The agricultural community in Fulton County inducted four individuals in the Fulton County Agricultural Hall of Fame Aug. 21 in Archbold.
The annual event recognizes selected farmers or agribusiness leaders from the county who have committed over 25 years or more of service to the agricultural industry in the county, state or region. This year’s winners will have a permanent plaque hung in their honor at the Merchants Building on the Fulton County Fairgrounds, and receive an identical plaque for their home.
The county plaques will be placed in the Hall of Fame Pavilion, south of the Junior Fair Building, during the fair.
The 2017 inductees are:
• Walter H. Lange. He is recognized for his support of forestry management and the tree farm system in Fulton County. Lange has maintained the 56-acre Lange Tree Farm for over 27 years in Swancreek Township. He has planted over 8,000 trees that include white oak, red oak, black walnut, black cherry, white pine, and American chestnut. In 2010 the Lange Tree Farm was recognized as the Ohio Tree Farm of the Year and in 2011 as the National-Northeast Outstanding Regional Tree Farm of the Year.
Lange regularly conducts presentations and host camps for several school groups and clubs. He helped establish Chestnut Education Plots at 4-H Camp Palmer and the Maumee State Forest. He also helped set up an American Chestnut Workshop and Tour in Swanton. While a member of the Swanton Tree Commission, he helped arrange several tree care workshops and arranged for Arbor Day tree plantings at Park Elementary School. He hosts winter camps for the Boy Scouts for many years, and has authored and been awarded an American Forest Foundation-Tree Farm Education Grant. He travels often to Washington D.C. to lobby on behalf of the family forest owners.
He is a member of St. Richard Catholic Church, serving on several committees throughout the years. He has been a member of the Swanton Village Tree Commission for five years, and has served on the Fulton County and Swancreek Township Zoning commission as well as the Swancreek Water District Board. He has been the fair’s poultry show coordinator and weigh master since 1980. He served on the Fulton County Fair Board from 1996-2002, on the Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors from 2003-06, and is currently on the advisory board for Fulton County OSU Extension.
• Cathy Leininger. She was a lifelong resident of Fulton County and lived in the Fayette area. She was a wife, mother, and grandmother, spending her lifetime exhibiting dairy cattle and promoting the dairy cattle industry at the Fulton County Fair, until her passing in 2014.
In 1972, Cathy was the Ohio Holstein Queen. She assisted in the operation of Mor-Ann Holsteins, a small dairy farm in Fayette. Cathy and her husband ,Lee, farmed 400 acres, and she was co-owner and operator of Cottonwood Vale registered Black and Red Holsteins. Cathy was involved in the dairy industry as secretary to the Ohio District 10 Holstein Club, and representative to both the National Red and White and Holstein Dairy Cattle Association conventions. She has always worked hard to teach young people, including her grandkids, the value of the agriculture in our community.
In the community, Cathy participated in many groups, including as a Cub Scout/Boy Scout/Girl Scout leader, director for the Maumee Valley Girl Scout Council summer day camp, the Fayette cheerleading squad, and 4-H volunteer. Additionally, she helped many groups organize fundraisers, benefiting groups such as Relay for Life, Help Whip Cancer, after proms for area schools, libraries, and multiple school athletic and academic groups.
Cathy was active with West Franklin United Methodist Church and Fayette United Methodist Church for over 45 years. Cathy’s husband, Lee, received the award on behalf of the Cathy Leininger family.
• Bill Serna. He has contributed to Fulton County agriculture through his involvement in the Fulton County Fair. Bill was an active member of the Fulton County Fair Board from 1989-2015, and was director in charge of the poultry building and harness racing.
Bill graduated from Lyons High School in Royalton Township, then served three years in the U.S. Marines before making Lyons his life home. He became a Fair Board director in 1989, and was charged with the poultry barn, his responsibility his entire 27 years. In 1997, Bill lead the efforts to build the new poultry barn on the fairgrounds. He served on the advisory committee for best practices of county fair harness racing in Ohio for the purpose of maintain improving the horse racing industry and racing events at the fair.
In the community. Bill served on the cemetery board of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church and is a current member of St. Caspar Catholic Church in Wauseon.
• Jane Wyse served agriculture in Fulton County for nearly 28 years as the office associate for the Agriculture and Natural Resources program at the Ohio State University Extension Office.
Wyse grew up on a dairy farm in northern Fulton County in Chesterfield Township, and continues to live there today. While at OSU Extension, Jane has provided support to 4-H programs like camp, fair, 4-H enrollment, skillathons, livestock sale, and project judging. She has also helped coordinate quality agriculture pesticide recertification programs, nutrient management workshops, and regional agronomy programs, like Corn and Soybean Day each year in Archbold.
Until her retirement in 2017, Jane provided all the office support for the Fulton County Agriculture Hall of Fame program since its inception in 1983. Prior to her service with OSU Extension, she worked for a local accountant assisting farmers and small business prepare their income taxes.
Additionally, along with her husband, Terry, and sons’ families, Jane has been an active participant in the family farm operations for over 40 years as bookkeeper, truck driver, meal deliverer, and errand runner.
She has been a longtime member of North Clinton Church, and helps by teaching, being a youth sponsor and youth mentor. She is the secretary/treasurer for the board of the Northwest Ohio Agape House, a shelter for women and children in the community. While Jane is always up for tackling tough tasks, she is a humble servant who prefers to work behind the scenes. Jane’s efforts with 4-H youth, church youth and her grandkids show her concern for the next generation of agriculturists.
Since 1983, there have been 140 honorees inducted into the Fulton County Agricultural Hall of Fame.