By Amanda Hill, AgriPOWER Class X participant
AgriPOWER X and Young Ag Professionals visited Washington, D.C. on September 11-13, 2018 for the Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience. I will be completely honest I was a little hesitant about flying on September 11, a day that will be forever etched in the minds of Americans. The flight went smoothly and once we landed we hit the ground running.
Over the course of the next few days we met and heard from various leaders in the AFBF, key leaders who are working hard on the Farm Bill, Betsy Ann Bryce from the USDA, Kimberly Atkins from the U.S. Grains Council, a panel of lobbyists, our state representatives and other key speakers who play an integral part of fighting for change for American farmers.
As a group we went on a night tour of the memorials and monuments throughout Washington, D.C., breathtaking, humbling, amazing are just a few words to describe this moving experience. As a daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, the Vietnam Wall had a powerful impact on me; my father made it home, two of his friends’ names are on that wall and knowing that my father was one of the many that made it home is beyond a humbling feeling. He has sacrificed so much for all of us and has suffered many health ailments due to the Vietnam War; the war has never escaped my father.
I come from a non-agricultural background. Growing up I was involved in 4-H and FFA, but my family was not farmers and we did not raise livestock on a large scale. We, however, raised chickens, rabbits, pigs and bred our sheep for our 4-H and FFA projects. Agriculture has always been in my blood. I went to the Ohio State University and received my master’s degree in education and was very blessed to teach for seven years and I was able to stay home seven years and watch my two daughters grow. I currently work for two companies called Groundwork BioAg based in Israel and TurnKey Leadership based in New Bloomington, Ohio. Through my positions with both companies I can work hand in hand with the American farmer, which just happens to be my favorite part of my jobs!
Through the AgriPOWER X program I have been so very fortunate to meet leaders in our ever-growing agricultural world. The information that I gathered from this Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience I have already been able to share with the local farmers in my area at home in Marion, Ohio. We have been able to talk about the tariffs, trade agreements and of course the Farm Bill. I was able to share with them my experience with meeting our Representative Jim Jordan and his feelings about all three issues. This was a feeling of gratefulness and pride being able to share my experiences with those that have trust in what I am out their experiencing and asking on their behalf.
Our American farmers deserve due diligence on the behalf of our policy makers and they are counting on us to be their voices as we represent them through Ohio Farm Bureau, AgriPOWER X and the Young Ag Professionals programs.
Thank you to all those who continue to support me and cheer me on through all of my endeavors!