Kelly Fager

My Internship with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation

Final Thoughts on My Internship

903,824 Ohio State Fair fairgoers this year. 22 days straight of living at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. 3 interns planned, designed and executed entire layout of the 36,000 square foot building. 29 ambassadors hired to staff Land and Living exhibit. 44 pages of final reports completed for building.

It has been quite a summer full of hard work and teaching the public about agriculture but I enjoyed every moment of it.  Beginning on May 1, 2013, I had the unique opportunity to join two other interns in planning, designing and executing the Nationwide Donahey Ag & Hort building at the Ohio State Fair.  We immediately went to Disney World within the first two weeks to be able to see how Disney interacts with the public, uses design and how to create a showcase on a topic.  This experience allowed the interns to creatively think and design a hands-on and interactive building for future years to come.  Having the burden of everyone is new at this (interns and supervisors) did have difficult moments but together as a  team we got through it.  Besides having everyone new, it was also the year where the building was to be completely revamped.  Those two items caused some difficulties throughout the entire process but that was to be expected and would have happened in any internship.  I learned to just expect delays and have meetings to discuss and get everyone on the same page again.

The planning and design stage of this internship was several months in the making.  It provided a time for all three of us interns to be creative and make connections in the agriculture industry.  Having all assigned a section of the building, it allowed for the workload to be divided out.  Besides having my own section, I was also designated the responsibilities of media relations during the Ohio State Fair and also was responsible on handling all ambassador paperwork and tasks that were involved.  This provided me the unique opportunity to put my major to the test.  I was able to be the contact for media and see how their demands and requests are in the real world versus reading a textbook.  I was able to run on three hours of sleep to get to the fairgrounds at 4:00 AM to make sure that our puppies would be on air like it would be in a real job.  I was able to write press releases and media advisories to inform the public about what was happening in the building and why they should come.   Having the ambassador responsibilities I was able to use my organizational skills and social skills to interview and train these college students.  In a way I was able to see what Human Resources does on a day-to-day hiring and paperwork process.  These were all real world experiences that I was able to have sitting in a cubicle versus sitting in a classroom.  This internship allowed me to use my major and classes I have had to feel like I was working in the real world with schooling done.  I thoroughly enjoyed having these experiences because I am happy to be majoring as an agricultural communication major.

The execution stage began on July 15 as that was move-in day.  Throughout move-in, we were able to have five to seven ambassadors help out daily putting together the building.  Whether they were washing fence, planting flowers, or hanging signs they each were valuable assets to the building.  Having had two building training days, we were able to have all of the Ohio Farm Bureau staff and ambassadors aware of what was happening in the building.  Without a doubt this helped us all days of fair so we weren’t scrambling to get everyone on the same page.  Having 29 ambassadors we were able to have enough rotation that we weren’t burning anyone out.  This allowed for positive attitudes and smiles throughout the 12 days of fair.  It may have taken 8 days to set-up but only 1.5 days to tear down.

The Ohio State Fair ran from July 24 – August 4 and 903,824 Ohio State Fair fairgoers entered through the gates.  It is estimated that 350,000 fairgoers went through the Land and Living exhibit that Ohio Farm Bureau presents with other sponsors.  We were able to have anyone from Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers, CFAES, Nationwide, Agrium – Seed Survivor, to many many more exhibitors.  New this year was a Country Connection stage that had all 36 time slots filled with others presenting outside the scheduled times.  This gave the public an opportunity to see demonstrations on sheep shearing, seeing the Columbus Zoo, Christmas tree shearing to presentations on bioproducts.  The stage was a hit among the fairgoers and is something that Farm Bureau hopes to continue to grow over the future.  This year was also the first year that the Joint House and Senate Ag Committee Hearing was held in the building on the stage.  This was well attended and allowed for several individuals to testify to the legislators.  On behalf of all the interns and ambassadors, I was able to testify with Mr. Jack Fisher on how agriculture was implemented into the building and why it is important that the Ag & Hort building is filled with agriculture for the fair.  The Ohio State Fair and any county fair is the prime showcase for Ohio agriculture where all fairgoers can see and learn.

Like any job or internship, there is always going to be good days and bad days.  We did have our fair share of both but I wouldn’t done anything different.  I was very honored to be able to be one of the three interns who planned, designed and executed the building to teach about agriculture to a large crowd.  This is something I wouldn’t been able to do anywhere else.  I was able to network and have opportunities that only Ohio Farm Bureau could provide.  I was able to have the role of working with the media and doing ambassador responsibilities.  This was an area that I enjoyed and was glad I was responsible for.  I definitely learned a lot about myself and my future career in agriculture.  I had a great summer interning with Ohio Farm Bureau and look forward to using the skills and resources in my future career!

