Approximately 300 Farm Bureau volunteers from across the state made the journey to Columbus for Ohio Farm Bureau’s annual Ag Day at the Capitol.
“Ag Day at the Capitol is a great opportunity for our members to engage with those people who represent them,” said Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) President Brent Porteus. “ We have a great program to provide a lot of information but also give Farm Bureau members across the state (a chance) to sit down one-on-one with their legislators, with their state representatives and their state senators and share issues that are important to Farm Bureau as well as their communities back home.”
Those in attendance had the opportunity to hear from some special guests including Gov. Ted Strickland who emphasized the role Ohio agriculture has on the biofuels industry.
“There’s nothing more important we can do for the security and stability of our nation, I believe, than becoming less reliant on external sources than the energy use we need to power our economy,” said Strickland. “ It is better for Ohio and the nation to depend upon the Midwestern farmer for our energy needs rather than the Mid-eastern oil baron. And the work that you do and the products you grow will make it possible for us to wean ourselves off of the thirst that we have for Middle-eastern oil.”
Also on the docket was John Kasich, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, who shared some of his concerns and recommendations for the state.
“I thought when I first retired that I wouldn’t be back in this business… the longer I was out the more I enjoyed being out,” said Kasich. And then I started to look around at my state, and what I saw was not this Ohio that I came to love and gave me so much when I came here in 1970.”
Even though Strickland and Kasich do not see eye to eye on all topics, they both shared similar thoughts concerning the proposed ballot initiative being pushed by the out-of-state activist group, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
“Now let me say, that you did work hard on Issue 2, and the people of Ohio agreed with your efforts. And it may be that we’re going to face a sort of challenge to that with another ballot initiative,” said Strickland. “It is unnecessary and I will oppose it. And I want you to know that we may need to work together once more to make sure that the work that has been accomplished is not undone by many who may be well intentioned, but who do not fully understand and appreciate what is already being done to make sure that animals are dealt with in a humane manner. If we want to eat, and if we want access to affordable and inexpensive food, it is important for the agricultural community within our state not to be hamstrung and to have their hands tied behind their back by those who do not fully appreciate the value of what happens on our farms.”
“Regulations kill, but I don’t think I need to tell you that do I? I don’t think I need to explain to farmers how regulations get in the way,” said Kasich. “By the way, this ballot issue that’s coming up…it’s regulations. Now I endorsed the ones you wanted, now let me tell you this… no outsider should come in here and try to destroy our farms.”
At the end of the day, members headed back to their homes and farms with the satisfaction of knowing their message was heard.
“The greatest way to be involved is to join and have a membership in the Ohio Farm Bureau,” said Porteus. “We’re an organization of farmers and rural Ohioans across the state. Anybody who’s interested in agriculture…we have consumers we have farmers. This organization is about building that relationship between farmers and consumers and addressing the issues that are important to both.”