COLUMBUS — Seth Middleton, of Sidney, is one of 24 farmers and agribusiness professionals who recently graduated from Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s AgriPOWER Leadership Institute Class VIII. The intensive, yearlong training program helps participants become effective community leaders and advocates for agriculture. Participants traveled around Ohio as well as to Georgia and Washington, D.C., where they learned about local, state and federal public policy topics important to the agricultural and food industry.
Middleton works for Heartland Bank in Dublin. A Shelby County Farm Bureau member, he helps run the family’s grain and hay operation. He is a member of the local Moose and helps a local school with its athletic programs.
Started in 2008, AgriPOWER is Ohio Farm Bureau’s elite leadership training program. Seven, two-to-three day training sessions were held throughout the year and included public policy advocacy, spokesperson and media training, etiquette training, social networking and communications.
“The intensive training that farmers and agribusiness professionals received will serve them well whether they’re speaking at a county commissioners meeting or with their member of Congress in Washington, D.C.,” said Melinda Witten, AgriPOWER director.
In addition to Ohio Farm Bureau, AgriPOWER partners include Nationwide Insurance, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, Heartland Bank, Champaign Premium Grain Growers, Ohio FFA Foundation, Farm Credit Mid-America, Wright & Moore Law Co. LPA, Agland Co-op, Ag Credit, Bob Evans, Southern Ohio Agricultural & Community Development Foundation and Farm Bureaus in Hancock, Licking, Lucas, Pickaway, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Union and Wyandot counties.
Applications for the next class, Class IX, are due April 14. Visit ofb.ag/agripower for the application and more information.