John and Sarah Bolte from Seneca County are first-year members of the State Young Agricultural Professionals Committee. Sarah grew up in Farm Bureau and has attended the Winter Leadership Experience for many years. John is a graduate of the AgriPOWER Leadership Institute, and they both knew they wanted to be more involved in Farm Bureau after they attended the FUSION Conference in 2019. FUSION is an American Farm Bureau event that provides opportunities for networking as well as workshops to help attendees learn how to be more impactful and make a difference in advocacy at the local, state and national levels.
Like other committee members, John and Sarah said the opportunity to get to know people from across the state better and learning about their involvement in agriculture and Farm Bureau is what they have enjoyed most about their YAP state committee experience so far.
“We are about building relationships. We are all about that. That is our favorite part of being on the committee,” Sarah said. “We all have some sort of passion for agriculture. We hope that we can help other young people like ourselves. We can help them learn from our mistakes and our challenges in starting our own farming operation and we can help them do it better.”
The Boltes recently started an agritourism-based wedding venue and a pumpkin patch. “We have gained so much from being members. Farm Bureau plays such a large part in ag policy in Ohio…Ohio Farm Bureau was instrumental in getting the agritourism law passed. I don’t know if without it we could have started the wedding venue. Farm Bureau has also helped us with the legal issues of starting a business,” Sarah said.
John agreed. “In some way, shape or form we have been impacted by Farm Bureau, whether new ideas, or different ideas. It’s shaped everything we’ve done with our business, honestly.”
Most of their YAP State Committee work so far has centered on planning the 2022 Winter Leadership Experience Jan. 28-29 in Cincinnati.
“The idea of being a part of growing (the conference) even further was something we wanted to do. We also wanted to give back and provide resources to other people like us who are maybe a couple years younger than us, but that need help in the way the conference and networking has helped us,” Sarah said.
John added, “We hope to encourage young ag professionals around the state to take the first step to get involved and grow through Ohio Farm Bureau.”