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Ohio Farm Bureau’s farmer leaders including young agricultural professionals, AgriPOWER Class XII members and county presidents, plus members of the media and select Farm Bureau staff were in Washington, D.C. Sept. 28-30, 2021.
Over three days, participants heard from experts and in turn voiced their thoughts on topics as far reaching as tax policy to climate to broadband development. This is an opportunity for members to help legislators make the connection between what is happening on Ohio farms and what is being debated in the halls of Congress and within federal agencies.
Guest speakers included Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Rob Portman and Rep. Bob Gibbs.
Highlights from each day of the trip will be posted at this page. Follow the news on social media @OhioFarmBureau or #ofbdc.
Day 1 (Sept. 28)
The 2021 Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience kicked off Tuesday. The first of its kind event joined county Farm Bureau presidents and vice presidents with Ohio Farm Bureau Young Ag Professionals and members of AgriPOWER Institute Class XII at the nation’s capital.
“All of these groups are bringing different viewpoints on the many issues that we are facing in agriculture,” said Ohio Farm Bureau President Bill Patterson. “The opportunity to have them all meet with their legislators to share all of those perspectives at the same time is really exciting.”
In preparation for in-person visits with lawmakers, participants were briefed by experts from American Farm Bureau about the topics that will be covered during Hill visits this week, including climate and environment, livestock and dairy issues, Waters of the United States (WOTUS) and taxes.
The keynote speaker was AFBF’s Vice President of Public Affairs Sam Keiffer, who gave an overview of current legislation moving through Congress, including a $1.5 trillion spending bill and a bipartisan infrastructure package.
Tomorrow morning, Ohio Farm Bureau will host Sen. Sherrod Brown for breakfast, then it is off to Capitol Hill for a Farm Forum, hosted by Congressman Bob Gibbs.
Day 2 (Sept. 29)
One of the many highlights of the 2021 Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience is getting to hear from both U.S. senators. Wednesday began with remarks from Sen. Sherrod Brown, who connected virtually with Ohio Farm Bureau members over breakfast. Senator Brown talked about his many years of service on the Senate Agriculture Committee and some of the bipartisan work he has done with Sen. Rob Portman on an infrastructure bill getting some attention on Capitol Hill this week.
“There are some 3,000 Ohio bridges in need of repair, so there will be at least $10 billion in this bill for Ohio alone,” Brown said. “It also includes broadband. The pandemic was the great revealer, and it showed the importance of broadband in rural Ohio and in inner-city Ohio. This bill will address these long-neglected problems that presidents like Trump and Obama promised but didn’t deliver on.”
After breakfast, participants made their way to Capitol Hill to visit with their representatives and then enjoyed the Farm Forum. This event is hosted by Congressman Bob Gibbs (District 7) as he invites other lawmakers from Ohio and across the country to visit with Ohio Farm Bureau members about where issues that concern agriculture currently are in the legislative process. Guests included Ohio representatives Troy Balderson (District 12), Warren Davidson (District 8) and Bob Latta (District 5), along with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (California District 23), Minority Whip Steve Scalise (Louisiana District 1), Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (Pennsylvania District 15) and Rep. Rodney Davis (Illinois District 13).
For the third and final day, Ohio Farm Bureau leaders will be joined by Senator Portman and will hear from leaders at USDA and NRCS before heading home.
Day 3 (Sept. 30)
The final day of the 2021 Washington Leadership Experience began with breakfast with Senator Rob Portman. Sen. Portman was instrumental in putting together the infrastructure bill that is currently being considered by Congress. The Senator considered the passage of the bill a rare, bipartisan effort, collecting 69 votes from Republicans and Democrats.
Sen. Portman said that while he heard from Ohio Farm Bureau members and worked to take all tax changes out of the infrastructure bill, including elimination of stepped-up basis and capital gains, those issues could be added to future legislation. He used the $5 trillion reconciliation bill as an example.
“That bill has a lot of bad tax increases in it, including increases in the estate tax which will cause some farms to get caught up in the estate tax again,” Sen. Portman said. “Stepped-up basis is still something Democrats would like to get rid of and that would be a huge problem. That would require a lot of farmers to have to sell property altogether just to pay the tax bill and we can’t go back to that.”
Participants also heard from NRCS Chief Terry Cosby, who was most recently Ohio’s State Conservationist and USDA Deputy Under Secretary Gloria Montano Green about the latest developments and projects from their respective agencies.
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