Ohio Farm Bureau’s State Priority Issues for 2015

Buckeye Farm News

The policies also promote creating a positive business climate in Ohio that is beneficial to agriculture and taxpayers. Throughout the year Buckeye Farm News will highlight progress made in these priority areas and how members can become engaged such as helping create local water quality programming or lobbying in Washington, D.C.

1) Water Quality and Resources

•Through our Water Quality Action Plan, continue to lead statewide agricultural efforts to proactively solve the challenge of nutrient runoff and the impact of harmful algal blooms to Ohio’s waters.

•Complete major activities with Healthy Water Ohio, a diverse coalition developing a long-range strategy to protect and enhance the state’s water resources.

•Develop workable legislation focusing on application of nutrients on frozen or snow-covered ground.

•Proactively encourage voluntary solutions (like 4R Nutrient Stewardship) that will allow Ohio farmers to document a reduction in nutrient runoff.

2) Agriculture Education

•Ensure the funding model used for career tech education encourages growth of ag education programs across the state.

•Work with schools and education leaders to ensure ag education programs include the skills employers need.

3) Business Climate

•Promote policies such as creating a fair tax system and limiting burdensome regulations to achieve Farm Bureau’s goal of increasing the number of Ohioans employed in the agriculture sector to over 1 million.

•Create a more conducive business environment for Ohio’s agritourism enterprises.

•Ensure farmers are able to take full advantage of the regulatory exemptions from federal transportation laws at the state level, including for the transportation of agricultural chemicals.

•Work to ensure Ohio State University has the needed resources and personnel to provide training and education for those affected by the Food Safety Modernization Act.

4) Natural Resources and Energy

•Advocate for a comprehensive energy policy incorporating coal, nuclear, natural gas, petroleum and competitive renewable technologies.

•Enhance community quality of life resources as energy development projects move forward.

•Enhance collaborative efforts to repair and remediate farmland and public infrastructure impacted by energy development projects.

5) General Tax Reform with Specific Focus on Property Taxes

•In-depth review on how Ohio’s tax structure affects Ohio’s food producing economy.

•Advocate for changes to the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) formula so the program can better reflect today’s agricultural economy.

•Advocate for tax reforms that do not shift the burden to agricultural production.

6) Issues for State Budget

•Seek funding levels for the Ohio Department of Agriculture that allow it to effectively carry out its core mission as well as new responsibilities such as implementation of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act, Senate Bill 150 nutrient management legislation, the Dangerous and Wild Animals law and dog breeding regulations.

•Support funding for water quality programs that produce science-based data and strategies to protect Ohio’s water resources.

•Ensure institutions such as as the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the Agricultural Technical Institute, Soil and Water Conservation Districts and other agricultural education programs are fully funded.

•Provide a voice on issues that impact rural communities such as workforce development programming, health care accessibility and fighting the rural drug use epidemic.

OFBF’s federal priority issues:

•Water quality and resources

•Technology and biotechnology

•Farm programs and food safety implementation

•Immigration reform

•Business climate

See details about these priority issues.

Why you should be engaged in public policy

•Agriculture is a livelihood and grassroots political action is a cost of doing business.

•There is strength in numbers; the more individual members engaged in the process, the more effective the group.

•Elected officials need to hear from you personally, not just lobbyists.

•Opponents to agriculture are involved and will work against agriculture’s best interests.