Licking County Agricultural HOF Celebrates New Inductees

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Four new members of the Licking County Agricultural Hall of Fame were celebrated at Ohio State’s Newark campus on Friday, March 18.

The OSU Extension typically holds a ceremony each year to honor new inductees, but complications from the pandemic have 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 ran dairy and grain producer Shipley Farms in Newark, where his family continues to care for 500 cows and grow corn, beans, wheat and alfalfa. They pride themselves on being environmentally friendly.

“The farm practices good conservation using no-till planting, cover crops and manure management,” said a representative from the Licking County Agrarian Club, the group that nominated Shipley for Hall of Fame induction. .

After:Tim Shipley was not just a farmer, but a friend to all

A strong advocate of agricultural education, Shipley organized farm tours for school children on field trips and worked with environmental science students at Denison University. In addition, he has taken on leadership roles within the local farming community, having served terms as chairman of the Licking County Dairy Directors and the Licking County Agrology/Agrarian Club.

Hendren bought his own farm at the age of 19 in 1955 and never looked back. With the help of his younger brother Tom, he built a family farm covering over 10,000 acres. Perhaps even more appreciable is how Hendren used his talents to serve the Licking County community.

“Fred Hendren is one of the most diverse farmers in all of Ohio,” said proponent Troy Hendren, Fred’s nephew. “At one point it was said that the Hendrens had installed over 50% of the drain pipes in Licking County.”

County residents may remember Hendren from his previous role as chairman of the Johnstown Monroe School Board.

Kiracofe and his wife, Lynna, own Kiracofe Cattle Acres and Winding Trails Maple Syrup, producing corn, soy 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 the program administrator from 1997 to 2014.

Jim Kiracofe speaks with his wife Lynna, right, and Marcia Phelps, clerk of the Licking County Municipal Court, at his retirement party in 2014. He was recently inducted into the County of Agriculture Hall of Fame Licking.

“In addition to providing leadership, conservation programs and services to traditional farming communities,” said Hawthorne, “Jim felt it was important to educate the non-farming community about the importance of agriculture and conservation of natural resources.”

Appointed by John Reed, Watts is the chairman of Granville Milling, Co. and the owner of Granville-based Watts Farms, which grows corn, soybeans and wheat.

“Phil has been a mentor to farmers and agricultural professionals for over 40 years,” Reed said. “Phil is a trusted advisor to many Licking County farmers in the areas of business management, agronomy consulting, grain marketing, and livestock management and marketing.”

Phil Watts was inducted into the Licking County Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2020.

Accustomed 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 established to “recognize individuals who have provided exemplary lifetime service to their community and to the agricultural industry.”

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