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.”

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 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
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
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
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

Advocacy
Suggested Tags: