Marissa Mulligan

Growing Our Generation: Advocacy is key

Marissa Mulligan of Franklin County is editor of the March 26, 2018 Growing our Generation enewsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals. 

Marissa MulliganHi! My name is Marissa Mulligan. I am a recent graduate of The Ohio State University. I am from Philadelphia, but I currently reside in Franklin County where I own and operate my own duck farm. Coming from a city, my closest interaction with agriculture was probably a petting zoo. As soon as I started in the Ohio State Animal Science department, my love for agriculture flourished. Starting my internship at Harrison Farm is really when I realized that being a farmer is in my life path. Harrison Farm is owned by Katherine Harrison, Ohio Farm Bureau state trustee for District 11. The small sheep and goat farm in Canal Winchester gave me the opportunity to do exactly what I love and to grow as a young professional in agriculture. It was at the farm where my first conversations about farming took place and my passion for advocacy in the agriculture industry came to fruition. The Franklin ducksCounty Farm Bureau has supported me and helped me grow as an individual by allowing me to participate in AgriPOWER, a leadership program through Ohio Farm Bureau. There is so much to learn as a young person in agriculture, and I am so blessed to have Farm Bureau and Harrison Farm to help me on my journey.

Advocacy is key

We in the agriculture community make up 1 percent of the population. Coming from a nonagricultural background, I can personally attest to the importance of communication between consumer and producer. This extends especially to legislators. I never realized how important it is to talk to our elected officials until I participated in AgriPOWER. I truly recommend it to everyone looking to grow as an individual and a professional in agriculture. A huge part of AgriPOWER was meeting with legislators on the local, state and national level. They are just normal people that want to hear from their constituents. Letting them know about policies that Farm Bureau or other organizations are promoting is very important.

OFBF President Frank Burkett, III at Ag Day at the Capital.
OFBF President Frank Burkett, III at Ag Day at the Capital.

The situations I was placed in as an AgriPOWER attendee led me to understand that telling your story is the most effective way to communicate a message. I got the amazing opportunity to participate at Ag Day at the Capital. It was that day where I truly realized the comfort level I now have in important meetings with legislators. I encourage everyone to reach out to their local elected officials and get a good line of communication started via email, phone calls, or best of all, an in-person meeting. The successful passage of CAUV reform is a perfect example of this working. Always be looking for opportunities to improve as an individual and contribute to the community around you.

Reaching consumers

At Harrison Farm, we pride ourselves on reaching the consumer in new and goat yogainteresting ways, such as birthday parties, social events and goat yoga (pictured here). Agritourism is such an important part of our business at the farm. It is amazing to watch as visitors become comfortable with the farm as they meet the animals, and then start asking questions about ag issues such as water quality and GMOs. Having events at the farm connects people and we really find that we are building a stronger community.

I recently had the privilege to travel to Florida with my AgriPOWER class and we experienced the amazing opportunity to visit and converse with members of a family at a blueberry farm. They shared their story of starting their agritourism “u- pick” business where they could host thousands of individuals in one weekend. They shared stories of people asking how and why they farm the way they do, but it is so important to share that story. There is a level of discomfort when strangers come to your farm and question everything you do and have been doing for generations, but when you look people in the eyes they see your passion and believe you. The farmers in Florida also taught me that most successful people listen to what the consumer wants and give it to them no matter how outside the box it is, whether it be “u-pick” fruits and vegetables or goat yoga. Not one of the farmers we talked to started farming the commodity they are now, because they never stop growing, changing and evolving for the landscape of the consumer markets.

Goat Sloppy Joes

3 pounds ground goat meat

1 medium onion, chopped

1 bottle chili sauce

1 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

Brown the meat with chopped onion; drain well. Add chili sauce, ketchup, flour and brown sugar. Mix well. Put in a crock pot and cook on low heat until ready to serve. Stir occasionally. Serve on bun.

Recipe by Becky Harrison

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This e-newsletter is brought to you by Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Ag Professionals. Learn more about Farm Bureau membership, including a discounted category for those 18-24 years old.

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