For Immediate Release
December 6, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio (OFBF) – Nutrient management, agricultural drainage and state tax policy were among issues voting delegates addressed at the 95th annual meeting of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). Delegates also established a committee to study changes to the membership model for the organization.
The organization’s policy, enacted by the 346 delegates, will direct Farm Bureau’s actions for the coming year. The meeting took place Dec. 4 – 6 in Columbus.
OFBF reiterated its commitment to assist farmers as they take steps to improve water quality. Without approving any specific legislation, delegates supported nutrient management education programs that include certification for fertilizer applicators. Farm Bureau policy also states that Ohio should have a comprehensive reduction strategy for all nutrient sources. The agricultural portions should be based on the 4 – R principles, be economically feasible for farmers and provide clear criteria regarding suspension of certification.
On taxes, delegates recognized that tax reform is often a trade-off between taxing methods; they created policy that prioritizes income taxes over property taxes as revenue sources for state and local governments. Delegates also prioritized how oil and gas severance tax revenue should be used: First use should be for oil and gas regulatory programs, followed by local economic development and then income tax reduction. Delegates also called for any tax credits offered on new severance taxes to proportionally benefit producers and landowners with royalty interests.
Farm Bureau delegates voted to support streamlining of the petition ditch process and development of a statewide plan that provides consistency to petition ditch easements and maintenance.
In addition, delegates called for an alternative funding mechanism for Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute.
Other state policies approved pistol caliber rifles during deer gun season, called for improved transparency in electric choice programs and supported steps to protect chemical sensitive crops, bees and other pollinators.
Delegates also voted to support market-based commodity programs in the farm bill.
Regarding the membership model discussion, the delegates reviewed a proposal from OFBF’s state code committee before calling for a committee to study the issue. Discussion centered on state and county finances, dues levels and the mutually beneficial relationship between Ohio Farm Bureau and Nationwide Insurance and how to maintain those benefits for future generations. Ohio Farm Bureau started Ohio Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company in 1926, which is now Nationwide.
Ohio Farm Bureau is Ohio’s largest and most inclusive farm organization. Its mission is to forge a partnership between farmers and consumers.
CONTACT: Joe Cornely
PHONE: (614) 246-8230
E-MAIL: [email protected]