Fighting for Ohio’s Rural Communities

The Ohio Rural America 2020 Steering Committee is a group of Ohio farmers, agri-business professionals and rural leaders from across the state who are working to show how rural Ohio has been hurt by Trump administration policies.

“This campaign will shine a light on how Trump policies have hurt rural Ohio. “Too often rural communities are only hearing one-side of the story. This campaign is about farmers talking to farmers and neighbors talking to neighbors. We are looking to dispel misinformation and discuss another vision for rural communities focused on jobs, access to health care and digging out of the current farm crisis. Long before COVID-19, rural Ohio rural communities were hurting.”

Steve Maurer, a former state Ag director and USDA leader in Ohio who will serve as Chair of the Steering Committee

Members of the Ohio steering committee come from across the state and represent a diverse knowledge of the rural industries and communities. Members include:

Steve Maurer (Chairman) – Steve Maurer is a native of the Village of Botkins, Shelby County. Graduate Botkins Local School  ‘65, Ohio State University ’69, B.S. Ed, Veteran U.S. Army Viet Nam ’69-’71. Between ’72 & , ’17 he served as Mayor of Botkins, Ohio Senate, Chair Senate Ag Committee, Director of the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture, USDA Farm Service Agency, State Executive Director. Steve and Amy (42 years) have grown three daughters and three granddaughters and reside in Bexley.

Bryn Bird – Bryn Bird hails from a dirt road outside Granville, Ohio where she helps operate Bird Haven Farms and serves as a Township Trustee. After earning a degree at Miami University, she finished her masters degree in environmental and occupational public health from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Bryn has committed her career to empowering the rural lifestyle while working to develop a strong local food economy in Licking County and beyond

Chris Gibbs –  Chris Gibbs from Maplewood OH, owns and operates 560 acres and raises corn, soybeans and alfalfa hay.  He and his son manage an 85 head pasture based cow/calf operation.  Gibbs spent 30 years as County Executive Director for the United States Department of Agricultures Farm Service Agency in Mercer County Ohio before retiring in 2016.  He serves as Chair to the Ohio Israeli Agricultural & Clean Tech Initiative Advisory Committee which promotes trade between the State of Ohio and Israel.  Gibbs has been an outspoken critic of  what he dubs the Trump administration’s ‘war on trade’.

Joe Logan – Joe Logan is a 5th Generation Family Farmer, from Northeastern Ohio and father of 3 and grandchildren. The farm has been producing a variety of products including milk, beef, grains, organic crops and maple syrup. He serves as the President of the Ohio Farmers Union, a non-profit, non-partisan farm organization. He has also served as the Director of Agricultural Programs for the Ohio Environmental Council (The OEC) from October, 2008 – November, 2013, and was a member of the Ohio Phosphorus Task Force Phase II.

John Gaynor – John Gaynor was raised on the family farm in Ashtabula County. The Gaynor farm is still active and has been in the family name since 1865. The farm was a livestock operation but only cattle after sheep, hogs, horses, chickens, a goat, and one duck were slowly phased out. The cattle too have been gone for a few years and now just grain and hay. Helping with the farm provided funds for school and continued for a few years after college eventually leading to a position for 41 years with the USDA. 38 of those years were spent as the director of the USDA Farm Service Agency for the Fulton-Lucas County office in Wauseon, Northwest Ohio.

Barb Stoll – Ms. Stoll owns farmland in Wayne County, Ohio.  Formerly, for 43 years she and her spouse owned and operated their multigenerational 800 acre farm growing corn, soybeans, wheat, and alfalfa.  The farming operations included a 190 cow dairy farm.  The family crop and dairy operations continue being owned and managed by her son. In addition, Ms. Stoll is retired from serving 28 years as a Director for USDA Farm Service Agency.  She has also served her community on various boards and councils.  She currently is active with her local fire district serving as their Fiscal Officer and volunteer EMT, and serves as an Elder in her local church.

William R. Miller – William R. Miller is the Vice President of the Ohio Farmers Union and President of the Miami Valley Farmers Union. He owns and operates, along with his wife, a 160 acre certified organic farm located in Southwestern Ohio. He and his wife are active in the local Lutheran Church, the League of Women Voters, and the NAACP. He is the Treasurer of the local NAACP Unit and is a member of the state Criminal Justice Committee. Past leadership roles include membership on the Congressionally mandated, 15 member, USDA Minority Farmer Advisory Committee during the administration of President Barack Obama.

Roger Wise – Roger Wise is a 50 year full-time family farmer in Sandusky County Ohio (35 with my father) currently growing corn & soy. Former Holstein dairy herd & grass-fed beef cattle. Served as Sandusky County Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor. Past President Ohio Farmers Union. Married to wife Sandra (45 yrs) with 2 grown daughters, Natalie & Nadine & 3 grandchildren.

Joel Obrecht – Joel Obrecht is a native of Northcentral Ohio, now resident of Wood County in Northwest Ohio. Joel also served as a Farm Service Agency leader in Ohio.