Chamber announces regional partnership with Farm Bureau

Apr 07, 2015
A new economic development partnership will focus on a growing agricultural sector that involves more than 7,000 northeast Ohio farms, including many in Trumbull and Mahoning counties.
YOUNGSTOWN – A new economic development partnership will focus on a growing agricultural sector that involves more than 7,000 northeast Ohio farms, including many in Trumbull and Mahoning counties.
 
Recognizing recent growth and future opportunities in the food processing industry, the Regional Chamber and the Ohio Farm Bureau have spent more than a year defining a partnership and strategy to better serve the agriculture industry, including farming, food manufacturing, processing and distribution. The partnerships will offer business development assistance and help companies make connections within the industry overall.
 
“The Regional Chamber strives to meet the needs of all businesses and industries within the Valley; agriculture is one of them,” said Regional Chamber Vice President of Economic Development, North America Sarah Boyarko. “There are certainly assistance and resources available for all parts of this growing industry, from the farms to the distributors and anything in between.”
 
In the past three years food-related industries have invested nearly $50 million in the Valley and they now make up 7.5 percent of all manufacturing jobs here. There are 41 food-related companies whose employees have an average salary of $16.24 per hour.
 
“I am incredibly excited for our county farm bureaus to be official partners of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber,” said Ty Kellogg, who represents farm bureaus in Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, Trumbull and Mahoning counties. “The last 16 months of discussions have opened my eyes to what the Chamber brings to the Mahoning Valley as well as the state of Ohio and I am very excited that agriculture is a part of this discussion.”
 
The Regional Chamber is the Valley’s lead economic development agency. Last year it attracted $126 million in business investments that created 484 new jobs in the Valley. It has another $1.4 billion in pending projects. Since 1993, the Regional Chamber has amassed $4.4 billion in business investments that resulted in more than 50,000 new or retained jobs.
 
“We are excited to partner with the Chamber to help our agri-business continue to grow in the area,” said Nick Kennedy, who represents farm bureaus in Portage, Stark, Summit and Columbiana counties. “The support the Chamber can give to local farmers will help make farming stronger in the region.”  
 
Kellogg added, “I look forward to sharing the Chamber's knowledge and resources with our farm bureau members as well as sharing agriculture's resources with the community leaders involved with the Chamber,” Kellogg said.
 
Since many of the farm bureau counties are outside of the Valley’s boundaries, the Regional Chamber will connect those business development leads to the appropriate economic development agencies, Boyarko said.  
 
There are 7,374 farms in the nine counties with more than 36,000 bureau members.