US Capitol

Ohio Farm Bureau’s farmer leaders including young agricultural professionals, AgriPOWER Class XII members and county presidents, plus members of the media and select Farm Bureau staff were in Washington, D.C. Sept. 28-30, 2021.

Over three days, participants heard from experts and in turn voiced their thoughts on topics as far reaching as tax policy to climate to broadband development. This is an opportunity for members to help legislators make the connection between what is happening on Ohio farms and what is being debated in the halls of Congress and within federal agencies.

Guest speakers included Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Rob Portman and Rep. Bob Gibbs.

Day 1 (Sept. 28)

The 2021 Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience kicked off Tuesday. The first of its kind event joined county Farm Bureau presidents and vice presidents with Ohio Farm Bureau Young Ag Professionals and members of AgriPOWER Institute Class XII at the nation’s capital.

“All of these groups are bringing different viewpoints on the many issues that we are facing in agriculture,” said Ohio Farm Bureau President Bill Patterson. “The opportunity to have them all meet with their legislators to share all of those perspectives at the same time is really exciting.”

In preparation for in-person visits with lawmakers, participants were briefed by experts from American Farm Bureau about the topics that will be covered during Hill visits this week, including climate and environment, livestock and dairy issues, Waters of the United States (WOTUS) and taxes.

The keynote speaker was AFBF’s Vice President of Public Affairs Sam Keiffer, who gave an overview of current legislation moving through Congress, including a $1.5 trillion spending bill and a bipartisan infrastructure package.

Tomorrow morning, Ohio Farm Bureau will host Sen. Sherrod Brown for breakfast, then it is off to Capitol Hill for a Farm Forum, hosted by Congressman Bob Gibbs.

OFBF President Bill Patterson
Ohio Farm Bureau President Bill Patterson welcomes leaders to Washington, D.C.


Day 2 (Sept. 29)

One of the many highlights of the 2021 Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience is getting to hear from both U.S. senators. Wednesday began with remarks from Sen. Sherrod Brown, who connected virtually with Ohio Farm Bureau members over breakfast. Senator Brown talked about his many years of service on the Senate Agriculture Committee and some of the bipartisan work he has done with Sen. Rob Portman on an infrastructure bill getting some attention on Capitol Hill this week.

“There are some 3,000 Ohio bridges in need of repair, so there will be at least $10 billion in this bill for Ohio alone,” Brown said. “It also includes broadband. The pandemic was the great revealer, and it showed the importance of broadband in rural Ohio and in inner-city Ohio. This bill will address these long-neglected problems that presidents like Trump and Obama promised but didn’t deliver on.”

After breakfast, participants made their way to Capitol Hill to visit with their representatives and then enjoyed the Farm Forum. This event is hosted by Congressman Bob Gibbs (District 7) as he invites other lawmakers from Ohio and across the country to visit with Ohio Farm Bureau members about where issues that concern agriculture currently are in the legislative process. Guests included Ohio representatives Troy Balderson (District 12), Warren Davidson (District 8) and Bob Latta (District 5), along with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (California District 23), Minority Whip Steve Scalise (Louisiana District 1), Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (Pennsylvania District 15) and Rep. Rodney Davis (Illinois District 13).

For the third and final day, Ohio Farm Bureau leaders will be joined by Senator Portman and will hear from leaders at USDA and NRCS before heading home.

OFBF county leaders meet with Rep. Warren Davidson on the 2021 Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience.

Day 3 (Sept. 30)


The final day of the 2021 Washington Leadership Experience began with breakfast with Senator Rob Portman. Sen. Portman was instrumental in putting together the infrastructure bill that is currently being considered by Congress. The Senator considered the passage of the bill a rare, bipartisan effort, collecting 69 votes from Republicans and Democrats.

Sen. Portman said that while he heard from Ohio Farm Bureau members and worked to take all tax changes out of the infrastructure bill, including elimination of stepped-up basis and capital gains, those issues could be added to future legislation. He used the $5 trillion reconciliation bill as an example.

“That bill has a lot of bad tax increases in it, including increases in the estate tax which will cause some farms to get caught up in the estate tax again,” Sen. Portman said. “Stepped-up basis is still something Democrats would like to get rid of and that would be a huge problem. That would require a lot of farmers to have to sell property altogether just to pay the tax bill and we can’t go back to that.”

Participants also heard from NRCS Chief Terry Cosby, who was most recently Ohio’s State Conservationist and USDA Deputy Under Secretary Gloria Montano Green about the latest developments and projects from their respective agencies.

Sen. Rob Portman visits with Ohio Farm Bureau members at the 2021 Washington D.C. Leadership Experience.
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

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
Ernie Welch's avatar
Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
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
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
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
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
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

Suggested Tags: