State policy development committee members meet for the first time this week to learn about emerging issues.

State policy development committee continues grassroots process

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) develops policy each year through a member-driven grassroots process that is well underway and continues this week with the first meeting of the state policy development committee.

The committee, a diverse group of county Farm Bureau presidents and state board members, is charged with bringing policy recommendations before the voting delegates at OFBF’s annual meeting in November.

“It’s truly a grassroots process beginning at the local level where issues that affect agriculture are surfaced, talked about, researched and needs identified that then go into the formulation of policies with positions on those issues,” said Larry Antosch, OFBF director of policy development and environmental policy.

The process starts in each county with advisory council submissions of policy recommendations to county Farm Bureaus. County Farm Bureaus then take advisory council recommendations into account when developing their local policy. Once county Farm Bureaus develop state and national policy, all the recommendations are sent on to the state policy development committee.

The committee meeting this week starts with a review of current policy so the committee is well informed.

The rest of the meeting will consist of presentations about timely agricultural topics.The committee will hear from several speakers on agricultural nutrients and water quality issues, the proposed severance tax, Ohio’s redistricting ballot initiative and federal animal care standards for egg laying hens.

“The whole idea would be to think about how the topic relates to current policy and whether or not there is a need to modify current policy,” Antosch said. “We want to shake things up if we can. Try to get some heated discussions going.”

In its second meeting at the beginning of November, the committee will review policy suggestions from county Farm Bureaus and sort through which ones to carry through to the annual meeting, taking what was learned and discussed at this informational meeting into consideration.

2012 OFBF Policy Development Committee Members

  • Steve Hirsch – President (ex-officio)
  • Sparky Weilnau – First Vice President (Chair)
  • Frank Burkett – State Trustee – District 9
  • Paul Davidson – State Trustee – District 12
  • Kim Davis – State Trustee – District 13
  • Paul Harrison – State Trustee – District 11
  • Daryl Knipp – State Trustee – District 2
  • Al Miller – State Trustee – District 17
  • Bill Patterson – State Trustee – District 4
  • Joyce Payne – State Trustee – District 22
  • Michael Schumm – State Trustee – District 5
  • James Swingle – State Trustee – District 16
  • Wyatt Bates – Scioto County
  • Daniel Bock – Medina County
  • Don Carpenter – Belmont County
  • Mark Crosier – Ross County
  • John Davis – Harrison County
  • Earl Lehner – Delaware County
  • Michael Poling – Van Wert County
  • Christopher Rogers – Brown County
  • Shirley Walters – Trumbull County
  • Chris Weaver – Fulton County


Read more about the policy development process 

Callie Wells 

Callie Wells is the director of digital communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.

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