Three picked to join Hardin County ag hall of fame

KENTON — The Hardin County Agriculture Hall of Fame announced Merritt Corbin, Joe Cornely and Jim Lyle as the 2017 honorees to be inducted at the 15th annual Agriculture Hall of Fame recognition banquet.

The banquet will be held Dec. 5 at St. John’s Evangelical Church on East Carrol Street, Kenton. The public is invited to join to recognize outstanding agricultural contributions by Hardin County residents.

Corbin graduated from Forest High School in 1937 and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio State University in 1941, with majors in Agricultural Education, Agricultural Economics, and Agricultural Engineering. He lived in Hardin County until 1941, when he left to serve in World War II. After the war he moved to Fremont for his first job with the USDA Farm Security Administration. He became a county supervisor over two counties in 1946, making loans to farmers, particularly returning veterans, and servicing loans already in place while working in Warren. He became assistant manager and then manager of the Wooster Production Credit Association in 1954.

Corbin was later promoted to Assistant Vice President, P.C.A. at the central office in Ashland. He was a credit supervisor for three field offices and responsible for the initial start of AGRIFAX, a computerized farm record keeping system before retiring with 30 years of service to P.C.A. He still owned the family farm in Hardin County until it was sold in 1987, before he passed away in 2010.

Cornely graduated from Kenton High School in 1974. After high school he attended Bowling Green State University, graduating in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Communications Education. He began working in agriculture at WRFD, WLW and then again at WRFD radio stations. While at WRFD, he developed the station’s 90-minute mid-day farm program which reached farmers in 70 Ohio counties. Cornely was chosen by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture John Block to accompany the U.S. Delegation to the European Union Economic Summit. He was president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters in 1995, and was voted the ‘National Farm Broadcaster of the Year’ by his peers in 1996.

Cornely joined the Ohio Farm Bureau in 1998 as director of media relations and is now senior director of corporate communications. During his time at Ohio Farm Bureau, he conceived and launched the group’s member publication ‘Our Ohio,’ its revised newspaper “Buckeye Farm News,” and initiated the weekly public affairs radio show “Town Hall Ohio.” He led Farm Bureau into social media and has been honored by the American Farm Bureau more than a dozen times for his work

Lyle is a graduate of Alger High School. He has been a resident of Hardin County for 76 years, where he is the fourth generation of his family to operate the family farm in the Scioto Marsh south of McGuffey. Jim and his wife Jean managed the Agrico Fertilizer plant in Alger from 1965-66. He has been willing to try conservation practices such as installing hybrid poplar tree windbreaks to prevent erosion on his farm, working with the Hardin Soil and Water Conservation District. He has also installed grass waterways on his farm and uses cover crops. The Hardin Soil and Water Conservation District named him District Cooperator of the Year twice in the 1980s. He has participated in on-farm nitrogen rate trials through Ohio State University Extension.

Lyle has been a 4-H advisor and served 20 years on the Hardin County Fair Board. While a fair director, he has held roles as swine superintendent, grounds chairman, vice president and president. In 2011, he received the Hardin County Fair Honoree Award for his service. He is a past member of the Hardin County Farm Bureau board and was on the first steering committee for the Hardin County Agriculture Hall of Fame

Tickets for the Hardin County Agriculture Hall of Fame Banquet must be purchased in advance by Nov. 27. Tickets are $12 and are available at the Hardin County Extension office (419-674-2297) or from the committee members Dustin McCullough, Robert McBride, Ruth Oates, Kerry Oberlitner, Gary Harpster, Steve Poling, Luke Underwood, Robert Wood or Mark Badertscher.

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Merritt Corbin Corbin

Joe Cornely Cornely

Jim Lyle Lyle