Participant Profiles

Cohort 1

Nathan Eckel

Nathan Eckel

Nominated by Ohio Soybean Council

Hometown: Perrysburg, Ohio

Nathan Eckel is a farmer in Perrysburg, Ohio where he resides with his wife and 3 boys, he farms 2000 acres along with feeding 700 head of cattle with his brothers. Nathan currently sits on the board of directors for Luckey Farmers Inc, and the Ohio Soybean Council.


Rose HartschuhRose Hartschuh

Nominated by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation

Hometown: Crawford County, Ohio

Rose Hartschuh farms full-time with her husband, Greg, and twin boys, Dwight and Jordan, in Crawford County. The Hartschuhs raise corn, soybeans, and forage crops in addition to commercial sheep and dairy cattle. Hartschuh is active in agricultural organizations such as Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio Expositions Commission.

Sandra Lausecker

Sandra Lausecker

Nominated by Ohio Poultry Association

Hometown: Raymond, Ohio

Third generation egg entrepreneur Sandra Lausecker is the President of Nature Pure and Ohio Natural Eggs, a Founder of Outward Farms and President of the Ohio Poultry Association. She also serves on the board of the American Egg Board and United Egg Producers where she also chairs the Organic Subcommittee. Sandra is a builder and believer in the power of people and value-creation. Her multi-generational insight and vast industry knowledge has evolved the vision and values of her family’s businesses to embrace transparency and added value to their company’s customers, consumers, employees and community in Raymond, Ohio. Sandra is passionate about leading the development and execution of long-term strategies and growing her agricultural roots by focusing on innovation and collaboration in progressive environments to create opportunities necessary for success.

John LinderJohn Linder

Nominated by Ohio Corn and Wheat Assocation

Hometown: Edison, Ohio

John Linder is a multiple generation, multiple commodity producer in Morrow County, Ohio. John farms in partnership with his wife Cheryl and brother Mike. His family operation raises commercial crops of corn, soybeans and soft red winter wheat. The partnership also produces seed soybeans for a commercial seed company. John and his wife Cheryl live on a farm that is adjacent to his brother Mike and both of those farms have become the base of their operation. John and Cheryl have two daughters, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren. Family is an integral part of their farm life and that extends further through their part-time and full-time help. On any random off-peak season day, you may find a potluck dinner in their shop.

Mike VidekovichMike Vedkovich

Nominated by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation

Hometown: Ashville, Ohio

Michael (Mike) Videkovich co-owns and operates Noecker Farms LLC, near Ashville, Ohio, with his wife, Kim, and her parents Ray and Donna Noecker. Noecker Farms currently has a herd of 200 beef cows (plus calves). They grow corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and various forage crops on 1500 acres. Mike joined the family business in 2006. In June of 2020, Mike and Kim started County Line Meats LLC, which sells beef they produce at Noecker Farms directly to consumer.

Chris Weaver

Chris Weaver

Nominated by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation

Hometown: Lyons, Ohio

Chris Weaver owns and operates a dairy farm in Fulton and Williams counties of Ohio. Bridgewater Dairy Farms group manage 7000 dairy cows on two facilities, farming 5500 acres of corn, alfalfa, soybeans, and wheat. A maintenance division that manages over 100 rolling stock items, and related farm facilities. An accounting office that manages financial statements, loan compliance, and employee benefits. The group consists of over 70 full time employees, with 5 division leaders.


Cohort 2

Jenny Cox

Jenny Cox

Nominated by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation

Hometown: Raymond, Ohio

Jenny Cox of Dresden was elected to represent 24 counties as Southeast Regional trustee for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation in 2017. Cox received a bachelor’s degree in communication and journalism from the Ohio State University and a master’s degree in education from Mt. Vernon Nazarene University. She and her husband, Jared, own Cox Seed Sales selling Pioneer Hi Bred International seed, crop insurance and Pivot Bio. They also own and operate a family farm where they raise corn and soybeans. Cox is a graduate of the AgriPOWER institute. She is a member of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers, Ohio Soybean Association and the Mid-East Career and Technology School Board.

Adele FlynnAdele Flynn

Nominated by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation

Hometown: Lorain County, Ohio

Adele Flynn is a full-time farmer in Lorain County. She and her husband Eric, along with their three young children farm approx. 1,100 acres of cash crops and raise beef cattle focused on show, breeding stock and custom freezer beef. Adele is the District 3 State Trustee for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation representing Lorain, Cuyahoga, Erie and Huron counties. She serves on the Centerra Co-op board of directors and is the chairwoman of the Center for Food Innovation NEO.

