Amanda Bush

Session three of AgriPOWER Class XIII was one for the books because we were joined by Ohio Farm Bureau county presidents, vice presidents, young ag professionals, staff, and board members to bring current issues in agriculture directly to leaders in our nation’s capital. 

2022 Ohio Farm Bureau Washington DC Trip

 

 

Growing up on our family farm and having a dad who served on agricultural boards, I gained an early appreciation for the term “grassroots” because I would watch him go from his work boots to a business suit in the same day to advocate for farmers. On this trip, it was great to be among so many people who understood this concept because they also had to sacrifice time away from their operations or jobs to be there. In a previous session, we discussed how policy begins at the county level and then eventually ends up in D.C. I enjoyed getting to see that process firsthand. 

We got to hear from a stacked team of industry professionals including Ohio Farm Bureau staff members Brandon Kern, senior director, state and national policy; Jack Irvin, vice president, public policy; and Adam Sharp, executive vice president; Bill Patterson; Ohio Farm Bureau president; two American Farm Bureau staff members: Sam Keiffer; vice president, public affairs; and Andrew Walmsley, senior director, government affairs and Dr. Venus Welch-White from the Environmental Protection Agency. That was just the first day!  

Topics of discussion were the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed rule that could potentially have a negative impact on farmers because of the scope 3 emissions requirement, the railroad strike and the upcoming farm bill. A comment Andrew Walsmley made resonated with me: “Policy is a contact sport, and we have to be on the frontline.” That proved to be true as the administration was able to make a tentative agreement with the railroad while we were in D.C. This is great news for agriculture because if the railroad stops, harvest stops. 

Ohio Farm Bureau Washington DC Trip farm forum
Farm Forum

The next day began at the Capitol Hill Club where we heard from Ohio Sen. Rob Portman followed by meetings with Ohio congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. My group met with Troy Balderson where we heard his perspective on the upcoming farm bill and the SEC regulations. We were privileged to attend a farm forum hosted by Reps. Troy Balderson and Bob Gibbs that included agricultural updates from some of their congressional colleagues. On the last day, we heard from Sen. Sherrod Brown as well as Scott Marlow from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency. What an amazing experience! 

I have so much gratitude for our farmers and I am excited to continue learning about the political process that affects their livelihood. This is not a sales pitch to become a member of Ohio Farm Bureau because they are my employer; this is a pitch of why we need organizations like Farm Bureau that have direct access to our leaders in D.C and provide opportunities such as AgriPOWER to teach us, the next generation, how to develop our own voice in the industry. 

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
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