Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Twenty-four farmers and agribusiness professionals recently graduated from Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s AgriPOWER Institute Class VIII. Started in 2008, AgriPOWER is an intensive, yearlong leadership training program that helps participants develop important skills so they can become effective community leaders and advocates for agriculture. Over the course of the year, they learned about local, state and federal public policy topics important to the agricultural and food industry. Sessions took place in Ohio, Washington, D.C. and Georgia.Class VIII graduates are Linda Ayres-Louiso of West Union, Nate Bair of Upper Sandusky, Ryan Conklin of Plain City, Amanda Crawford of North Canton, Haley Davis of Bucyrus, Paul Dorrance of Chillicothe, Jessica Draganic of South Solon, Charlie Ellington of Louisville, Tracy Emrick of Doylestown, Britta Fenstermaker of McComb, Jerri Furniss of Westerville, Dave Green of New Washington, Brad Guckian of Camden, Andy Hollenback of Utica, Seth Middleton of Sidney, Bennett Musselman of Orient, Rita Myers of Oregon, Jessica Parrish of Mechanicsburg, Racine Ramsey of Mechanicsburg, Jan Shannon of Orient, Macy Staggs of Seaman, Nathan Vandenbroek of Findlay, Clark Walker of Vinton and J.D. Winteregg of Troy.Over the last year, AgriPOWER participants attended multiday sessions where they learned about public policy issues facing local communities, the state of Ohio, the nation and the world. The sessions, which helped participants develop important skills necessary to becoming effective leaders and advocates, included spokesperson and media training, etiquette training, social networking, communications and more.“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.