Fulton Co. 2020 Ag Hall of Fame inductees named

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The 2020 inductees to the Fulton County Agricultural Hall of Fame were recently announced by the Ohio State University Extension Office and Hall of Fame selection committee.

Inductees include Trish Andre (posthumously), Jerry Borton, Dean Genter, and Jill Stechschulte.

The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to recognize selected farmers or agribusiness leaders from Fulton County who have committed over 25 years or more of service to the agricultural industry in the county, state or region. Since 1983, there have been 152 honorees inducted into the Fulton County Agricultural Hall of Fame.

This year’s inductees were selected by the Hall of Fame Committee in August after all applications were reviewed. They were announced virtually on social media on Labor Day. The inductees will have a permanent plaque hung in their honor at the new fair office building on the Fulton County Fairgrounds. Each honoree will receive an identical plaque for their home, courtesy of the 2020 sponsor, the Fayette FFA chapter.

Trish Andre

Trish Andre’s passion for agriculture began as a young girl on her family’s Jersey dairy farm in Indiana, and continued throughout her career in Fulton County, until her passing in 2019. Trish is being inducted posthumously into the Agricultural Hall of Fame for her work as an agronomist, farmer, and agricultural advocate in Fulton County for nearly 35 years.

As an agronomist for Andre Farms, and through her small agronomy business, A.M. Consulting, Trish helped farmers, landowners, and gardeners with soil sampling, fertility, and integrated pest management recommendations. In 1995, Ohio Prairie Farmer named her the Agriculture Woman of the Year and published a story on her agronomy business.

On the farm, Trish not only provided recommendations but also coordinated pre-market research trials with Ohio State, Bayer, AGCO, and Stoller. Several of the trials led to highly successful products that have benefited many in row-crop agriculture. As the family farm diversified into composting, she worked closely with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to stay current on regulations and records.

Trish was highly active in the community. As a 4-H advisor for over 15 years, she advised youth in sewing, dairy, poultry, and gardening projects, and served on the OSU Extension Advisory Committee for two terms, serving her last as chair. She also volunteered many hours to the local Wauseon FFA chapter and at the Breakfast On The Farm events. Through Farm Bureau and other organizations, Trish spent time confidently advocating for agriculture to elected officials on the national, state, and local levels, often hosting them at the family farm.

In the 1990s, she spent four weeks in the Ukraine for the Farmer to Farmer Exchange with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Trish also taught youth at North Dover Church and coached Bible quiz bowl at North Clinton Church. She knew no strangers, and wanted nothing more than to better the lives and environment she touched.

Trish and her husband, Nate, raised three adult children with a keen interest in agriculture and dairy to this day.

Jerry Borton

Jerry Borton is being inducted into the Fulton County Agricultural Hall of Fame as an agricultural lender, crop consultant, and farmer. Jerry grew up on the family farm located in Dover Township but raised his family in Wauseon after transitioning to an agribusiness career in the 1980s. He began his career working three years as a 4-H Extension agent in Madison County before moving back to northwest Ohio. He then worked at Zehr and Company in Gerald, eventually managing its fertilizer operations for six years.

At that time, Jerry decided to start his own crop consulting business, Agri Crop Management, giving fertility and pest management recommendations to farmers for 13 years. He then had an opportunity to transition his career to agricultural lending at Farmers and Merchants State Bank, primarily operating from the Delta branch. Jerry retired in 2019 after 26 years of service with the bank. During his tenure, he was vice president and ag loan director overseeing five other agri-finance lenders and growing one of the largest ag loan portfolios in northwest Ohio. Perhaps Jerry was most respected for his down-to-earth banking relationships and assisting young farmers find access to capital.

Jerry stayed current on agricultural issues, and, seeing the value in education, he arranged several educational seminars for farmers in the area. He was one of the organizing members of the Agricultural Bankers Conference held in Ohio each year. Jerry also actively farmed the family grain farm north of Wauseon up through his retirement in 2019. Actively farming gave him the experience to stay relevant and practical when working with his customers.

