Leading through food and farming

Mara, Libby, Derek, Lauren and I were a few of the
college students in attendance at OFFLF.

The agriculture industry is filled with leaders. Who are these men and women leading the way for the future of our industry you might ask? Well, after attending the Farm and Food Leadership Forum and a session of the 95th Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, they are the people who are making efforts each day to advocate about food, fuel and fiber in our country and nation. They are members of Farm Bureau.

The main event I attended was this new Farm and Food Leadership Forum (#OFFLF). Sessions were held to discuss topics in agriculture from leadership, trends and issues, board functions, and more. It was an insightful day and definitely worth postponing my studying for finals this week!

At the bottom of this post is the Storify about the events that have occurred this week. Many young, passionate people have been sharing their experiences on social media. We can see what they are doing and advocating all over the place! However, their are some unspoken voices we should share.

At the age of 21, I will be the first to admit I have a lot to learn about life. Yes, I grew up on a farm and know more about agriculture than many of my peers. No, I am not an expert by any means. But, you know who is? My parents, grandparents, individuals on agriculture boards, people who have been in the industry for 30+ years and beyond.

My grandparents Mary and Harold Weihl have been active in farming and Farm Bureau on local and state levels for many years. Grandpa invited me to attend the luncheon portion of the annual meeting yesterday. In most instances, I would say “No thanks, grandpa. I need to get some studying done.” Recently, however, I have had a change in perspective. As young whipper snappers, it is easy to forget to appreciate the people who have the largest impact on our lives. One quote I have come to love is,

“As we spend our times growing up, our parents (and grandparents in this case) are growing old.” -Unknown

Therefore, instead of simply hearing second hand the ways my grandpa is contributing to this great grassroots organization, I joined him for lunch. OK, I didn’t really want to stay in my apartment and study anyway. But, you know what? I could not have made a better decision! Sure, I saw some people I already know, but it was the interactions with friends and acquaintances of my grandpa’s that showed me the impact he has had on the industry and organization. Grandpa and grandma are very social people (probably where I got it from) and so it was fun to talk to some people who have worked with them for many years inside and outside of OFBF. In fact, I found out that my grandpa graduated from Capital University before serving in the armed forces. It is true, you can learn something new every day!

Sometimes, leaders aren’t actively in the spotlight. They may be tucked away in the cab of a tractor or in the kitchen of an old farm house. One thing is for sure, there are many leaders leading through food and farming.

The future of agriculture is found in the stories of people like my grandparents, peers and mentors.

Who is someone you know that needs his or her story told? I encourage you to do just that, share their story. If you don’t, will anyone?