With more than 1,000 farms generating more than $64 million in cash receipts, agriculture is big business in Tuscarawas County. Along the many roads that crisscross the county are more than 150,000 acres devoted to corn, soybeans, other small grains, alfalfa, grass, vegetables, and timber. In addition, nearly 30,000 beef cattle and over 9,000 dairy cattle can be found throughout the county. Tuscarawas County had the proud distinction of being in the top five Ohio counties in beef cattle and calves and milk cows.
In addition to farms, there are a number of agricultural related businesses and industries in the county. These include several farm and feed supply businesses, a dairy processing plant, several cheese plants, livestock marketing and processing businesses, several equipment businesses, veterinarians, and many others. These businesses are very important and provide needed services to the farmers throughout the county. Tuscarawas County is proud to have two FFA (agricultural education) programs, one at Buckeye Career Center in New Philadelphia and another at Indian Valley High school in Gnadenhutten.
These FFA programs teach agricultural science and agricultural business topics, including animal production, crop production, water quality, record keeping, and career preparation to high school students. Many of the students enrolled in this program also are employed throughout the county on farms or in agricultural businesses where they learn to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real life situations in the workforce. In addition to their employment experiences, students also have the opportunity to participate in contests where they apply their knowledge in a variety of subjects and compete against other schools.
Students in the FFA programs are also involved in a number of community service activities. These include canned food drives, toy drives, roadside cleanup projects, selling fruit, and making presentations in elementary classrooms to teach students about agriculture. Located in Tuscarawas County is the Ohio State University Extension office. This office is a part of Ohio State University, whose mission is to bring research-based information to the local citizens in a way that will help them to improve their quality of life.
There are four program areas at OSU Extension: agriculture and natural resources; family and consumer science: community development; and 4-H youth development. The agriculture and natural resources program works with farmers, rural landowners, and homeowners to address a variety of questions and concerns related to agriculture, the environment, and home, yard and garden issues. The family and consumer sciences program addresses a number of issues related to family life, food and nutrition, parenting, and money management. Helping to build leadership within communities, facilitating workshops, and job creation and retention are just a few of the areas the community development program addresses. Developing leadership in youth and teaching life skills is the main thrust of the 4-H program.
Tuscarawas County has more than 2,000 youths enrolled in community clubs and school enrichment programs, along with more than 200 volunteers assisting the program. 4-H members have the opportunity to choose from more than 150 projects ranging from crops and livestock, to woodworking, photography, gardening, sewing, child care, and many more. These projects provide youth the opportunity to learn about a variety of topics using a hand-on approach to learning. The Tuscarawas County Fair is the time of year when many 4-H members have the opportunity to exhibit their projects and be rewarded for their hard work. The support of local businesses and individuals is impressive for this major event. At the 2000 Fair, more than $300,000 was raised to support the livestock, small animal and dairy programs. The 4-H youth are truly appreciative of the many fine area businesses that make a commitment to the program.
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