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Eye-opening Washington trip

The third 2014 AgriPOWER session was certainly jam packed. Class VI, along with the Young Ag Professionals group, took a trip to Washington, D.C. Being a new visitor to our nation’s capital, this was quite an exciting and eye-opening experience for me.

The trip began with a visit to the American Farm Bureau office where we were briefed on current issues including EPA water regulations, tax reform, big data and the farm bill. A major take-home for me was how imperative it is that we make our voices heard regarding the Waters of the United States. We cannot sit idly by and expect changes to occur in our favor. I would encourage you to visit ditchtherule.org and express your opinion. In addition, the group as a whole had the opportunity to participate in an interactive budgeting workshop. This provided me with a greater appreciation of all the time and effort that goes into balancing our country’s multibillion dollar budget.

Much of day two was spent on Capitol Hill. Although our visits were brief, due to a mandatory caucus, it was very interesting to hear from our congressmen and their aides. Congressmen Bob Gibbs spoke with us briefly and I was pleased to learn of his ties to Ohio agriculture. Hearing from the aides of Congressmen Bill Johnson and Bob Latta was intriguing. Not only do they have hectic schedules but they are extremely knowledgeable on various issues and their respective congressman count on that knowledge. It was refreshing to learn that they rely so heavily on the Ohio Farm Bureau staff for information on ag-related topics.

The D.C. journey ended at USDA. We were briefed on general updates, along with global trade. This was a very enjoyable and beneficial visit, as our speakers allowed for a great deal of questions and discussion. Both the AgriPOWER and YAP groups were extremely engaged and represented Ohio Farm Bureau well. I arrived in Columbus feeling better informed and motivated to more actively participate in the legislative process.

Read more from trip participants.