Ohio Farm Bureau (OFBF) has several state priority issues for 2012, but one can already be marked off the list. With bipartisan support in the Ohio House and Senate, HB 276 will be sent to the governor’s office to be signed.
Priority issues are best defined as issues that Farm Bureau looks at from a proactive position and will be working on with policy makers. The Ohio Farm Bureau Board of Trustees works with the public policy team to identify which state and federal issues, from the policy resolutions created at the organization’s annual meeting, should actively be pursued each year.
HB 276, clarifies that on-farm production of biodiesel, biomass energy, electric or heat energy, and biologically derived methane gas that occurs secondary to or incidental to farming retains the agricultural treatment for zoning and CAUV, as long as at least 50 percent of the feedstock or starting material is generated on that farm.
This means that a farm that uses technology like a methane digester or makes a few gallons of their own biodiesel, for their own use, will not be considered industrial. If the farm was considered industrial its zoning or CAUV eligibility could be changed.
The bill also contains provisions relating to the agricultural production of algae. It establishes a taskforce to review the use of methane digesters and similar technology. A representative of Farm Bureau will serve on that task force.
“We appreciate the work of the General Assembly, particularly the leadership of Represenative Buchy and Senator Gentile to clarify this portion of Ohio Law,” said Beth VanderKooi, OFBF director of state policy.
Rep. Jim Buchy (R-Greenville) and Sen. Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) introduced the bill to the House of Representative in June 2011. After progressing through the House, the bill unanimously passed the Senate on Feb. 15. Farm Bureau staff testified on HB 276, and kept a close eye on it as it progressed through each house of the legislature to represent the concerns of Farm Bureau members.
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View HB 276