By Katie Esselburn, AgriPOWER Class X participant
Three days visiting our nation’s capital passed in a whirlwind of excitement. The purpose of our AgriPOWER and Young Ag Professionals trip to Washington, D.C. was primarily to engage in congressional meetings and to learn from leading experts on issues facing the agricultural industry. There was an abundance of nerves and jitters as our group of about 40 individuals from across Ohio prepared for the meetings; added to that was the fact that it was the first time even to the large metropolis of D.C. for many in our group. After day one of learning from speakers and engaging in conversations, this nervousness was clearly being replaced by cool confidence and the passion to help further the interests of the farm families from home. This trip afforded a proud and momentous occasion for us to stand up and speak on behalf of the agricultural industry as representatives for Ohio Farm Bureau.
As our cohort from the 16th congressional district settled in to the office of Cannon House, we discovered that we had switched geographical locations with Congressman Renacci for the day, as he had come back to Wayne County to visit Ohio’s foremost agricultural fair. I’m grateful that the actions of our congressional representative reflect the importance of agriculture in our district and only envy him the days that I missed at our beloved annual event. We held a brief and pointed conversation with staff that focused on concerns with trade, labor and the need to pass the Farm Bill. With my career in the dairy industry, the labor shortage for dairy farms is a painful and frequent problem I witness for dairy producers. A major revamping of labor regulation would occur with the new Farm Bill, and my hope is that it would provide some reprieve for this shortage for dairy owners and operators.
Members of my own family have served the United States Marine Corps, and it was a highlight to see the startlingly massive Marine Corps War Memorial. At the memorial, the words “Uncommon valor was a common virtue” settled on my heart for the day, and I carried them home with me. It was a great reminder to live every day with courage and purpose. The freedom that was bought, through no small sacrifice, affords each of us the opportunity to speak freely, fight to improve our ways of business and to live life in the sweetest way I know: rooted in agriculture.
Other AgriPOWER Class X blogs
Jacob Hoelscher learns about the importance of agvocacy.
Laramie Wells discusses Farm Bureau’s roots.
Lindsey Walls describes the care taken to raise pigs.
Megan Dresbach is ready to change the misperceptions about agriculture.
AgriPOWER has inspired Doug Franz to become a county Farm Bureau board member.
D.C. trip was a moving experience for Amanda Hill.