Buckeye Farm News
Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) — Gov. Ted Strickland recently signed Senate Bill 155, sponsored by Sens. John Carey, R-Wellston, and Dale Miller, D-Cleveland. The bill partially restores SWCD budget funding that was drastically cut in 2009.
OFBF Stance: Strongly supportive
Ditches and Drainage — House Bill 54, introduced by Rep. Seth Morgan, D-Huber Heights, aims to increase the maintenance fees charged for ditch improvement. Since 1957, the required fee has been capped at 20 percent of the cost of future maintenance projects. Fifty-three years later, said OFBF Senior Director of Legal and Local Affairs Larry Gearhardt, the cost of future maintenance is now next to nothing, resulting in not enough money being collected to maintain proper drainage.
OFBF stance: Supportive
Property Taxes/Renewable Energy — Bills in the House (HB 464) and Senate (SB 232) aim to exempt qualifying renewable energy facilities from personal property taxes for up to 20 years. The bills establish annual service payments in lieu of taxes, based upon each megawatt of production capacity, as opposed to paying property taxes on said facilities.
OFBF Stance: Supportive
Deer — Bills in the House (HB 410, introduced by Rep. Mark Okey, D-Carrollton) and Senate (SB 225, introduced by Sen. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville) aim to transfer all or some of the authority on Ohio’s commercial deer herds to the Ohio Department of Agriculture from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
OFBF Stance: Neutral and monitoring
Oil and Natural Gas — Sen. Tom Niehaus, R-New Richmond, sponsored SB 165, which makes a number of changes to the oil and natural gas drilling law including increasing the distance between drilling locations and residences, requiring notification of neighbors and public meetings in certain areas and makes other changes including standards regarding noise mitigation. Strickland signed the bill into law on March 31.
OFBF Stance: Monitored