I recently had the tremendous opportunity to join young farmers and other agricultural professionals for the Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professionals’ Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience. As the director of communication and member education for the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, I have been engaged with Ohio Farm Bureau in several key issues impacting Ohio agriculture. During this trip various leaders in our industry spent time briefing us about some of these issues – which ultimately prepared us to represent Ohio agriculture during scheduled visits with our congressmen.
It was clear our congressmen and their staff understand the importance of agriculture. Here in Ohio, we know agriculture is our state’s No. 1 industry, but it was great to see our national leaders also understand the importance of this industry for not only the economic success of the country, but also for the ability to feed a growing global population.
Leading up to our congressional meetings, we visited the American Farm Bureau Federation to learn more about the farm bill and other legislation that would affect our industry relating to immigration, biotechnology, waterway infrastructure challenges and tax reform.
We joined members of the Illinois and Iowa Farm Bureaus for a presentation by Rep. Bob Gibbs and for a tangible explanation of biotechnology by Dr. Adrianne Massey with the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Dr. Massey provided an objective, scientific description of biotechnology with real-world examples we can use when discussing GMOs with our friends and families who may not fully understand the science behind the technology.
We visited the Ireland Embassy and met with Ag Attaché Dr. John Dardis, who provided insights about the global economy of agriculture. Our trip concluded at the U.S. Department of Agriculture with additional global insight by Senior Agricultural Economist Hui Jiang, who shared updates about current international trade issues.
And of course, we left the trip with new friendships. During bus rides and walks between meetings and visits, during meals and monument tours, and during our own downtime, we had ample time to build invaluable relationships – lasting friendships – with other young professionals in agriculture.
Ohio Farm Bureau should be proud for affording young ag professionals the opportunity to participate in this experience. If you know any young ag professionals, encourage them to get involved with their county Farm Bureau and with the Ohio Farm Bureau group.
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