Farmers at the table

Buckeye Farm News: 2009 – A Year In Review

OFBF guards water use

In 2008, Ohio was among the eight Midwest states and two Canadian provinces to ratify the Great Lakes Compact — an agreement that governs the use and prevents the diversion of water from the Great Lakes.

By statute, an advisory board was established in Ohio, chaired by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, to develop recommendations to the governor and General Assembly for legislation and policy needed to implement the compact.

OFBF Director of Policy Development and Environmental Research Larry Antosch is the advisory board appointee for agricultural interests in the Lake Erie Basin. He and the rest of the advisory board began working on three distinct portions of the compact in March.

“Representing agricultural interests, I’m particularly looking out for the personal property rights of agricultural water users and to ensure that agriculture-related water users are able to continue to have access to the water they need,” Antosch said. “Our whole goal is to make sure those individuals using water today are protected as future regulations get developed, with the intent to grandfather all current water users who qualify under new standards.”

Council’s work aims to grow local food systems

OFBF represented its members through its participation in the Ohio Food Policy Council, which released its progress report in 2009 that sets final recommendations and goals to help improve the local food system in Ohio and advance access to healthy food.

Gov. Ted Strickland created the council in 2007 to analyze food production, processing and consumption in Ohio; link producers and consumers in local food systems; and ensure that citizens in need have greater access to fresh and nutritious food.

Council recommendations included implementing a mobile poultry processing unit in the state, incorporating the Farm Bill Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program in Ohio elementary schools, creating a directory of existing low or no interest loans, grants and tax incentive programs available for agricultural businesses focused on local food systems, increasing support of agricultural economic development in the state and  improving links between farmers and food businesses.

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