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Third Frontier program up for renewal
Buckeye Farm News
Ohioans will be voting in May whether to expand funding for a program that has created jobs through investment in research and development of new technologies, including advanced projects involving agriculture.
If approved by voters, the expansion would use debt financing to provide a $700 million package for research and development through 2016 for Ohio’s Third Frontier program.
Originally proposed as a 10-year, $1.6 million program, Third Frontier was shot down by voters in 2002, but later approved in 2005. Its funds expand high-tech research, promote company formation, innovation and commercialization and create jobs. Current funding expires in 2012.
“The Third Frontier program is an investment in the state’s economy that has brought job growth, including areas of interest to agriculture,” said Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Director of State Policy Beth Vanderkooi.
Examples include alternative energy development such as fuel cells and research into developing a domestic rubber source through the Russian dandelion plant.
A December analysis of the Third Frontier Program by Ohio Business Roundtable showed that it has created more than 48,000 jobs in the state since 2005.
Approval by voters would ensure funding through 2016 in the form of general obligation bonds with a maturity period of 10 years at an interest rate of 5.25 percent.
According to Vanderkooi, OFBF has yet to take a position on the ballot provision, but supports a Third Frontier package that is fiscally responsible in Ohio’s current economic climate.
Learn more about the Third Frontier Program at www.thirdfrontier.com.