Policy & Politics
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Ohio Farm Bureau Announces 2010 State and Federal Priority Issues
State Priority Issues 2010
Issue: Livestock – Livestock production is key to a healthy rural economy
Fair regulations protect our environment, producers, consumers and communities while allowing this importantvalue-added sector to grow. Creation of the Livestock Care Standards Board in a timely, transparent process isof critical importance in continuing a coordinated strategy to proactively engage with ODA, animal care groupsand others to protect the economic viability of Ohio’s animal agriculture industry and ensure safe, locallygrown, and affordable food. Legislation governing the OLCSB should include reasonable funding, goodstewardship, and a process that is fair to all producers – regardless of size or method of production.
Issue: Business Climate and Taxes – a sound business climate and a low tax burden will create jobs
A low tax burden is key to economic growth and job creation in our state. This means that we need to maintaina strong CAUV program, and eliminate or further reduce Ohio’s estate tax, and clarify Ohio’s sales taxexemption for agricultural equipment. We will be engaged on the Third Frontier program. We oppose mandateson small business which negatively impact Ohio’s family farmers. We support regulatory reform andconsistency, but any plan to streamline government or implement regulatory reform should maintain a singleOhio Department of Agriculture. We support legal reform of Ohio’s ‘animals at large’ law to ensure that it isnot interpreted as a strict liability statute.
Issue: State Budget – Invest in agricultural research, food safety, outreach and conservation
As Ohio’s economic situation fluctuates, it is important to adequately fund key agricultural-related stategovernment programs, including the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Agricultural Research andDevelopment Center and Extension line items in the Board of Regents’ budget, and Soil and WaterConservation District funding at ODNR. These programs serve critical functions for agriculture in the state andreturn benefits to all Ohioans. We also believe that the personal income tax cut postponed by HB 318 should bereinstated as soon as possible when tax receipts and the economy improve.
Issue: Transportation and Infrastructure – Improve Ohio’s competitiveness
We support integration, maintenance, upgrades and expansion of the State’s highway, water, rail and airsystems to support Ohio’s agbioresource industry (including bioproducts), but are concerned by proposals toeliminate reasonable pesticide and herbicide use on Ohio’s highways. We support expansion of broadband,especially in rural Ohio. We support modification of the axle weight limits for farm trucks and an exemption offarm machinery from the weight law. The definition of “farmer” should include employees for the CommercialDrivers License (CDL) exemption. We support the sound and timely distribution of Clean Ohio funds.Issue: Property Rights and Wildlife – Protect private property rights and control Ohio’s wildlife populationProtection of personal property rights through engagement on issues like eminent domain, wildlife populationcontrol, land use, mining, drainage, home sewage treatment, scrap metal and timber theft, burning requirements,water rights, and more is vital to the interests of our members.
Issue: Energy – Support an effective development strategy that addresses Ohio’s energy future.
A variety of energy sources need to be employed to address demands for fuel and power. We supportimplementation of Ohio’s current energy initiatives, uniform facility siting guidelines for utility scale renewablegeneration and enhancement of biofuel production capacity, implementation of progressive demand sidemanagement programs, smartgrid technologies and customer friendly interconnection procedures and thedesignation of methane from abandoned coal mines as a renewable energy source.
Issue: Education Reform – Strengthen Ohio’s rural schools
In developing a successful school system for today’s global economy, Ohio’s rural schools have unique needs.Any proposed education reform should include specific funding reforms and curriculum improvements,integrate distance learning, and maintain agriculture education and related programs in Ohio’s schools. We willbe engaged on nutrition and education issues.
FEDERAL PRIORITY ISSUES - 2010
Issue: Climate Change- Reduce impact to Ohio farmers and provide opportunities
We oppose current climate legislation in Congress and will work to stop this legislation from moving forward. We will also work to create opportunities for voluntary incentive driven approaches to addressing important environmentalchallenges.
Issue: Animal Care and Livestock – Support Ohio’s livestock industry
Animal care, preservation of animal production practices, environmental permitting, strengthening markets andmore may receive attention in 2010 by Congress and the Administration. We will continue to remain engagedon these important livestock issues.
Issue: Tax Policy and Budget - End the death tax now and balance the budget
We support a balanced federal budget by 2019. In 2011, next year, estate taxes will once again increase forfamily farmers. We support elimination of the estate tax. Its impact on succession planning for family farms isdevastating.
Issue: Food Quality and Safety – Food safety is an important national investment with many benefits. We have the safest, most abundant food supply in the world; let’s keep it that way
We are working to improve food safety legislation that is currently pending before Congress. We will continueto work to improve our food safety system based on sound science, and must educate consumers to increaseunderstanding of the factors that impact food price and quality.
Issue: Environment and Land Use - A clean environment and a prosperous agriculture are compatible
We will engage in nutrient management, pesticide, air and water issues, and more to assure fair laws and standards for Ohio farmers. We oppose legislation that would expand current water law.
Issue: Energy and Transportation - Invest in our transportation infrastructure and strengthen our nation’s comprehensive energy plan
We support improvements to our nation’s transportation infrastructure and a national comprehensive energypolicy. We must work to control energy costs; promote energy-related technologies that provide opportunitiesfor agriculture and expand U.S. energy investment in off-shore drilling, nuclear, clean coal technology,renewable energy, biofuels and more.
Issue: Farm Policy Strengthen Rural Communities - The Farm Bill is an important national investment with many benefits and Rural Development is critical
For a small investment, family farms have a safety net, the environment is improved, specialty crop growers andlivestock producers gain new opportunities and rural communities are helped with development projects. As thefarm bill continues to be implemented, we will be engaged in proposed changes to conservation programs andmore.
Issue: Labor and Immigration - We must solve our guest worker challenge
Comprehensive immigration legislation that includes a workable guest-worker program, protection foragriculture employees and fair wages remains a Farm Bureau priority.