Press release

Author: Lindsay Tournoux, Wayne County Farm Bureau

July 3, 2024

Ag Tire Roundup secures nearly 1,600 tires

WAYNE COUNTY, OH—Nearly 1,600 scrap tires from 57 area farms were dropped off at the Wayne County Fairgrounds on June 28 during the Ag Tire Roundup.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than 242 million vehicle tires are discarded annually in the United States. The majority of those, 78 percent, are destined for landfills, illegally dumped, or stockpiled.

Crew members from Willig Tire, a scrap tire recycling company, collected the tires and loaded them onto semi-truck trailers to be taken for processing. According to Operations Manager Mark Smith, 100 percent of the tires will be recycled and reused.

Smith explained that the tires go through a dual shredding process that separates rubber from steel.

“The steel is shipped off to be made into things like beams,” he said. “And the rubber is used for fuel for power plants, playground or landscape rubber. Everything is recycled.”

The event was a collaboration between Wayne County Farm Bureau, Wayne County Health Department, Wayne Soil and Water Conservation District, Ohio State University – Wayne County Extension, and the Wayne County Fair Grounds.

The event cost approximately $40,000 to host. Funding was provided by grants from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Recycle Ohio program, Wayne County Health Department and the Stark-Tuscarawas-Wayne Recycling District.

ODA Accepting Proposals

ODA Accepting Proposals

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio, Feb. 23, 2022 – The Ohio Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the 2022 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. To qualify, the grants must be used to support projects that raise awareness about and increase demand for specialty crops grown in Ohio. Eligible specialty crops include both fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. 

Successful grant applications should explain how projects will improve specialty crop production through marketing and promotions, research and development, expanding availability and access to specialty crops, or addressing local, regional, and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers. Projects that demonstrate profit potential for growers and that could boost employment opportunities in the specialty crop industry are prioritized.

Ohio’s food and agricultural non-profit organizations, associations or commodity groups, universities, and research institutions are eligible to apply. Private individuals and businesses are not eligible for this grant and applications for projects that directly benefit a particular product or generate a profit for a single organization, institution, or individual will not be awarded.

Grant funding is provided by the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service. The deadline for online grant proposal submissions is Friday, March 25, 2022, at 5 p.m. EST. Grants awards will range from a minimum of $25,000 to a maximum of $150,000. In addition, all applicants must provide a minimum match of 25 percent of the requested grant amount.

For more information on the 2022 program, available forms, or a copy of the request for proposal, visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website at

AG Yost Fights To Stop Int’l Scam Calls

AG Yost Fights To Stop Int’l Scam Calls

COLUMBUS, OH, Jan. 11, 2022 — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help stop the flood of foreign-based illegal robocalls that attempt to scam Americans.

Today’s letter sent by AG Yost and a bipartisan group of 51 attorneys general calls for the FCC to require gateway providers – the companies that allow foreign calls into the United States – to take steps to reduce how easily robocalls have been able to enter the U.S. telephone network, including implementing STIR/SHAKEN, a caller ID authentication technology that helps prevent spoofed calls.

“The main gatekeepers at the front doors are working to keep these people out,” Yost said.  “We need the gatekeepers to the back doors and the windows to get in the game.”

Gateway providers should be required to implement this technology within 30 days of it becoming a rule to help eliminate spoofed calls and to make sure that international calls that originate from U.S. telephone numbers are legitimate. In December, Yost and a coalition of 51 attorneys general successfully helped to persuade the FCC to shorten by a year the deadline for smaller telephone companies to implement STIR/SHAKEN.

The attorneys general are asking the FCC to require these gateway providers to take additional measures to reduce robocalls, including:

Responding to requests from law enforcement, state attorneys general, or the FCC to trace back calls within 24 hours.

Blocking calls when providers are aware of an illegal or likely fraudulent caller.

Blocking calls that originate from numbers that are on a “do not originate” list – such as government phone numbers that are for incoming calls only.

Ensuring that foreign telephone companies they partner with are ensuring that calls are being made from legitimate numbers.

The attorneys general are also encouraging the FCC to require all phone companies to block calls from a gateway provider if it fails to meet these requirements. Illegal robocalls are a scourge – in 2020, Americans lost more than $520 million through robocall scams.

Attorney General Yost is joined in sending this letter to the FCC by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

$42 Million Narcotics Seizure

$42 Million Narcotics Seizure

COLUMBUS, OH, Dec. 22, 2021 — The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) – a collaborative effort involving federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies – seized more than $42 million in illegal drugs in 2021, surpassing the $29 million in confiscations the previous year.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Gov. Mike DeWine, and Homeland Securities Special Agent-in-Charge Vance Callender announced today that OOCIC’s major drug interdiction task forces confiscated the following drugs this year versus the previous year:

stats table

The notable one-year increase in seizure amounts is attributable to the addition of an OOCIC task force, the expansion of other OOCIC task forces, increased levels of drug trafficking in Ohio, and the culmination of long-term investigations. Also in 2021, OOCIC task forces seized 7,906 opioid pain pills and 1,205 other prescription pain pills.

“The law enforcement officers of our major drug interdiction task forces are guardians on the wall, protecting Ohioans from overdoses and death by seizing narcotics before they are distributed into our communities,” Yost said. “Substantially larger quantities of heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine were interdicted in 2021 than prior years, proof of our task forces’ vigilance to stay ahead of drug traffickers. I look forward to OOCIC’s continued success in 2022.”

