Adam Shawhan

On the cusp of one the coldest stretches in recent memory, the 13th class of AgriPOWER set out for Wilmington, Ohio in hopes of a wealth of knowledge. We covered many hot topics in the ag industry including policy proposals, meat processing, agritourism, produce production, and everyone’s favorite with solar panels.

To kick things off for this session each group presented a state and national policy they would like added or see changed, from roundabouts to highway safety, county fair dates, agritourism and everything in between. We had the privilege to listening to Ohio Farm Bureau’s own Dale Arnold. He is the director of energy, utility, and local government policy. Arnold was very informative on the direction of where energy is going to go in our great country and left us asking why. Why are we trying to do certain things and then think about the action in helping preserve our country to the fullest.

Along with the physical aspect of farming we took a deep dive into the mental health of farmers and what that looks like. Mental health very relevant in our society and that’s no different than in the farming aspect. Along with the mental difficulties there is also a worker shortage in some high-demand jobs such as meat processing. We heard from Will Winners of Winners Beef & Pork about how they are keeping up with demand of families wanting their own meat supply with the scare from COVID-19. He provided some light on a dark subject such as finding the right employees and ones willing to work.

Later that day we had the pleasure of getting a tour of Cherrybend Pheasant Farm. We learned just how diverse a farming operation can become if given the right keys. Along with raising pheasants for game hunters, to hosting special events for our fellow wounded veterans, and to a diverse grain operation the Ellis family pretty much does it all and does it all well.

Bright Farms
Bright Farms

After the excitement with the birds, we were given a tour of Bright Farms. Known for their lettuce and salad mixes, they also incorporate beets and other veggies. They are currently in seven different states and are always looking to expand. Most of the vegetables are grown hydroponically and from start to finish is about 21 to 24 days. The Wilmington farm welcomes visitors to show everyone where their food comes from to make a true farm to home operation. After departing we settled down and enjoyed a lovely meal at The General Denver downtown.

After a long first day we followed it up with a trip to Sardinia to visit part of 700+ acre solar farm. We had the pleasure of being able to discuss with the farmer, the builder, and the owner of the operation. It was neat learning from all three different sides and where they each stood. At this site, they could harness electricity and send it to other states around Ohio as far as Maryland. They didn’t just tell us about the plus sides to solar but also went into the downfalls with it. My hope is this site will open the eyes of others and take it as a learning experience for all.

Cherrybend Pheasant Farm
Cherrybend Pheasant Farm

This session covered such a diverse aspect of agriculture and really opened our eyes to there are more aspects to farming than just corn and soybeans. While learning all these different facets to the ag industry, I hope everyone takes the time to truly understand and try to help us in agriculture who need help now more than ever. AgriPOWER has been a great opportunity to open our eyes and truly dive into the unknown.

Online extra

Read blogs from other class members about their AgriPOWER 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

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