When I walked into the first AgriPOWER session back in July, I walked in as someone who was—beyond grain merchandising, grading, and purchasing—an agricultural neophyte. When I walk out of the final session in March, I will walk out as someone who has a greater understanding of agricultural issues, someone who is confident in discussing and advocating for these issues, and as someone with 23 more friends.
AgriPOWER provided me with an opportunity to expand my knowledge of the sector. From the many forms of agriculture, to the different farms and producers we talked to, I gained a greater understanding of how everything is pieced together. I was able to discuss these issues with federal, state, and local legislators, and I saw how an organization like Farm Bureau has grown to be one of the most effective advocacy organizations in the nation. While at times we may feel like we’re unable to make a difference, the Ohio Farm Bureau, along with the AgriPOWER Institute, has given me an avenue to be heard.
Beyond the formalities of AgriPOWER, some of my most important and meaningful experiences happened during dinners and other social activities. I was able to connect to people from all walks of agriculture. Bankers, farmers, foundation leaders, lawyers and others were included in our group, and hearing their personal stories helped me to connect to agriculture in a personal way. One way or another, we’re all tied together. Through family births and losses, personal successes and tragedies, we discovered that networking isn’t just necessary for professional growth; it’s also necessary for personal growth.
I’ve enjoyed experiencing AgriPOWER with this group, and I’m excited to have a new group of friends throughout the state from this experience.