Greetings from Lucas County!
With the passage of Senate Bill 150, Ohio is preparing to be proactive on the water quality issue from fertilizer run off that helps cause the algae blooms in Lake Erie. Its timely implementation will hopefully help us improve the water quality of Lake Erie. I only hope that the loads already present in the lake are not so burdensome as to nullify the effect of decreased loading. As the agricultural community, it is our job to implement the practices of the 4 R’s fertilizer application recommendations as soon as possible. It is also my belief that the practice of applying fertilizer and manure on frozen ground has to stop. Especially when there are two inches of frost on the ground and cold weather is in the forecast. There are some in the state that want to classify your fertilizer and manure as nutrients in your field and pollution when it gets into the water. I do not have to elaborate on this issue for everyone to understand the ra mifications that this would have. (Everyone call your insurance agents and see what your limits are for environmental pollution.)
It has been my pleasure to be your representative on the four county region membership model task force. We have met three times in Columbus over the past two months. With this being said we have learned about Nationwide’s financial involvement in the Farm Bureau and the changes in the insurance industry that has prompted the necessity to change our membership model. We have reached a consensus on a new membership model framework and here are some of the highlights. The county has control of whom they allow as members and who has voting rights. The county maintains control of setting due’s rates of active and community members. We have added a proposed youth membership category which will help to attract and cultivate future leaders of the organization. The new model also includes an Our Ohio membership class. There is also a proposed new affinity supporter group to help transition members who are affected by the changes by Nationwide. It will also enable us to work with new organizational sponsors and supporters. One area of concern I have is how the counties will continue keep a revenue flow to maintain county program levels and keep county finances in check with the standards that we have become accustomed to.
On a lighter note, this is an exciting time to be on the board of the Lucas County Farm Bureau with all of the upcoming events that are planned in the county. These include the Mud Hens game on June 13th, the Lucas County Fair, the Farm to Ford Food Dialogue on September 9, our annual meeting on August 28, and a return to the family fun night for this winter.
Our board is filled with youthful spirits that make it exciting to be involved. We are lucky to have such committed people to agriculture on our board and in our OD, at a time when it is important to have conversations with the non-farming community that we interact with.
There has been no greater time for us to accept this challenge to help our non-farming friends to understand how their food is produced, to understand our practices that are used, and why we do the things that we do.
Everyone have a safe and productive planting season!
Bill Myers, Lucas County Farm Bureau President