By Amy Hamilton, AgriPOWER Class X participant
Back in Columbus where our AgriPOWER journey first began, Class X met to begin Session 4 on a cold, wet, icy November morning. Our agenda was equally packed full of classroom sessions as well as out of classroom tours. With objectives to explore the legislative process at the state level, learn of Ohio Farm Bureau’s role in policy development and gain first hand perspective of agricultural facilities and businesses in Ohio I was excited for what this session had planned for us.
In the classroom we worked with OFBF staff learning about the various issues facing our state and how the Ohio Farm Bureau is working to address them. We learned about Farm Bureau’s involvement in legal cases and lobbying efforts, with a first-hand look at what it takes for a bill to get introduced and be passed on the House & Senate floors. We also had guest speakers in from The Ohio State University to work with us on Conflict Management and to discuss Sustainable Agriculture.
Outside of the classroom we had some very unique opportunities to tour our state government and local businesses. On the state government side we visited our statehouse and met with senators or representatives for our respective districts to discuss agricultural issues facing our industry today. We toured the Ohio Supreme Court building and met with Justice Judith French. Justice French addressed our class in the courtroom and she explained how a case makes it to the Supreme Court as well as the process used by the Supreme Court justices to decide on cases.
Our local business tour was of the Rumpke Recycling Center in Columbus. We got a behinds the scenes tour of the facility and it is amazing! We had the opportunity to see the equipment and state-of the-art technology that is used to sort through the thousands of pounds of recycling products daily. This tour was eye opening and very educational for me. It was a great opportunity to see the inside of this business in action.
Lastly, an agriculture based leadership session wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. While at the ODA we met with Director Derickson and three of his deputy directors and we had the opportunity to ask questions such as “how did each of you get your start and get to these positions in your careers?” After the panel session, our group split up to tour the ODA facility and laboratory.
We wrapped up Session 4 by posing for a photo with the tile mural on the floor of the ODA building (see photo above).