Farm Bureau members heard from experts on wide-ranging issues as they considered county Farm Bureau policy proposals.

From the county on up

Ohio Farm Bureau’s policy development process is ramping up in preparation for the annual meeting in December.

The 2014 state policy development committee met in late August and consists of 11 members of OFBF’s state board of trustees plus 10 representatives of county Farm Bureaus.

During their first meeting, the members reviewed current policy and considered whether policy was needed in some areas. The group was divided up into five subcommittees: governance, energy & labor; quality of life; commodities; property rights and taxes, and natural resources.

The policy development members heard from experts about harmful algal blooms and public drinking water quality, energy, state and local tax policy, Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV), future role of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, challenges created by growing drug problems statewide and access to health care in rural counties.

The final policy recommendations from county Farm Bureaus will be finished in early October. After that, the state policy development committee will meet to review the county recommendations and determine what state and national policy issues OFBF’s delegate body should vote on at the annual meeting.

Following OFBF’s annual meeting, policy proposals that are about national level issues will be submitted to the American Farm Bureau for consideration and voting during its annual meeting in January.

“Ohio Farm Bureau’s policy development process is truly grassroots based. An issue that is of concern at the county level can result in policy being written not only at the state level but sometimes at the national level,” said Larry Antosch, OFBF’s senior director of policy development and environmental policy.

Thoughts from committee members, experts

“The information from the experts was really intense and invaluable. I’m going to relay some of this information back to my members.” — Margaret Reid, state policy development member from Lawrence County.

“We need to show them why farmers are very much involved in these energy issues. We need to be in that room advocating that position. Your work here is the backbone for that.” — Dale Arnold, OFBF’s director of energy, utility and local government policy, to policy development members.

“Ohio is leading the science and activity (on harmful algal blooms). It’s not an issue that’s going to be solved overnight.” –Michael Baker, chief of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency division of drinking and ground water.

“Virtually every county in our state is a hotspot for opiate addiction.” — Orman Hall of the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services.

Photo by Galen Harris