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Ohio Farm Bureau’s response to the Toledo water crisis
Ohio Farm Bureau and other agricultural groups have been involved in the Toledo water crisis story since the first news alert. Joe Cornely, OFBF’s senior director of corporate communications, was on site in Toledo the day after the drinking water ban and stayed until the day after the ban was lifted. Cornely answered reporter questions, helped farmer spokespersons and conducted media outreach.
Over that weekend, Ohio Farm Bureau coordinated an industry-wide response and statement from the agriculture community, which was shared with OFBF member leaders statewide. OFBF’s policy team reached out to key lawmakers all over the state, as well as those heading up state agriculture committees and those who had concerns about agriculture’s role in the crisis. Ohio’s two senators were provided with timely and accurate information about the situation, and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown participated in a Town Hall Ohio episode that focused on agriculture’s response to the water crisis and aired the weekend of Aug. 9-10. Other guests on the Town Hall Ohio show included state Rep. Jim Buchy, Lucas County Farm Bureau President Bill Myers, Extension agronomy expert Greg LaBarge and Don Hollister, executive director of the Ohio League of Conservation Voters.
Water quality and quantity has been on OFBF’s radar for a long time. About a year ago, work began on Healthy Water Ohio, which was launched in early July and involves dozens of groups ranging from conservation to business/industry to water suppliers. The Aug. 14 issue of Buckeye Farm News and September/October issue of Our Ohio will feature the launch of Healthy Water Ohio.
The Toledo water story continues to develop and change from day-to-day, and Ohio Farm Bureau is in constant communication with lawmakers, media, agriculture/commodity groups, OFBF members and political candidates. The goal is to continue to reassure the public about agriculture’s commitment to conservation and water quality, explain and correct misconceptions about current regulations and work with lawmakers and other agricultural groups to protect farmers’ livelihoods.