AgriPOWER Class VII at the Ohio Department of Ag

State government and agriculture – AgrPOWER Class VII Session 4 blog

by Stephanie Leis of Columbus, AgriPOWER Class VII participant

AgriPOWER Class VII had a great session in November! It was fun to see everyone after being apart for two months. This session focused on public policy and learning more about government.

On Thursday morning, my boss, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Jim Zehringer, spoke briefly to our group. He was a farmer for decades in Mercer County, and he also served as director at the Ohio Department of Agriculture so he definitely has a background in agriculture. He talked about his goals for the department: improving, promoting and preserving Ohio State Parks, improving water quality statewide, regulating oil and gas production in Ohio and becoming more efficient in our department.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Jim Zehringer speaking to our AgriPOWER class
Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Jim Zehringer speaking to our AgriPOWER class

Later that morning, we went to the Ohio Statehouse and listened to some legislators talk about their experience in the statehouse. They recommended that we contact our legislators and share our concerns about issues because it is important to share our personal experiences with them.

After lunch, I really enjoyed touring the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) in Reynoldsburg. Before our tour, we were able to hear from ODA Director Dave Daniels, and he talked to us about avian flu, weights and measures, the livestock at the county fairs, the ag nutrient runoff issue and dangerous wild animals. We also learned more about how ODA regulates things such as amusement rides at the county fairs and even at places like Kings Island and Cedar Point. After hearing from Director Daniels, we were able to tour the Consumer Protection Lab and the Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab, which was really fascinating.  

The Ohio Department of Agriculture Mosaic, which is located in their administration building in Reynoldsburg.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture Mosaic, which is located in their administration building in Reynoldsburg.

For dinner that night we went to Hofbräuhaus Columbus, and it was really busy because it was its one-year anniversary. One of my favorite parts for this session was hanging out with the group after dinner on Thursday night. We talked about everything from LEGO to the new Star Wars movie to the attacks in Paris. We covered a lot of topics.

One of the most interesting tours we had on Friday was at the Ohio Supreme Court. Justice Judi French, one of the six justices of the Ohio Supreme Court (there is a chief justice and six justices), graciously met us in the courtroom where they hear oral arguments and talked with us about her time as a justice. I did not realize how agriculture and manufacturing are featured so prominently within the building. In the majestic courtroom, we saw gold corn on the walls, and near the elevator lobby, there were large mosaic panels featuring Ceres, representing agriculture, and Vulcan, representing manufacturing. I would recommend touring the building because it was neat to see how Ohio’s history is depicted there.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judi French talked to us in the Courtroom, where she and the chief justice and the other five justices listen to oral arguments.
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judi French talked to us in the Courtroom, where she and the chief justice and the other five justices listen to oral arguments.

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.

young-active-member-banner

Callie Wells 

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