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Members urged to continue state budget advocacy efforts
by Callie Wells
While Ohio Farm Bureau has achieved tremendous success in securing funding for the organizationís priority items thus far in the House and Senate versions of state budget, it must still make it past the conference committee and Gov. John Kasichís desk. The bill is currently being considered by the conference committee which will iron out differences between the House and Senate versions.
Ohio Farm Bureau priority issue victories in the House and Senate versions of the state budget include:
- 3.1 percent increase in funding for Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center;
- 3.9 percent increase in funding for OSU Extension;
- Maintaining funding for Sea Grant and Heidelberg Water Quality Lab; and
- Significant support for Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) funding restored after a 32 percent loss was projected as a result of changes to Ohioís higher education funding plan.
ďWe are really happy with where the bill is right now, but we understand ongoing negotiations over the billís many provisions could lead to decisions that would negatively impact the progress we've made,Ē said Brandon Kern, Ohio Farm Bureauís director of state policy. ďItís important to continue our advocacy efforts, particularly for ATI.Ē
ATI has had incredible success, serving as the nationís No. 1 producer of two-year associate degree graduates in the areas of food and agriculture. Within four months of graduation, 99 percent of ATI graduates are either pursuing a bachelorís degree or are gainfully employed in the food and fiber sector. There would be a devastating impact on ATI students if there is no action to support appropriate funding.
Contact your state representatives, senators and the governor to let them know how important stable funding for ATI is. Farm Bureau supports the efforts of lawmakers and the governor to find a means to provide stable funding for ATI in the budget bill.
Callie Wells is a communications specialist for Ohio Farm Bureau.