Packing my suitcase again was not high on my priority list. Honestly, I wasn’t excited about going on the Ohio Farm Bureau Young Ag Professionals trip simply because I had been traveling for four out of the five previous weeks. How could this be productive? Why did they need me; I had better things to do!
Wow was my perspective different three days later. Sept. 11-13, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. with 30 young agricultural professionals from across Ohio. Rising in the wee hours of the morning, catching an early flight, collecting various trip members at each leg of the journey and ultimately meeting our total group in the airport in Baltimore, we were off and running.
But here is where I stop talking about travel and D.C. sites and focus on the wow of the trip.
Don’t get me wrong, we saw incredible sites and met interesting people, but getting engaged with the young ag professionals beats it all. I think many of the young people would confess they had thought it would be impossible to get appointments with legislators, they wouldn’t care what we had to say or the information would be boring. There are many examples of how this was proved wrong, but a great one was my opportunity to tag along to a couple of the legislative visits. I was part of the real world learning experience in Congressman Turner’s and Congressman Latta’s office where they listened, questioned and asked our position on several issues. It was rewarding to mentor young ag professionals through the legislative process, and it was great to see them learn that their voice does matter and is highly respected.
In three short days, these young people working in the ag industry had a better understanding of how D.C. operates, the time commitment of the legislators and their staff, and the importance of sharing their agriculture knowledge to decision makers. In short, they understood they CAN influence IF they are engaged.
An added bonus – I met some of Ohio’s most interesting young ag professionals. They grow specialty crops, work off the farm, sell crop insurance, raise cattle and hogs, work for a start-up whiskey distiller and have horses on the side, are college students and some were raising young kids of their own. Such diversity and such enthusiasm for Ohio agriculture means a bright future for Ohio Farm Bureau.
I may have had the same old suitcase, but this trip was refreshing and rejuvenating. Most of all, it was encouraging that our Ohio Farm Bureau Young Ag Professionals are engaged.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about Young Agricultural Professionals on its webpage
‘Like’ the Facebook Page to connect with more Young Agricultural Professionals
Read D.C. trip participant Angela Davis-Haines’ blog about her experience