculture at the fair every year. This past year, he served on the Breakfast On The Farm planning committee as facilities chairman. Additionally, Paul has carried many leadership roles at North Clinton Mennonite Church, including site chairman for the building expansion.
Paul’s expertise in drainage and land forming efforts have improved the Fulton County Fair, local churches, factories, schools, parks, farms and athletic fields.
Orval “Jay” Beck has dedicated a 56 year career to providing critical agricultural equipment and mechanical services to farmers in Fulton County and the surrounding areas. Through his leadership, management and co-ownership of Liechty Farm Equipment in Archbold, the agribusiness has grown to include seven John Deere dealerships serving Northwest Ohio, Southeast Michigan and Northeast Indiana.
Prior to his relationship with Liechty Farm Equipment, Jay earned a Purple Heart in 1944 serving his country through the United State Army during World War Il. Upon returning home from service, Jay began raising livestock and crops on the family farm up through 1955.
In 1956, he began working in the Liechty Farm Equipment parts department in downtown Archbold. He worked there for several years when his future, more mechanically inclined partner, Wayne Liechty recognized his business management gifts and hired him as general manager.
In 1963, Jay became part owner of the dealership at the same time it became incorporated as Liechty Farm Equipment, Incorporated. Jay’s roles at the business grew to include Vice-President and President until his retirement in 2011. Under Jay’s management, the business grew to include farm equipment dealerships in Edgerton, Paulding, Napoleon, and Angola, Ind. as well as two consumer rental locations in Wauseon and Archbold. In retirement, Jay continues to stay involved in the Liechty Farm real estate entities while the dealership has seen continued growth.
His dealership served as a place for vocational agriculture and community college students to gain work experience. Many FFA youth, farmers and community members have witnessed the marvels of new farm equipment through his annual “John Deere Days.” Jay was well known for always providing quality service to the area farm community and did so through clinics, field days and personal conversation. His employees and former partners say that Jay had a knack for being fair to everyone while keeping the employers, customers, parent company and community functioning in harmony. He was a true business leader, teacher and mentor.
Jay has been a leader in his community serving as a trustee of the Archbold Area Foundation, as an advisory board member to Four County Career Center, as director of the First National Bank of Northwest Ohio and in various capacities at Archbold United Methodist Church. Jay is a dedicated servant leader in his family roles as husband, father, grandfather and brother.
Dr. Tony Forshey, D.V.M.
Dr. Tony Forshey, D.V.M. has served Fulton County, the state of Ohio, and the Midwest as a highly respected and reputable veterinarian for over 35 years. Currently, as Ohio’s State Veterinarian within the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) for the past nine years, Dr. Forshey insures that all 4-H and FFA livestock projects exhibited at state and county fairs are meeting regulations.
His division at ODA is in charge of the Drug Use Notification Forms at local fairs, assuring consumers that all market livestock projects entering the food chain are free of medications. As a member of the Ohio 4-H Extension Advisory Committee, he was and continues to be an integral part of managing animal health outbreaks during fair season like the swine influenza virus and currently, avian influenza. Even more, he helps commercial producers, county fair boards and the general public understand these health risks through presentations, meetings and published fact sheets.
Over the past 20 years, Forshey has served as an Adjunct Associate Professor at his alma mater, The Ohio State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. As a guest lecturer to aspiring veterinary students, he has impressed upon them the value of on-farm visits and consultations as it relates to client communication and disease prevention.
Prior to his work at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Forshey had been a private practice veterinarian for 27 years based in Fulton County. His Fulton County practice served not only Fulton County but much of the Midwest, with a major focus on swine health. Many livestock farmers in Fulton County were visited by Dr. Forshey during his private practice years. At the Fulton County Fair, Forshey served as the fair veterinarian. His practice was responsible for inspecting 4-H and FFA livestock prior to weigh-ins.
Forshey is the Vice Chair for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board and member of the Ohio Livestock Export Council, National Swine Influenza Working Group, and board of directors for the National Institute for Animal Agriculture and the United States Animal Health Association. He has received numerous honors and awards including the National Institute on Animal Agriculture’s “Animal Advocacy Award”, the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Distinguished Alumni Award and the Ohio Cattleman’s Association Beef Industry Service Award.
Edward Garrow has spent a lifetime as an advocate for Fulton County agriculture, specifically through the Fulton County Fair and Farm Bureau. A resident of Fayette in Chesterfield Township, Ed continues to live on the family dairy farm where he grew up. At 77 years young, Ed continues to farm today and is excited about transitioning his farm on to his two sons.
Ed’s love and passion for the agriculture industry has shown through in his 30-plus years of commitment to the Fulton County Fair. He has helped with fair setup for as long as he can remember. His efforts started with just a few days of volunteer time and have grown over the years to four or five weeks.
From Ed’s perspective, the fair is a perfect opportunity to educate people about farm life, where our food comes from, and how a particular machine operates. Time has just increased Ed’s enthusiasm for our fair.
One of the major fair projects that Ed helped coordinate was the moving of the three large livestock barns at the south end of the fairgrounds. This project took nearly a year between the 1994 and 1995 fairs and helped reshape the fair into the new millennium.
Ed and his wife Wilma have also helped with the Junior Fair Board in the past. Many times they have driven youth to fair conventions and have continued to do so in retirement.
He has been active Fulton Farm Bureau for over 50 years, serving on Farm Bureau Council for over 20 years, representing farmers on legislative issues and helping formulate grassroots policy decisions.
Ed was an FFA member in high school and continues to attend Trinity Lutheran Church in Morenci, Mich., where he has served as elder.
Ed is known in the community as being consistent, reliable and fair to everyone. He is a very humble man who loves helping people with no desire for the limelight.