Ohio Farm Bureau’s farmer leaders plus members of the media and select Farm Bureau staff were the nation’s capital March. 7-9, 2023 for the annual County Presidents Trip to Washington, D.C.

Over three days, participants heard from experts and, in turn, voiced their thoughts on topics as far reaching as the farm bill to trade to infrastructure. This annual trip is an opportunity for members to help legislators make the connection between what is happening on Ohio farms and what is being debated in the halls of Congress and within federal agencies.

March 9

The final day of the 2023 County Presidents Trip began with breakfast with Sen. J.D. Vance. Vance acknowledged how Ohio Farm Bureau members take pride in the values that they have for families, a strong economy and what they do for a living.

Sen. JD Vance
Sen. JD Vance

“I really believe that there is something special about our rural communities in the state of Ohio,” Vance said. “It’s not just about the economy, it’s not just about self sufficiency and it’s not just about the jobs. I think you all represent a community that has a very special impact in values and morality across the state. There are a lot of good things happening in the state, but we have to be sure that as we develop and bring economic innovation that we preserve the rural culture that exists in our state as well. That is something I want to fight for.”

Vance took a number of questions from county Farm Bureau leaders and shared his thoughts on the upcoming farm bill, farmland preservation and water quality in the Great Lakes region.

Many visits with lawmakers happened on Capital Hill today. For Johnathan Francis from Madison County, this week is the epitome of what Ohio Farm Bureau is all about.

“It’s humbling for me to be able to get in front of our members of Congress to share our story and voice our concerns,” Francis said. “You notice that when Farm Bureau comes into the room, you instantly have that rapport and respect and our conversations are a lot more productive. My takeaway from this week is that it is important to strengthen those relationships that we have with our lawmakers and continue to promote agriculture.”

A total of 80 country Farm Bureau leaders and Ohio Farm Bureau staff made the trip this year, representing members from across Ohio, advocating for issues important to agriculture and rural Ohio as a whole.

March 8

One of the many highlights of the 2023 County Presidents Trip is getting to hear from both U.S. senators. Wednesday began with remarks from Sen. Sherrod Brown, who joined Ohio Farm Bureau members over breakfast. Senator Brown talked about the farm bill and agriculture’s role in rural Ohio and the state’s economy.

“The best ideas don’t come from Washington, they come from Ohioans. And when writing a farm bill, the best ideas come from farmers themselves,” Brown said. “This year, we won’t just be building on the last farm bill. We’ll be building all the work we’ve done to build rural infrastructure and improve our supply chains. Whether it’s industrial production or ag production, more and more people are finally beginning to see what we have known for a long time: That it’s better for the long-term health of our economy and our communities when we produce more in America.”

2023 County Presidents Trip
2023 County Presidents Trip group photo

After breakfast, participants made their way to Capitol Hill to visit with their representatives and then enjoyed the Farm Forum. This event is hosted by Congressman Troy Balderson (OH-12th) who invites other lawmakers from Ohio and across the country to visit with Ohio Farm Bureau members about where issues that concern agriculture currently are in the legislative process. Guests included Ohio representatives Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-6th), Rep. Max Miller (OH-7th), Rep. Shontel Brown (OH-11th) and Rep. Mike Carey (OH-15th), as well as Whip Tom Emmer (MN-6th), Chairman GT Thompson (PA-15th), Leader Steve Scalise (LA-1st) and Rep. Tracey Mann (KS-1st).

Following the forum, attendees headed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture where they got an outlook on the farm economy and commodity prices. 

For the third and final day, Ohio Farm Bureau leaders will be joined by Sen. JD Vance and will pay another visit to Capitol Hill before heading home.

March 7

County Presidents 2023

The 2023 Ohio Farm Bureau County Presidents Trip kicked off Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The jam-packed day included a trip to Capitol Hill to hear from congressional staff representing the highest ranking members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees. They discussed the now $1.5 trillion farm bill legislation in the works and the common goal to get it completed by the end of the year. 

“Front and center for our discussions this year with lawmakers is the farm bill,” said Ohio Farm Bureau President Bill Patterson. “The agriculture committees are where it all starts, so to be able to hear from and have access to staffers who are helping to gather information to craft this important legislation is truly remarkable, and our members took full advantage of the opportunity.”

Bill Patterson County Presidents Trip 2023

The day also included briefings from American Farm Bureau policy experts Ryan Yates, Andrew Walmsley and Courtney Briggs. They prepared county leaders for the topics that will be covered during legislative visits this week, including the farm bill, trade, dairy pricing and the EPA’s Waters of the U.S.(WOTUS) rule.

Tomorrow morning, Ohio Farm Bureau will host Sen. Sherrod Brown for breakfast, then it is off to Capitol Hill for a Farm Forum, hosted by Rep. Troy Balderson, and the day will wrap up with a trip to USDA to talk about the farm economy and trade.


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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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