After not meeting in October, AgriPOWER Class XI regrouped in Columbus for our fourth session. Although two months had passed since we last met in Washington D.C., most of us were happy to see each other and everyone was eager to see what this session had in store. The central meeting location for this session was the Ohio Farm Bureau office and we spent time around Capitol Square and on tours as well.
As usual, boatloads of information was thrown at us over the course of two days. This session had a focus on the legislative process at the state and local level and we were able to learn more about current issues within the state government. I was happy to hear about a beginning farmer tax credit in the works in House Bill 183 because that is directly applicable to my farming operation. HB183 would give a tax credit to established farmers to do business with beginning farmers, which in turn can help make a beginning farmer more competitive. It is a step in the right direction if it gets passed.
I learned that passing a bill in the House and Senate can be a headache in itself. It takes so much effort, work, coordination and understating to introduce and pass a bill. I imagine it is frustrating work at times and it really does take effort from each side of the aisle to get things done. Although the media always puts the Republicans and Democrats against each other, there is much more collaboration behind closed doors.
Aside from the group dinner at Hofbrauhaus on Thursday night, my favorite part of this session was touring the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg on Friday. It was a neat place with expensive machinery and scientists shuffling around in lab coats. The ODA has so many duties. They house exotic animals, safeguard our food supply, test race horses for banned substances and help protect consumers in many ways.
We also learned about local county government. We were told about the different offices and what they do and the steps we should take if we ever wanted to run for office. It was very useful information! In fact, we even learned that the county coroner isn’t the only person allowed to arrest the sheriff. This session taught us about issues affecting Ohio and we heard from many people at the state level who are working to address those issues. It was an informative session and one that inspired me to want to get more involved in the issues affecting my community.
How many senators are in the Ohio Senate? by Kayla Miller
Understanding the legislative process, by Kelli Hartman