Speaker 1 00:00:20 Hi, just to bite listeners. This is joy. Last week, we had the honor and privilege of joining our executive director, Lisa Hamer, Fuge, as she was inducted into the Ohio agricultural hall of fame. Lisa is deeply invested in fostering an environment in which farmers, growers, producers, and agricultural partners and their workers have as much consistency tools and support as they need to safely responsibly supply the world with the food it needs and environment in which every person can access and afford a wide array of wholesome foods, because we have invested in our supply chains as well as in our consumers. Lisa has really walked the talk for decades now, and, um, she certainly has earned this extraordinary recognition. So join us in hearing about why Lisa handler Fuge was inducted into the Ohio agricultural hall of fame this year at the Ohio state fair and what it means for our sector and for the Ohioans that we serve and partner with every day.
Speaker 2 00:01:45 Well, good morning, everyone. One of the things that stand between you and breakfast. So isn't great to all. This is just really, I was telling someone a moment ago, uh, who had not been to this event, but this really is kind of a premier event where we have agriculture leaders from across the state, uh, coming together, uh, during the Ohio state fair. And so it's good to have everybody back. Well, a lot has changed in agriculture, uh, since Fran and I worked as teenagers at, at DeWine seeds, but agriculture remains, uh, as it was when we were growing up, it remains our number one industry. And it's important. I think for all of us to remind people that agriculture changes, you all have adapted look to the, the future. The hall of fame is, is very significant. I think the fact that every year we gather here during the fair, uh, to honor new honorees and adoptees, uh, is, is very significant.
Speaker 2 00:02:59 And so being a member of the hall of fame for an industry that is still our number one industry, um, I, I think kind of tells us how very, very important, uh, it's. If you look back, uh, honoree in the past, you see great diversity, see how diverse agriculture is, all the different things that the VES have done. If you look at this, year's, induc peeves this new class, uh, coming in, you, you have some who have really focused their lives, uh, on the education of young people, uh, the education, uh, young people, not only in the United States, but in, in other countries who take our knowledge, oversee something that we've always been good, good about, uh, in helping other, other countries to be able to feed, uh, their own people. Uh, you see honor represe. Those of you who are involved in the promotion mag, uh, in this case are honorees promotion of, uh, things as diverse as, as soybeans to Christmas trees, uh, kinda gives us some indication of how widespread this, this industry is, how diverse this industry is.
Speaker 2 00:04:18 Um, we are honoring today a champion of food security, someone who actually, I sat down with yesterday to talk about the issues of food security, uh, in, in the state. Um, and we also have a champion of water quality, something that is so very, very important in Ohio and across the country. So again, back to the honoree, great diverse group, uh, we honor them today and Fran and I were just delighted to be here, to participate in a small way to, to honor this industry, uh, honor, all, all of you. And particularly though today to honor those who are being inducted, uh, into the hall of fame. Thank you very much. The new selection committee is appointed yearly from the membership of the council. The 2022 committee, you shall remain anonymous, reviewed many nominations and selected on honoree. Even though we cannot name the selection committee, you know who you are and your help with this significant task is greatly appreciated. Thank you. I very honored to IEE. They're truly passionate about agriculture. It has been, their life works, life's work and vocation to improve the promote of Ohio agriculture to our third in EE this morning is Lisa Hamer hug as Dean Chris and Lisa come to podium. It is my pleasure to reintroduce Lisa's husband, Richard, and the family and friends will
Speaker 2 00:06:19 Dean Lisa into the Ohio agricultural fame. Lisa Hamer has spent her life as a passionate advocate for anti efforts in Ohio and beyond leading countless stakeholders. She continues to be an integral part of federal and state hunger relief implementation efforts. Let's hear Lisa's story.
