The Ohio Poultry Association recently announced its 2013 award recipients, named each year at the organization's annual banquet in Columbus. These awards honor businesses, farms and individuals who have made significant contributions to Ohio's egg, chicken and turkey sectors.
"I am honored to work with so many talented individuals, farms and businesses who continually seek to go above and beyond what is expected of them," says Jim Chakeres, OPA executive vice president. "This year's award winners are no exception."
Awards and recipients at the 28th Annual Banquet included:
Industry Partner Award: Ohio Soybean Council.
The Ohio Soybean Council mission is to maximize the profitability of Ohio's soybean checkoff funds in targeted domestic and international research, promotion and communication initiatives.
"The Ohio egg, chicken and turkey community would not be what it is today without the support of its partners," say Chakers. "The Ohio Soybean Council has worked side-by-side with OPA on an array of projects to advance and grow Ohio agriculture for several years."
Family Legacy Award: Cooper Farms
The Legacy Award recognizes individuals who are committed to advancing the mission and values of the state's egg, chicken and turkey farmers. This year's award was presented to Cooper Farms of Van Wert, Ohio. Cooper Farms was founded in 1938 by Virgil Cooper who raised approximately 300 meat turkeys mainly for the holidays. Today, Cooper Farms produces 4.6 million turkeys, 32 million dozen eggs, and 105 million pounds of live market hogs per year. The company employs more than 1,550 people at four locations and works with nearly 300 family contract farms who help raise Cooper Farms' turkeys, hogs and chickens. Although the family farm has expanded through the years, Cooper's vision and core dedication to family, farm and pride remains the same.
Golden Feather Award: Mo Saif
The OPA Golden Feather award is given annually to an individual who has distinguished himself or herself as a champion of livestock agriculture or poultry issues. This year's award was presented to Dr. Mo Saif of Wooster, Ohio. Dr. Saif is recognized internationally as a leading researcher in the field of poultry diseases. He began his 50-year relationship and career with The Ohio State University in 1965 as a research assistant. Through the years, he has held various positions within the university as a post-doctorate fellow, an assistant professor, and most recently served as the head of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center's Food Animal Health Research Program since 1993. Dr. Saif announced his retirement earlier this year.
Golden Egg Award: Connie Cahill
The Golden Egg Award is given to an individual who has provided extraordinary service to Ohio's egg, chicken and turkey farmers. Connie Cahill, of Dublin, Ohio, is the recipient of this year's prestigious award. Food has been a part of Cahill's life ever since she received her first blue ribbon in a 4-H competition when she was seven years old. She has been involved in consumer and agricultural initiatives for more than three decades. And, for many of those years, Cahill has been an incredible partner of the poultry community, representing the Ohio Poultry Association as a spokesperson promoting consumer products and recipes on radio and television throughout the state, coordinating special egg events, and presenting at prestigious culinary programs and to dietetic and nutrition groups.
Good Egg Award: Ralph Stonerock
The Good Egg Award is presented to a person, who every day, has the best interest of Ohio egg, chicken and turkey farmers at heart. The recipient of the 2013 Good Egg Award is Ralph Stonerock, of Marysville, Ohio. Stonerock has worked in the poultry industry for more than 40 years. During this time he has held a variety of positions from managing a broiler complex and operating egg layer farms to marketing eggs and serving as a production superintendent for a feed manufacturing facility.
Ohio's egg, chicken and turkey farms are significant contributors to the success of the state's economy. Ohio ranks number-two in the nation in egg production - second only to Iowa – and produces more than 7.6 billion eggs per year with a retail value of more than $490 million. Ohio is also ninth in the nation for turkey production and produces more than 375 million pounds of Ohio chicken annually. Ohio's egg, chicken and turkey farms create more than 14,802 jobs generating $377 million in earnings to the state's economy.