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Week 14 – Ohio State Fair is ALMOST Done

It’s hard to believe how fast the fair has gone due to the beautiful weather but I will admit I am ready for it to be done!

I had the opportunity to attend the Ohio Agriculture Hall of Fame breakfast on Friday which was a great networking opportunity for me while honoring four outstanding individuals in the agriculture field.  I also was able to meet the new president of The Ohio State University as we took him by golf cart back to his vehicle.

The fair is all about educating the public about agriculture during these 12 days.  Our building has done just that with hands-on activities and demonstrations on the “Country Connection” stage.

Be sure to check out: for the complete day-by-day action the interns documented!

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Week 13 – Having a “Fairtastic” Time

Talk about a crazy but “Fairtastic” time at the Ohio State Fair.  As of today we are officially half way through.  I have had many opportunities that I never thought I would have.  I have made many memories and friends for life!

Opening day was last Wednesday, July 24 and seems like this fair has been non-stop since then.  I am the intern in-charge of media so I have had the opportunity to be on several broadcasts and shows.  I have been on or hosted Town Hall Ohio, Ohio Ag Net, A Firm Foundation, NBC4, ABC6, Tom Wood show, Columbus Dispatch, Brownfield Ag News and others.  Being the media intern, I have learned that the alarm clock can go off very early and living on 4 hours of sleep will at some point in the day make you crash.  Being at the fairgrounds for a 4:30 AM broadcast seemed crazy but it definitely happened to me. I learned that not everything will go the way planned and improvising can be done.  I’ve learned that media and down pour rain means they will beg you to drive the golf cart faster.  I have learned that media will say X time and mean something completely different.  However, I truly have enjoyed my job doing media and being able to talk about the Ag & Hort building with agriculture being incorporated into the conversations.

New this year was the “Country Connection” stage in the Ag & Hort building.  These acts include anything from sheep shearing, Columbus Zoo, cooking demonstrations to much much more.  This year we had the honor to host the Joint Senate and House Agriculture Committee Hearing.  I was asked to testify on behalf of all OFBF interns and ambassadors to the committee.  I was able to speak to the 25 members of the committee with about 100 in attendance.  Although it was nerve wracking, I definitely was honored to have been chosen.

The ambassadors have been a lot of fun and are by far the hardest working people I know.  This year I was able to hire 29 ambassadors.  They staff anything from a virtual tractor, country cruise, remote control tractors, puppies, Agrium, photo opportunity, welcome booths and others.

I am very proud of the Ag & Hort building and feel fortunate to have had such a great intern team.  I may be exhausted and beginning to not like the fair but I am having a great time.   More days of fair means more interaction with the public about agriculture so I am ready!IMG_2277

Talking on Ohio Ag Net about the Ag & Hort building with Dale Minyo.


Testifying on behalf of all OFBF interns and ambassadors for the Joint Senate and House Agriculture Committee Hearing.



My Media I’m Involved In:

Digital Dale Email on July 25 that I’m featured in:

Good Morning Everyone
56 degrees this morning and looks like the potential for a rain event of some kind tomorrow.  From there a few more days at or just below 80.

There were quite a few folks at the fair with a sweatshirt or light jacket yesterday.  If you were out in the sun you didn’t need it but if you were in the ODNR area or in the buildings with a good breeze it was a nice addition to have.  The Nationwide Ag and Hort. Building is a very nice hands on destination for families.  Plenty to read and take in but even more to touch  and feel and experience.  That is the way we connect with folks said Kelly Fager Lead Intern for Farm Bureau in the building.  The corn wall was replaced by a stage and seating which has presentations including sheep shearing and the Columbus Zoo animals make several appearances.


You can still see the baby chicks and kids pedal a tractor through farm country but you also can drive a tractor through a simulator and make something at the soybean booth.  Be sure to stop in at the Nationwide Ag and Hort building.  Yes there is a Jumbo ice tea stand just out the west doors.


I will check out the butter sculpture today and get an up date from Jenny Hubble on the dairy promotion efforts going on in Ohio.  Oh yea and have some Ice Cream.


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Week 12 – Moving In and Setting Exhibits

It is so hard to believe but move in has begun and exhibits are coming together.  We officially moved in on Monday and have been not stopped since then.  Long hours, stress, sweat and bruises are all just part of the move in process but I’m excited that I can finally take the plan on paper and have it become real.

