By Jacob Hoelscher, AgriPOWER Class X participant
In our generation we have seen the farm population of America dwindle from 3 percent to less than 1 percent, the birth of Roundup ready technology and the consolidation of the pork, poultry and dairy industry. Due to these changes of practices and size of farming operations, a schism has formed between the public and our industry. With less of America having a personal tie to the food they consume, advocacy is more important now than ever, especially with much of the population yearning for this connection. The voice to portray this advocacy begins with the grassroots movement that is Farm Bureau and was the headline of our first session.
As a member of the 10th class of Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER, we have begun to take the steps to find out how we, as leaders of our industry can utilize our strengths to advocate and lead. Workshops highlighting our strengths and emotional intelligence were led spectacularly by Elise Stoddard of AFBF. We were given a tour of the Nationwide and Farm Bureau connection and were given the opportunity to practice public speaking amongst our peers. Personally, my favorite session was the after hour “Suite Time,” where our group was able to network and get to know each other individually. I look forward to the next couple of months to see how what we learned, and will learn, will continue to influence our ability to lead going forward.
While only one session deep into AgriPower X, it is my belief that our group of 17 Young Ag Professionals has already begun to shape our local communities and will continue to do so on larger platforms.
Lastly, I would like to thank Melinda Witten for leading our class, as she has done for many of the classes before us and for the Ohio Farm Bureau in making this amazing class available.
Another AgriPOWER Class X blog
Laramie Wells discusses Farm Bureau’s roots.
Bottom row (l to r): Amy Hamilton, Megan Dresbach, Trish Preston, Katie Esselburn, Amanda Hill,
Middle row (l to r): Sarah Ison, Ashley Rose, Laramie Wells, Jonathan Zucker, Bailey Morrell
Top row (l to r): Lindsay Walls, Aubrey Fowler-Shaw, Jacob Hoelscher, Vicky Popp, Kayla Finton, Doug Franz, Sara Tallmadge