This fall at their annual meeting, the local Farm Bureau membership voted on their local, state and national policies. Suggestions for these policies came from several different sources that broadly represent agricultural and related interests and issues.
The local Farm Bureau Board solicits policy suggestions from any group or individual that has a program or concern they would like to have addressed by Farm Bureau. These suggestions are discussed by the Board and those considered to be most important are written as a policy for the coming year.
Then these policy ideas are presented at the Annual Meeting for a vote of the local membership. Additional policy suggestions can be presented from the floor at the annual meeting for consideration.
Policy ideas can come from any Farm Bureau member, public officials or other sources that have an interest in agriculture or a related industry or business. Local policies are the “plan of work” or basis for the programs of the local board for the coming year.
State and national policies are sent on to the state Farm Bureau Board for consideration as state and national policies. These are sometimes hotly debated at the state annual meeting before being adopted as policy.
Local policies adopted by the board for next year included a broad mixture of ideas for programs. These are:
1. We continue to promote a more secure and equitable source of funding for OSU Extension and Soil and Water.
2. We support the elimination of CAUV recoupment unless a farm is sold and used for development or other non-agriculture purpose. This would provide an exemption for those 65 and older who have retired from farming until the land is sold.
3. We support keeping agriculture education programs and FFA in local high schools and encourage the return of these programs to all rural schools.
4. We support activities to engage the public in meaningful discussions about agriculture.
5. We support research and education initiatives on alternate energy sources from and for agriculture.
6. We continue to support transitional estate planning meetings to local family farm businesses.
7.We continue to support the continuation of education regarding oil and gas issues, including financial and tax implications, as well as pipeline easements for local land owners and officials.
8. We encourage our youth to take the tractor certification course and all members to attend local farm safety meetings.
9. We discourage the execution of any additional local estate taxes until oil/gas is actually being produced from deep well drilling sites.
As you can see, these local policies include a broad range of ideas and needs from local sources. They present a challenge to the local Farm Bureau Board to carry out as many as possible. The local board is a volunteer group and have farm businesses to operate as well as spending time on Farm Bureau programs.
One important thing to note is that Farm Bureau is a “grass roots” organization. These program ideas come from local sources and are carried out by local people with the help of the state Farm Bureau Board and staff. Our local Farm Bureau Organization Director is Ty Kellogg who works out of the Orwell Office. He works in five counties, including Ashtabula, Lake, Geauga, Trumbull and Mahoning.
For more information about any of these policies, contact a local Farm Bureau Trustee or Ty Kellogg at the Orwell office.
(Parker is an independent agricultural writer.)