Every year, a Young Agricultural Professional (YAP) from Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake or Trumbull County, depending on the rotation, is chosen to attend the Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience in September. This year, Daniel Bancroft from Trumbull County attended and here is his story!
My name is Daniel Bancroft and I am from Kinsman, Ohio. I recently had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for a Leadership Experience offered by the Ohio Farm Bureau. I am proud and thankful to have attended this trip on behalf of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau as a Young Ag Professional and can definitely speak on to the positive effect this trip has had on my future outlook on my education and career.
I traveled to D.C. from Sept. 11-13 with a group consisting of fellow Young Ag Professionals, AgriPOWER (agriculture leadership program) members, and Ohio Farm Bureau staff and board members. These attendees represented counties throughout the state, which proved to be an important aspect of our mission in this trip. The third day of our trip was spent meeting with legislators representing our state in the House of Representatives. The Ohio Farm Bureau ensured that there were attendees on this trip who resided in each of the state’s congressional districts, allowing us to meet with each of our representative’s offices and to make the most impact we could on this trip. Prior to these congressional meetings, our group heard from a variety of speakers from Ohio and around the nation on topics we would be speaking on, in addition to issues facing agriculture and rural communities in Ohio that we would be facing in our personal and professional lives at some point in the future.
The main issues that we were focusing on in our congressional meetings included trade, taxes, immigration, and the current farm bill. This, at first, intimidated me. I don’t personally have a lot of experience in the management or operation of a farm and have not had to actively think about many of these issues during the time I have spent growing up on my family’s farm. However, I had a general knowledge of how each of these issues has been facing our country and those involved in agriculture and was able to make personal connections to each of these enough to speak on their importance to representatives Tim Ryan and David Joyce. I was grouped with a fellow Young Ag Professionals from Portage County (shout out to Jessica Fesemyer) and Danielle Dufour, an Ohio Farm Bureau staff member from Ashtabula County (pictured with me in the featured image at the top of this story). We were given 30 minutes to speak with a representative from both Ryan’s and Joyce’s offices about our experiences that we have had from our own farms and from our interactions with other farmers in our districts. We were even given the opportunity to meet with Dave Joyce for a couple minutes before our meeting.
More than networking
Before this trip, I was not sure what to expect from this experience. I knew I would be going to Washington for some kind of conference as a representative of Trumbull County farmers—something that would result in networking, education, and some touring of our nation’s capital. My experiences included all of this, but my time in Washington was so much more than a networking opportunity. My involvement in the advocacy that we performed during this trip gives me a newfound appreciation for the work that our state and county Farm Bureaus accomplish on the state and national levels, in addition to showing me the need for local farmers from around my own county and across the state to get more involved with advocacy in order to truly shape the policies of the people representing us. The people that I met on this trip also proved to be very influential on me, and overall, I have an itch to get more involved in the Farm Bureau—both on the county level and with future experiences like this one.
Our trip was not all work; we did spend a great deal of time exploring the area around our hotel and across the city. We had the benefit of being located two blocks away from the National Mall, and easily spent free time exploring various Smithsonian museums, the Library of Congress, and the Botanical Gardens. Our group was given an evening tour of monuments around the area by a local historian, also from Ohio. Another great opportunity during the trip was a visit to the Embassy of Chile. Chilean officials and embassy staffers presented on the characteristics of their country and talked extensively on the state of agriculture in their country and how we could relate to them.
All in all, this trip proved to be wonderful and very influential on me. It got me thinking more about how much agriculture is a part of my life and how I have been raised, and how I need to actively work to advocate on behalf of people like my family and neighbors and farmers from across the state that share similar experiences to my own. I encourage all of you who are reading this to put agriculture in your thoughts more often, whether it be to be more thoughtful of where your food comes from and how we should be using our land, or how you can become a voice for agriculture and become more involved in organizations such as the Farm Bureau. I would like to thank the staff and members of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau again for providing me with this opportunity.
If anyone has questions about my trip to Washington, D.C., feel free to email me.
OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.