History

History

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association is a state trade association that represents the best interests of agribusinesses that serve Ohio agriculture, just like yours. We’ve weathered industry changes, contributed to a solid business environment and are constantly preparing our members to be on the cutting-edge of agricultural advancement. Since 1880, we’ve been working to ensure that agriculture stays Ohio’s No. 1 Industry. 

1880-1910

Things were tough for agriculture in the 1880s, lots of setbacks, railroads growing west, declining land values, low commodity values and a societal shift away from an agrarian society to an industrial one. Grain dealers as a whole avoided each other in fear of being accused of collusion, but bad practices and mistrust were evident in the industry. On July 1, 1880 a group of leaders representing the grain and milling trade met to create the Ohio Grain Dealers, for the purpose of serving the industry. The new association quickly grew, with more than 300 members by 1902. 

1911-1920

In 1911, additional emphasis was placed on dealers helping farmers raise the quality of their crops, with dealers rewarding higher quality by grading it higher than poorer grade grains. In this time, the association focused on passing bills favorable to the grain trade. The first uniform grain grading rules were instituted at the National Grain Dealers Association convention in 1908 and were adopted by the Grain Inspection Department of the United States soon after. Though attendance and engagement was low, the association continued to grow throughout the war, even when facing poor quality crops and a small budget. 

1921-1950

The Ohio Grain Dealers Association celebrated their 50th anniversary at the Breakers Hotel at Cedar Point with members gathering to mark the occasion and reflect on the first 50 years of the association. At this time, the delegation unanimously adopted a new name for the association: the Ohio Grain, Mill and Feed Dealers Association.

Over the next 20 years, new events, like the wheat grading school and Grain Elevator and Feed Management School, were established. The association also focused on improving practices, creating a new committee called the Feeds, Seeds and Fertilizer Committee for the purpose of getting more state investigators appointed with Ohio Department of Agriculture. 

1951-1970

In 1953, the Ohio Grain, Mill and Feed Dealers Association and the Ohio Farmers Grain Dealers Association, officially merged to become the Ohio Grain and Feed Dealers Association, Inc. The new association was expected to have more than 1,000 members within a few months. In 1958, the association held one of the largest conventions in history, with more than 960 registered participants, 110 of those being women - phenomenal nominal growth overall. This growth spread all the way to Russia, as the association took a delegation of 50 members to visit the country. In 1959, George Greenleaf was asked to become the CEO for the association, beginning a tenure that would span three decades.   

The association, under Greenleaf’s leadership, served as the driving force behind the development of the Ohio Agricultural Council, for the betterment of the agriculture industry. This commitment to the agriculture industry continued into 1966, when the association held its first Golf Outing for Scholarships to raise funds for agricultural scholarships. 

As the agriculture industry continued to grow and welcome new segments, the association changed its name in 1967 to the Ohio Grain, Feed and Fertilizer Association, Inc. 

1971-2000

As the annual convention continued to grow, the association was able to attract prominent keynote speakers, including John Glenn in 1979. In the same year, the association recognized more than 100 outstanding agricultural leaders. In 1981, the association name was changed to the Ohio Grain & Feed Association. The fertilizer and agrichemical members formed a new organization; the Ohio Agrobusiness Association.

In 1984, Greenleaf retired from the association – the longest-serving CEO to date. He was succeeded by John Foltz, who served until 1990. During his time as CEO, it was John’s goal to visit every county in the state with member locations, which he accomplished. Following John, Gary King took the reins of the association.

The association served as a key partner in the development of the Ohio Certified Crop Adviser Program, working with the American Society of Agronomy and OSU Extension to launch the program in 1992. Under King’s direction, the Ohio Grain & Feed Association merged with the Ohio Agrobusiness Association to become the Ohio AgriBusiness Association in 1993. King would also supervise the move of the association’s office to its current location on Reed Road in 1999.

2000-Present 

In 2011, King retired from the association and Chris Henney was selected to lead the association. With a new leader, the OABA Board of Directors chose to undergo a strategic planning process, which resulted in updated bylaws, logo, website and a renewed focus for the new millennium.

