Experiencing public policy

This session was all about the insider’s perspective of our state government and the chance to witness the interaction of the branches of government and the influence upon one another.

What is public policy? Public policy is an all-encompassing term; it is the principles that guide action taken by government. It is an idea that the public wants; it can stem from grassroots efforts, lawmaker conversations with constituents, media, research etc. Whether it is pre-emptive or reactionary is based on the public issue at hand. The legislative process of policy becoming a law is “a long and winding road with so many moving parts,” according to Brandon Kern, Ohio Farm Bureau lobbyist.

In two whirlwind days, we had the opportunity to tour and speak with many of the moving parts of our state government, from lunch with Secretary of State Jon Husted and touring Ohio Department of Agriculture to meeting with Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler and touring Ohio Supreme Court while meeting with Justice Judi French.

A couple personal highlights included talking with a legislative panel with Sen. Lou Gentile, Rep. Jack Cera, Rep. Mike Duffey and Sen. Cliff Hite to discuss issues and challenges in Ohio as well as in agriculture. After touring the beautiful building that houses the Ohio Supreme Court, Justice Judi French gave us a tour of her personal judge’s chambers. Finally, there was the address from OFBF Executive Vice President Jack Fisher about the future vision of Ohio Farm Bureau, reminding us to get involved in various aspects of our communities and state. According to Mr. Fisher, “We have the ability to shape our destiny when we work together in Ohio.”

As with each session, I always appreciate the willingness of our speakers to share their story and educate about agriculture in Ohio. After all, these ideals are part of the guiding policies of Ohio Farm Bureau.