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Farm Bureau sets legislative priorities
Buckeye Farm News
Based on policies developed by its members, OFBF’s board of trustees has set seven public policy priority issues for 2009. These issues will help focus OFBF’s legislative efforts in the coming year. They are:
State budget: Maintain key agricultural programs including the Ohio Department of Agriculture budget (specifically livestock permitting, animal disease control and food safety programs), funding for Ohio State Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Soil and Water Conservation District funding.
Education reform: Support specific funding reforms, curriculum improvements and maintenance of agricultural education and Edison Centers funding as well as addressing accountability issues.
Business climate and taxes: Clarify sales tax on farm equipment including ATVs and removing the CAT tax inequity for privately-owned grain elevators; support accelerated depreciation of farm machinery on the state income tax form. Engage in debates on tax and fee structures and wage and labor issues; guard against mandates on small business, and advocate for regulatory reform and consistency.
Livestock: Support organizing the livestock community and establishing a coordinated strategy to proactively engage with ODA, animal care groups and others to protect the economic viability of Ohio’s animal agriculture industry. Support proper manure application methods.
Transportation and infrastructure: Support integration, maintenance, upgrades and expansion of the state’s highway, water, rail and air systems to support Ohio’s agbioresource industry. Support expansion of broadband Internet access in rural Ohio. Support modification of axle weight limits for farm trucks and an exemption of farm machinery from the weight law. Support amending the definition of “farmer” to include employees for the Commercial Drivers License exemption. Support increasing force account limits and appropriate distribution of Clean Ohio funds.
Property rights and wildlife: Address crop damage from white-tailed deer and other wildlife species. Protect personal property rights by advocating on issues such as ATV trespassing, eminent domain proceedings, wildlife population control, implementation of new laws, mining, drainage, home sewage treatment, scrap metal theft, the Great Lakes Compact and more. OFBF is creating a legal foundation to strengthen its ability to act on these issues.
Energy: Ensure that conventional and renewable energy sources keep Ohio’s economy moving forward. Support efforts into research and development to bring about increased energy generation. Support sound implementation of Ohio’s new energy bill, a uniform siting and permit approval process for utility scale wind farms and updating tax laws to reflect new energy technology needs.