Ohio Farm Bureau’s grassroots policy development process surfaces those issues that have a significant impact on production agriculture, the state’s food system and communities. These priorities are where Farm Bureau will focus efforts for the continued strength and success of Ohio agriculture.
For the agriculture community to have numerous economic opportunities, a sustainable regulatory framework, an equitable tax structure, and an accessible infrastructure system must be in place. Farm Bureau will:
• Advocate for reasonable regulations affecting farmers’ access to a robust transportation network.
• Promote tax policies to incentivize business sustainability that recognize the diversity and unpredictability of the agricultural industry.
• Support legislation and initiatives that bring proper infrastructure, affordable broadband and high-speed Internet access to unserved and underserved parts of the state.
The challenges of farming have been mounting for years, which has resulted in an opiate epidemic, high rates of suicide and depression in rural Ohio, and a strain on families and employers. Farm Bureau will:
• Continue to connect members with local experts and resources in prevention and treatment.
• Focus on grassroots initiatives that engage a wide range of stakeholders to offer prevention strategies for men, women, and youth at risk in agriculture.
• Promote a culture that recognizes mental health as a key component of overall health for members.
Agriculture is being called upon to provide feedstocks to help produce energy, as well as accommodate generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure on farmland. Farm Bureau will:
• Engage in all legislation and discussions surrounding the state’s energy portfolio on behalf of member ratepayers.
• Advocate for greater transparency and education for royalty holders.
Water quality solutions
Water quality solutions are a priority for Ohio and its farmers. Farm Bureau will:
• Remain focused on being the voice for agriculture by making sure that discussions surrounding water quality remain fair, targeted and science-based.
• Advance research and real-world examples of the best land management practices and share those results with farmers and consumers, which will continue to be the focus of our Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network.
• Participate in and promote the newly formed Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative helping farmers receive H2Ohio funding to implement best practices that reduce nutrient runoff.
Young and beginning farmers and workforce development
Employers need a skilled and reliable workforce to ensure strong communities and Ohio’s role as an agricultural leader. It is crucial for the next generation to fill this role. Farm Bureau will:
• Spearhead legislation with incentives for young and beginning farmers, such as tax incentives, to make Ohio agriculture attractive and accessible for generations to come.
• Advocate for career technical education to encourage the growth of agricultural education programs.
• Support FFA and 4-H programs, particularly toward student access to excellent facilities.
Right to farm
Challenges to private property rights continue to be an issue across Ohio, whether from governmental entities or private companies and organizations. Farm Bureau will:
• Lead efforts for additional landowner protections, including eminent domain reform, streamlined judicial procedures and stronger requirements for local government use of private land.
• Continue to engage in ballot initiatives, judicial challenges and nuisance lawsuits so farmers can freely and responsibly operate their farms for generations to come.
Increase grassroots awareness and public engagement
A strong grassroots network is important for ensuring Ohio has the right policies and political leaders in place to support our farmers and their communities. In addition, seeking opportunities to engage and communicate directly with the public remain vitally important. Farm Bureau will:
• Work with members to create numerous opportunities for political education and engagement during the 2020 election cycle including open seat screenings, Ag Day at the Capital, designating Friends of Farm Bureau, candidate education and recruitment and promotion of the candidate reception program for counties.
• Strongly engage in local county self governance ballot measures.
• Engage in a long-term review of the Ohio Expo Center grounds as a facility that hosts the Ohio State Fair and many other agriculture related events.