A prominent program of Ohio Farm Bureau is its grassroots-based public policy work. The work reflects the desire of farm families to have a voice on the issues affecting their way of life. Because agriculture is intertwined with so much of what makes Ohio great, we believe everyone has a stake in the issues affecting our food, land and the people who get it from farm to table. While finding agreement in public policy is never easy, we think a lot of good has come from the ways Ohio Farm Bureau members have engaged their communities on these issues and then worked through their organization.
Since its early years, Ohio Farm Bureau has helped pave the way for food and agriculture to be a driver of our state’s economy. Today the food and agriculture community employs one in seven Ohioans.
In the 1930s, Ohio Farm Bureau members worked together to bring electricity to the countryside, and the organization continues to advocate on similar issues such as the expansion of rural broadband and energy development.
Ohio Farm Bureau has helped preserve agriculture—both as a productive industry and as a defining element of the state’s culture. In the 1970s, the organization led the Save Open Space campaign to protect farmland through fair taxation. More recently, it successfully supported the Clean Ohio Fund, which sought to preserve farmland. Farm Bureau members also worked to eliminate the Ohio estate tax, protecting families from having to sell parts of their land or other assets as farms were passed to a new generation.
Ohio Farm Bureau championed the development of agricultural and bio-based resources through the Third Frontier initiative. It is also supporting research and development projects at the Ohio State University.
Recently, Ohio Farm Bureau spearheaded the establishment of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to find solutions to animal care issues in order to prevent divisive and costly political campaigns that have occurred in other states.
Over the years, Ohio Farm Bureau has been a voice in multiple Supreme Court cases to protect the property rights of landowners. It also has sought common sense regulations that balance the needs of all Ohioans.
Here are a few other ways Ohio Farm Bureau is working to make the state a great place to call home:
Preservation of farmland and the rural landscape
Land is perhaps Ohio’s most valuable natural resource. It is a foundation for our economy, our landscape and our environment. Ohio Farm Bureau has worked to protect this resource through land use planning strategies, tax structures that have limited unwanted development and public programs to preserve farmland and redevelop brownfields.
From securing government loans that helped establish the first rural electric cooperatives to advocating for landowners during the modern shale gas boom, Ohio Farm Bureau has helped Ohioans benefit from its energy resources. It has also worked with landowners and their communities in establishing policies that are opening up new opportunities such as wind and biobased energy.
Education and Workforce Development
Whether it’s supporting 4-H and FFA, advocating for funding for research programs or its work with Ohio State University, Ohio Farm Bureau is helping Ohioans take advantage of the state’s emerging bio-economy in areas such as food manufacturing and bio-based product development. For Ohioans, this will have a positive impact on jobs, food security and the use of renewable materials. Believing strongly in the work ethic that youth gain on farms, the organization recently helped stop federal rules that would have severely limited this opportunity.
Ohio Farm Bureau believes that people should be able to use animals, but it comes with responsibilities. While this can be an emotionally charged issue, Ohio Farm Bureau has been a leader in facilitating solutions to difficult questions surrounding the care of animals. To that end, the organization worked to establish the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, a public body designed to balance Ohio’s policies regarding farm animal care through an open and deliberative process.
Ohio Farm Bureau is a bipartisan organization and believes in a government that is responsive to its citizens. Its members regularly evaluate issues such as term limits and redistricting and advocate for sustainable use of public dollars. Farm Bureau has advocated for public-private partnerships where appropriate, while seeking to make government more efficient by examining the effectiveness of spending at the local, state and national levels.
Ohio Farm Bureau members have worked to establish on-farm food safety standards and supported research into food safety technology. The organization supports the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which has a mission to protect Ohio’s citizens by assuring the safety of the state’s food supply and the health of Ohio’s food animals and plant life.
Ohio Farm Bureau has worked to address the concerns of Ohioans regarding the need for a clean environment. Ohio Farm Bureau recently helped on a state report that makes dozens of recommendations on how to decrease agricultural nutrients entering Ohio’s streams and water resources. The organization seeks balanced policies when it comes to use of the state’s natural resources such as the withdrawal of water from the Lake Erie basin or the development of natural gas resources.