At the Fulton County Fair, Jerry has logged many hours as clerk of the Livestock Sale Committee, ensuring all youth get rewarded for their hard work on livestock projects. In the community, he has served as a member of the Wauseon Planning Commission and represented the city on the Maumee Valley Planning Commission. He has been a past associate supervisor for the Fulton Soil and Water Conservation District. He is an active member of Crossroads Evangelical Church, serving as elder and church chairman.

Jerry and his wife, Linda, are parents of three adult daughters and take an active part in their families. He is regarded as a trusted, kind-hearted leader who goes the extra mile for his customers.

Dean Genter

Dean Genter, of German Township, has committed over 40 years of service to the agricultural community in Fulton County as a farmer, Farm Bureau advocate, and county commissioner.

As a livestock and grain farmer, Dean has been a leader in using new seed technology while growing seed for the Rupp Seed Company. He has believed in and supported ag industry development, such as ethanol and meat packing, that have led to improved marketing opportunities for farmers. He also understands and promotes the benefits of alfalfa hay to soil health.

During his time with the Farm Bureau, Dean served as county president, state trustee, and as various committee chairs. He encouraged ‘Caution Farm Machinery’ signs to be placed at all turnpike overpasses and helped defeat some critical legislation opposing production agriculture. He helped create Farm Bureau Family Fun Nights, encouraged the organization to have a bigger presence at the Fulton County Fair, and lead tremendous growth in Farm Bureau membership in the 1990s.

As a farmer himself, Dean provided a voice for agriculture during his 12 years in the commissioner’s office. He helped strengthen support for Ohio State University Extension and the Fulton Soil and Water Conservation District. He understood the importance of drainage, water and sewer, emergency services, and infrastructure to rural communities. Dean worked tirelessly to ensure that the needs of agriculture and rural Fulton County were being met.

In the community, Dean served as a 4-H Club advisor for Pettisville EverReady, assisted the Pettisville FFA alumni in multiple projects, and volunteered with the commodity stands and music boosters at the Fulton County Fair. As a commissioner, he participated in the SWCD Ag Fest and encouraged the others to do so. Dean has served in many active roles at St. John Lutheran Church, and has helped with day camps at Cherry Street Mission. He is regarded as being unselfish, giving, loyal, family-oriented, and supportive of local youth.

Dean and his wife, Kathy, raised three adult children whose families all live in the area.

Jill Stechschulte

Jill Stechschulte was the Fulton County 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator from 1995-2017. During her tenure, she touched the lives of thousands of 4-H members and thousands of youth in Fulton County school districts. Many of these 4-Hers went on to pursue careers in the Ohio agriculture sector as producers, bankers, agri-service providers, and ag professionals, among others.

Jill believed a huge part of her job was teaching youth leadership, assisting with Junior Fair, and advising the 4-H Teen Board. In 2016, she was awarded the Charles W. Lifer 4-H Service Award by her peers, the top honor an OSU Extension 4-H professional can obtain in Ohio. Jill’s relationship with the Fulton County Agricultural Society was undeniable; she was heavily involved in the annual Junior Fair, the epicenter of Fulton County’s top-rated fair. Jill offered herself and her office as points of contact throughout the year, but especially during fair time, for Junior Fair enrollment, communications, and even for kids not enrolled in 4-H. She was responsible for coordinating the Junior Fair Building each year, and ensured high-quality displays that incorporated agricultural education and youth achievements.

Her truest passion, even outside her job duties, was 4-H Camp Palmer. She consistently brought more than 250 youth and volunteers to camp each year. She served on the camp’s board of trustees and long-range planning committee. She also helped spearhead multiple fundraising campaigns for camp including Woodland Lodge, Rob’s Cabin, and the new in-ground pool. She constantly advocated for community service, and often used Camp Palmer as her location of choice. One of Jill’s famous lines was “You’ve been voluntold,” and claimed that nearly every activity could be called community service.

In the community, Jill was an advocate for agricultural education for all in the public. She participated regularly in Fulton SWCD’s 3rd Grade Ag Fest, FFA Farm Days, school programs, and the inaugural Fulton County Breakfast On The Farm in 2015.

In 2017, Jill and her husband Al moved to Texas to be near their two adult children and grandkids.

A family-only reception will be held Nov. 24 at the new Fulton County Fair Office to recognize these inductees.