From left, county leaders Michael Terry and Cy Prettyman review policies with OFBF State Trustee Gale Betterly.

Policy Development Committee starts annual process

Buckeye Farm News

Ohio Farm Bureau’s annual policy development process is well under way.

The team charged with bringing policy recommendations before Ohio Farm Bureau’s voting delegates at the organization’s annual meeting in December convened last month for the first of two meetings.

In a meeting next month, the committee will review policy suggestions from county Farm Bureaus and sort through which ones to carry through to the annual meeting.

“This is the most interactive and participatory grassroots effort you’ll embark upon,” OFBF President Brent Porteus told committee members prior to the two-day effort to fully understand current issues. “A goal is to discover what should rise to a level of priority for the organization. We want our policies to accurately reflect the views of the members of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation for 2010.”

Larry Antosch, OFBF senior director of program innovation and environmental policy, said the committee is going about its task a bit differently this year than in the past.

“We are spending more time looking at current policies so that we have informed, engaged discussions,” he said. “We are bringing in speakers on specific topics and issues, not just organizations in general.”

The committee heard about programs in place and those being developed for the care and well-being of livestock from Steven Moeller, associate professor and swine Extension specialist at Ohio State University; David White of OFBF’s Center for Food and Animal Issues; and Jenny Hubble of the American Dairy Association Mideast.

Jodi Buckman of the Capital Area Humane Society reported there has been a large increase in cruelty reports concerning horses since legislation banned horse slaughter in the United States. She said local humane societies have faced financial difficulties from the expenses associated with caring for neglected horses. She said the society’s officers are not trained in regard to all species of animals and rely upon other experts to help determine the validity of reported cases of cruelty.

A representative of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission spoke of plans to make local food available for central Ohio while preserving farmland. The commission is searching for ways to help develop programs to add value to local foods.

In addition, the committee heard from experts in health care and education.

John Stanford, executive assistant of education policy for Gov. Ted Strickland, outlined the school funding reforms passed and signed into law in July. He said the reforms are financially responsible and ensure Ohioans understand how state funding is utilized.

Bill Hayes, president of the Healthy Policy Institute of Ohio, spoke of the group’s plan to expand research to get a better understanding of the current status of individuals with health insurance coverage. It estimates only 4 percent of Ohio children are uninsured, while 17 percent of working adults are uninsured, with an increase in people ages 54-65 losing jobs and having trouble finding new insurance coverage. He also estimated that the state’s total healthcare cost will increase by $114 billion in the next 10 years to a total of $200 billion.

2009 OFBF Policy Development Committee Members

Brent Porteus – President

Steve HirschFirst Vice President

Patty DeBruin – State Trustee – SE

Don RalphState Trustee – District 7

Steve Hess – State Trustee – District 14

Gale Betterly – State Trustee – NE Woman’s District

Ellen JoslinState Trustee – District 10

Randy Leis – State Trustee – District 18

Bill Lowe – State Trustee – District 11

Mike SchummState Trustee – District 5

Andra Troyer – State Trustee – SW Woman’s District

Keith Truckor – State Trustee – District 1

Sparky WeilnauState Trustee – District 3

John Brooks – Huron County

Doug Martig – Mahoning County

Cy PrettymanMarion County

Michael LibbenOttawa County

Michael Bensman – Shelby County

Greg Garman – Ross County

Linda BenedictPerry County

Michael ValleryMadison County

Michael TerryChampaign County

Doug Rhoades – Darke County

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