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Meeting with EPA, congressman – AgriPOWER Class VII blog

by Libby Bender of Prospect, AgriPOWER Class VII participant

This past session of AgriPOWER Institute was our visit to Washington, D.C., and we had very full schedule. A few highlights from our trip that made an impact on me was visiting New Zealand Embassy, listening to the authors of the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule and visiting with my congressman, Pat Tiberi.

By far the best part of the trip was Wednesday because we visited the New Zealand Embassy and the U.S. EPA. Many of us were excited to visit the New Zealand Embassy to listen to the issues that were impacting their country. We were all very surprised to find out that they were impacted by the same issues that U.S. agriculture is facing with GMOs, water issues and trade. They were the drivers in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) to allow the opportunity to gain new access by eliminating tariffs and by reducing non-tariff barriers.

After visiting the embassy, we were lucky enough to meet with the authors of WOTUS. This was a very neat experience, however the rule still seemed to be very confusing even with their explanations. The answers to most of our questions required by long answers and it is still not clear who is in charge of enforcing the rule or how you find out if you are or are not in compliance. While we all still have questions to be answered, we were very thankful that they took the time to meet with us and hear our concerns. Now I better understand why everyone on both sides of this issue is frustrated.

On our last day in Washington we met with our congressman, with mine being Rep. Pat Tiberi. We were able to meet with Congressman Tiberi for a few minutes and he seemed very interested in what we had to say and heard our concerns. We later found out that he brought up our discussion about taxes in his Ways and Means committee meeting later that day.

The first two days in D.C. were filled with a lot of training that really helped to prepare us for our congressional visits and relay our concerns as farmers and agribusiness individuals to our legislators. This has been my favorite session so far!

See photos and tweets shared by participants during their time in D.C.

 

The yearly Young Ag Professionals and AgriPOWER Institute trip to D.C. was a bit hit with lots of learning about issues,…

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Apply for AgriPOWER Class VIII by April 15.

Read more from other AgriPOWER Class VII participant

Session 1 blogs

Vicky Shaw discussed her experience in the program’s first session learning about her strength and picking up public speaking tips.

Angela Shoemaker discussed her experience in the program’s first session and learning to step out of her comfort zone.

Session 2 blogs

Chris Kick blogged about interacting with the media and being an effective spokesperson.

Sara Campbell wrote about using storytelling in conversations with consumers and visiting Turner Farms.

Session 3 blogs

Josh Henderson blogged about truly having a voice in Washington.

Libby Bender shared her experience meeting with the authors of the EPA’s WOTUS rule and meeting with her congressman.

Heidi White wrote about learning more about trade at the New Zealand Embassy.

Session 4 blogs

Lara Staples wrote about learning what state government and the people who run it are really like.

Stephanie Leis blogged about the speakers from session 4 and their connection to agriculture.

Jenny Meyer discussed inspiration to share her story more.

Session 5 blogs

Jeff Adams blogged about learning more about tax law and CAUV.

Shelly Detwiler wrote about local government, school funding and oil and gas production.

Session 6 blogs

Matt Schlegel wrote about some of the  peanut and cotton harvesting equipment the class saw on their trip to South Carolina.

Steven Ruggles shared what he learned about vegetable farming in South Carolina and the similarities and difference between vegetable farming and grain farming.

Jami Willard of Columbus wrote about the whirlwind tour of South Carolina’s agriculture that Class VII experienced.

Session 7 blogs

Elaine Beekman of Wellington blogged about this final session not being the end of the learning from AgriPOWER.

Kayla Jones of Newark wrote about volunteering at Highland Youth Garden during the final session.

Mandy Way of Chillicothe blogged about her experience in AgriPOWER reviving her passion for agriculture.

 

Meet other Class VII graduates.

 

AgriPOWER is an elite training program designed to help participants become community leaders and advocates for agriculture.

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Callie Wells 

Callie Wells is the director of digital communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.