Check out our daily intern blog to see details on what exactly I have been doing this week along with the interns and ambassadors.  I personally have been keeping this blog up and learning Storify as the website program.

Be sure to come out to the Ohio State Fair July 24-August 4 for a “Fairtastic” time and be sure to see me in the Ag & Hort building!


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Week 11 – Final Touches Completed

Week 11 was full of surprises but the Land and Living Building planning is complete and now time for execution beginning with move in on Monday.  This was the last week that the interns sat behind their desk planning on paper where now we will be bringing it to life.

This week we finalized and sent the ambassador and staff schedule for Ohio State Fair out.  Talk about a lot of work, concentration and making sure everyone was happy.  After about 15 hours total in the schedule, I was happy to see the scheduling email go out.  However, I already am receiving requests so I will be back to looking at the schedule soon.  This week we also had our Ohio Farm Bureau Staff Luncheon Training for Ohio State Fair.  I was in-charge of putting together the packet that all employees working received.  We were able to do a WebEx for field staff who were unable to attend.  Overall the training went really well and all the staff members seem excited to be working again this year!

We also had a Storify training this week.  Dan Toland and Callie Wells trained us since Storify is where the interns will be keeping a running story/blog of the fair.  It is a very interesting and neat tool.  Really looking forward to using it.

This week we had a final wrap-up meeting with Mr. Jack Fisher and several Organization Team Directors.  We were able to go through all of the building one last time and share all the details.  Mr. Fisher again provided several items of insight and told us what a great job we had done.  It seemed like everyone was happy so excited for them to see the final building in person.

Shirts have been delivered.  Tickets have been counted and in process of being mailed.  Press release and media advisories are set to go out next week.  Time cards and time machine are working.  Schedule has been emailed.  Meal vouchers have been printed and counted.  Signage is being printed.  Social media posts have been scheduled.  Calendar of Events has been updated.  Exhibit material has been gathered.  Ohio State Fair just needs to begin!

On Monday we begin moving everything out to the building.  Wednesday is when exhibitors will begin moving in.  It’s going to be a crazy week but I’m looking forward to seeing all my hard work finally pay off for the public to see.  12 days until opening day…bring it on!

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Week 10 – Relaxing a bit

Week 10 is now complete.  Where has the time gone?

This week I was able to come home to Wauseon and enjoy some time with my family and friends.  Although I may have been home, the work doesn’t just end.  I was able to work from home on State Fair material.  Since I’m the intern in-charge of media, I was able to continue revising my press releases and media advisories.  I also was able to make a complete list of what’s happening in the “Land and Living” building for Ohio Farm Bureau social media and website to be used before and during fair.  Signage was being done this week by our graphic designers so I was the point person in approving, answering questions, and making sure everything was done.  Meal tickets are an important aspect to our ambassadors and staff members working.  I was able to come up with a color system to help coordinate for days being used.

I accomplished quite a bit for fair while sitting on the porch doing my work.  Quite a different atmosphere than Columbus but one that I enjoyed!  It is hard to believe that this coming week will be the last week at the office before fair move-in on July 15.  In just 18 days the public will be able to learn more about agriculture!  This week will be busy with scheduling, cleaning, organizing, building, shopping, training, and lots of other last minute details.

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Week 9 – Almost There…

Almost there…in 14 days we will be moving into the Nationwide Donahey Ag and Hort building with just 23 days until the opening day of the Ohio State Fair!  Where has the time gone?  Week 9 of my internship is already complete but the most excited part of my internship remains.

This week like any other was all about the finishing details for the Land and Living exhibit.  On Monday, we were able to have a meeting with Farm Bureau’s two graphic designers to talk about our designs for signage.  With our exhibit having “Welcome Booths” this year, we decided we wanted to have more of a mall directory kind of feel as well.  Instead of handing out maps we will be having maps designed and printed at all four doors.  These maps will be fun since they are being designed with logos to represent the area.  An example would be Ohio Christmas Tree Association.  Instead of writing out the name, it will instead have a Christmas tree instead.  We envision that families can stand at this map and their children can see exactly what is in building and be able to point to exactly they want to see.  At these welcome areas, our ambassadors will be greeting, answering questions, telling fairgoers about the building, what will be on stage, and any special exhibits that may catch their eye.  There will be kiosks with Our Ohio magazines and brochures about the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.  Our whole intent is to be “The Friendliest Building” at the Ohio State Fair.