Grant GatesGrant Gates

Nominated by Ohio AgriBusiness Association

Hometown: Marion County, Ohio

Grant Gates resides in southern Marion County and is currently employed at Morral Companies providing sales and service of a variety of fertilizer products. Grant serves on the Ohio AgriBusiness Association board of directors and currently holds the Vice Chair position. Grant is a graduate of Malone College (now University) in Canton, Ohio and holds a business management degree with a concentration in economics. He and his wife, Amy, have two children: Asher (11) and Gemma (8).


Cohort 3

Mike BensmanMike Bensman

Nominated by: Ohio Farm Bureau Federation

Hometown: Sidney, Ohio

Mike is a trustee for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation representing members from Auglaize, Logan, Mercer and Shelby counties. He and his wife, Martha, have a grain crop farm plus farm in partnership with his three brothers, Dave, Greg and Dale. For 41 years he has worked at Koenig Equipment Inc. in Botkins, presently serving as manager of equipment delivery. Mike was Soil Conservation Cooperator of the Year in 1990 and is a member of the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, Anna Young Farmers, and Sacred Heart of Jesus Church.


Karin BrightKarin Bright

Nominated by: Ohio Farm Bureau Federation

Hometown: Athens, Ohio

Karin is an Ohio Farm Bureau Trustee for the counties of Athens, Gallia, Lawrence, and Meigs. She is a passionate advocate for both agriculture and hunger issues. Serving as the president of the Athens County Food Pantry, she has led the pantry through great changes to better address food insecurity and hunger issues as the pantry received over $650,000 in donations after Joe Burrow’s Heisman Trophy speech referencing hunger in Athens. Karin is a member of the Alexander FFA Alumni and volunteers with Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council. A graduate of Ohio University’s College of Business with a degree in marketing she has also completed dual associate degree work in business and financial management at Hocking College. She and her husband, David, farm the Bright Brothers Farm in Clinton County growing corn, wheat, and soybeans.


Amy BrowningAmy Browning

Nominated by: Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District

Hometown: Richmond, Ohio

Amy is employed by the Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District. Having grown up on a family dairy farm, been a 4-H member, served as a 4-H advisor and 4-H Mom to two kids, agricultural has been an integral part of life. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. After graduation, Amy worked at Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) in Arlington, Texas. AMPI was one of the largest dairy cooperatives in the United States and as a result she also worked in collaboration with Dairy MAX, Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) and the National Dairy Council on campaigns such as “Got Milk?” before returning home to Ohio.


Danielle BurchDanielle Burch

Nominated by: Ohio Farm Bureau Federation

Hometown: Salem, Ohio

Danielle represents Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, and Stark counties, as trustee for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. She received bachelor’s degrees in political science and history from the University of Mount Union and a master’s degree in the Science of Teaching from Saint Joseph’s University. Danielle and her husband, Andrew, as well as their two children, Doyle and Rose, own Burch Farms raising sustainably grown protein for local consumer consumption, which includes beef, pork, goat, and poultry. In addition to the animals, they raise hay, corn, and oats. She also teaches local juniors and seniors the subjects of American Government, Psychology, Sociology, and Economics at United Local High School.


Austin HeilAustin Heil

Nominated by: Ohio Soybean Association

Hometown: Kenton, Ohio

Austin currently serves on the Ohio Soybean Association Board of Trustees. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in ag systems management. Austin’s career path has taken him all over the United States, Canada, and Brazil testing prototype combines and hay tools to eventually serving Ohio as product and technology specialist before starting his business Homestead Precision Farming, which focuses on drones and other precision farm technology. Austin currently works for CNH Industrial as a Precision Tech Support Specialist. He and his dad farm 300 acres of soybeans, corn, and hay. Austin is the proud uncle to several future young farmers.


Jon MillerJon Miller

Nominated by: Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association

Hometown: Pleasantville, Ohio

Jon is the chair for the Ohio Corn Checkoff (Marketing Program) and represents Ohio corn growers in Fairfield, Franklin, Licking and Pickaway counties. On the farm, there are currently three generations of Miller family members involved in day-to-day operations. Together they grow corn, wheat, soybeans, and have a straw/hay operation. Jon and his family also have a custom application operation and are seed dealers. Jon has participated in the DuPont Leadership New Century Farmers program and the NCGA/Syngenta Leadership at Its Best program. He is president of the National Corn Growers Association PAC and a member of other action teams within the association. Jon and his wife, Mindy, and have three children, Carley, Cara, and Carter.



Contact: Jenny Cox | |