miami-president

A Word from President Bill Wilkins

As I manage my farm operation, I am constantly considering expenditures and their related benefit. I ask myself “What do I get in return for spending a sum of money?” The same can be applied to your Farm Bureau membership. One way of looking at this is to consider: “What if there was no Farm Bureau organization?”

You would be paying considerably more in real estate taxes. You may be paying $125 rather than $30 per acre in real estate taxes per year. Your Farm Bureau has worked hard since 2014 to get our Ohio Legislature to reform and support CAUV for assessing farm real estate taxes that results in agricultural land being assessed at 35% of full tax rate as charged for commercial and residential real estate.

Your Farm Bureau acts as a “watchdog” to expose and prevent unnecessary regulations from government regulators such as the US EPA. An example is “Waters of the US” (WOTUS) regulation as proposed by the EPA in 2015 that would have jurisdiction over any ditches on your land that carry water, even if they are dry most of the year and carry water only during wet periods. If implemented, this would give regulators (and citizen plaintiffs) justification to assert that such areas are subject to Clean Water Act regulation and give the agencies sweeping new authority to regulate land use, which they may exercise at will, or at the whim of a citizen plaintiff.

Farm Bureau has significant concerns with the WOTUS rule and believes it expands federal jurisdiction, resulting in the imposition of burdensome requirements on agricultural producers. Farm Bureau continues to support administrative efforts to repeal and replace the WOTUS rule.

Water quality is a major concern for all. Algae blooms in western Lake Erie, Grand Lake St Marys and other bodies of water in Ohio have generated considerable concern about the application of manure and commercial fertilizer on cropland. Lake advocates have consistently pinned pollution on agriculture practices in their watersheds, specifically the spreading of manure on over-fertilized fields. They say runoff filled with fertilizer and manure, which feeds algae, then washes into nearby waterways. Your Farm Bureau has been out in front of this issue by meeting with officials and the media, explaining the many voluntary practices farmers use to mitigate water quality problems and support programs that educate both farmer and non-farmers about the issues.

Over 18,600 Ohioans received Farm Bureau supported Fertilizer Application Certification Training in the past two years. Ohio Farm Bureau has invested $2.3 million of member funds to date in steps to improve water quality. Without your Farm Bureau, farmers may not be able to continue to apply manure and fertilizer as needed to cropland. 

The above are just a few examples of how your Farm Bureau continues to work for you and your farm operation. Farm Bureau’s advocacy efforts zero in on issues that directly affect your farm operation. Without the support of Farm Bureau, farmers would be paying considerably higher real estate taxes, facing unreasonable regulation and may not be able to utilize farming practices that optimize returns. I believe you will agree that the cost of your Farm Bureau membership returns enormous benefits.