Ohio Farm Bureau Federation

Exactly one year after the Lake Erie Bill of Rights was challenged by a northwest Ohio farmer, U.S. District Court Judge Jack Zouhary ruled decisively that LEBOR was invalid.

LEBOR, passed by Toledo voters in 2019, attempted to give legal rights to Lake Erie and to give Toledoans authority to file lawsuits on behalf of the lake.

The day after the measure passed, Wood County farmer Mark Drewes filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of LEBOR.

With the ruling, Judge Zouhary noted that the verdict was not a close call. He stated that “LEBOR is unconstitutionally vague and exceeds the power of municipal government in Ohio. It is therefore invalid in its entirety.”

“It is as clear today as it was one year ago that LEBOR was invalid and counterproductive to the real measures being taken for clean water in Ohio,” said Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp. “We commend Mark Drewes for taking on this battle on behalf of farmers throughout the Lake Erie Watershed and we appreciate Judge Zouhary’s thoughtful verdict on this important issue.”

The City of Toledo’s aggressive defense of LEBOR has kept farmers in the watershed in limbo for over a year. As Judge Zouhary pointed out, even the simple act of planting corn or irrigating a field could have violated the vague terms of LEBOR.

Sharp said he hopes this decision can place the focus back on the efforts Ohio farmers are making to be part of the solution to water quality challenges.

Ohio Farm Bureau also recognizes the significant legal work of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease who handled the case for Mr. Drewes. “We are happy the Court vindicated our client’s clear constitutional rights. As the Court told the City of Toledo in the opinion, it was not a close call,” said lawyer Tom Fusonie.

Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
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Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
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Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
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Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
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Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
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Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
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Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
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Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
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Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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