(Posted Oct. 10, 2019)
By Theresa Hennis, Staff Writer
It takes many volunteers to make the Farm Science Review a success. The annual agricultural trade show and exhibition takes place every September at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London and attracts approximately 140,000 visitors from around the United States and Canada.
One of the volunteers who stands out for going above and beyond is Monroe Harbage. On Aug. 13, the Plain City area resident was recognized as Farm Science Review Volunteer of the Year at the Review’s second annual recognition banquet.
Harbage began volunteering at the Review in 1997 after he answered an advertisement calling for volunteers in the Antique Equipment Buildings.
“I thought it sounded interesting, and I enjoy volunteering,” he said. “I started by answering questions about the farm equipment and how it works.”
Harbage has worked as the antiques coordinator since 2010. To get the three antiques buildings and equipment ready for the Review, Harbage begins contacting volunteers months in advance. Oversight of more than 1,600 pieces of antique tools, farm tractors and equipment takes organization and manpower.
“I have to make sure I have enough people to man all of the buildings and to clean them before and after the Review,” he said.
Volunteering at the Review involves more than just making sure its components run smoothly. Harbage represents what makes an agricultural community special—taking the time to make each visitor feel welcomed.
“I enjoy visiting with all of the people who come to see the antique farm equipment, and I get to reacquaint myself with friends and former students,” he said. “It’s a rewarding experience explaining about the antiques and how they work.”
Matthew Sullivan, superintendent of the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, said, “Monroe’s passion is to educate the young and old alike about the heritage of agricultural equipment. His knowledge of the antique equipment is vast and appreciated by many who visit the displays at the Farm Science Review. I appreciate all Monroe does to make it a world-class farm show.”
Harbage’s background in community service and volunteering reaches beyond the Farm Science Review. His many roles include: Madison County 4-H key leader, Camp Clifton 4-H board of directors, Emmanuel Lutheran Church Council, Plain City Lions Club, Madison County Historical Society, Girl Scouts judge at the Ohio State Fair, local school speaker and presenter of the history of apple cider pressing, 4-H rope-tying and tractor rodeo judge at the Ohio State Fair, and 4-H projects and open class horticulture judge in numerous counties.