Take-Aways from OFBF Young Agricultural Professionals Leadership Experience Trip in Washington, D.C.
By Angela Davis-Haines, OABA Director of Communications and Member Education
I recently had the tremendous opportunity to join young farmers and other agriculture professionals for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Young Agricultural Professionals’ Washington, D.C., Leadership Experience trip.
Although I participated in this trip as a county Farm Bureau YAP, this trip further strengthened the relationship between the Ohio AgriBusiness Association and OFBF, and expanded my knowledge and interest relating to issues that impact Ohio agriculture.
During our time at the nation’s capitol, various leaders in our industry spent time briefing us about key issues impacting agriculture – which ultimately prepared us to represent Ohio agriculture during scheduled visits with our congressmen.
It was clear that our congressmen and their staff understand the importance of agriculture. Here in Ohio, we know that agriculture is our state’s number-one industry, but it was great to see that our national leaders also understand the importance of this industry for not only the economic success of the country, but also for the ability to feed a growing global population.
Leading up to our congressional meetings, we visited the American Farm Bureau Federation to learn more about the Farm Bill, and other legislation that would affect our industry relating to immigration, biotechnology, waterway infrastructure challenges and tax reform.
We joined members of the Illinois and Iowa Farm Bureaus for a presentation by Congressman Bob Gibbs, and for a tangible explanation of biotechnology by Dr. Adrianne Massey with the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Dr. Massey provided an objective, scientific description of biotechnology with real-world examples we can use when discussing GMOs with our friends and families who may not fully understand the science behind the technology.
We visited the Ireland Embassy and met with Ag Attaché Dr. John Dardis, who provided insights about the global economy of agriculture. Our trip concluded at the U.S. Department of Agriculture with additional global insight by Senior Agricultural Economist Hui Jiang, who shared updates about current international trade issues.
And of course, we left the trip with new friendships. During bus rides and walks between meetings and visits, during meals and monument tours, and during our own downtime, we had ample time to build invaluable relationships – lasting friendships – with other young professionals in agriculture.