From Tuesday, Sept. 28 to Thursday, Sept. 30, our AgriPOWER class went to Washington, D.C. to get a different perspective of agriculture on the national level, for our third of seven total sessions.
This trip wasn’t only AgriPOWER, but also almost all of Ohio’s Farm Bureau county board presidents or vice presidents, a group of Young Ag Professionals, and Ohio Farm Bureau staff totaling in around 108 people, which was the largest in-person meeting just about everyone who spoke to us has had since COVID began.
We flew out on Tuesday where we hit the ground running having some policy briefing about topics that are currently on farmers’ minds. Climate change, taxes and rural broadband were the major three we touched on. We had speakers on each topic explaining more about them and why they are important. This was an important part for me, since I have much to learn about ag policy and how it affects farmers on an everyday basis.
We then split into groups based on our districts and planned out our congressional visits for Wednesday. Tuesday evening, we were also able to have a delicious large group dinner at Hill Country BBQ and a beautiful night tour of the D.C. monuments.
On Wednesday we started the morning with a video call breakfast with Sen. Sherrod Brown listening to his opinions on current farm-related topics. Then we all split up by district and had congressional visits with our congressmen and women. Bob Gibbs is the congressman for District 7 which I am in, and there were 12 of us who met with him. We spoke on these issues: Rural broadband is such a problem for some in especially southern Ohio with children who need the internet access for school. Climate change is being strongly blamed on farmers when things like transportation and electricity are much larger impacts than any type of farming practices. Also, how much the elimination of the stepped-up basis would negatively impact so many family farms in Ohio.
Afterward we all attended the 2021 Farm Forum that Bob Gibbs hosted where many other congressmen came and gave their input on the same issues and what they are doing to fix/implement policies that can help farmers.
On Thursday we had an in-person breakfast with Sen. Rob Portman, also listening to his opinions on current farm-related topics. We then went to see Arlington National Cemetery before heading home.
This was an exceptionally educational trip for all of us rather new or old to Farm Bureau. My biggest takeaway was learning more in-depth about some of these political issues and also networking with fellow ag professionals to better ourselves as individuals and farmers. Thank you, Ohio Farm Bureau, for putting on an amazing trip and allowing us to be a part of it! I am looking forward to the rest of our sessions to become a better advocate for the industry I am most passionate about.