Making Our Voices Heard on ‘The Hill’

As agriculturalists, it is our job to openly communicate and share our stories with others including the public, Congress and others in our industry. Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) took 60 Young Ag Professionals and AgriPOWER Class VI members to Washington, D.C. to share their voices and be heard on “The Hill.”

To help participants make a difference during their time in the nation’s capital. American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) staff briefed attendees on current agricultural issues and policies that Congress has either voted on or will be voting on in the near future. After studying policies, hearing AFBF and OFBF stances on policies and planning congressional visits with our own personal stories, we were able to meet with congressional representatives from Ohio.

I had the privilege of meeting with Rep. Bob Latta to hear his outlook on agriculture and policies, his background and share personal stories on selected policies that have affected agriculture in the northwest Ohio area. Whether discussing water quality, small business expensing or how important it is to communicate agriculture to the public, Representative Latta took the time to fully understand and share what his plan was for all items. This congressional visit showed many of the attendees on the trip just how important our voice is whether we support or oppose any policy. Elected officials want to hear from agriculturalists and this goes to show just how important Farm Bureau truly is when impacting policy decisions.

During my time in D.C., I also was able to visit the European Union Embassy where I learned how important international relationships are for the United States.

Earlier this year the farm bill was a hot topic in the news. Attendees were able to have an in-depth discussion with the chief economist for the Senate Agriculture Committee who actively participated in the writing of the current farm bill. This was of interest to many as we were able to understand what it takes to create a farm bill and why there was such a delay for the current bill.

Attendees also were able to visit the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) where we had an overview of several programs from the assistant secretary of agriculture for administration and also heard from an agricultural economist for trade about current situations in agriculture and global trade.

A night tour of the national monuments and memorials allowed for many reflections the night before the 13th anniversary of Sept. 11. A tour of the Capitol building also provided a unique experience of walking in the exact areas of many of our presidents and decision makers of our country.

I feel privileged I had the opportunity to represent Fulton County for this leadership experience in D.C. I enjoyed being able to share agriculture successes and issues being faced in northwest Ohio, learning more about policy making and had the opportunity to meet so many others like me who have a passion for agriculture.

I encourage all members to consider this opportunity in the future and always remember that your voice can make a difference in Washington, D.C. Whether visiting congressional offices, emailing, mailing a letter or simply calling, you can make a difference on future policies. OFBF and AFBF are always lobbying on behalf of all members and serve as a valuable resource to congressional offices when making decisions impacting the future of agriculture.

See more from the trip through the tweets of attendees.