Talking trade with New Zealand, legislators – AgriPOWER Class VII blog

by Heidi White of Lebanon, AgriPOWER Class VII participant

A tour of the Capitol, meeting with congressmen and their staff, participating in the night tour of national monuments, meeting with the EPA about Waters of the U.S. and the Clean Water Act and most interesting of all visiting the New Zealand Embassy. I had only been to Washington, D.C. one other time prior to this trip, in the eighth grade. Never before have I had such awesome opportunities as I did with AgriPOWER on our recent trip to D.C. along with Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Ag Professionals.

I didn’t really know what to expect prior to visiting the New Zealand Embassy but I learned a lot. Dr. Janine Collier, first secretary of trade and agriculture, gave us an overview of agriculture in New Zealand and the environment in which it is grown. I was interested to learn that New Zealand’s seasons are opposite of ours and the majority of the population live in the North Island versus the South Island. We then got to discuss in depth the dependency that New Zealand has on international trade particularly with Australia, China, the European Union and the United States and the significance of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). I could relate to this working at Cargill exporting commodities, so I tied it all together when I met with Congressman Steve Chabot’s staffer, Jonathan Lowe, to hear firsthand Mr. Chabot’s stance on TPP.

I explained my experiences and my story of working in the grain industry at Cargill, in regard to exporting commodities to Mr. Lowe. Ohio Farm Bureau state board trustee Andra Troyer discussed her concerns with the Clean Water Act and her involvement with it as she represents 20 counties on Ohio Farm Bureau’s board. In addition, we also voiced our concerns on the labeling of GMOs and how we felt it should be voluntary. I felt it was a very beneficial meeting with our congressman’s staff and hope that we made an impact.

In addition to attending meetings, we had a night tour of the national monuments and various social events. I had seen all of these monuments before, but nothing compares to a night tour! If you ever have the chance to witness these astounding monuments at night, do it. You won’t regret it.

This was a very educational, rewarding and fun trip for all who attended. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to participate.

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,…

Posted by Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals on Thursday, September 17, 2015



Check out some of what we’ve been up to! Full photo album coming soon!

Posted by Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals on Thursday, September 17, 2015

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.