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Water quality, taxation and energy development topped the policy issues addressed during the 94th annual meeting of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) held November 28-30 in Columbus.
A highlight of the event was a speech from Gov. John Kasich, who then took questions from the delegates.
During the policy session, delegates addressed the challenges of keeping farm nutrients out of the state’s waters by endorsing farmers’ adoption of a management system referred to as 4R, which encourages nutrient applications that are the right source, right rate, right time and right place. Farm Bureau members said they believe all farmers should have nutrient management plans, and the organization encouraged ongoing research into ways to farm profitably without harming water supplies.
Delegates also addressed the need to preserve the state’s Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) program, which taxes farmland at its farm value as opposed to its highest potential value, and is essential to maintaining viable farming in Ohio. Farm Bureau believes that farmland enrolled in federal conservation programs should remain qualified for CAUV.
Farm Bureau members also addressed ways to assure that farmers can meet the growing consumer demand for agricultural experiences such as farm markets and agritainment venues. Farmers need certainty in what regulations will be and how to comply to provide visitors with safe, enjoyable activities.
The organization retained its policy that opposes privatization of the Ohio Turnpike.
The Farm Bureau policy process begins locally with members discussing challenges and opportunities facing their communities. These discussions are acted on by county Farm Bureaus, which in turn forward the issues for consideration at the state annual meeting. There were 341 voting delegates at this year’s meeting; all were elected at the county level. Delegates representing Lorain County Farm Bureau were from left to right (Front Row), Rick Carlson from Grafton Township, Robert Beekman from Pittsfield Township, Neil Breyley from Pittsfield Township, from left to right (Back Row), Amanda Denes, Organization Director, OFBF Trustee and First Vice-President, Sparky Weilnau from Milan, Sandy Denes from Wellington, and Ron Pickworth from LaGrange Township.