COLUMBUS, Ohio (OFBF) – Dusty Knapke of Wapakoneta 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.
Knapke is an agriculture education instructor for Ohio Hi-Point Career Center. Knapke is an Auglaize County Farm Bureau member, a board member of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and raises Hampshire sheep. He was sponsored by the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and Ohio Sheep and Wool Program.
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 V presented Kuhn with a scholarship to help with the funding of Class VI. “They have truly learned the power of paying forward,” Kuhn replied.
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 Sheep and Wool Program, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Beef Council, AgriPOWER alumni, AgriPOWER Class IV, Ohio Poultry Association, Ag Credit ACA and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.