The Hardin County Agricultural Hall of Fame has announced the 2022 honorees to be presented at the nineteenth annual Agricultural Hall of Fame induction banquet. 2022 inductees include: Gerald E. Althauser, J. Roger Crates, William Griffith, Dr. William Martin Miller and Thomas E. Wilcox, Sr. The party will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 6. St. John’s Evangelical Church on East Carroll Street in Kenton. The public is invited to honor these inductees and their families and recognize their many accomplishments. The purpose of the County Agricultural Hall of Fame is to recognize the outstanding agricultural contributions of the people of Hardin County and to honor those who have made a difference to themselves and the agricultural industry.
Stephanie Colliff will be the guest speaker. Stephanie is a 2016 Hardin County Agricultural Hall of Fame inductee and is an agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor at Ridgemont High School, where she is a state and national leader in agricultural education. He was awarded the Franklin D. Walter Educator Award in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Its FFA members have earned numerous state and national academic awards, degrees and career development events. He has served as an advisor to many Ohio and National FFA Model Innovation Chapter Awards. Under his leadership, Ridgemont FFA has been named a Top 10 Chapter in Ohio several years in a row.
Gerald E. Althauser graduated from Kenton High School and later Ohio State University with a BS in Dairy Science. He ran the family farm with his late wife, Nancy, since 1965. For the first 20 years, they raised corn, soybeans, wheat and grass, and raised beef cattle, sheep and hogs to finish hogs. He worked as a salesman at Middendorf Stockyards. He worked for the Farm Service Agency and was elected CED in Union County in 1987. In 1984, he helped his sons start a beekeeping business for 4-H and FFA projects, which he later expanded to 100 hives, selling wholesale honey, and then turned the business into beeswax candle manufacturing. He added pumpkins, squash, ornamental corn and a small orchard. For more than 25 years, Althauser Honey Farm and Pumpkin Patch has been the site of Sweet Harvest, which has educated thousands of children and adults about beekeeping, small-scale pumpkin and apple production, and the benefits of local honey. Over the years, she has also been active in the Kenton Farmers Market.
Althauser has served Goshen Township as a community foundation volunteer and former zoning committee member. He served in Goshen Grange as Master, Warden, Steward and many other offices. In addition, he served as an officer and County Deputy of the Hardin County Pomona Grange. He is a seventh degree member of the National Grange. A member of Forest First United Methodist Church, she participated in Hardin County 4-H both as a member and served as the Veterinary Science Club advisor for 22 years. While a member of Kenton FFA, he served as an officer and received his State FFA degree. He is a member of the Hardin County ODU Alumni Club, a Life Member of the ODU Alumni Association and a member of the ODU President’s Club. Along with his late wife, Nancy, they established the Kyle Eric Althauser Memorial Scholarship Fund. Althauser has been a member of the Ohio State Fair Heritage Crafts exhibit and the Hardin County Agricultural Society. He can also be found demonstrating beekeeping at the Hardin SWCD Forestry Field Day.
J. Roger Crates graduated from Kenton High School in 1967. He has operated a turnkey hog operation for 40 years, raised corn, soybeans and wheat for 55 years and currently farms 920 acres. He has been in the excavation business for 50 years and currently has 6 full-time employees. He was a youth 4-H advisor with agricultural projects, a founding member of the Hardin County Pork Producers, where he was instrumental in establishing the Pork Trailer at the county fair. He participated in Ohio Pork Council trips to Washington to lobby congressmen on issues facing farmers and the ag industry. For several years, he has offered his expertise to the Hardin County Fair, donating time and equipment to maintain the track areas and supporting the Small Livestock Sale. He served on the Buck Township zoning committee.
Crates is a member of Wolf Creek United Methodist Church. He was a state youth representative to the Ohio Grange Convention. While in high school, he served in several offices in the Kenton FFA and earned both State and American Farmer Degrees. He proudly served in the US Army Reserve for 6 years. He was a member of the Hardin County Young Farmers Organization. He later worked with the Hardin County court system to help at-risk youth by providing them with part-time farm employment. He served as both president and vice president of the Hardin County Pork Producers, served on the Hardin County 4-H Council and was a member of the Hardin County Board of Health for over 20 years, where he held several offices. A member of Wolf Creek Grange, Crates was once the youngest Grange Master in the state. He has been a member of the Farm Bureau for over 50 years and has served as a member of the Farm Bureau Council.
