Buckeye Farm News
More than two dozen Young Agriculture Professionals got an up close look at the political process when they visited the nation’s capital last month.
Thirty-five people, including the Young Ag Professionals and OFBF board and staff, went to Washington, D.C. on Sept. 9-11. While there, they met with American Farm Bureau Federation staff members to learn about key issues, including animal agriculture, water issues, energy and climate changes, said Darrell Rubel, OFBF’s director of volunteer development.
“Ohio’s State Issue 2 and the debate over the definition of navigable waters were the two big areas that were discussed,” he said. “They got our folks riled up a bit … that’s good.”
Participants also visited representatives of the European Union to hear about how international trade issues affect agriculture.
The highlight of the trip was the traditional visit with Ohio members of Congress. Before talking one-on-one with their member of Congress, trip participants did a “How to Make Contact with Impact” learning session. They learned why personally telling their story to lawmakers is so important.
“It’s not good enough to simply tell a congressman that they need to support an issue. What really makes the difference is when a farmer says how something affects them personally and doing it through a phone call or visit is huge,” Rubel said. “It doesn’t matter if you only talk to an aide because that aide may be the congressman’s specialist and the congressman may go to the aide and ask how they should vote on something.”
Kayla Daymut, who sells real estate in Guernsey County and was active in 4-H, said she enjoyed the trip and meeting with U.S. Rep. Zack Space.
“It was a good experience. I learned a lot about how important it is to talk to your congressman and how things work in Washington,” she said.