Henney quickly led the association to victory on the legislative front, in the form of a complete exemption for Ohio grain handlers from Ohio’s Commercial Activity Tax. Following this, the association was a driving force behind the launch of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program in 2014, partnering with The Nature Conservancy, The Fertilizer Institute, and many other key stakeholders. In 2018, OABA expanded its management services beyond the CCA Program and 4R Certification Program to include the Ohio Agricultural Council.

Today's association is a robust organization representing all aspects of the agribusiness industry, including the manufacturers and wholesale/retail suppliers of plant nutrient and protection materials, the grain warehousing and marketing industry, the feed and seed industry, as well as companies providing equipment, financing, insurance, consulting, and other products and services for the agribusiness industry. 

Past Board Chairs

OHIO GRAIN DEALERS ASSOCIATION
S H Hunt 1880   E. C. Eikenberry 1913
(Information not available from
1881 to 1897)
  E. C. Eikenberry 1914
James P McAllister 1897   John Wickenhiser 1915
Percy R McAllister 1898   John Wickenhiser 1916
Eugene C Wagner 1899   Earl C. Bear 1917
H.S. Grimes 1900   C. M. Eickenberry 1918
H.S. Grimes 1901   O. W. Cook 1919
H.S. Grimes 1902   O. W. Cook 1920
C. B. Jenkins 1903   S. B. Swope 1921
Ch. H. Tingley 1904   E. T. Custenborder 1922
T. B. Marshall 1905   E. T. Custenborder 1923
Fred Mayer 1906   S. L. Rice 1924
A. B. Beaverstock 1907   S. L. Rice 1925
Col. E. C. Grose 1908   Phil Sayles 1926
H. W. Robinson 1909   Phil Sayles 1927
M. W. Miller 1910   Edgar Thierwechter 1928
M. W. Miller 1911   Edgar Thierwechter 1929
E. C. Eikenberry 1912      
OHIO GRAIN, MILL & FEED DEALERS ASSOCIATION
O. Perry Hall 1930   Elton Kile 1942
O. Perry Hall 1931   Elton Kile 1943
R. H. Brundige 1932   H. E. Fredrick 1944
R. H. Brundige 1933   H. E. Fredrick 1945
R. H. Brundige 1934   L. A. Gilliland 1946
E. G. Craun 1935   L. A. Gilliland 1947
E. L. Allton 1936   Hugh E. Brubaker 1948
G. E. O’Brien 1937   Hugh E. Brubaker 1949
G. E. O’Brien 1938   Ralph H. Brown 1950
H. R. Wooley 1939   Ralph H. Brown 1951
L. G. Bradstock 1940   Myles W. Turner 1952
L. G. Bradstock 1941      
OHIO FARMERS GRAIN DEALERS ASSOCIATION
(Merged with Ohio Grain, Mill, & Feed Dealers Association in 1952)
F. F. Parrit 1916   W. M. Jackson 1935
F. F. Parrit 1917   W. M. Jackson 1936
J. M. Miller 1918   C. B. George 1937
J. M. Miller 1919   C. B. George 1938
R. E. Croninger 1920   A. C. Patzer 1939
R. E. Croninger 1921   A. C. Patzer 1940
R. E. Croninger 1922   Alfred P. Eier 1941
D. J. Lloyd 1923   Alfred P. Eier 1942
D. J. Lloyd 1924   Alfred P. Eier 1943
E. T. Dickey 1925   O. J. Weiker 1944
Phil Sayles 1926   C. W. Palmer 1945
N. G. Bennett 1927   O. J. Jeffery 1946
N. G. Bennett 1928   Virgil Kohring 1947
Wm. C. Horn 1929   Guy Smith 1948
Wm. C. Horn 1930   Guy Smith 1949
L. C. Schmunk 1931   Bert Hoaglin 1950
L. C. Schmunk 1932   R. A. Smetzer 1951
Leon Cove 1933   Ned Fry 1952
