WASHINGTON D.C. — For more than seven decades, Ohio Farm Bureau county presidents have been joining forces to discuss and elevate agricultural issues in the nation’s capitol each spring.
With what seems to be constant uncertainty in Washington, this year’s county presidents’ gathering is even more crucial for the agricultural industry, said Ohio Farm Bureau President Frank Burkett.
The county presidents, along with Ohio Farm Bureau staff, will be in D.C. March 13-15. On March 13, they were hosted by the American Farm Bureau Federation for an issues briefing.
“The decision makers value the opportunity to meet with leaders like you, knowing they can trust your opinions and appreciate your expertise,” Burkett told the county volunteer leaders.
Ohio farmers advocate on the Hill
See photo gallery and hear soundbites from the trip
Elise Stoddard, AFBF director of organization development, encouraged members to develop a diverse board, working with the group to outline the qualities of a successful board member.
“The next board president might not be your replica — in fact we don’t want them to be, we want them to hold the qualities of a good leader and bring a fresh look,” Stoddard said as she emphasized succession planning with the group.
Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president, encouraged the group by telling them their efforts are more than a hashtag.
“People trying to be ‘grassroots’ these days find a word, put a hashtag in front of it and call it a movement,” he said. “For almost a hundred years, we didn’t have a hashtag and we’ve done great things. We are real, we are more than a hashtag.”
Several AFBF staff members briefed the group on top issues the county presidents will discuss on the Hill. Topics such as trade, tariffs, the North American Free Trade Agreement, farm bill, water quality and taxes kept the county presidents’ attention.
On March 14-15, Ohio Farm Bureau county presidents will make congressional visits and hear from a number of officials on agricultural topics.