Commissioner Stephen Caraway is the winner of the 2016 Ohio Farm Bureau Discussion Meet. The final round of the competition was held during Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals Leadership Conference Jan. 29 in Columbus.
The annual contest tests participants’ subject knowledge, problem solving abilities and personal and small group communications skills.
Caraway won $1,000 from Nationwide Insurance, a Polaris Most Versatile Generator and an expense-paid trip to the 2017 American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Phoenix where he will represent Ohio in the national Discussion Meet contest.
“It was an honor to represent Adams County in this discussion meet. I am humbled that I will now have the opportunity not only to represent Adams County, but our entire next year as we work to address the challenges that agriculture faces today.”
Caraway, an Adams County Farm Bureau member, serves as an Adams County commissioner. He is a member of West Union Lions Club and numerous other civic organizations. He grew up on an 124-acre pumpkin and agritourism operation.
“I recognize that agriculture is one of our biggest industries in Adams County. So many families depend on a productive farm to live. Agriculture is a business. Its a tough business. And I will continue to advocate and stand up for local farmers and those they employee.”
The other finalists were Mike Derringer of Eaton, Andy Korb of Oxford and Joy Sizemore of Monroeville.
The Discussion Meet is hosted by Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals – singles and married couples ages 18 to 35 who are interested in improving the business of agriculture, learning new ideas and developing leadership skills.
The meet addressed two main topics. The first asked how should Farm Bureau protect and encourage producers’ ability to use new technology, and how can Farm Bureau work with government and the public to ensure public acceptance while encouraging innovation?
“Farmers are starting to adopt and utilize the resources that are currently available to them,” Caraway said, “We must continue to build coalitions of organizations to make sure that government and the public understands the importance of our need for better technology in order to have higher yields and a more efficient operation. We must have higher yields to produce enough food for a the world’s growing demand. In order to continue meeting the demand to feed the world, we must double our current production by 2050.”
The second point of discussion asked whether the Farm Bureau should draft policy to protect livestock producers from false accusations regarding animal welfare.
“Ohio has been a leader on this issue and I’m proud of the work that Farm Bureau completed in 2011 with Governor Strickland and the General Assembly to lead a statewide initiative and create the Ohio Animal Care Standards Board,” said Caraway, “More government regulation isn’t necessarily the answer. It is honoring the laws that we already have on the books. We must continue to find areas that Farm Bureau and animal welfare groups agree on and to have productive discussions with one another. We must respect one another’s position – and I believe we are doing just that in Ohio.”
To learn more about Discussion Meet and the Young Ag Professionals program, visit experienceyap.com.