Ohio FFA Association held its new Ohio Legislative Leadership Conference (OLLC) Sept. 26, at which Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) staff taught 200 FFA members about government, advocating for agriculture in government, and helped them prepare to meet their legislators.
“It has been wonderful to work with OFBF on this,” said Katy Endsley, Ohio FFA program assistant. “They bring a whole body of knowledge and expertise to this type of work. So having this partnership and friendship with Ohio Farm Bureau has been wonderful.”
“Farm Bureau and Ohio FFA have a mutual goal to constantly strengthen our relationship with one another and feel it is important to expose young people to public policy, government and how agriculture interacts in this arena,” said Adam Sharp, OFBF vice president of public policy.
The two organizations worked together at OLLC to teach FFA members about government, lobbying, advocating and elections through a game the OFBF public policy team developed.
“I think the students really got into the game, where they had to decide if they were put in that situation how would they vote for their constituents and how it would make a difference for re-election in the next year,” said Nicole Steinmetz, student teacher at River Valley High School.
Visits with elected officials
After the game, FFA members prepared to meet with their legislators, but first they were addressed by Gov. John Kasich. The governor talked about his respect and excitement about Ohio FFA and encouraged the students to pursue careers in agriculture, whether it is as a farmer or as entrepreneur or chemist.
“This whole area of agriculture and the potential future of agriculture in terms of medicine, materials and energy independence, this is cool. This is really, really cool stuff. So if you don’t want to be the traditional person in agriculture, think about what you might do,” Kasich said.
FFA members in attendance enjoyed many different parts of the conference. Sydney Snider from Felicity-Franklin FFA chapter said her favorite part was meeting with legislators.
“At the beginning we learned from Farm Bureau about advocating, and then we had the chance to actually do it with our legislators and I really enjoyed that. The government really does affect us everyday in everything that we do,” Snider said. “I think we should be a part of it and really reach out and learn more about it so that in our future we can advocate for any cause and today that is advocating for agriculture and the FFA organization.”