Speaker 4 00:06:50 Lisa Hamer Fuge has been a leading anti-hunger advocate for more than three decades. She has been executive director of the Ohio association of food banks since 2001, a position she still holds today. Her commitment to the mission of Ohio's feeding America food banks to share, provide food and other resources to people in need is steadfast and unwavering. Her observations in the corporate world eventually change the trajectory of her career and ultimately her impact on her fellow citizens in the mid 1990s, a major legislative change on the national level dramatically changed the way food banks would need to acquire as well as increase their food sources. This was the catalyst to leases relationship with Ohio's agriculture community,
Speaker 2 00:07:39 Bridging the gap between where our food came from and the needs of the food banks really began out of the 1996 welfare reform bill called the personal responsibility and work opportunity. Reconciliation act that at the time, cut over a billion dollars out the way of food stamp benefits for low income people. And I knew that that was going to have a pretty substantial impact on the demand for emergency food assistance at the food bank level. And recognizing that we could not depend on the ongoing source of donated foods and the need to really develop new relationships and to make that link between Ohio farmers, growers, and commodity producers, to be able to procure more of what the food banks needed in the way of those shelf, stable items, but also fresh P food to feed and growing number of people that were going to be impacted, uh, as a result of major federal policy changes at the time
Speaker 4 00:08:43 Modeled after our program in Michigan, Lisa designed the Ohio agricultural clearance program, one of the nation's premier models for salvaging surplus unmarketable agricultural products and redirecting them to food banks and the people they serve. She has worked with five governors and 13 general assemblies to strengthen and expand state investments in hunger relief and in Ohio's agricultural
Speaker 2 00:09:08 Community, the Ohio agriculture clearance program came out of the whole idea of welfare reform. And at the time we had already were establishing a, a purchase program and thought, you know, what we really need to do is get more fresh, wholesome foods into the DS and onto the dinner plates of low income Ohio. And so what better way to do that than to work with Ohio farmers and growers. And from that after many conversations that, uh, we knew that, uh, farmers often overproduced in order to meet their commercial market and that there was product oftentimes that had been left in the field unharvested. And we said, if we could pay a portion of your picking, packing, processing, and production costs to harvest that, uh, would you be willing to partner with Ohio food banks? So that was really the beginning seed that germinated for the Ohio agriculture clearance program. And it has grown into a program that provides tens of millions of paths, of the most healthy, wholesome food that we have to distribute to media S in the state of Ohio, it is now described as one of the most efficient, effective public private partnerships currently operating in this state. Uh, we believe and know for many of the families that we serve, this is their only access to fresh local link grown produce that they have access to.
Speaker 4 00:10:45 In addition, Lisa has served as consumer representative on the Ohio livestock care standards board, which also ended up
Speaker 2 00:10:53 Creating another partnership to combat Hong Kong. And I am so proud of the work that has done around the livestock standard. And I know again, other states have replicated that, but to be a consumer representative on that council, I had have been appointed by Ben strictly and then reappointed by governor Casey. It was, that was an honor and most humbling experience to be able to represent the consumers on that and always have an opportunity to talk about why it was important that we would buts and fortify these operations to make sure that we had access that readily access to healthy Folsome protein sources, the state, it also became a, a new partnership for us. So we were able to, to begin clearing a surplus eggs from egg producers. So these are all about the partnerships of weaving together, what we do as food banks, with the, the food producers and the people that we provide the food to and doing it through these public private partnerships that are funded by the state of Ohio known for her tenacious work ethic and drive Lisa's career is not over.
Speaker 4 00:12:06 She's continuing to find new collaborators opportunities for innovation and soapboxes to appeal for awareness and action.
Speaker 2 00:12:14 Food banks are very innovative as look, as they look at opportunities to be more involved in whether it is urban farming, urban agriculture. So anything that we can do to make those limits between where our food comes from, the people that produce it and how it's produced is important. We also believe that this potentially could be the new workforce of agriculture in the state of Ohio, exposing young people to new career opportunities in agriculture, a steadfast leader in hunger relief throughout Ohio,
Speaker 4 00:12:49 A friend to the agricultural
Speaker 2 00:12:51 Community for years,
Speaker 4 00:12:52 And a relentless advocate. The Ohio agricultural council is proud to welcome Lisa ham as a member
Speaker 2 00:13:00 Of the hall of fame of the Ohio agricultural council. It is my and sincere privilege to welcome Lisa agricultural hall of fame
Speaker 1 00:13:34 On its face. It might not make sense to those unfamiliar with the Ohio association of food banks and our work with Ohio's agricultural community, that our executive director might be inducted into a hall of fame. That is of course, predominantly filled with extraordinary leaders in farming and food production, education, and marketing. But Lisa has worked for decades to develop partnerships between Ohio's hunger relief network and Ohio's agricultural community. She's worked to support and secure, effective sound, public policies and public investments that lead to mutually beneficial solutions. Her signature achievement has been building the premier nationwide model for directing surplus agricultural products to food insecure community members. This initiative, the Ohio agricultural clearance program has provided farmers, growers, and producers with an outlet for unmarketable or surplus commodities, reimbursing them for their input and labor costs, reducing food waste and better meeting the nutritional needs of Ohio individuals and families that cannot afford or access adequate nutritious food on their own.
