Ohio Farm Bureau’s farmer leaders, members of the media and select Farm Bureau staff are in Washington, D.C. March 10-12, 2020 for the 74th annual County Presidents’ Trip.
Wednesday, March 11
“The president and his cabinet claimed that the Phase One agreement would increase agricultural sales to China to $40 billion this year. Yet, less than a week later, his own economists at USDA projected that China would purchase less than half that amount,” Sen. Brown said. “Farmers need more than empty promises or one-time purchases from China: what Ohio farmers deserve is reciprocal access to China’s market, which this deal does not provide. I will continue to fight for trade policies with China that actually help farmers and companies compete on a level playing field.”
Broadband access in rural Ohio was another important issue Sen. Brown discussed. He acknowledged the divide between metro areas of the U.S. and farm country when it comes to broadband, but assured members that the vast majority of Congress is aware of the situation and the importance of access to the internet in rural parts of the state.
The 90 participants of this year’s trip then headed to the White House grounds for a tour of the Eisenhower Executive Building and were part of a briefing about trade and environmental issues.
While at the White House, USDA Undersecretary Ted McKinney updated county presidents about trade deals happening all over the world, including the new deals with China, Canada, Mexico and Japan.
After lunch, it was time for the annual Farm Forum, hosted by Congressman Bob Gibbs. who once again had a full slate of speakers, including Congressmen Troy Balderson (R-Ohio), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Steve Scalise (R-La.), along with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). The day wrapped up with a reception with other Midwest Farm Bureaus also visiting the nation’s capital this week.
Tuesday, March 10
“Access to both of our U.S. Senators, our congressional leaders and the White House is something very few groups have when they visit the nation’s capital,” said Frank Burkett, president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “The reason we have these opportunities is because of the hard work and dedication of all of you in this room and our volunteers throughout Ohio.”
As county presidents prepared for the 74th annual trip to Capitol Hill to visit with lawmakers, they were given some information about some of the topics of conversation that will be taking place on The Hill later this week.
American Farm Bureau’s Director of Grassroots Program Development, Michael Sistak, shared how to engage with a non-ag audience. He noted that many members of Congress, just like the general population, don’t know much about agriculture. He encouraged members to keep that in mind as they meet with their representatives this week.
OFBF members also heard from Dr. John Newton, American Farm Bureau’s chief economist. He gave his thoughts on the commodity price outlook for 2020, how the Corona scare is impacting the Phase 1 Trade Deal with China, and the U.S. dairy industry.
Broadband and mental health with be important issues that county presidents will be taking to their members of Congress during their visit. American Farm Bureau’s R.J. Carney, director of congressional relations, said those two topics go hand in hand in rural America, especially with the growing telemedicine industry. He noted that when lawmakers hear about the lack of connectivity in farm country, they are very surprised. With as much partisanship happening in Washington these days, extending broadband accessibility is one issue that both parties are fully behind.
Tomorrow morning, Ohio Farm Bureau will host Sen. Sherrod Brown for breakfast, before getting a tour of the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Then it is off to Capitol Hill for a Farm Forum, hosted by Congressman Bob Gibbs.
Media members accompanying the group:
Stacey Carmany, WJER Radio
Georgette Huff, The Free Press Standard
Amie Simpson, Brownfield Ag News
Stefanie Wessell, Gazette Newspapers
Rebecca Miller, Farm and Dairy
David Russell, Ohio Ag Net
Amy Patterson, Geauga Maple Leaf
by Dave Russell and Matt Reese, Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio AgNet
by Amie Simpson, Brownfield Network
by Amie Simpson, Brownfield Network
by Dave Russell, Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio AgNet
by Dave Russell and Matt Reese
Highlights from each day of the trip will be posted at this page. Follow the news on social media @OhioFarmBureau or #ofbdc