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AgriPOWER Institute

What is AgriPOWER Institute?

Never before in the history of agriculture has there been the urgency there is today for leaders and advocates for agriculture. With that in mind, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) launched an elite program designed specifically for farmers and agribusiness professionals: AgriPOWER. This yearlong program focuses on public policy issues confronting agriculture and the food industry such as animal activists, climate change and trade policies. It helps individuals develop the skills necessary to become effective leaders and advocates for agriculture by learning from experts in these fields.

This leadership and advocacy development program, which consists of seven multi-day institutes (17 total days), covers public policy matters facing local communities, the state of Ohio, the nation and the world. Additionally, specific sessions will help class members develop important skills necessary to become an effective leader and advocate. One of the institute sessions will be held in Washington, D. C., to help class members gain a valuable understanding of national and global issues.

Contact: Melinda Witten, 614-519-8761 or email [email protected].

Informational brochure

Who Should Apply?

Ohio Farm Bureau is looking for 20 select individuals. You should apply if:

  • You want to improve your understanding of current issues and develop the skills necessary to lead and become an advocate for agriculture.
  • You have a passion for agriculture and see yourself in a leadership role in the future.
  • You are interested in the political process and/or have thought about running for office.
  • You are open to new experiences and learning.
  • You can commit the time necessary to participate in the program.

Individuals may nominate themselves or have their nomination sponsored by their respective county Farm Bureau, other agricultural organization or employer. If you are nominating yourself, you must be a Farm Bureau member.(Contact your county Farm Bureau for membership information).

Applications must be postmarked by April 17, 2015.



The tuition is $4,500 per person plus each individual is responsible for a $400 participation deposit. Tuition includes lodging, meals, breaks, group travel and all course materials. Some scholarships are available.  Travel to and from the Ohio sessions, meals during the commuting trips and any incidental personal purchases are the responsibility of each individual participant.

To encourage ownership and a firm commitment to the program, each participant will be asked to contribute $400; this is in addition to the $4,500 tuition. The $400 will be returned to the participant at graduation if the participant attends every session in its entirety. $50 per Ohio session or $100 for the Washington, D.C. session will be deducted from the reimbursement for each part of any institute the participant misses. Participants may seek scholarship support locally for any or all of the $400 participation deposit.


All participants, county Farm Bureaus and other agricultural organizations and businesses are invited to make a financial contribution to strengthen the program. Other organizations are invited to sponsor a participant, or in some cases an individual and his/her employer may cooperate to cover the program’s tuition.

In addition to OFBF, AgriPOWER partners include Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit Mid-America, Nationwide Insurance, Ohio Corn Growers Association,Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio Pork Council, Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation, Brown County Farm Bureau, Geauga County Farm Bureau, Muskingum County Farm Bureau, Licking County Farm Bureau, Wright and Moore Law, Scott Farms; Carrington Feed Supply, Georgetown; Scott Family Cattle, Kalmbach Feeds, Hydro Systems Co., Clinton County Farm Bureau, Franklin County Farm Bureau, Madison County Farm Bureau and AgriPower Class V.

Current Class

Class Directory and Members of AgriPOWER Class VI:

Brooke Beam, Clinton County

Jarred Black, Delaware County

Adam Campbell, Warren County

Christen Clemson, Trumbull County

Jenny Cox, Muskingum County

Ashley Culp, Madison County

Marlene Eick, Delaware County

Rebekah Headings, Madison County

Caitlyn Heimerl, Licking/Delaware Counties

Kayla Jones, Licking County

Kent Jorgensen, Franklin County

Lyndsey Murphy, Madison County

Benjamin Richardson, Medina County

Roshelle Rowe, Seneca County

Hannah Scott, Brown County

Greg Simpson, Clermont County

Wade Smith, Lucas County

Tom Somrack, Geauga County

Rachael Vonderhaar, Preble County

Kristy Watters, Adams County

Class Schedule


Dates and locations are tentative

SESSION 1 | July 18-19, 2014 (Columbus)

Program orientation and getting to know Farm Bureau. Personal strengths finder assessment and evolving leadership development.

SESSION 2 | Aug. 14-16, 2014 (Wooster)

Power and role of the media, spokesperson training, changing nature of communications, social media, OARDC research and tour and local economic development tour.

SESSION 3 | Sept. 10-12, 2014 (Washington, D.C.)

Power of organizations, Farm Bureau’s process, national and international issues, trade, demographics and federal government basics.

SESSION 4 | Nov. 21-22, 2014 (TBA)

Local (township and county) government basics, local economic development and energy issues.

SESSION 5 | Jan. 21-23, 2015 (TBA)

Out of state agriculture tour, leading and understanding change, activists and advocacy, divergent views, attacks on agriculture and food.

SESSION 6 | Feb. 20-21, 2015 (Columbus)

Up close look at state government, working with statewide elected officials and politics and etiquette. Attend Ohio Farm Bureau Ag Day at the Capitol.

SESSION 7 | March 20-21, 2015 (Columbus)

Service opportunities to get engaged in agricultural organizations, local organizations and Ohio Farm Bureau. Review business structures and transitions 

What Participants Are Saying

"At the same time I have forged lasting friendships with individuals who will undoubtedly be the future leaders of the industry. The experience has made me a better advocate for agriculture, while making me a better leader in my community and in Ohio agriculture.”

 – Kristin Reese, realtor, caterer and small diversified farmer


“As an undergraduate student at The University of Findlay, I am only beginning my career in agriculture. During the firstsession of AgriPOWER, I had the opportunity to meet my class, Class VI of Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER. Theclass includes members from all aspects of Ohio agriculture. The first session gave me and the other members of the class a chance to network with agricultural professionals and to gain insight on our classmates’ views on the futureof Ohio agriculture.”

—Tom Somrack, student and AgriPOWER Class VI member

Read more

Ohio Farm Bureau Goals

  • We will foster a viable business climate for agriculture that will help all Ohioans prosper.
  • We will collaborate on a water resource management plan that enhances both water quality and food production.
  • We will adopt a membership model to grow membership and sustain the organization for the future.
  • We will create an OFB Foundation structure that will grow revenue and help us invest in programs that will improve the quality of life for Ohioans.
  • We will promote and grow our relationship with Nationwide.
  • We will inspire members to build vibrant communities.