Legislation has been introduced in the Ohio Statehouse to make capital appropriations for the current biennium, and funding for Clean Ohio Agricultural Easements was not included in the legislation.
In testimony to the Senate Finance Committee, Beth Vanderkooi, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) director of state policy said Ohio Farm Bureau supports critical investments in agriculture, and Ohio voters have overwhelmingly supported passage of Clean Ohio programs in the past.
She said that to the extent that dollars are available, Ohio Farm Bureau supports including Clean Ohio funding in the state capital budget.
“Clean Ohio was initially passed as a $400 million bond program in 2000. In 2008, voters overwhelmingly approved the renewal of the program. Ohio Farm Bureau has been a longtime supporter of the Clean Ohio program, especially the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program,” she said. “The Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase program has preserved more than 20,000 acres of Ohio farmland. Farm Bureau also supports the use of Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation funds for the preservation of farms that contain creeks, streams, woods or natural wetlands.”
Legislators and the Kasich administration have indicated that no amendments will be accepted.
“We appreciate the support that Clean Ohio has from legislators and the administration, and we understand that they are seeking a balance between programs that create opportunity in our communities and the need to keep lean budgets that do not overly increase state debt, and we look forward to being part of that conversation moving forward,” Vanderkooi said.
Ohio Farm Bureau staff continues to work on alternative vehicles for this priority.
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