With over 1,100 students attending Wilmington College in Clinton County, the College of Agriculture stands out as one of the largest areas of study on campus. The school has recently rejuvenated the Wilmington College Collegiate Farm Bureau program to encourage students to join Ohio Farm Bureau while getting their education. This gives students a chance to participate in Farm Bureau activities without making the trip to their home counties for every meeting. There are currently 24 paid members with about 50 students attending meetings regularly.
Steve Berk, organization director for Ohio Farm Bureau in Clinton, Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Greene and Madison counties, has played a key role in organizing trips and activities for the students. “Wilmington was relatively easy to restart, not like an old tractor that sat in the barn for a couple years,” he said. “The professors there are great; they’re Farm Bureau members. They are very familiar with Ohio Farm Bureau, so we already had a really good relationship with them. It really started with the idea of doing a lobbying trip to Washington, D.C. with the agriculture students.”
The Wilmington College Collegiate Farm Bureau members have taken many trips to Washington, D.C., which compare to capstone classes for their areas of study. “Because of Wilmington’s style of education, they have classes that will focus on one specific topic. Whether it’s Waters of the United States or Renewable Fuel Standard, we gear our trips specifically to the classes,” Berk said.
Renewable Fuel Standard was among one of the latest topics discussed on the trip to Washington D.C. Students met with many elected officials and groups including Rep. Steve Stivers, American Farm Bureau, National Pork Producers Council, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Many students take full advantage of the activities available to them on campus through Ohio Farm Bureau. Sophomore Dillon Davidson is the president of Wilmington College Collegiate Farm Bureau. “It’s nice for students who can’t get home during the week to their home county Farm Bureaus; they can be a member at Wilmington College and receive the benefits and opportunities,” he said.
Davidson has been involved with Wyandot County Farm Bureau, where he grew up, since he was in high school. Studying international agriculture with a concentration in foreign policy, he gives credit to Farm Bureau for helping him take the steps toward a career in agriculture. “FFA made me a leader but Farm Bureau topped it off. Farm Bureau gave me different aspects on the agriculture industry, different aspects to help me grow as a leader and to see the infinite potential I can have. There is always room to improve, but Farm Bureau has furthered my self-improvement.”
Photos By Jodi Miller
Published in the January/February 2016 issue of Our Ohio.
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