The purpose of the Defiance County Agriculture Hall of Fame is to recognize outstanding contributions by an individual to agriculture.
Congratulations to our 2018 Agricultural Hall of Fame Inductee;
G. Ray Clevenger
Ag Career: Defiance, Ohio
Spouse: A. Ann Clevenger
Mr. Ray Clevenger was born into a Putnam County farm family in Vaughnsville, Ohio as one of four children. He was involved in 4-H and FFA as a student and showed hogs and sheep at the Putnam County Fair and worked on the family farm with crops, dairy, and livestock. He graduated from Vaughnsville High School in 1959 and later married his wife Ann in 1961.
Mr. Clevenger attended The Ohio State University and pursued a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Education. High school vocational agriculture teachers were in short supply in 1963 so when Ray had earned his teaching certificate he was hired before his OSU 1963 graduation and began his career at Stryker High School in January 1963 through June of 1965 teaching vocational agriculture. Mr. Clevenger earned his Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University in Agricultural Education in 1968.
With rural school districts consolidating, Mr. Clevenger saw an opportunity to teach at a new school called Tinora High School. Tinora High School was built in 1964 and Mr. Clevenger was hired in 1965. The Vo-Ag program had an FFA Chapter from the very beginning and with the leadership and teaching of Mr. Clevenger, the student enrollment grew to a large program that employed two and three full-time Vo-Ag teachers for a period of 11 years from 1968 to 1978.
Mr. Clevenger’s classes in crop production, livestock production, marketing, accounting and engineering helped to prepare for the technical side of agriculture, while classes in woodworking, welding, electricity, small engines, machinery maintenance among others, provided hands on learning for the day to day operation of an ag business.
Mr. Clevenger coordinated projects like building the Tinora shelter house and community park in 1975 and manufacturing the gates for the hog and sheep barns at the Defiance County fair. These were examples of putting the shop skills to practical use to improve parts of the Defiance County community.
Mr. Clevenger taught leadership skills such as parliamentary procedures. He also, taught and encouraged, many students to try public speaking whether that was the FFA Creed contest or a prepared speech contest.
Mr. Clevenger gave leadership to adult education to older farmers and also formed the Tinora Young Farmers in 1971. Throughout much of his career at Tinora, the Vo-Ag, the FFA and the Young Farmers programs were among the largest and most active in Ohio. Northwest (Technical College) State Community College collaborated with Mr. Clevenger and Tinora High School to teach adult college courses in the evenings at Tinora beginning in 1986 and those continued at Tinora until 1993. Mr. Clevenger continued teaching the welding classes at the college in the evenings until 2008.
Clevenger has received several notable awards over the years including: National Vo-Ag Association – Ideas Unlimited Regional Winner 1977; Honorary State FFA Degree – 1983; Honorary American Farmer Degree – 1983; The Outstanding Teacher Award– Ohio Vocational Ag Teachers Assoc. – 1985; Outstanding Ag Education Program in 1991
Mr. Clevenger is a long standing member of the Defiance County Farm Bureau and an active member of the Independence United Methodist Church, having taught Sunday school and holding many church leadership positions. He has also put his passion and experience of agriculture to work by helping coordinate the Church’s involvement in Foods Resource Bank that supported food production, and disabled farmers injured by relic landmines in 3rd world countries.