May 31, 2013
The Honorable Keith Faber
Columbus, OH 43215
Dear President Faber:
Thank you for your continued work to provide Ohioans with a balanced budget that will help move our state forward.As you know, Farm Bureau has a strong interest in many of the programs contained in the budget bill, and I want to take the opportunity to update you on our positions regarding various provisions in the bill.
First and foremost, Farm Bureau members are pleased that the Senate substitute bill maintained house-passed levels of funding for OSU Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), the Sea Grant Program and The National Center for Water Quality Research (NCWQR) at Heidelberg University. These programs are crucial to helping our industry meet the challenges we face as we chart a path to sustainable water resource management for Ohio.
We also thank you for the increased appropriation for the Clean Ohio Fund.The Clean Ohio programs are in many ways directly related to the water quality issue, and also help preserve farmland so that the next generation of Ohioans can benefit from a strong agricultural industry in our state.
Your support for Agricultural Education programs will also mean the next generation of young people can obtain the skills they need to move our industry forward in the future. There are numerous provisions included in the budget bill that are important in this area.
First, we ask that you maintain the House-passed weighted formula for career technical education. Agricultural Education benefits directly from this new approach. Farm Bureau is also very supportive of an amendment that was included in the senate substitute version that increases funding available for the Agricultural 5th Quarter Project and creates new flexibility for Ag. teachers to provide educational opportunities outside the classroom. This competitive grant program allows schools to apply for funding to provide hands-on educational experiences as a part of their Ag. Ed. program.