From Ohio History Central
The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) formed in 1919. Its original purpose was to lobby local, state, and federal leaders to pass legislation to assist farmers. Some of the organization’s early goals included providing electric service to rural areas and crop insurance. Not only did the OFBF want to provide farmers a political voice, but it also hoped to convince farmers to work together in planting, caring for, and harvesting their crops to reduce production costs.
Since its founding, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation worked diligently to assist farmers. Besides lobbying all levels of government, perhaps the greatest OFBF contribution was the creation of an insurance agency for Ohio’s farmers. In 1926, the the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation established the Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, in Columbus, Ohio. Although the company originally focused on Ohio farmers, it soon began offering policies to farmers in several other states and then to urban dwellers in the 1930s. Farm Bureau Mutual also began selling fire insurance and life insurance during the 1930s, in addition to its automobile policies. In 1955, The company changed its name to Nationwide Insurance, and by 1965, it underwrote policies in thirty-two states.
Eighty-seven Ohio Farm Bureau Federation chapters existed in 2005, which, combined, represented farmers in all of Ohio’s eighty-eight counties. In 2005, more than 200,000 people belonged to the OFBF, and this group is open to people of all genders, races, and occupations. The organization remains a lobbyist group for Ohio farmers at all levels of government.