Young farmers in DC 2022
Kenderick Schwendeman
Kenderick and Gabbi Schwendeman

Kenderick Schwendeman is the sixth generation that is part of his family’s Schwendeman Farms where they raise corn and soybeans. He currently serves as Washington County Farm Bureau president. Last year, he was a participant in Farm Bureau’s annual Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience for young agricultural professionals.

Young professionals with strong leadership potential are hand-selected each year to share their ideas with members of Congress and to learn about international agriculture and how to grow personally and professionally.

During the trip, participants like Schwendeman heard from experts and in turn voiced their thoughts on topics such as the 2023 Farm Bill, environmental regulations, energy and economic policies. This is an annual 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.

This year’s trip takes place Sept. 12-14 and Ohio Farm Bureau will take will take 35 Young Ag Professionals on the trip this year, with a few seats available to collegiate Farm Bureau members. Register your interest with your county Farm Bureau office by May 15, 2023.

Q. Why was it important to you to take time away from your farm for three days to attend the Washington, D.C. trip?

A. I think it was important to attend the Young Ag Professionals D.C. trip this past September because being away from the farm for three days is a small amount to pay compared to what the future of farming could hold if I weren’t given the opportunity to voice the needs and opinions of farmers from and around my area. I was honored to be able to talk with the legislators about concerns we as the farmers had and see what the legislators themselves had to say about what they thought were important issues that needed to be discussed or addressed in this country. It is important to bring farmers straight to the legislators and for them to understand the reasoning behind our concerns.

Q. How are you involved with your county Farm Bureau?

A. I currently serve as the Washington County Farm Bureau president. Our county Farm Bureau serves many purposes in our community, and I have been given the opportunity to attend a lot of different meetings, help in the community with fair food booths, and also been given the opportunity to travel. While being on the county Farm Bureau board for the last six years, I have served as county president for almost two years. I have been given the opportunity to attend the DC trip twice, serve on the county Public Policy Committee for four years, served as a delegate for the state annual meeting for five years, and attended Ag Day at the Capital in Columbus for five years, as well as many other meetings, seminars, and dinners.

Schwendeman Farms

Q. What advice would you give someone who is considering this trip?

If you are on the fence of choosing whether or not you want to attend the Young Ag Professionals DC trip, I would say do it. It is a great opportunity to bring concerns of yours and those in your area to be clearly understood by our legislators in Washington, D.C. The only way that we know that our concerns are being clearly understood is by us directly going to DC and speaking with the legislators ourselves. Attending the DC trip is a great way to network with legislators and other farmers around the state and nation.

Q. What advice would you give someone who is chosen to attend the DC trip?

If you are chosen to attend the D.C. trip, be prepared with questions you have to ask the legislators. This is a great time to be a part of the agricultural future and speaking your concerns, and giving your say can actually make a difference while on this trip. It is important to be a part of the agricultural future because what is decided can eventually have an impact on your farm. I think if you are given the opportunity to be involved in the future of agriculture, then definitely pursue it.

Online extra

See the recap from the 2022 Young Agricultural Professionals Washington, D.C. Trip.

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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