By LOU WILIN
WFIN Ag Services Coordinator Vaun Wickerham and lifelong farmer and longtime Extension Agent Gary Wilson were inducted Thursday into the Hancock County Agriculture Hall of Fame.
During ceremonies held in the Old Mill Stream Centre at the Hancock County Fairgrounds, nationally known livestock auctioneer Hobart Farthing and lifelong farmer B. Alvin Shoop were inducted posthumously.
The hall of fame recognizes Hancock County community members who have made outstanding contributions to agriculture.
Wickerham has come to be known by many as the “Ag man,” having worked at WFIN radio for the past 26 years. For over 25 years, Wickerham has worked with the agricultural community and area businesses to provide the Ag Talk show every morning.
Working with Extension Agents Gary Wilson and now Ed Lentz, Wickerham’s show has provided topical information about the agriculture industry and heritage. Wickerham also is a sales representative for WFIN and coordinates special events and programs for the radio station.
Earlier in his career, Wickerham was the public information and education specialist for Hancock Soil and Water Conservation District. He developed educational wall displays and a working soil/land/water demonstration model which was used by the district and then donated to Cory-Rawson science classes.
Wickerham developed and ran poster and essay contests, wrote the Soil and Water Newsletter and did radio spots. He also did many classroom presentations.
Wilson is a seventh-generation Hancock County farmer. He began his agricultural career as a 4-H agent with Hancock County Extension in 1980. He later became the extension educator for agriculture, retiring in 2011 after 31 years as an extension agent.
Wilson received the 2018 Hall of Fame Award from the National Association of County Agriculture Agents.
He and his wife, Mary, farm 200 acres just south of Jenera, raising corn, soybeans, wheat and a variety of forages. He developed a curriculum, “Forages for Horses,” which he has presented at over 50 seminars to over 1,000 participants.
Wilson and his wife are also passionate about sheep. At one point they had over 100 sheep, which helped support the farm in the lean years of the 1980s. The couple provided leadership to the Hancock County Sheep Improvement Association to help raise $50,000 for new sheep gates for the county fair and to establish a scholarship fund for sheep exhibitors.
Farthing started his real estate and auctioning business in 1946 and it continues to this day. Over five decades, he worked hundreds of livestock sales, real estate and household goods auctions.
He taught auctioneering at Reppert School of Auctioneering. He served as president of the Ohio Association of Auctioneers. Farthing was inducted into the Ohio Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame in 2000. He also won multiple awards for livestock auctioneering in many states.
Farthing volunteered his auctioneer services for charity events and the Hancock County Junior Fair livestock auction for several decades.
He also was a sheep breeder. Farthing was a regular contributor to Sheep Breeder Magazine for many years.
Shoop and his brother, Dan, farmed over 1,000 acres, raising soybeans, wheat, and corn and hay for their livestock.
Besides enjoying farming, Shoop liked to help other farmers in need. He was known for taking calls — sometimes in the middle of the night — to share his knowledge to help with sick sheep.
He also was dedicated to improving agriculture and helping others get started in 4-H or Future Farmers of America (FFA). He donated bred ewes to help get 4-H or FFA students started in the sheep industry.
Shoop also sold many lambs to 4-Hers at a low cost to encourage them to earn money and learn more about sheep. He taught them how to get the sheep ready to show, how to show them and how to grow their flock.
Shoop was a fair board member for 29 years as well as sheep superintendent.
Shoop hosted two Farm City Tours where he had wool spinning demonstrations, wool shearing demonstrations and Border Collie herding demonstrations.
Wilin: 419-427-8413 Send an E-mail to Lou Wilin