On Tuesday, I was able to have two ambassadors come in for training that weren’t able to make Lazer Kraze with the other ambassadors.  These two went through a Conversation with EASE program and then I was able to go over expectations and other material.  It was nice getting to know these two individuals on a personal basis and for them to get to know the OFBF interns as well.  They both seem really excited and looking forward to the experience.

Who wants to work at Ohio State Fair?  Several emails were sent to OFBF employees and ambassadors turned in availability forms.  The fun began this week of trying to create a work schedule.  At first it didn’t seem like it would take very long but that wasn’t the case.  Trying to make sure ambassadors weren’t doing the same task every day, being creative when we didn’t have enough ambassadors and then adding a puppies display to the list after completing were just a few “bumps” we ran into.  We didn’t have all OFBF employees availability so we decided to work on ambassadors first.  Just as we were finishing this week I began receiving requests from ambassadors having new conflicts before even sending the work schedule.  This will be a work in progress as we continue to receive availability and won’t be finalized until the week of July 8.

I always wondered what it would be like to be a reporter, camera person, and what it would be like to be interviewed on camera for the public to see.  Well on Friday I had the opportunity to be all three.  Chip Nelson was able to do an OFBF training on media and video training.  After showing us how to set up, run everything, and give pointers he then surprised the three interns by saying it was our turn to put everything he said to work.  Talk about being nervous when doing it by yourself for real!  He sure threw us a curveball like Ohio State Fair VIP will when we aren’t expecting them.  It was a lot of fun having the opportunity to interview the other interns and run the camera.  After we were done having fun it was time to be serious and start recording promos for our members and media about coming out to the Land and Living exhibit from July 24 – August 4.  Well it wasn’t as easy as it looks on TV.  The camera rolled as we messed up multiple times and I’m sure many bloopers could come out of those tapes regarding funny faces we made when trying to stay serious!  To make our promo the best it can be, all interns agreed we needed to put some time into it by scripting out exactly what we want to say.  So we will be recording again in the coming weeks and possibly at the building to build suspense and interest in coming out for fair.

Lastly, I had the honor Tuesday night to attend a Tribute to E. Gordon Gee at the Ohio Statehouse. This event was sponsored and planned by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation with sponsor help coming from many of Ohio’s commodity organizations.  This event was a very nice tribute to President Gee as many legislators spoke very highly of him.  Governor Kasich also spoke and repeated many times what a great friend Gordon Gee is to him.  TBDBITL also marched into the Statehouse playing many of Ohio State’s favorites.  When the entire Statehouse sang “Carmen Ohio” one last time with President Gee I got goose bumps because it was the neatest thing I have experienced as a Buckeye!  I had the opportunity to greet President Gee and have my photo taken with him as well! For as many people were in the room, he still asked me to tell him about me.  He truly was an inspiration, humble, and well respected individual.  If it weren’t for my internship with OFBF, I never would have had this opportunity to meet him and definitely not in the venue I was able.  Internships and The Ohio State University are full of many wonderful and unexpected happenings!


Kelly Fager and Gordon Gee

This week I will be doing some more final touches in preparation for Ohio State Fair and continuing to countdown as the fair gets closer!


All Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Interns
Justin Stiers, Kelly Fager, Ian Adams, Gordon Gee, Kelly Guthrie

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Week 8 – Final Touches

Crazy to think that the Ohio State Fair is exactly 33 days away.  As I sit here typing this, I think back to my very first day on the job.  I was beyond overwhelmed by all the components it takes to pull off the Land and Living exhibit.  Now those components are almost complete with just final touches being added.  All of this done in just 8 weeks!

This week we were able to just work with very few meetings.  On Tuesday, we had a meeting with our supervisors, their supervior and the interns to go through the building exhibit by exhibit and discuss other details.  This allowed all six of us to be on the same page.  We also had a meeting to discuss collegiate level and 18-25 year old levels for potential membership options.  That was a nice meeting to be a part of to share ideas and things that I would want in a membership.

I was put in-charge of all the communication with media and public relations work this week.  I made a press release, media advisory, and social media plan.  The press release will be going out 10 days before the start of the fair.  I will then follow up with certain media personnel that we definitely want in our building.  I also will be making contact with channel 4, 6, and 10 personnel to have come out to the building to either do live broadcast or do snippets for different segments.  I contacted other agriculture broadcasters to invite them to do live broadcasts on stage.  I am hoping to hear back from these personnel next week.  I am working on a social media plan to get tweets and posts scheduled ahead of fair so that they will automatically publish to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation social media pages.

