The policy positions and priority issues established by Ohio Farm Bureau members are moving forward as the organization continues to work closely with lawmakers and state officials. Below is the status of several key issues. Buckeye Farm News will provide more updates and details as they’re available.
Estate Tax – The House and Senate each passed versions of the state budget that include a repeal of Ohio’s estate tax. Lawmakers are currently working out differences between the two budget bills and a final version will be sent to the governor in the coming days.
State Budget – Ohio Farm Bureau is working with lawmakers on additional state budget issues to achieve positive results for funding for Ohio State University Extension and agricultural research, Ohio Department of Agriculture priorities, soil and water conservation districts, agricultural education programs and more.
Animals at Large – H.B. 22 , sponsored by Rep. Danny Bubp, changes Ohio’s animals at large law to better protect farmers. An interpretation of the law had opened up farmers to criminal charges when livestock escaped through no fault of the farmer. The bill has been passed by the House and Senate and is awaiting the governor’s signature (UPDATE: Gov. Kasich has signed the Animals at Large law).
Ag LINK – Ohio Farm Bureau has been working with the Ohio Treasurer’s office on a legislative proposal to expand the Ag-LINK program, which provides an interest rate reduction on operating loans and lines of credit to Ohio farming community.
Transportation Bill – Ohio Farm Bureau was involved with the state transportation budget, which passed earlier this year. OFBF supported expanding the definition of farm commodities, as it applies to a 5 percent weight variance, to silage, sod, timber products and manure. The bill also eliminated the late registration fee for farm and seasonal vehicles.
On-Farm energy production – Ohio Farm Bureau is making progress on legislation that would include certain on-farm energy production in the definition of agriculture for property tax and zoning purposes.
Great Lakes Compact – The House and Senate are working on legislation to implement the Great Lakes Compact, which protects the use of water for food and fiber production.
Farmers Markets – Ohio Farm Bureau is working with state agriculture and transportation officials to launch a pilot project that would establish farmers markets at rest stops.
Auctioneers – Ohio Farm Bureau supported efforts to clarify a provision in state law to ensure auctioneers could continue to auction farm and construction equipment.
Eminent Domain – Ohio Farm Bureau has protected private property rights by communicating with policymakers on proposals that would have unintentionally expanded eminent domain authority.