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 AgriPower@ofbf.org.
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 for the 2014-2015 class are due April 18, 2014.
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 Nationwide Insurance, Ohio Soybean Council, Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation, Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, Ohio Pork Producers Council, Ohio Corn Marketing Program, Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program, Ohio Sheep and Wool Program, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Beef Council, AgriPOWER alumni, AgriPOWER Class IV, Ag Credit ACA and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.
Members of AgriPOWER Class V:
Cindy Cassell, Clermont County
Kevin Flax, Clark County
Jason Fogt, Shelby County
Christine Haines, Washington County
Anna Hall, Pickaway County
Brad Heimerl, Licking County
Jordan Hoewischer, Shelby County
Dusty Knapke, Auglaize County
Mark Longenecker, Darke County
Elizabeth Mead, Madison County
Kelly Moore, Coshocton County
Monica Schemrich, Franklin County
Carrie Schlechter, Erie County
Derek Schmitt, Fairfield County
Joy Sizemore, Huron County
Anthony Stateler, Hancock County
Laura Sutherly, Miami County
Julie Weber, Jackson County
Callie Wells, Butler County
Steve Wickersham, Marion County and
Sam Wildman, Franklin/Clark County
2014-2015 SESSION OUTLINE
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 | April 3-4, 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
“Participating in AgriPOWER has been very beneficial to me. It has taught me how to take a proactive role in agricultural issues and increased my ability to communicate effectively with legislators, farmers and the general public. I have enjoyed learning about the different levels of government and how they function. I think what we learn outside of the institute while sitting around with our fellow classmates is extremely beneficial. It makes you realize your farming operations are really not that different and everybody has a lot of the same issues that they are dealing with. It has been a great networking tool. I think it has made me a better leader and speaker and will have a positive effect on our farming operation. It is very important we keep programs like this around so agriculture always has people that can be proactive and informed and can help keep ag issues at the forefront.”
– Scott Metzger, grain and livestock farmer, trucking business
“Through participation in the AgriPOWER program, I’ve had an excellent opportunity to network with farm and agribusiness professionals throughout the state as well as broaden my perspective on the many diversified facets of Ohio agriculture. This training has helped me gain a better understanding of the importance of government at the local, state and federal levels while building my leadership skills so that I’m better prepared to make an impact on ag policy issues. AgriPOWER has been an outstanding experience and one that I’d recommend to others who are interested in learning about current issues and trends in agriculture, meeting others who are passionate about Ohio’s No. 1 industry and most importantly, learning how to make a positive influence to support agriculture with decision makers and legislators in our communities.”
– Kristin Taylor, agribusiness underwriter and dairy farmer
Ohio Farm Bureau Goals
- Explore new membership models for future strength
- Build Farm Bureau's financial base to better achieve our mission
- Grow membership through a comprehensive campaign that involves all members and partners
- Expand member contribution and engagement opportunities
- Partner to create excellent agricultural education programs
- Develop an organization model for the future that engages the entire food chain
- Advocate for Farm Bureau's priority issues
- Seek solutions to Ohio's water quality challenges
- Champion grassroots policy initiatives