Josie Montoney from Fairfield County is the editor of the Aug.12, 2019 Growing our Generation, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.
Hi all! My name is Josie Montoney, and I’m currently a student at The Ohio State University but Fairfield County will always be “home” for me. Growing up with parents who are wildlife biologists (my father is the state director of USDA Wildlife Services in Ohio!), I took an unconventional route to agriculture. I joined 4-H, and later FFA, where I realized that although I lacked a production agriculture background, I was passionate about the industry. Through a number of Career Development Events and legislative conferences, I decided by the end of my freshman year of high school that I wanted to work in ag policy. Now, entering my senior year at Ohio State with majors in agricultural communication and public management, leadership, and policy, I feel stronger than ever that advocating for our industry is where I am supposed to be!
With both of my parents being proud alumni of The Ohio State University, and coming from a household that bleeds Scarlet and Gray, it seemed natural for me to want to attend their alma mater. I was fortunate that as a student of Amanda Clearcreek High School I was in close enough proximity to the university to attend many functions sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. After interacting with professors, students and staff on so many occasions, it solidified that my natural choice was also the best fit for me. Although I had a busy schedule as a newly elected state officer for the Ohio FFA, I was fortunate to attend a school that already made me feel at home.
Just a few days after completing my freshman year, I packed my bags and headed to Washington, D.C. to begin my first internship with the Agricultural Retailers Association. After spending the summer advocating for a number of issues such as labeling laws and rural infrastructure, it left little doubt in my mind that I wanted to expand my knowledge into the world of policy. After exploring my options, the John Glenn College of Public Affairs perfectly encapsulated what I wanted to do in my life in its tag line: “Turning Passion Into Policy.” The combination of these two majors made me feel not just equipped, but excited to turn my attention toward professional experiences that would allow me to play a role in advocating for the policies that best serve the agriculture industry.
While my academics created a foundation, it has been the people in my life that have been the true building blocks. From internship supervisors to the faculty who I work under in the CFAES Office of Government Affairs, I have been surrounded by a network of people who are not only willing to share their knowledge, but their encouragement as well. In my role at CFAES, my supervisor Adam Ward has gone above and beyond to provide me with opportunities to immerse myself in policy priorities of the college. With his guidance, I was able to assist with the planning of 4-H Day at the Capitol, reinvigorating Collegiate Farm Bureau at Ohio State along side the Dean’s office, and was selected as the 2019 CFAES Outstanding Student Employee. In an industry as tight knit as agriculture, knowing that you have strong professional network can make all the difference.
Coming from a university with such a strong emphasis in research, Extension and teaching, my transition to being the government relations intern at CropLife America this summer in Washington, D.C. was the perfect fit. CLA represents the manufacturers, distributors and formulators of crop protection inputs to legislators on Capitol Hill. The heartbeat of my internship focused on defending the science-based regulations that underpin the pesticide industry; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. By immersing myself in the details of these processes, and being surrounded by industry professionals, I was able to combine my love for science and passion for agriculture in a meaningful way. As I wrap up my time in DC, I feel more grateful than ever to have the opportunity to stand behind an industry deeply rooted in scientific advancements with a goal of supporting life.