Joachim Schaeger, a German agricultural administrator, discusses farming issues with members of the AgriPOWER class.

AgriPOWER class explores Washington

Buckeye Farm News

Members of OFBF’s AgriPOWER Institute, an intensive leadership program designed to produce future agricultural leaders, took a close look at Washington politics during a recent trip to the nation’s capitol.

The visit included meetings with several Ohio lawmakers as well as a discussion of agricultural issues at the German Embassy.

To Sheri Matis of Coshocton County it was apparent that lawmakers were firm in their convictions.

“Because of the passionate beliefs the representatives have, it is more evident to me why coming to at least compromise is beyond difficult,” she said.

The Washington D.C. trip came after several meetings of the AgriPOWER class, which explored in depth how government works and how farmers can affect the political process.

“Having studied the impact of a variety of issues on agriculture at the local and state level, our trip to Washington educated us on the challenges and opportunities that our industry faces on a national and global scale,” said Katherine Harrison of Franklin County. “This allowed us a greater perspective on the connection between our individual farming operations and the need to feed people around the world.”

Following the trip, Roy Norman of Fulton County noted that taxes, regulations, trade and the economy were important issues to a strong agriculture and business sector.

“Now more than ever we need to be engaged in the political process in order to ensure the future prosperity of agriculture and small business,” he said.

Other AgriPOWER participants commented on how Farm Bureau effectively works at all levels of government.

“It is always good when you can put faces on and talk one-on-one to the people who are making our laws and make sure they don’t forget how important ag is in everyday life,” said Mark Ballmer of Fulton County.

The yearlong AgriPOWER program consists of seven weekend institutes focused on public policy issues confronting agriculture and the food industry. OFBF is currently looking for 20 individuals to participate in the 2010-2011 institute.

“I have learned so much about myself by participating in AgriPOWER,” said Laura Wood of Hardin County. “Participation in AgriPOWER is very involving and stretches your world.”

For information about applying for the next AgriPOWER Institute, visit

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