Since Farm Bureau’s inception, the organization’s policy positions have grown from seeds of ideas that are planted between neighbors talking to neighbors, over the fence post and in living rooms. Never is the influence of those grassroots beginnings more apparent than during the organization’s policy development process.
While the policy development process begins locally with member conversations, it takes shape as counties host their annual meetings. It gains steam over the summer, when representatives from counties across Ohio come together to form Issue Advisory Teams and discuss matters important to Farm Bureau members all the over the state.
Advisory teams met at the annual Trends and Issues conference, this year held in Cincinnati in June. Those team members studied the current Farm Bureau policy book and submitted recommended changes or additions during the review period.
Recommendations are then taken to the state’s policy development committee which meets at Ohio Farm Bureau in Columbus. The first of the state policy development meetings was held in September. The committee collects and organizes those recommendations submitted by county Farm Bureaus and Issue Advisory Teams.
This year’s policy development committee consists of 11 members from Ohio Farm Bureau’s board of trustees and 10 representatives of county Farm Bureaus.
The committee heard from subject matter experts, government leaders, university leaders, association leadership and Farm Bureau staff on topics such as water quality, livestock siting regulations, the opioid epidemic, energy, the federal farm bill, property rights, school funding and more. The ultimate job of the policy development committee is to finalize the policy suggestions that will be voted on by delegates at the Ohio Farm Bureau annual meeting in December. The committee’s next meeting takes place in November.
Policy development committee members:
Frank Burkett III
Caption: Farm Bureau members at Trends and Issues Conference; Dr. Alton B. Johnson, dean of the College of Science and Engineering and director of Land-Grant Programs at Central State University; Rachel Vonderhaar, committee member from Preble County