Fairfield, Hocking, Pickaway Ross counties, Ohio

Farm Bureau state board meeting highlights

I am Mike Videkovich, and I represent your county on the Ohio Farm Bureau board of trustees, along with Regional Trustee Jenny Cox. Ohio Farm Bureau has provided the following recap of some of the key items covered during the March state board meeting.

Guests

Nationwide guests included Board Chairman Jeff Zellers and board member (now retired) Dan Kelley. From Sponsor Relations: Devin Fuhrman and Dan Durheim.

Young Agricultural Professionals representatives: Megan and Tyrone Brannon, Tuscarawas County and Kameron Rinehart, Fayette County.

Welcome new Ohio Farm Bureau President Bill Patterson

The March board meeting was one for the history books when the board elected Bill Patterson of Chesterland as the 25th president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Patterson was elected upon the resignation of Frank Burkett of Massillon, who left the board to stand for election to the Nationwide board of directors. He was elected to the Nationwide board of directors April 1. Cy Prettyman was elected as Ohio Farm Bureau’s new first vice president, and Lane Osswald was elected treasurer. Read more about our new officers and our connection to Nationwide, and a special thanks to former president Frank Burkett.

Membership campaign

Our county membership teams have worked hard to communicate the value of membership to their friends, family, neighbors and local businesses. This hard work resulted in active member (agriculture) gain. If you helped by telling your story about the value that Farm Bureau provides you and your community, we thank you for your help inviting people to join an organization that works together with farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.

OFBF Membership and Financial Strength Task Force

We continued to review and discuss the recommendations of the Membership and Financial Strength Task Force and the next steps needed to move our organization into the future. As you may recall, this group was asked to review our current membership structure, dues rates, membership processing and the overall financial strength of the organization. We already have had several communication meetings with county leaders. Over the next couple of months, state board members will be visiting county board meetings to discuss these recommendations.

Public policy

The 2021 Ohio Agriculture and Rural Communities Action Plan was recently rolled out, calling on policymakers to work with Ohio Farm Bureau to implement an agenda to help revitalize Ohio agriculture and rural communities. Many parts of this action plan have seen progress in Columbus and Washington, D.C., including investment in COVID-19 recovery for farmers and businesses across the state, connecting all Ohioans with reliable broadband and the advancement of young and beginning farmers as they face significant challenges in this current economic environment.

At the federal level, farmers and ranchers operating as single-member LLCs who were recently made eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program now have more time to apply for PPP loans. Legislation to extend the PPP application deadline through May 31, 2021 has passed both chambers of Congress. Farm Bureau supported passage of this legislation.

Farm Bureau is already engaged in recent proposals by several federal lawmakers to tax unrealized capital gains at death and roll back the stepped-up basis on those capital gains. We support an unlimited stepped-up basis, the elimination of the estate tax and are adamantly opposed to this proposed capital gains tax as it discriminates against capital-intensive businesses like agriculture. American Farm Bureau is asking members to participate in an Action Alert to ask members of Congress for their continued support of stepped-up basis. Consider adding a personal story about how your family and farm would be personally impacted.

Fiduciary responsibilities

A presentation and review of the financial audit for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and subsidiaries was given by John Kurtin, manager and Brent Ardit, partner, Rea & Associates. In the opinion of Rea & Associates, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, as they relate to the financial position of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and subsidiaries. The organization’s operating statements and statements of cash flow conform with generally accepted accounting principles. The 990 tax return was reviewed with the board prior to being filed.

2021 Annual Meeting

Planning is already underway for an in-person annual meeting. The board is working with the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation to introduce a new Foundation Breakfast on the agenda at this year’s annual meeting. This event will help better connect county Farm Bureaus with the foundation and highlight the foundation’s growing impact within our local communities and state.

New member benefits

Grasshopper and Ohio Farm Bureau have partnered to offer members a 15% savings off MSRP on purchases of new mowers and on accessories and implements if purchased at the time of sale of the mower. Benefits also include freight allowance for shipment to dealer location and free setup.

Ohio Farm Bureau members are now eligible to receive a $250 discount off the purchase of a Bush Hog product valued at $5,000 or greater. The products include select agricultural, landscape and construction implements. The discount is available through authorized Bush Hog dealers.