I also was able to do many lists and components for state fair that are necessary.  I typed up agendas for both the staff luncheon and also building training.  Was able to put together all of the packet material by redoing previous years and adding this year’s exhibits.  I was able to make morning and evening shift to-do lists.  Made the beginning of shift list for ambassador meetings.  Just little things that needed done and are finally crossed off my list!

Next week I will be finishing up more of my to-do lists and continuing to finalize the building.  The countdown has begun….33 days until fair opening!


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Week 7- Full Approval = Forge Ahead


Kelly, Kelly and Ian have been hard at work all summer but sometimes we like to have fun as well!

After 7 weeks, it’s finally official! We are able to forge ahead with our building plan for the Ohio State Fair Land and Living exhibit. This week we were able to meet with Jack Fisher, Executive Vice President for Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and get the final approval. He gave several suggestions to think about as a fairgoer and what else could be done to have more interaction within exhibits. I’m excited to begin moving past the brainstorming stage by being able to purchase and start putting together exhibits. Since we have officially ended the corn wall era and are now having a Country Connection stage, it’s important for us to find special draws for the public to come into our building. We will be having remote control tractors in an exhibit we call, “Farming at Your Fingertips.” Some other new exhibits this year will include: Wilmington College Community Garden, Ohio State University Sustainability Zero Waste Project, Ohio FFA Association, and many others! It is our hope that these new attractions will make fairgoers happy.  Mr. Fisher was very pleased with the new contacts we have for this year.

This week was also our Ambassador Training day. On Thursday, 26 of the 29 ambassadors were present at Lazer Kraze from 12 to 4:00 for a training and then had opportunity to play a game of laser tag. During the training, all final paperwork was collected. All ambassadors participated in an icebreaker game, played “Ambassador Feud” to understand expectations and rules, and finally went through a Conversation with EASE Training with Dr. Leah Dorman. Ambassadors were required to attend EASE so that they understood how to correctly address the public and talk about agriculture in a correct way. Our ambassadors heard expectations on media from Dan Toland and also were welcomed by Jack Fisher. This training was a success and I’m looking forward to working with these ambassadors during fair!

Ambassadors being welcomed by Jack Fisher, Executive Vice President of Ohio Farm Bureau during training.

Andy Vance, an agricultural journalist stopped by the OFBF office to talk with the interns about what is happening in agriculture today, top “hot” issues in ag, how to address public, and talking about agriculture through personal experience. This was a very informative meeting since addressing the public is key at the Ohio State Fair. I learned many tips and ways to continuous educate myself through experience, reading both sides of agriculture, and getting out talking to public.

Matt Reese from Ohio Country Journal wrote a blog post this week that  the OFBF interns were featured in. (

It has been a crazy week with meetings, training, and such but a very productive week for the exhibit. It’s crazy to think 7 weeks ago we were literally trying to figure out what to put in the building to now starting to build or buy things for the various exhibits.  I’m ready for next week to see all that we can accomplish with keeping these exhibits moving forward!

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Week 6- Putting Everything Together

As the summer is quickly happening, the Ohio State Fair is quickly approaching. Now that we have hit June, all the plans are beginning to fall in place. Next week the interns will present the final building layout to Jack Fisher, Executive Vice President at Ohio Farm Bureau. He will be putting his stamp of approval on the building.

This week we were able to present to the Organization Department the latest happenings of state fair and was given feedback that we all took into consideration. We also had the opportunity to attend a Clippers vs. Mud Hens baseball game. Signage is an important aspect this week that we all are concentrating on due to needing graphic designers to make the designs and then have a print shop be ready to print all the signs needed. A part of my responsibilities is to keep track of all the ambassador paperwork as it comes in and make proper markings in my Excel document. The ambassadors have steadily been turning paperwork in. Next week is Ambassador Training so we were putting together various discussion points and also doing name tags. I’m really excited for this training so that I can meet everyone and prepare them for the state fair.

Everything has been going pretty smooth so far and definitely have grown as a leader so far. Next week is full of meetings again in preparation for Ambassador Training. Then having a meeting with Jack Fisher for final approval will be something we all are preparing for. Ambassador Training is next Thursday at Lazer Kraze so making sure everything is around. We also will be finalizing all of our plans and turning in various aspects to Ohio State Fair’s committee. Any following up with individuals will also occur next week with getting preparations done for exhibits. Looking forward to all that is in store for next week!

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