Farm Bureau continued to fight for members’ rights and interests on several fronts in 2018. Water quality and how to help ensure a cleaner Lake Erie while continuing to defend members’ right to farm remained a top priority for Farm Bureau. Property rights were fought for as high up as the U.S. Supreme Court. The interests of members were expressed on a national level as decisions were made regarding tax relief, tariffs and trade, among many other issues affecting Farm Bureau families.
Continuing to see the benefits of Current Agricultural Use Value reform, landowners in 24 Ohio counties up for CAUV reappraisal in 2018 saw an average 30 percent decrease in their farmland valuations and similar decreases in their taxes. These significant savings are a result of Ohio Farm Bureau’s diligent work in getting the state legislature to enact changes in 2017 to CAUV, which taxes farmland for its agricultural value rather than its fair market value. There are 23 counties scheduled for reappraisal in 2019.
Hundreds of Farm Bureau members gathered in downtown Columbus to meet one-on-one with their state senators and representatives during Ohio Farm Bureau’s annual Ag Day at the Capital Feb. 28. Ohio Farm Bureau priority issues such as water quality, economic development, energy and the drug epidemic were discussed, along with a host of other community issues.
A few weeks later in March, county presidents had the opportunity to hear from several members of Congress and talk one-on-one with their representatives and policymakers about priority issues impacting agriculture at the annual county president’s trip to Washington, D.C. A highlight of that trip was American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall presenting the 2017 Golden Plow award to Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. Finally, more than 50 participants from Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER and Young Ag Professionals groups traveled to Washington, D.C. in September for the annual leadership experience. The trip’s focus was on issues that affect farmers on a national level, including trade, immigration and the status of the 2018 Farm Bill.
Dairy farmers, who have been struggling for several years, received some much-needed help in 2018. A new insurance program was established through American Farm Bureau Insurance Services to help bring an extra level of support. The Dairy Revenue Protection insurance policy covers potential revenue loss over five quarterly insurance periods. Producers also were encouraged to take part in a revamped Margin Protection Program introduced by the USDA Farm Service Agency.
Ohio Farm Bureau filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court for the
first time in the organization’s 100 year history. Farm Bureau worked with attorneys at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLP to prepare and file the brief. Policy Counsel Leah Curtis and General Counsel Chad Endsley traveled to Washington, D.C. to hear oral arguments in the case Knick v. Scott Township, PA in October. Ohioans have to endure one of the toughest situations in the country when the government takes their land but refuses to acknowledge it. A two-step court process and likely thousands of dollars means that Ohioans’ constitutional right to receive compensation when their land is taken often goes unaddressed. The case Farm Bureau attorneys heard argued at the U.S. Supreme Court could change that.
However, in November the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the case for re-argument, which will happen in January.
OFBF worked on the following issues this past year and will continue to advocate for these member priorities in 2019:
- Water quality
- Nutrient management
- Tax reform
- Opioid crisis
- Landowner rights
- Rural broadband
- Livestock care
- Energy development
- Electronic logging devices
- Orphan wells