The annual Fayette County Agricultural Hall of Fame dinner will be held this evening at the Fine Arts Building on the Fayette County Fairgrounds.
“The Fayette County Agricultural Hall of Fame Committee has been sponsoring a dinner since 2001 to recognize local agriculturalists and to highlight their contributions to the local agricultural industry in Fayette County and beyond,” said Ken Ford, the OSU Fayette County agricultural agent.
Ford stressed that “the key factor in these awards is what Fayette County gains by having these progressive individuals as part of our Fayette County community. Through the years, all of the men inducted have exceeded the criteria for the award due to their accomplishments, their commitment and their involvement in our county.”
This year’s two inductees are John R. Cook and James David Garland.
Garland was born in Clinton County on March 11, 1955 to Robert and Martha Garland. The family moved to Fayette County when Jim was 10-years-old to take over the Ralph Nisley family farm.
Jim is a graduate of Miami Trace High School where he earned his State and American Farmer Degrees in FFA. He currently farms 2,800 acres in partnership with his brothers, Chris and Joe Garland. Jim also owns a drainage tile installation business.
Jim married the “neighbor’s daughter,” Melissa Mark, and they started a family with two sons, Mark and Luke. Mark lost his courageous battle with cystic fibrosis at the age of 26. Luke is employed by Nationwide Financial Services Company.
Throughout his lifetime, Jim has been very active in agricultural and community organizations. He is currently a member of or has been a member of The Fayette County Farm Bureau and the Fayette County Agronomy Club; the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Associations and the Ohio Soybean Association. Jim is also a current member of and a past chairman for the Fayette Soil and Water Conservation Board of Supervisors and is a member of, and is currently chair for the Fayette County Agricultural Hall of Fame committee.
Jim has been a Concord Township Trustee for 26 years and is a past president of the Fayette County Township Trustee Association. He has served on the Concord Green Township Fire Department for 30 years and is a past advisor to the 4-H Tractor Club. He is also a member of the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency and the Good Hope Lions.
Jim is a very active member of St. Colman Catholic Church and has achieved the title of Grand Knight with the Knights of Columbus. In 2013, Jim was honored as a Hometown Hero by the Fayette County American Red Cross.
John R. Cook was born May 21, 1932 to Charles and Christina Cook of Madison County. Ten years later the family moved to the home farm on Danville Road. John was the oldest son of six children. He had two brothers, David and Fred, and three sisters, Jane Throckmorton, Anna Lou Hutchens and Mary Goldberg. After graduating high school, John joined the U.S. Army and served for two years. He returned to work on the family farm with his father and brothers.
After his father retired and moved to Bloomingburg, John took over running the farm. John saw many changes in the farming industry. One big one was going from mixing and applying his own chemicals to having his custom blend applied by a company. John also raised sheep, cattle and occasionally hogs.
In a marriage that lasted 33 years, John married Karen A. Edwards on May 11, 1970. The couple had three children, Matthew, Mindy and JR.
John was very involved in his community. He helped organize and was a past president of the Fayette County Shepard’s Club. He was also a member of the Fayette County Cattle Feeders. He was one of the founders and an advisor for the Yatesville Producers 4-H Club in 1958. He also served on the ASC Committee for 18 years and on the Fayette County Water Conservation Committee for a number of years.
In 1951, he joined the Bloomingburg Masonic Lodge No. 449 serving as grand master twice and chaplain several times, as well as holding other offices. He earned his 50-year award, the Roy Thompson Meritorious Award and the Darwin Banks Builders Award. John delivered the flag lecture with pride and honor. He was a member of the Fairfield Commandry, serving as commander several times. He was also a member of the Washington C.H. Shrine Club, the Aladdin Shrine Club, and the Scottish Rite Valley of Columbus.
John was a member of the Bloomingburg Presbyterian Church where he served as a deacon and elder for many years. He also was a trustee for Paint Township for 21 years, was a member of the BPM Joint Fire Board, sat on the Bloomingburg Cemetery Board, as well as serving on the central committee for several years.
Anyone who knew John knew he was a man of honor and integrity. A person could learn much from a five-minute talk or an hour’s discussion because John was a man of wisdom. He passed away in December 2003 after a courageous battle with ALS. He will long be remembered as a strong, determined, knowledgeable, trusting and loving man.
Social hour begins at 6:30 p.m. today and the dinner, catered by the Willow, begins at 7 p.m.