Leon Cove 1934      
OHIO SEED DEALERS ASSOCIATION
(Merged with Ohio Agribusiness Association in 1995)
Joe Oliger 1943   Jim Biedenharn 1970
Paul Donley 1944   Robert Knight 1971
Sheldon Ackerman 1945   Robert Knierieman 1972
C. B. Mills 1946   Sheffield Hyde 1973
Max Scarff 1947   Art McCarty 1974
Ralph Saunders 1948   Jim Yingling 1975
John Hirsch 1949   Jim Yingling 1976
John Hirsch 1950   Charles Shields 1977
L. G. Brubaker 1951   Forest Randolph 1978
Richard E. Dewine 1952   Jim Spain 1979
I. C. Williams 1953   Kenneth Frayer Jr 1980
Alan W. Livingston 1954   Steve Williams 1981
Robert S. McCullough 1955   Richard Thompson 1982
Arthur Schlessman 1956   Daryl Deering 1983
Paul Dudgeon 1957   J. S. (Corky) Bailey 1984
J. W. Bibbins 1958   Darrell Sheppard 1985
Seth D. Light 1959   Larry Craft 1986
William Jeffers 1960   John Dunbar 1987
William D. Fleet 1961   Karl Keller 1988
Walter A. Herd 1962   Paul Dyson 1989
Harold Doelinger 1963   Paul Dyson 1990
Harry Keckley 1964   R. C. Leslie 1991
Robert Metcalf 1965   David Hoffman 1992
Reo Anderson 1966   Rich Rowland 1993
C. M. Hicks 1967   Terry Carper 1994
Ralph Kunze 1968   Mike Tobe 1995
Ralph Bolenbaugh 1969      
OHIO GRAIN & FEED DEALERS ASSOCIATION
Myles W. Turner 1953   George Moorhead 1960
Ned M. Fry 1954   Carl Pitstick 1961
Robert W. Rudy 1955   James S. Kile 1962
Stanley E. Salisbury 1956   Richard E. Shirak 1963
Walter Richards 1957   Vincent C. Kahle 1964
A. J. Koppenhafer 1958   Robert L. Graber 1965
George Moorhead 1959   Nelson J. Cotton 1966
OHIO GRAIN, FEED & FERTILIZER ASSOCIATION
Richard E. Troup 1967   Carl E. Mehling 1974
Harry Mauer 1968   James W. Cotsamire 1975
M. W. McGrath 1969   G. Richard Bowers 1976
Kennth N. Probasco 1970   Hal H. Hammel 1977
George E. Deering 1971   Roman A. Utrup 1978
George Ebright 1972   Harold L. Dildine 1979
Kenneth L. Marshall 1973   James D. Westfall 1980
OHIO GRAIN & FEED ASSOCIATION
(Merged with Ohio AgroBusiness Association in 1993)
Ralph D. Hanneman 1981   Frank C. Miller IV 1987
T. L. (Sam) Irmen 1982   Daniel W. Walski 1988
Floyd (Skip) Sisinger 1983   David C. Duncan 1989
John K. Keller 1984   Clifford E. Byers 1990
James L. Hasler 1985   Gregory S. Noble 1991
B. E. (Gene) Beaston 1986   William Settlemyre 1992
OHIO AGROBUSINESS ASSOCIATION
(Merged with Ohio Grain & Feed Association in 1993)
Pete Pritchard 1979   Daryl Gates 1985
Acie Waldron 1979   Clair Dudgeon 1986
Dick Fetter Jr. 1979   Fred Maher 1987
Bob Rager 1980   Doug Busdecker 1988
Dale Hirschfield 1981   Jay Cowgill 1989
Dick Wood 1982   Larry Craft 1990
Shelby Hinrichs 1983   Carl Patzer 1991
Norm Klass 1984   Lee Sundermeier 1992
OHIO AGRIBUSINESS ASSOCIATION
David L. Cline 1993   Roger Stitzlein 2004-06
Tom Evans 1994   Jerry Ward 2006-08
Mark Armstrong 1995   Larry Hammond 2008-10
Al Holdren 1996   Herb Mayer 2010-12
Wm. Douglas Craig 1997-98   Jill Boyd 2012-14
Bill Wallbrown 1998-99   Mark Sunderman   2014-16
Gordon Wallace 1999-00   Andy Swerlein 2016-18
Steve Powell 2000-03   Nathan Louiso 2018-2020
Mike Fry 2003-04   Jackie Seibert 2020-Present