Twenty select leaders and advocates recently graduated from Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) AgriPOWER Institute. The intensive, yearlong leadership training program was launched in 2008 to help farmers and agricultural professionals gain influence over public policy issues that impact their businesses.
The graduates are Matt Bell, Muskingum County; Jake Bodimer, Gallia County; Shirlee Bostdorff , Wood County; Sara Camacho, Washington County; Rich Deaton, Darke County; Abra Dunn, Franklin County; Evan Hahn, Ashland County; Brenda Hastings, Geauga County; Aaron Heilers, Shelby County; Rachel Heimerl Licking County; Tracie Isler, Marion County; Jamie King, Delaware County; Andy Korb, Butler County; Nathan Like, Henry County; Jamie Metzger, Pickaway County; Christy Montoya, Montgomery County; Kim Rassi, Cuyahoga County; Leia Ringler, Richland County; Chris Rogers, Brown County and Kristin Taylor, Wayne County.
During the past year, participants engaged government officials, activists, media insiders and farm leaders on pressing local, state and national issues. Among the topics were government structure and spending, regulations, the environment, animal welfare, international trade and public relations.
“Ohio Farm Bureau is committed to the success of AgriPOWER and believes that there has never been a more important time for people to stand up for agriculture and tell their stories,” said Sandy Kuhn, AgriPOWER director. “This is really the purpose of AgriPOWER as graduates are trained to become the future leaders and advocates for agriculture.”
Prior to graduation, participants developed goals for using their training to effectively impact public policy. At graduation, AgriPOWER Class III presented Kuhn with a $1,000 check to help with the funding of Class IV. “They have truly learned the power of paying forward,” Kuhn replied.
In addition to OFBF, AgriPOWER partners include Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, American Dairy Association Mideast, Ohio Pork Producers Council, Ohio Corn Growers Association, Ohio Sheep and Wool Program, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Beef Council, Ohio Soybean Council, Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation, United Producers, Inc., Washington State Community College, Washington State Community College Tech Prep, Brown County Farm Bureau, Butler County Farm Bureau, Cuyahoga County Farm Bureau, Franklin County Farm Bureau, Geauga County Farm Bureau, Hamilton County Farm Bureau, Henry County Farm Bureau, Marion County Farm Bureau, Pickaway County Farm Bureau, Richland County Farm Bureau, Wood County Farm Bureau and AgriPOWER Class II.