The Great Darke County Fair 2021
When the annual Parade of Champions takes place Thursday morning in front of the Grandstand at the Great Darke County Fair, one of the focal points will be the grand marshal, who this year will be Jim Buchy.
“Being chosen to be the 2021 4-H Parade of Champions Grand Marshal is an absolute highlight of my life,” said Buchy, a 1968 graduate of Greenville High School and a 1962 graduate of Wittenberg University. “As you can tell by my resume, I eat, sleep and drink agriculture. The Buchy family has been involved with the Great Darke County Fair for five generations. My great-grandfather and grandfather made and cooked sausages and smoked meats at the fair in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They won many prizes doing so, and that is how Buchy’s Prize Brand Meats came to be when the company was strictly a meat processing firm.”
He went on, “My uncle, Edmund Buchy, served on the fair board for several years, and my grandfather, along with long serving board member, Adrian Aten, put together the plan which allows the 4-H and FFA participants to get a financial premium for their animals and poultry at the fair auction. Over the years, Buchy’s bought and processed thousands of animals sold at the fair auctions.
Buchy said he worked hard to help grow harness racing in Ohio when he was in the legislature.
“Outside of the Delaware County Fair, which is home of the Little Brown Jug, which I consider the premier race in the sport, harness racing at Darke County is second best in the state of the 66 counties that have harness racing,” he reported. “Last year, when the pandemic hit, the governor asked me to chair the Fair Task Force to make recommendations to him about county fairs for 2020. With the help of many people, including Darke Fair Board members, the governor accepted the task force recommendations, and county fairs were held when many people in the state wanted all fairs cancelled. The bottom line is that I am extremely honored to be this year’s grand marshal as I am so proud to represent a family, like so many others who have devoted so much time to make the Great Darke County Fair the best family oriented agriculture fair that there is.”
Buchy married his wife, the former Sharon Steinvall, 56-plus year ago. They met in church in San Jose, Calif., in 1964.
“I was employed there by Stephen’s Meat Products as a salesman, and we married on June 19, l965 and moved to Greenville in 1967,” he said. “We have son John and daughter Kate; eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. My parents were George and Amba (Armbruster) Buchy. My grandfather, John Armbruster, owned a bakery where Loudy’s is located. And, I had two brothers, Charles and Robert.”
After high school, Jim went to work for the Chas. G. Buchy Packing Company, which was founded by his great -grandfather, George Buchy.
“He was a butcher who emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1869 and worked in the meat-packing industry in Cincinnati before moving to Greenville in 1875 to work for a cousin who owned a meat market,” he recalled. “George then opened the packing company in 1878. My grandfather, Charles, became the owner in 1901 and served as president until 1963 when my father, George, became president. He served in that capacity until 1977, when I became president until the company was purchased by SYSCO Foods in 2012.”
The parade marshal’s political career began with the Greenville Board of Education, 1980-82. He served as state representative, 1983- 2000 and 2011-16.
“I served a total of 12 terms with perfect attendance the entire time,” he said. “I was deputy director and then assistant director at the Ohio Department of Agriculture from January 2001 until July 2004. Then, I became the Midwest Policy Director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) for two years before returning to Greenville in late 2006. I currently am the Senior Advisor to the Batchelder Company, a public policy firm in Columbus.”
How did he become involved in politics? “In May of 1980, there were two sudden vacancies of the Greenville Board of Education due to resignations of those members of the board,” he replied. “I was encouraged to seek one of the vacancies by two of the remaining members, Bill Funderburg and Bill McEowen, and was successful in receiving an appointment. That service led to running for an open seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. I was elected and the rest is history. I have thoroughly enjoyed my 40-plus years in the public arena and am so privileged to have had the opportunity to do so.”
Presently, he is a Republican Precinct Committeeman in Greenville and is involved with public policy with the Batchelder Company in Columbus.
His community activities included being Founding Father of the Darke Economic Foundation, a33rd Degree Mason, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, president of the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption and Central State University Agriculture Advisory Council.
His list of awards include:
- 1983-2016, Watchdog of the Treasury Awards
- 1990, Friend of 4-H
- 1994, NFIB Guardian of Small Business and Honorary Chapter FFA Degree
- 1996 Ohio Poultry Association Golden Feather Award and Outstanding Service Award – Vocational Education
- 1997, AOPHA Distinguished Service Award and Ronald Reagan Excellence in Government Award
- 2001, Darke County Cattlemen’s Award
- 2002, Honorary State FFA Award
- 2003, Ohio Rural Development Partnership Service Award
- 2004, Honorary Director, Ohio Department of Agriculture
- 2005, OHHA – Dr. John P. Stevens Humanitarian Award
- 2007, Ohio Commodores
- 2008, Darke County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year
- 2009, OFBF Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award
- 2014, Ray Prowant Memorial Award, Greater Ohio Showmen’s
- 2015, Beef Industry Service Award, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association
- 2015, Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame
- 2017, Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame
- 2019, Hagemeyer Significant Contribution Award
- 2020, Jim Buchy Mile
- Darke County Parks’ Tecumseh Trail
- and, this year, grand marshal of the Parade of Champions.