Delegates set policies for coming year

Continuing a century-long tradition, Ohio Farm Bureau members convened recently to identify policies that benefit Ohio agriculture and guide their organization. During Farm Bureau’s historic 100th annual meeting, delegates addressed rural infrastructure needs, water quality challenges, thoughtful governance and a variety of other topics meaningful to Ohioans.

Farm Bureau’s business sessions included 356 delegates representing all 88 counties. The meeting took place Dec. 6 and 7 in Columbus. Representing Clark County were Doug Toops, Bob Suver, Sharon Waddle and Dail Gracy.

Delegates affirmed their stances on broad themes such as property rights, animal care, environmental stewardship, and regulatory and tax reform. Along with these perennial issues, delegates addressed several newer issues.

Rural roads and bridges are deteriorating in many areas. Delegates recognized the need to adequately fund repairs and voted to support an increase in motor fuels taxes. They also support identifying alternative funding mechanisms.

Farmers’ efforts to protect water quality were addressed. Policy was set to encourage government agencies to adhere to state law when considering agricultural regulations.

Delegates voted in support of reforming Ohio’s petition ballot initiative laws to assure a more thoughtful process.

Animal care and meat inspection were debated. Delegates acted to clarify that agricultural zoning laws apply to all non-wild or dangerous species that a farmer may be tending, and to create a meat inspection fee system that is equitable for domestic deer producers.

Other state issues Farm Bureau delegates addressed dealt with historic barn preservation, dairy processing and handling, agritourism and creating incentives for EMS volunteers.

Twenty-one county Farm Bureaus were honored with Achievement Awards for outstanding programming over the past year during the 100th annual meeting of Ohio Farm Bureau.

“Our county Farm Bureaus are the heart of our organization,” said Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp. “Our members know what their communities need and help make good things happen.”

Volunteer Farm Bureau members judged the projects, which represent excellence in local activities that support Ohio Farm Bureau’s strategic efforts. Those include programs to strengthen the organization and build membership, affect public policy, promote agriculture and enhance the organization’s relationship with long-standing partner Nationwide. The counties were placed in four divisions based on the size of their membership. Clark County won an Achievement Award for Farm Day.

Farm Day is a day for inner-city children participating in summer school to have an opportunity to learn about agriculture. Over 200 third and fourth grade students participated and traveled to 10 stations that range from farm technology, livestock, water, planting, grain, and ag processing. The kids had the opportunity to learn where their food comes from and to gain first-hand knowledge of what it takes to get food from the farm to their table. When the students attend each station, it is encouraged that they ask questions about the segment that was presented. Students were given the opportunity to be “hands on” with farm animals that were at the stations.

For a full recap of all 100th annual meeting news, visit ofbf.org/tag/news-room.

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