74th Presidents' Trip

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

Wednesday morning, Ohio Farm Bureau county presidents were joined by Sen. Sherrod Brown. He shared his views on the Phase One Trade Deal with China.

“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. 

Representatives of the U.S. EPA also stopped by to explain the new Clean Water Rule that replaced WOTUS earlier this year.

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.”

OFBF President Frank Burkett shares policy issues members will be taking to Capitol Hill this week during a live segment on RFD-TV.

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

Media coverage

Changing climate a hot topic on Farm Bureau’s 74th trip to Washington, D.C.

by Dave Russell and Matt Reese, Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio AgNet

Ohio Farm Bureau county presidents’ trip kicks off today

by Amie Simpson, Brownfield Network

Ohio Farm Bureau members are discussing top priorities in Washington, D.C.

by Amie Simpson, Brownfield Network

Senator Brown delivers remarks at OFB breakfast

WKTN Staff

COVID-19 makes for a different trip to D.C.

by Dave Russell, Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio AgNet

D.C. Trip about relationships

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


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Shana Angel

Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau

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, D.C.
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Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

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Eric Bernstein

Wyandot County Farm Bureau

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Gayle Hansen

Cuyahoga County Farm Bureau

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Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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Andy Hollenback

Licking County Farm Bureau

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