Brian Herringshaw

AgriPOWER Class XII: Finding our voice

Recently, AgriPOWER Class XII met at the Drury Inn in Findlay for three days of learning. From media training to nutrient management, change styles to Christmas tree farms, the session hit on diverse topics that all impact agriculture. 

The first day focused on honing communication skills. We learned how to deal with tough media interviews, develop our authentic voices, use the 27/9/3 strategy to keep our message on target, and how to start a podcast.  The crash course in communication made me appreciate all the effort and thought that goes into messaging for agriculture and how important it is to share our voices and experiences. To finish off the day, we got a tour of the Findlay Brewing Co., a great place to relax and enjoy great food and drink after a day of learning!

The second day covered a wide variety of topics. We started off learning about our Change Style Assessments and how our different styles can allow us to make better teams and work more effectively. Then we had discussions about how diversity is complex, and we should be willing to talk and listen to differing views. The next sessions hit on immigration and labor issues, a Washington, D.C. policy update and Ohio trade issues. The rest of the day was spent at the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms where we learned about water quality research and findings in the Western Lake Erie Basin. The amount of research being done in water quality is amazing and agriculture needs to make sure we use the data and tell our success stories. 

The last day was spent touring different farm operations in the area. We spent time at Kaleidoscope Farms, a fascinating and growing family owned and operated Christmas tree farm in Hancock County. If you ever thought raising a Christmas tree was easy, you thought wrong. The work and planning that goes into raising a Christmas tree is not for the faint of heart. We ended the session at Hickory Lane Horse Farm. They specialize in breeding horses for racing – focused on standard horses, both pacers and trotters. The tour was a fascinating glimpse into a farm that has sired many winning racehorses. 

The session was full of great information, training opportunities and exploration of Findlay and the surrounding area. The wide range of topics and passion shown by each presenter demonstrates both the complexity and opportunity in agriculture.