For Immediate Release
December 3, 2010
COLUMBUS, Ohio (OFBF) – Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) delegates established the organization’s priority issues and heard from Governor-elect John Kasich during the group’s 92nd annual meeting Dec. 1 to 3 in Columbus.
Much of the policy session centered on the upcoming effort to balance the state budget in the face of a potential $8 billion shortfall. Farm Bureau members expressed support for incentivizing savings, performance audits and privatization of some government assets and functions as options to cut the cost of government while maintaining essential services. Delegates also focused on preserving functions of state government that are important to Farm Bureau’s core values in areas such as food safety and personal property rights.
In light of a tight budget, the future of Ohio State University Extensionreceived a great deal of delegate attention. Farm Bureau encourages Extension to define its purpose and increase its emphasis on agriculture, natural resources, nutrition and 4-H youth development.
Ohio’s Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) tax law was high on delegates’ agenda. The group wants to assure that the program is not abused, and it sees the need to communicate the program’s importance to landowners.
Ohio’s referendum and initiative law making system was also debated. Farm Bureau wants citizens to have adequate opportunity to engage their government, but questions whether the petition system allows small, well-funded special interests to exert undue influence over the state. OFBF will be working with other organizations that share its concerns to encourage a comprehensive public discussion.
During his address, Governor-elect Kasich told Farm Bureau members he intends to balance the budget based on innovation and rational thinking. He also spoke of bringing new agribusinesses to Ohio, encouraging agriculture awareness in schools, reducing unnecessary regulation and building consensus in the area of proper treatment of farm animals.
Kasich was accompanied by his first cabinet appointee, State Representative Jim Zehringer, who will be director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The governor-elect called agriculture Ohio’s most important industry, and applauded farmers’ work ethic and common sense approach to addressing challenging issues.
343 family farmers served as delegates to OFBF’s annual meeting. They were elected by their county Farm Bureaus, and finalized the organization’s state policies, which began as submissions from the county level. Ohio Farm Bureau is the state’s largest and most influential farm organization. Its mission is to forge a partnership between farmers and consumers.
Photo Caption: Ohio Governor-elect John Kasich addresses the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting as State Representative Jim Zehringer (left) looks on. Zehringer is Kasich’s appointee as director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
CONTACT: Joe Cornely
PHONE: (614) 246-8230
E-MAIL: [email protected]