Micaela Wright from Darke County is the editor of the March 12, 2018 edition of Growing our Generation, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.
Hi everyone! My name is Micaela Wright. I grew up in Darke County Ohio where my family raises Shetland Sheep and a small produce garden. I graduated from Wilmington College with a bachelor’s degree that combined my interest in agriculture and political science. I am now at The Ohio State University working on my master’s in public administration focusing on agriculture policy.
I first became involved in Farm Bureau through Wilmington College’s Collegiate Farm Bureau program. Through my involvement, I was able to travel to Washington D.C. to learn more about American Farm Bureau and to advocate on behalf of agriculture. After graduation, a Young Ag Professionals Committee member reached out to me about getting more involved in YAP. She encouraged me to to try the Discussion Meet and to apply to travel to the national conference. In my involvement in Discussion Meet, I was a finalist in the last round and it led me to learning more about some important issues in agriculture that I did not know much about. I also was able to travel to Pittsburgh, where I met other Young Ag Professionals from all over the United States.
With the help of Darke County Farm Bureau, I was able to attend this conference again that was held in Reno, Nev. Once again I made connections with young farmers throughout the United States and was able to meet the American Farm Bureau President, Zippy Duvall. He spoke at an opening session about the importance of us Young Farmers and Ranchers to stand up and continue to be involved not only in Farm Bureau, but also with legislators who are making the laws that affect our industry.
My involvement in Farm Bureau has led me to meet some of the most amazing people with a strong passion for agriculture. It has also led me to more opportunities to travel and learn how to be the best advocate I can be for agriculture.
This past year, I have been working at Ohio Farm Bureau as the Policy Outreach Fellow. In this position, I assist the policy staff with research for policies and outreach activities. It has been a great opportunity for me to connect what I am learning in graduate school with the real world. This position also provided me with professional development through enrollment in AgriPOWER.
AgriPOWER is a professional development program that teaches participants about their own work styles, involvement in all levels of the government through the lens of agriculture, and exposes them to agriculture in other states. I just got back from traveling in Florida where we saw strawberry and blueberry farms, the largest cattle ranch by number in the U.S., citrus farms, a fish farm, and even a farm that grows ferns for floral arrangements.
Like I mentioned before, I grew up on a small farm in Darke County. My parents were not raised on a farm, but they both showed livestock in 4-H and my father’s grandparents and my mother’s great-grandparents were farmers. I’ve always felt a deep connection to agriculture and a love for animals.
Spring is my favorite time of the year, because it is when we have lambs. Even though I am often busy with school, I try to make it home as many times as possible during lambing season. There is something special about helping a ewe deliver a lamb or watching a new lamb wobble around as it tries to walk.
No matter where I travel to or what I do, I always find myself missing the farm at home. I know that farming is something that will always be a part of me and until I can have a farm of my own, I will cherish my moments at my parent’s farm and I hope to someday raise my own family in the same way.
A professor at Wilmington College used to remind us that if we aren’t making the rules, then someone else will make them for us. He encouraged us to get involved in advocating for our industry. This is important advice and I’ve learned that when more people get involved, our politicians notice and listen to us.
Not only should we get involved in the policy side of our industry, but we should step up our involvement in other ways. Being an involved member has been so rewarding. I have made life long friends, professional connections, and doors have been opened for me through my involvement in Farm Bureau.
My county recently had our first meeting to start up a Young Ag Professionals group. I am excited to see this grow and also how my involvement in Farm Bureau will continue to grow. I hope that I can not only strengthen my own involvement, but that I can inspire the next generation to get involved in Farm Bureau as I have, to keep our organization strong.