US Capitol

Farmers annual trip to Washington, D.C.

Ohio Farm Bureau’s farmer leaders, members of the media and select staff will be in Washington, D.C. March 12-14, 2019 for the 73rd annual County Presidents’ Trip.

While there, they will hear from American Farm Bureau public policy staff members, visit the Chilean Embassy, and most importantly meet with their representatives to make known Farm Bureau’s views on priority issues such as farm economy, trade, regulatory reform, technology and infrastructure.

Special guest speakers include Sen. Sherrod Brown; Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Bob Gibbs; and Gregg Doud, chief agricultural negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, among others.

Highlights from each day of the trip will be posted at this page. Follow the news on social media @OhioFarmBureau or #ofbdc.

Thursday, March 14

The third and final day of the 73rd annual Ohio Farm Bureau County Presidents’ Trip to Washington, D.C. began with a breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club with keynote speaker, Sen. Rob Portman.

Sen. Rob PortmanSenator Portman’s comments included the need for expanded markets to help drive commodity prices higher. He said he hopes to have some good news in regard to trade with China. He said China’s economy is struggling and they are in need of fair trade with us as much are we are with them.

As far as regulation is concerned, Senator Portman emphasized that regulations should make farming easier, not more difficult.

After breakfast, the buses made their way to Capitol Hill where farmer members had their opportunities to meet with legislators from their respective districts. Not many individuals get the chance to have one-on-one conversation with lawmakers about issues that affect their communities and livelihoods. The county Farm Bureau presidents made the most of their time inside the beltway, using their voice to shape policy at the national level for agriculture and beyond.

Wednesday, March 13

One of the perks of the annual OFBF Country President’s Trip to the nation’s capital is having breakfast with the Senators representing Ohio.

Sen. Sherrod Brown was the guest for breakfast on Wednesday. He hit on the new farm bill and how important swift implementation of it is for agriculture. He told members that this farm bill takes the issue of water quality to heart more than any other previous farm law.

Sen. Sherrod Brown listens to a question asked by Henry County Farm Bureau's Mike Miller this morning in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Sherrod Brown listens to a question asked by Henry County Farm Bureau’s Mike Miller this morning in Washington, D.C.

Then the Ohio delegation was joined by fellow Farm Bureau members from Missouri and Nebraska. Collectively, they enjoyed visits from Ken Isley, administrator for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Rickey “R.D.” James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and Cody Lyon, Managing Director of Advocacy and Political Affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation. Topics covered included the new Clean Water Rule, an infrastructure update, current trade efforts and tips for working with lawmakers as a resource for the farming sector.

It was off to Capitol Hill after lunch to sit in on Congressman Bob Gibbs’ Farm Forum. Gibbs, a former Ohio Farm Bureau president, talked about the importance of the trip members made from Ohio to Washington and then opened the floor to his invited guests, including House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson (MN), Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA) and freshman Congressmen Troy Balderson and Anthony Gonzalez, both fellow Buckeyes.

Congressman Bob Gibbs welcomes county presidents to his annual Farm Forum with congressional leaders in D.C.
Congressman Bob Gibbs welcomes county presidents to his annual Farm Forum with congressional leaders in D.C.

Tomorrow begins bright and early with a breakfast featuring Sen. Rob Portman before county presidents travel back to Capitol Hill for meetings they have scheduled with their legislators.

Tuesday, March 12

It is more than fitting that during National Ag Week, Ohio Farm Bureau county presidents headed to Washington, D.C. to visit with lawmakers about issues that impact agriculture on the state and national levels.

Trade complications with China have weighed heavily on the farm economy and although and new trade agreement has been signed between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, the USMCA deal still has to go through the process of ratification from each country’s legislature.

Today members heard from Dr. John Newton, chief economist with American Farm Bureau, about the outlook for farm income, which is expected to be up slightly in 2019. He also talked about the recent budget proposal from the Trump administration and said that cuts to USDA and changes to the crop insurance portion of the new farm bill were nonstarters for many members of Congress.

Trade was also a hot topic on opening day. American Farm Bureau’s Senior Director of Congressional Relations, David Salmonsen, talked with members about the USMCA. The agreement was signed in November, but the process was stalled by the recent government shutdown. He said trade agreements rarely fail, because all of the agreeable details are hashed out before an administration first sends it to Congress for ratification. That should happen soon.

Ohio Farm Bureau representatives were also informed by American Farm Bureau staff about regulatory reform and infrastructure.

OFBF President Frank Burkett III prepares to be interviewed by RFD-TV on the first day of the county presidents' trip to Washington, D.C.
OFBF President Frank Burkett III prepares to be interviewed by RFD-TV on the first day of the county presidents’ trip to Washington, D.C.

Tomorrow is another big day for county OFBF presidents, as they will enjoy breakfast with Sen. Sherrod Brown and then will be joined later in the morning by Missouri and Nebraska Farm Bureau members to hear from U.S. Trade Representative’s Chief Ag Negotiator Gregg Doud and Rickey “R.D.” James, assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works.

After lunch, county presidents will make their way to Capitol Hill for the highly anticipated Farm Forum, hosted by Congressman Bob Gibbs. Attendees will hear from a number of lawmakers about their perspectives on the pertinent issues to agriculture.

Online Extra

In the News

Members of the media and some Ohio Farm Bureau staff are accompanying the presidents on the trip.

Susan Crowell, Farm and Dairy

Amie Simpson, Brownfield Ag News

Amy Patterson, Geauga Maple Leaf

Carroll County Messenger

Matt Reese, Ohio’s Country Journal

Matt Reese caught up with caught up with Dustin Converse on the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation County Presidents’ Trip to Washington, D.C.

From Ohio’s Country Journal: County Presidents’ Trip highlights trade and farm economy


Ohio Farm Bureau membership