Fisher, Hirsch celebrate organization accomplishments

In his annual address to delegates at the 97th annual meeting, President Steve Hirsch reminded them they are part of one of the most influential organizations in the state whether the issue is marijuana, Current Agricultural Use Value or water and nutrients.

“Whether it’s testifying before lawmakers or sharing our views on the editorial page, Ohio Farm Bureau has been the leading advocate for policy that’s based on a belief that water and food production are assets that are equally important to the citizens of Ohio.” Farm Bureau has led the effort to reshape the public’s discussion of water challenges, he said.

Steve Hirsch, Farm Bureau president

He noted the organization’s new membership model is making Farm Bureau more inclusive. The work of Farm Bureau benefits not only the entire agricultural industry but all residents and businesses when it comes to good government policy, environmental policy, improved tax structures, bigger export markets and the ability to use technology. Farm Bureau’s work to boost agritourism, support local foods, protect animals and fund charities are wins for everyone connected to food and farming.

Hirsch urged delegates to ask prospects to be members, saying “If we don’t ask, they won’t join or become an Our Ohio Supporter.”

“Friends, the future of Farm Bureau is in our hands. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.” Hirsch challenged anyone in the food and farm community to find a greater return on any investment that outperforms the value gained from Farm Bureau membership.

Jack Fisher gave his last address as Ohio Farm Bureau’s executive vice president. After 20 years, Fisher announced his retirement and will step down in summer 2016.

In addition to offering many thank yous, he addressed the changes happening in Farm Bureau and reminded that long-term planning and preparation will be needed as OFBF anticipates its next 100 years. “Embrace it. You can’t change unless you embrace change. Do it. Go through the steps and execute. All the change can’t happen without resources,” he said, pointing out that Farm Bureau’s biggest resource is “You, engaged people. It always has been and always will be.”

Working together, members have improved the quality of life for Ohioans and built stronger communities by tackling policy matters such as Issues 1, 2 and 3, water resources, taxes, energy, animal welfare, agritourism, food security, food safety, GMOs and ag literacy, he said.

“Farm Bureau is going to be here another 100 years” and continue to be a powerful organization economically and politically, Fisher said. “As we work together for change, the results are a better community and a better life for each and every one of us. Farm Bureau is a caring organization that takes care of each other and your communities and will make Ohio a better place to live.”

Published in the January/February 2016 issue of Buckeye Farm News.