Even though I get paid to promote and support Farm Bureau, many people also forget I’m a member first and foremost. Today I’m wearing both hats and I’m gonna share my favorite parts of Farm Bureau. If I left this job today, you can bet I’d be an active volunteer in the county.

Farm Bureau is a grassroots (membership-based) organization. Our members are the backbone of this organization, and until I worked for Farm Bureau I truly had no idea what that really meant, nor did I realize the magic that occurs when everyone comes together to accomplish something. Farm Bureau works to protect your property rights, fighting for CAUV (farmland tax rates), improving water quality, business climate issues such as trade, beginning farmers/businesses, federal tax reform, migrant labor, energy development, and more.

What makes Farm Bureau so amazing is that it all starts locally with members. Members come together throughout the year to discuss current issues affecting the industry (which encompasses all types of agriculture — big, small, conventional, organic, crops, livestock, bees, fruits, veggies, fish — just to name a few) and our communities.  We then take those discussions and we build policies at the local level. Those policies are then presented to a committee of members (from throughout the state) to review and compare with current state policies. Then in December, over 300 delegates who were elected by members at the county annual meetings head to Columbus to vote on those policies as well as Ohio Farm Bureau board trustees and officers.  The process then moves on up to the federal level with American Farm Bureau. Those policies at the county, state, and federal level guide staff like myself on actions to take throughout the year. If any issues come up that affect our industry and our members have passed policy on those issues, our policy team at OFBF can take action to protect agriculture and its members. As a member, Farm Bureau is your voice, and united we are stronger.

As a member, I encourage all members to use that voice. We work very closely with elected officials (regardless of their political party designation), and community organizations at all levels to plead our case, educate, debate and advocate for our members and the future of agriculture.

All it takes is one person. One person to share a thought, concern or suggestion and it can guide the entire organization through the federal level (with the approval of the majority of the members of course). That’s why it is important to step up on issues that mean something to you. We may not all agree on all the issues and areas we take a stand on, but I promise you there are more issues we have common ground on, than not.

Being involved in agriculture doesn’t mean you have to be a full-time or even part- time farmer raising grain and livestock. This is another reason I love my job and Farm Bureau. I learn something new every day working with our diverse members. I’ve learned about fruit and vegetable production, nurseries, miscanthus, and the work that goes into that glass of wine that I so enjoy after a long day.  I saw hops growing for the first time, toured small sugar shacks and a larger scale maple syrup bottling facility. I’ve learned about issues affecting aquaculture and honey bees. I’ve had the opportunity to tour oil and gas facilities and visit with landowners who we have helped navigate through leases with those companies. I work alongside all those members and staff to help push through the Farm Bureau recommendations to the CAUV calculation, to improve water quality, to fight the opioid crisis and to help improve water quality. Currently, we are urging members to reach out to their U.S Senators and Representatives to encourage them to take action on the farm bill.

I’m only a small portion of the Farm Bureau family working to make a difference for agriculture. So today, I encourage members to become a little more involved — even if it’s just a phone call with a concern or topic you heard about. If you aren’t a member, I encourage you to join Farm Bureau and help us protect the future of agriculture and to strengthen our communities.

Mandy Orahood is an Ohio Farm Bureau organization director serving Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull Counties. Mandy can be reached at [email protected].


I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.
Bethany Starlin's avatar
Bethany Starlin

Hocking County Farm Bureau

Available scholarships
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
Ernie Welch's avatar
Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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