Ohio Youth Capital Challenge

Sponsored by Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio FFA and Ohio State University Extension 4-H Youth Development, the Ohio Youth Capital Challenge is for students, ages 14 to 18, who want to learn more about government and public policy and make a difference in their community. Participants learn how to identify local issues, create solutions and follow the process through state government.

The challenge started in early spring when groups met to learn about public policy issues and began planning their proposals. A total of seven teams made up of 16 student delegates, with help and guidance from three collegiate mentors, identified issues and problems facing their community. After researching a specific topic, they developed a public policy plan to propose to appropriate government leaders. In their final presentations, the teams described the steps necessary to have their public policy proposal adopted by the appropriate government authorities.

Topics this year included wastewater management, prison reform, rural highway infrastructure, agricultural-related school absences, pesticide use in community gardens, and agricultural education requirements in pre-K through grade 12 classrooms.

The finals of the 2022 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge were held at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg.

Before the finals began, participants were given a tour of the Ohio Department of Agriculture headquarters and were addressed by ODA Director Dorothy Pelanda.

For taking part in this year’s contest, each student receives a $50 scholarship, and the top four scoring teams receive additional scholarships totaling $2,000.

The winning teams are pictured with Pelanda;  Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp Beau Ingle of OSU College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; Kayla Oberstadt with 4-H Extension; and Matt Winkle with the Ohio Department of Education.

First place winners Max Shawhan of Hamilton County and Mackenzie Dixon of Madison County.

First place: Team No. 4
Max Shawhan of Hamilton County and Mackenzie Dixon of Madison County
Wastewater Solutions: This team explored the ramifications of sewer drain misuse and the harmful effects on the environment. The team proposed a policy solution to help combat the misuse of and illegal dumping into sewer drains.

Second place winners Dalton Mullins of Fayette County and Grace LaMarr of Auglaize County.



Second place: Team No. 6
Grace LaMarr of Auglaize County and Dalton Mullins of Fayette County
Prison Reform: Team 6 devoted its capstone project to prison recidivism rates in Ohio. The delegates discovered the challenges facing imprisoned individuals and sought solutions to provide lower recidivism rates while helping released inmates acclimate back into society.

Third place winners Claire Loudon of Fairfield County, Tatumn Poff of Geauga County and Emma Smith of Morrow County.


Third place: Team No. 7
Claire Loudon of Fairfield County, Tatumn Poff of Geauga County and Emma Smith of Morrow County
School Absences: This team explored agriculture-related school absences and the importance of youth organizations. The delegates advocated for youth organizations and agricultural-related programs to be recognized as educational experiences.

Fourth place winners Zoe Digel of Greene County and Julie Headings of Union County.




Fourth place: Team No. 3
Zoe Digel of Greene County and Julie Headings of Union County
Ag Education: These delegates focused their efforts on agricultural education in the classroom. They specifically identified curriculum standards that could incorporate agriculture into classrooms.


Ohio Farm Bureau’s mission is working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities. Learn more at ohiofarmbureau.org.

This is a news release for use by journalists. Questions should be directed to Ty Higgins, 614-246-8231 or [email protected].

Editors: A high-resolution photo of all OYCC participants is available for download. Team photos are available by request.

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 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
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
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

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