William “Bill” Griffith graduated from Science Valley High School in Delaware County and later Ohio State University with a BS in Agriculture and a major in accounting. He founded Griffco, Inc. to manage the farm operations and Powell Seeds as a partnership. When he joined Powell Seeds as a partner in 1978, it was the only existing seed company in Hardin County. As a farmer, Bill produces hybrid seed corn, seed wheat, oats and soybeans. He also raised fat cattle for over 35 years. He is still active in all operations, fostering an interest in agriculture while employing local company employees and Hardin County students to clean seed corn. A member of the Farm Bureau for 44 years, Bill served on the board of trustees as president and was a representative on county trips to Washington, D.C. Past president of the Hardin County OSU Alumni Club, he established the Griffith Family Scholarship. majoring in agriculture at the main campus and the Lima campus.
Griffith represented Powell Seeds at the Hardin County Fair, where it is common to find him at the Powell Seeds booth. He is a member of the Ohio Seed Improvement Association and Ohio Foundation Seeds. As a certified public accountant and partner in a Columbus accounting firm, he serviced farm accounts. After college, he worked for the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Markets. Service club memberships include the Hardin County Shrine Club and the Elks. He served on the Liberty National Bank Board of Directors for 25 years and the Island School Board for 4 years. She was a 4-H advisor in Liberty Township and a member of First United Methodist Church of Ada for 44 years. Griffith also served on the Ohio State University Extension state advisory committee representing extension programs in Hardin County.
Dr. William Martin “Marty” Miller graduated from Plymouth High School in 1969. He then studied at Ohio State University from 1969 to 1976, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. He will be posthumously inducted into the Hardin County Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2021. He built Diamond-M Veterinary Clinic, the first large animal hospital and surgery in Hardin County. He was a general veterinarian treating sick or injured animals in Hardin County and surrounding counties. He took care of herd management, tested animals for shows and sales. He served as a county fair and racehorse veterinarian and spoke about veterinary medicine to various organizations. Marty traveled to farms to test, treat and vaccinate animals. Advised producers on herd management, including feed, housing and treatment. During the swine flu epidemic, he conducted many tests for this disease. She worked with 4-H clubs to develop projects for the county fair.
Dr. Miller was a senior assistant professor of animal medicine and pharmacology for veterinary students at Findlay Brown Mackie College. He owned Riverhill Management, LLC and was an independent contractor for Intravet to train veterinary practice owners and employees in business management. He has been a speaker on large animal hospital construction at the American Association of Equine Practitioners. He was a lifetime member of the OSU Alumni Association, Farm Bureau, Hardin County Trotting Association, American Swine Practitioners Association, American Horse Practitioners Association, Ohio Veterinary Medical Association and American Veterinary Medical Association. He received the Hardin County Fair Lifetime Service Award and was selected for Well Managed Practice by OVMA. He was an elder at Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Kenton Elks 157 and a member of the Hardin County Revolving Credit Fund. Dr. Miller was chairman and board member of Community First Bank for 25 years and was a member of the Independent Community Bankers Association.
Thomas E. “Bud” Wilcox, Sr. Hardin County is inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame as a “Pioneer in Agriculture.” Born in 1916, graduated from Kenton High School in 1934. He was a full-time farmer, beginning his farming career as a child with his father, Elgin Wilcox. Bud was one of the first students at Kenton High School to compete in the Future Farmers of America competition, and in 1934 he was the first chapter president of the Kenton FFA. He was involved in grain farming early in his career and after marrying his wife. Anita, they were able to buy land and rent it. Bud became a dairy farmer in the early 1940s, but later sold his dairy cows and began raising hogs while continuing to increase his acreage and expertise with his grain operation. Wilcox Farms continued to thrive under Bud’s leadership. Maine Anjou cattle were added to the ranch in the 1970s after they were discovered on a hunting trip in southern Ohio, and they remained a staple for many years. Bud died in 1984 at the age of 67.
Wilcox was a consultant to agricultural agents and other farmers in the area with tips and tricks of the trade. He was a member of the Farm Bureau and president of the Hardin County Fair Board. He received the Soil and Water Conservation Award, the Distinguished Service Award to the Kenton FFA Chapter, and was a McDonald Grange Master. He was a member of the Kenton Elks Lodge, served as Governor of the Kenton Moose Lodge, and built the Wilcox Woods lodge on the family property to be the site of the annual Moose Picnic. He was also instrumental in the construction of the new Moose Building in the early 1980s. Wilcox was a lifelong member of St. John’s United Church of Christ, serving as church council president. Additionally, he was a Lynn Township Trustee and County Chairman of the Republican Party.
Tickets for the Hardin County Agricultural Hall of Fame must be purchased in advance by November 28. Tickets are $15 and are available by calling the Hardin County Extension office (419-674-2297) or from committee members: Genny Haun, Bob McBride, Ruth Oates, Kerry Oberlitner, Gary Harpster, Steve Poling, Zac McCullough, Bob Wood and Mark Badertscher.