AgriPOWER Class VII at the Ohio Statehouse

Real government, real people – AgriPOWER Class VII Session 4 blog

by Lara Staples of Hamersville, AgriPOWER Class VII participant

Arrogant. Self-serving. Proud. Deceitful. Conniving.

Many negative thoughts can come to mind when any mention of the government emerges in a conversation. One thing is for certain though; these thoughts were proven wrong time and time again during our last AgriPOWER session.

Sen. Bob Peterson, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judi French and Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels are just some of those serving in prestigious governmental roles who we were able to meet during our two-day session in Columbus.

Senator Peterson had lunch with our group and spoke to us about his career path. He emphasized how his start in the county Farm Bureau, combined with one simple vision for his rural community, led him to where he is today.

Justice French walked us through a behind-the-scenes look into the life of a Supreme Court justice, and she allowed us to ask specific questions, including ethics within her role.

Ohio Supreme Court.
Ohio Supreme Court.

Director Daniels provided us the opportunity to inquire about the agriculture industry at the state level and to tour facilities that conduct testing pertaining to food quality and safety and animal health.

Each of these individuals took time out of their schedules to meet with our group of agriculturalists who are working hard within our own communities to help build a better future. They gave us insight on their roles within the state government, how they do what they do and allowed us to ask questions about some of the toughest parts of their jobs.

Mosaic at the Ohio Department of Agriculture
Mosaic at the Ohio Department of Agriculture

Ultimately, being able to interact with leaders at the state level has given me a much better understanding of how our state government operates and how I can be a more effective leader within my community. It was proven to me that the individuals running our government are REAL PEOPLE. They have respect for others’ concerns. They have personal and professional ethics. They are trying their hardest to represent the best interest of their constituents. For all of these reasons, I am grateful to be a part of an industry that has enabled me to be a part of such a program that shows me what REAL GOVERNMENT looks like.

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.


Callie Wells 

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