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Growing our Generation enewsletter features insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals. Sign up to get this e-letter sent directly to your inbox once a month.

You may know that Ohio Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization, meaning the policy and advocacy begins with our county members and then is constructed at the state and national levels, but have you ever wondered why that process is important to Ohio agriculture? 

Policy doesn’t always have to be created in a meeting room. It sometimes is created in the cab of a tractor, while doing chores on the farm, while sitting in line at the grain elevator, or around the family dinner table. Policy often begins at the root of the problem, where the heart of the issue takes place when someone has a passion to make things better for the next generation. That is when the idea is taken to the county Farm Bureau to begin potential execution of making the change. This concept is important because Ohio Farm Bureau members truly have a respected voice in the policies that govern their farms and operations and have the opportunity to make a difference in the things that matter the most to them. 

Advocacy in Action

Ohio Farm Bureau Advocacy in Action ProgramA new member initiative in 2024, Advocacy in Action, is a self-guided program that allows members a variety of opportunities to explore what type of policy leadership role they can create for themselves, with help from monthly planning worksheets.

The Monthly Advocacy Planner and Challenges are a series of worksheets to help members intentionally plan and track their advocacy work throughout their network. Through the work of Farm Bureau’s grassroots network, members create policy that guides the work of the organization. That work is steered by a collection of priority issues every year, identifying potential issues Farm Bureau can work on to advance agriculture. Being able to share personalized stories and feedback in the cross-section of priority issues and potential legislation is the benefit members bring to the discourse, which often makes the difference in the success of that legislation.

Members have access to guides, a new one released every month, to help create op-eds, host farm tours, plan a roundtable discussion, lead an issue campaign, and more! All guides are step-by-step breakdowns of the steps you can take to implement advocacy work into your routine, and create relationships to help further ag policy for Ohio. The guides are like an à-la-carte selection of how you want to be an advocate, versus a series of must-do items–you can create your own path!

Advocacy in Action Award

An Advocacy in Action Award also has been established this year to recognize accomplishments within the program. The goal is to honor those who have forged their path to advocacy, and put their unique plan into motion.

Visit farmvotesmatter.org for more information, or listen to a podcast on Advocacy in Action.

The importance of grassroots advocacy

Miranda Miser, Young Ag Professionals member and president of Guernsey County Farm Bureau, shares her experience with advocacy as a part of Farm Bureau.

2022 OFBF Discussion Meet Lease and Miser
2022 Ohio Farm Bureau Discussion Meet

Describe your involvement in Ohio Farm Bureau 

I have been president of Guernsey County Farm Bureau for the past three years. In this role, I have served as a delegate to the Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and served on the state code committee. I have also advocated for Ohio agriculture in DC and Columbus as part of Farm Bureau’s legislative visits. In addition, I have competed in the Young Agricultural Professionals Discussion Meet and attended the YAP Winter Leadership Experience for many years.    

What events do you feel are the most valuable that Ohio Farm Bureau offers for advocacy for YAP members

Don Jones and Miranda Miser
Meeting with Rep. Don Jones

Ohio Farm Bureau gives us many opportunities to talk and connect with our elected officials. I have attended Ag Day at the Capital and the Washington, D.C. trip many times. What makes these experiences unique is the equality Ohio Farm Bureau gives Young Ag Professionals at these events. They give us the encouragement and tools to tackle issues we are passionate about and take the time to brief us on issues. Our voices are the future of agriculture, and Ohio Farm Bureau never fails to treat us with respect. 

As a YAP member, why do you feel it’s important to get involved in grassroots policy?

Grassroots advocacy gives a voice to our farmers. Agriculture is the largest industry in Ohio, but elected officials come from different backgrounds and experiences; not all of which are related to the agricultural industry. It allows us to bridge the gap between elected officials and the needs of our producers. Ohio Farm Bureau does an excellent job encouraging farmers to tell their story and their experiences to educate those who represent us at the federal and state level. 

Miranda Miser and Cliff Sickler
With Cliff Sickler in Washington, D.C.

We need diversity of experience at the table making decisions about the future of agriculture. The number of farms in Ohio has continued to decrease year after year. As young ag professionals, we have to adapt to the changing technology, higher prices for land, and increased input costs in order to preserve the farming legacy. Elected officials need to hear and understand these struggles so they know how their actions affect the future of agriculture.

Learn more

Ohio Farm Bureau provides opportunities, platforms and resources to give farmers a seat at the table with leaders and legislators and help members develop a voice in the industry. Grassroots advocacy is important because it begins with you, and at the end of the day there is no one that can share your story better than you.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can get involved in Ohio Farm Bureau policy or the Advocacy in Action award, contact Ohio Farm Bureau Director of State Policy & Grassroots Engagement Whittney Bowers, [email protected].

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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