Learning how to communicate, build trust with consumers — AgriPOWER Session 2 blog

By John Arnold Jr., AgriPOWER Class IX participant

On August 17th I began session two of my AgriPOWER classes in Findlay. I was very excited and eager to attend after how great the first session was — not just because of how informative and interesting it was, but also I really looked forward to getting to know the diverse group of people involved.

Our first speaker was Callie Wells who gave us an overview into the world of podcasts and blogs. She exposed us to the different types in both fields and gave us an introduction into starting our own. One of the most useful things she discussed was how to engage people outside of agriculture by using the other interests in our lives.

After Callie we covered media relations and interviewing skills with Joe Cornely from OFBF. He went to great depths to explain to us the best and most useful ways to interact with the media and get our point across in a positive and quick fashion.

Next we moved on to authentic voices training with Melanie Wilt. She helped us better understand how to connect with our audience, as well as how to deliver the best messages for people and the power of positive against negative messaging.

After our day of learning, the group headed to Red Hawk Run golf course to take an introductory golf lesson. It was quite a lot of fun and much harder than it looks!

Our second day began with conversation with consumers by Dr. Leah Dorman from Phibro animal health. We learned how to engage consumers by having conversations using the EASE approach. We discussed how to build trust and see things from a consumer viewpoint. I thought this was extremely helpful for me personally to help me have more productive consumer conversations.

Our next speaker was Dr. Jeff King from the OSU Leadership Center. We discussed the result of our Change Style Indicator tests, which we had already taken. It allowed me great insight into how I approach things, what makes me uncomfortable and helped me better understand how to work with people who were my total opposite.

After lunch we heard from Kirk Merritt from the Ohio Soybean Council. He helped us better understand what OSC does and how it helps producers like myself be more competitive in the world market.

We then headed to Stateler Farms to see the water quality research they and Aaron Heilers were working on. This was one of the most interesting sessions mostly because it’s one of the most important issues we as producers face and it was great to see the things they were doing to proactively solve this issue.

On our final day of sessions we started by getting a tour of the Animal Science programs at the University of Findlay. After that we went to our final session with Kaleidoscope Farms where the Reese family taught us about Christmas tree farming. It was wonderful to meet people who had great passion for a type of agriculture we don’t commonly think of.

I am really thankful for this great opportunity to learn new things and maybe more importantly create some new perspectives on the world around me so I can take them home and share them in my community.


John Arnold Jr. of Springboro raises corn, soybeans and hay and has a grain hauling business. He currently is president of Warren County Farm Bureau and has been a county trustee for about five years.

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