2022 Ohio harvest

I had the privilege of attending the 2022 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis with 11 students from Pymatuning Valley FFA.

On Friday morning, we attended the FFA 4th General Session where proficiency awards were presented to students, and Ohio had several award recipients. As part of this session, the National FFA Eastern Region Vice President Mallory White gave her retiring address that focused on “Forgotten Farmers.”

White’s address was probably one of the best I have ever heard, and it’s one that resonated with me at a level that left tears in my eyes. Throughout her travels as vice president, she visited farms and talked with many farmers. When discussing concerns in the agricultural industry, one farmer put his head down and admitted to her that he felt forgotten in this world.

Forgotten. Take a moment and let that sink in. Like most of you, I have felt forgotten more than once in my life, and that feeling is a lonely hurt. Unfortunately, for farmers, feeling forgotten is very common. Consumers are quick to make demands and criticize an industry they are completely disconnected from based on feelings and misleading information rather than sound science, not to mention over-regulation, limited farm programs, outrageous farm input costs, no control of market prices, and in general, there tends to be a negative perception of the industry — that even sometimes those of us in the industry tend to inadvertently feed.

White also mentioned the number of farmers she has heard say, “I’m just a farmer” and the number of people involved in FFA that have said the organization is “not just for farmers.” I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard someone answer “I’m just a farmer” nor can I count the number of times I’ve said that the Farm Bureau “isn’t just for farmers.” Farmers are the backbone of this country. They account for less than 2% of the population and yet, they feed and clothe the world. Yes, the world. U.S. farmers are the leading agricultural exporter in the world. We couldn’t live without farmers, yet here they are feeling forgotten and talked about as if they are less — even if it is unintentional.

The words we speak have more impact than we realize, and I think we could all benefit from a little more positivity in our lives. So farmers, own your critical role in this world. Proudly state that you are indeed a farmer. There is nothing more honorable, impactful or important than being a farmer. For the rest of us, focus on being inclusive, and a little less exclusive. White stated that instead of saying FFA is “not just for farmers” or “it’s so much more than that” say, “FFA is for farming, AND science, technology, business and leadership.”

I’m going to transition my “Farm Bureau isn’t just for farmers” to “Farm Bureau is for farmers, businesses, consumers, community leaders and anyone who believes in our mission of advancing agriculture and strengthening our communities.”

As for farmers feeling forgotten, always remember there are people (and organizations) out there fighting to ensure farmers and agriculture are NEVER forgotten. Personally, it’s the one and only reason that I do what I do. Farmers are the reason I continue my career with Farm Bureau. The future of agriculture is the reason behind all that we do as an organization.

We see you. We care about you. We are fighting for you!

Submitted by Mandy Orahood, the Ohio Farm Bureau organization director serving Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties.


OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.

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

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