Four new Licking County Agricultural Hall of Fame members were celebrated at Ohio State’s Newark campus on Friday, March 18.
The OSU Extension typically host a ceremony every year in honor of new inductees, but pandemic complications prevented them from doing so in each of the past two years. Thus, this year’s event commemorated the farmers chosen in 2022, 2021, and 2020: Tim Shipley (2022), Fred Hendren (2021), Jim Kiracofe (2021), and Phil Watts (2020).
The late Shipley headed dairy and grain producer Shipley Farms in Newark, where his family continues to care for 500 cows and farm for corn, beans, wheat, and alfalfa. They take pride in being environmentally-friendly.
“The farm practices good conservation by utilizing no-till planting, cover crops, and manure management,” said a representative for the Licking County Agrarian Club, the group that nominated Shipley for Hall of Fame induction.
More:Tim Shipley was not only a farmer, but a friend to all
A “strong advocate for agricultural education,” Shipley hosted farm tours for field–tripping schoolchildren and worked with Denison University environmental science students. In addition, he took on leadership roles within the local farming community, having spent tenures as president of both the Licking County Dairy Directors and the Licking County Agrology/Agrarian club.
Hendren purchased his own farm at the age of 19 in 1955 and never looked back. With the help of his younger brother Tom, he has built a family–run farm covering more than 10,000 acres. Perhaps even more applaudable is how Hendren has used his talents to serve the Licking County community.
“Fred Hendren is one of the most diversified farmers in all of Ohio,” said nominator Troy Hendren, Fred’s nephew. “At one time, it was said that the Hendrens had installed over 50% of the drainage tile in Licking County.”
County residents may remember Hendren from his previous role as President of the Johnstown Monroe School Board.
Kiracofe and his wife, Lynna, owns Kiracofe Cattle Acres and Winding Trails Maple Syrup, producing corn, soybeans, and maple syrup. He was nominated for the Hall of Fame by Kristy Hawthorne of the Licking County Soil and Water Conservation District, where Jim served as Program Administrator from 1997–2014.
“Besides providing leadership, conservation programs and services to the traditional farming communities,” Hawthorne said, “Jim believed it was important to educate the non-farming community about the importance of agriculture and the conservation of natural resources.”
Nominated by John Reed, Watts is the president of the Granville Milling, Co., and the owner of Granville–based Watts Farms, which raises corn, soybeans, and wheat.
“Phil has been a mentor to farmers and agriculture professionals for over 40 years,” Reed said. “Phil is a trusted advisor for many Licking County farmers in the areas of business management, agronomy consultation, grain merchandising, and livestock management and marketing.”
No stranger to accolades, Watts was also named Commercial Cattleman of the Year in 2014 by the Ohio Cattleman’s Association.
According to the Licking County OSU Extension website, the Licking County Agricultural Hall of Fame was created to “recognize those individuals who have demonstrated a life-long exemplary service to their community and the industry of agriculture.”