Agriculture is one of the primary industries in our area. Years ago, many of us had direct experience with a farm owned by our parents, grandparents, or other relatives. Today, however, many individuals have no connection with a farm.
Social media is loaded with incorrect and misleading information about modern agriculture. Unfortunately, even some restaurants and grocery chains have taken advantage of this misinformation in their marketing message.
To better inform area residents about local agriculture, the Agribusiness Committee of the Findlay-Hancock County Chamber of Commerce has arranged a tour of Cooper Farms in Van Wert County to see firsthand the operations of a highly successful agriculture enterprise. The tour is open to city and rural individuals.
Cooper Farms (http://www.cooperfarms.com) is a third-generation, family-owned, vertical integrated enterprise that raises turkeys, chickens and hogs. It is known for locally-raised quality meats. The products are distributed under various names as hams, turkeys, chicken, and processed meats.
Cooper Farms received national attention this past Thanksgiving as the provider of the presidential turkey. The company has operations in Mercer, Paulding and Van Wert counties, and has existed as a family business in northwestern Ohio since 1938.
In addition to the Cooper Farms visit, the tour will also visit Haviland Plastics to see how local companies are using in-house renewable energy sources to power their facilities. Haviland Plastics makes electrical power by utilizing food waste in an anaerobic digester and by direct-drive wind turbines.
Haviland Plastics (http://havilandplastics.com/#!/home) uses advanced technology to make new products by recycling plastic products such as milk jugs, detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, and nursery pots. They are one of the companies taking advantage of wind turbine technology that is seen as one drives along U.S. 30 near Van Wert.
The tour will be all day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 25. A charter bus will depart from and return to the Hancock County Agricultural Service Center, 7868 County 140, Findlay.
The trip will include tours of Cooper Farms’ meat-packaging facility, pig finishing farm and wind farm, as well as a tour of Haviland Plastics’ recycling facility and wind farm.
Tour tickets may be purchased for $20 at the Findlay-Hancock County Chamber of Commerce office, 123 E. Main Cross St., Findlay. Lunch, refreshments, and an industry gift bag will be provided to participants. Tickets are limited so purchase them as soon as possible to ensure a bus seat.
This trip will be a great opportunity to directly learn about the livestock industry and wind energy in northwestern Ohio. Individuals will be able to see firsthand how local agricultural companies are community-oriented, sustainably-minded, and environmentally responsible.
For additional information, contact Laurie Poland at 419-422-3313, or email lpoland@FindlayHancockChamber.com.
Lentz is extension educator for agriculture and natural resources for the Ohio State University Extension Service in Hancock County. He can be reached at 419-422-3851 or via email at lentz.38@osu.edu.
Lentz can be heard with Vaun Wickerham on weekdays at 6:35 a.m. on WFIN, at 5:43 a.m. on WKXA-FM, and at 5:28 a.m. at 106.3 The Fox.

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