The task forces, formed through partnerships with Homeland Security Investigations and local law enforcement agencies statewide, are funded through RecoveryOhio, in concert with the Ohio Department of Public Safety and Ohio Criminal Justice Services.

“The continued success of the task forces this past year can directly be attributed to the tireless efforts of police officers and special agents working together to arrest and prosecute those who seek to profit on the addictions of others,” Vance Callender, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Detroit Field Office said,  “HSI brings national and international resources to Ohio law enforcement so not only local dealers are arrested, but the leader/organizers who are the source of supply for local criminal networks and across the U.S.  We want to ensure the broadest impact is brought to those who ultimately profit from these international conspiracies.”

The strength of the task forces stems from the multi-level involvement. Aided by federal intelligence, local agencies operating under OOCIC’s jurisdiction carry out drug interdictions to remove illegal narcotics from Ohio communities.

Here is a sampling of seizures in 2021:

Hamilton County Major Drug Interdiction Task Force

In April, the Hamilton County task force made four major seizures of narcotics destined for southwest Ohio from California. The seizures included more than 5 pounds of heroin and 43 pounds of methamphetamine.

In November, at the conclusion of an investigation that culminated in the felony federal indictment of four people, the task force seized 25 pounds of fentanyl, 1.2 pounds of cocaine, 38 pounds of marijuana, 13 firearms, and $43,701.

The task force includes the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Regional Narcotics Unit, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.

Licking, Muskingum and Guernsey Major Drug Interdiction Task Force (CODE)

In June, CODE seized 2,350 grams of methamphetamine and 2,718 counterfeit Oxycodone pills found to contain fentanyl. The seizure led to the arrest of two Licking County men.

In September, the task force seized 24.5 pounds of methamphetamine, whose estimated street value exceeded $500,000.

The task force includes the sheriff’s offices in Licking, Muskingum, Guernsey, Knox, Perry, and Coshocton counties; the Ohio State Highway Patrol; the U.S. Postal Inspector; Homeland Security Investigations; and the Licking County Prosecutor’s Office.

 Medina and Summit Major Drug Interdiction Task Force (ONSET)

In September, ONSET seized 13 kilograms of cocaine and a loaded handgun from subjects involved with a vehicle of interest that had ties to the Southwest border.

The task force includes the sheriff’s offices in Medina and Summit counties, the Copley Township Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Medina County Drug Task Force, the State Highway Patrol, the Summit County Drug Task Force, the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Medina County Prosecutor’s Office.

Belmont County Major Drug Interdiction Task Force

In March, during the arrest of a Bellaire man, the task force seized 9 pounds of methamphetamine, 6 ounces of cocaine, $3,861, and a loaded firearm.

In October, in executing multiple search warrants, the task force confiscated over 1 pound of methamphetamine and other narcotics, along with paraphernalia and packaging for distribution.

The task force includes the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office, the Belmont County Prosecutor’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office.

 Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force

In November, the task force identified an individual suspected of narcotics trafficking in Montgomery County, subsequently seizing 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1 pound of marijuana.

In December, the task force arrested Jose Noriega-Rodriquez of Sinaloa, Mexico, on charges of narcotics trafficking. Throughout their investigation, detectives seized 10 kilograms of fentanyl, 2 kilograms of cocaine, 1 kilogram of heroin, 336 grams of methamphetamine, 4 pounds of marijuana, and about $150,000.

The task force includes the sheriff’s offices in Montgomery and Clark counties, the police departments in Miami and Butler townships, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the State Highway Patrol, and Homeland Security Investigations.

Central Ohio Major Drug Interdiction Task Force

In February, an investigation conducted by the task force disrupted a complex trafficking scheme between Columbus and Las Vegas, Nevada which led to the indictment of three individuals on federal charges for the distribution of cocaine. The co-conspirators used short-term residential rentals in Columbus and other east coast cities as mailing locations to import smuggled cocaine from Mexico. After the narcotics were sold to local drug dealers, the cash proceeds were sent back to Las Vegas. Nationally, the group shipped and distributed over one hundred kilograms of cocaine and over $1,000,000.

The task force includes the Columbus Division of Police, BCI, Gahanna Police, the Internal Revenue Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, the State Highway Patrol, the U.S. Postal Inspector, Ohio HIDTA, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Toledo Major Drug Interdiction Task Force

In April, the task force worked with the Toledo Police Gang Unit and the Toledo Police SWAT Unit to execute a search warrant related to drug trafficking that originated in California. Suspect Brandon Moore was arrested and charged with multiple trafficking-related felonies and weapons charges after more than 20 pounds of marijuana, other drugs, a loaded pistol, and $48,000 were seized.

The task force includes the Toledo Police, the sheriff’s offices in Lucas and Wood counties, Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI, the Toledo Drug Task Force, the State Highway Patrol, Perrysburg Police, the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Ohio, the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office and the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office.

Since 2012, OOCIC’s major drug interdiction task forces have seized narcotics with an estimated value of $285,014,414, including 692 pounds of heroin, 666 pounds of fentanyl, 1,563 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,763 pounds of cocaine, and 28,305 pounds of marijuana. The task forces have also seized $73,322,940 and 1,022 firearms.