Kevin Ward

Lessons in leadership: AgriPOWER Session 2 blog

AgriPOWER Class XI attended Session 2 recently at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky. A variety of presenters were assembled to give participants exceptional learning within a short period of time. From communication skills to water quality, each lesson was exceptional to gain knowledge within the agriculture industry.

Three event-filled days throughout north central Ohio were spent visiting beautiful flower nurserys, amazing to the eye and taste bud apple orchards, and streamlined strawberry, vegetable, and grain farms. Days were filled with speakers that gave us lessons to help us think outside of the box and utilize our own strengths to improve our skills in advocating for agriculture. Plus, we experienced farm visits that discussed the history, day to day, and the complexity of their operations. It was a great opportunity to see these individuals opening their farm to tell us the successes they have had, in addition to their specific struggles. Each of them unknowingly giving us a lesson in leadership and advocacy just by sharing his or her passion and love for agriculture.  

During Session 2, I had my eyes opened to a new view of labor struggles within agriculture around the state. I have seen and felt the shortage of workers in my day to day, but never talked with individuals as grateful as these for the accessibility of a sustainable labor source through designed programs that give them a comfort that labor will be there to plant, maintain, and harvest the crop each season. Additionally, these farms were each an innovator in their own ways to make new technologies work for needs on that operation with things like computer-controlled plant variety specific watering and fertilizing systems to planting new trait specific trees for robotic harvesting methods, not for themselves but in preparation for the next generation coming up.

Although farm visits are always fun and educational, I found our morning sessions to be very relatable to our daily duties within agribusiness. With such a vast makeup of roles within our AgriPOWER class, from ag tech and ag lenders to biotech and bees, the education on grain commodity groups, updates on water quality research, or being reminded to remember to smile because you love what you’re talking about we were given the opportunity to train and improve our own skills, as well has give feedback and discuss with others. Each session, it is reassuring to know who we represent and recognize the audiences that we are trying to reach outside of agriculture while building relationships and inspiring everyone in his or her own way to serve the industry we care about and the farmers we serve who live it. 

Online extras

Jon Brookbank: What’s your message: AgriPOWER Class XI Session 2 blog

Emmalee Wince: Honing my media skills: AgriPOWER Class XI Session 2 blog




Kevin Ward is director of ag technology for Heritage Cooperative. He is past vice president of Hancock County Farm Bureau, on his church consistory and is a Wyandot County 4-H camp staff member.

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