Speaker 1 00:14:51 The Ohio agricultural clearance program has rescued hundreds of millions of pounds of Ohio grown Ohio produced in Ohio raised foods since its conception in his letter of support for Lisa's nomination to the Ohio agricultural hall of fame. Jim Shakira's executive vice president of the Ohio poultry association had this to say about Lisa's leadership efforts. The Ohio agricultural clearance program is a statewide effort funded in the state's biennial budget, which allows the association to purchase surplus or otherwise unmarketable agricultural products from Ohio farmers and growers. This prevents waste and helps Ohio farmers recover production costs while also putting fresh Ohio food on the plates of families in need. The Ohio poultry association has been a proud partner of this program. Since 2005, Ohio egg farmers have donated more than 10 million eggs to Ohioans in need. Lisa understands the challenges that Ohio agriculture faces and made sure agriculture's interests were shared to build consensus for policies and regulations to promote equitable food access and affordability for Ohios Lisa's passion for helping others is contagious.
Speaker 1 00:16:09 She is relentless in her efforts to ensure that all Ohio ones have the resources they need to fulfill their basic needs through every obstacle or hardship that's thrown her way. She continues to push forward and mobilizes others around her as well. Lisa has been a steadfast supporter of Ohio's farmers and agriculture industry for her entire career, and is more than deserving of this prestigious honor. Chad Burma, president of Burma farms in Willard, Ohio had this to share in his letter of support for Lisa's nomination to the Ohio agricultural hall of fame. He says, my name is Chad Burma, and I am president of Burma farms and a fourth generation farmer. My family has been growing vegetables for over 125 years, starting in Ohio and expanding into Michigan in 1976. Obviously we grow vegetables to provide food for our families and employees. However, there is a part of our company mission statement that reads growing healthy produce for hungry people.
Speaker 1 00:17:09 Sometimes this part of our mission statement is something that we lose focus on. Lisa and her team started the agricultural clearance program in 1999. Burma farms was approached in 2002 and asked to participate. And after an overview of the program, we happily hopped on board. This program receives money from the state and uses that money to purchase either excess or imperfect vegetables, fruits, dairy, et cetera, directly from the growers. The reason this is so beneficial to us as a grower is that it is very difficult to always have just the exact amount and perfect quality that our customers expect when we have excess or slightly imperfect produce. That is still just as nutritional as what we might sell. Our other customers. We can approach the people at the Ohio association of food banks and offer them our excess produce. They can in turn, pay us a price to cover most of our growing costs, harvest labor, packaging costs and transportation.
Speaker 1 00:18:04 This is a win-win situation for both the farm and community and the Ohio food banks. I've been fortunate enough to sit in many meetings with Lisa and even walk the halls at both the Ohio state house and Capitol hill and DC. I'm always in awe of her passion, compassion, and overall knowledge of the entire food insecurity issues all across our nation. I do honestly feel that when Lisa speaks about her passion, whether it's in a small gathering or in front of a room of government officials all leave the engagement informed and inspired. I know every single time I'm with her, it brings me back to my family's mission statement. And I'm quickly reminded of growing healthy produce for hungry people. Lisa always brings the big picture back into perspective in addition to her leadership and innovation in fostering the development of the Ohio agricultural clearance program, which has now become a national model for how to reduce food waste, support, agricultural producers, and feed more hungry people.
Speaker 1 00:19:10 Lisa has made many other contributions to Ohio's agricultural sector. She previously served as co-chair of the Ohio smart agriculture solutions from the land project, which represented more than two years of work by a wide group of stakeholders to provide pathways and priority action steps to enable Ohio's farmers, ranchers, and Woodland managers to further improve quality of life through multiple solutions they can sustainably deliver from the land. Lisa also previously served as consumer representative on the Ohio livestock care standards board at the appointment of governor's Ted Strickland and John Kasick. She was also a governor's appointee to the Ohio food policy council. In both of these roles, she worked to build consensus for policies, regulations, and standards that promote food, safety, food system, resiliency, and integrity, and equitable food access and affordability.
Speaker 1 00:20:10 We, all of us across our country and our world are facing an uphill battle in the months and years ahead, as we all cope with the variety of external factors that will impact the food supply chain, its solvency and sustainability, and our ability as consumers to access a wholesome variety of affordable foods. We need a broad array of stakeholders to continue to come together, work together on solutions to issues ranging from climate change to input costs, to innovative solutions like the Ohio agricultural clearance program. We know that nothing is more important as adequate nutritious food for every person. It is our most basic and essential need as human beings. And we are here to work across sectors to make that a reality for every Ohio. And please, if you'd like to learn more about the Ohio agricultural clearance program, our current request for emergency funding to help us rise to the moment right now, as we see escalating need and increases in food costs and what you can all do to be part of the conversation around these issues and more visit our [email protected]
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Speaker 1 00:21:42 Congratulations again to Lisa. We're so proud to have you as our leader and so grateful to have you at the helm of this important cross sector work. We'll talk to you next time.