Farm Credit of Western Oklahoma Wraps Up 16th Annual YBS Trip in Washington D.C.Tue, 27 Jul 2021 14:10:15 CDT
On July 18, the Farm Credit of Western Oklahoma team and a group of western Oklahoma farmers and ranchers embarked on the 16th annual YBS trip hosted in Washington, D.C.
Comprised of 18-to-35-year-old members of the FCWO Young, Beginning & Small Farmers program, the attendees were able to experience a unique agriculture-focused leadership and educational trip to the nation’s capital.
The FCWO YBS program has been active and beneficial to communities across the state for over 20 years, said John Grunewald, FCWO president and CEO.
The YBS program concentrates on building the next generation of leaders for rural America so to keep communities viable and thriving, he added.
“We at Farm Credit of Western Oklahoma work hard to develop the leaders of agriculture for the future,” Grunewald said. “My current board of directors is made up of five members who were previously part of our YBS program and attended this very trip,” he added.
Coordinated by Kristin Zollinger, executive assistant and vice president of corporate development, and Grunewald, the trip presented the opportunity for attending young farmers and ranchers to visit Capitol Hill to converse with senators and congressmen.
The first half of the trip agenda was comprised of sight-seeing and quality discussion with a variety of agricultural trade organizations such as the National Wheat Growers, National Cotton Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the National Farm Bureau Association.
The group also had the opportunity to visit with the Farm Credit Administration and the Farm Credit Council, learning more about the national organizations they represent and stem from.
During their visit with each of the aforementioned organizations, attendees were able to talk one-on-one with organizational leadership and learn about the function and action of each organization, all while building lasting relationships.
Similarly, the leadership had the opportunity to learn about the represented YBS members and their local operations in western Oklahoma.
“We have impeccable relationships with those offices here in Washington, D.C.,” Zollinger said. “We are proud to do that for Farm Credit and the farmers and ranchers back home we represent.”
The following two days were spent conversing with Oklahoma’s senators and congressman from all areas of the state.
FCWO YBS program members had the opportunity to sit and discuss current agricultural issues and policies important to them, Grunewald said.
Meetings with the Oklahoma delegation were divided into two days, one spent at the U.S. Senate and the other at the U.S. House of Representatives.
The group considered current policies and agricultural issues with Senator James Lankford and Senator Jim Inhofe. The following day, they engaged in similar conversation with the entire Oklahoma House delegation including Congressmen Kevin Hern, Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, Markwayne Mullin, and Congresswoman Stephanie Bice.
All of the efforts made by senators and congressmen alike were wonderful and truly appreciated, Grunewald said.
“This has been a great program for Farm Credit of Western Oklahoma, as well as for YBS program members,” Grunewald said through a smile. “It helps develop leadership skills and allows the opportunity to be involved in politics and important policy first-hand.”
In between scheduled events, attendees were able to see many parts of Washington, D.C., including historic locations such as local monuments, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Capitol Building.
Not in short supply was dialogue of current agriculture-related topics.
Grunewald said environmental issues was of the most frequently discussed topics during the trip. Also included in conversation were topics like infrastructure, tax issues, trade, and the upcoming Farm Bill, he added.
“The lack of understanding is a huge challenge agriculturalists face, but the Oklahoma delegation is tremendous,” Grunewald said. “With this group, I am confident we will be in good shape as we go into future negotiations related to the Farm Bill and beyond.”
Grunewald said he is excited for the next generation, and he is looking forward to continue doing his part to help develop them through experiences like the FCWO YBS trip.
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