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As the redrawing of legislative districts continues to move through proper procedures at the Statehouse, candidates and voters are left to wonder exactly what the primary elections will look like this spring.

While that part of the election process remains in flux, the way Farm Bureau selects candidates to be designated as a Friend of Agriculture, which will be announced in conjunction with the organization’s fall Election Guide, will remain the same.
Both American Farm Bureau and Ohio Farm Bureau have a process to determine candidates who have demonstrated support for agriculture.

Two factors are used to determine which candidate will receive this distinction in each race. One is an evaluation conducted by each county in the congressional district. Local Farm Bureau leaders provide input on the representative’s level of engagement, as well as his or her responsiveness to agricultural and business issues. The second factor used is the legislator’s voting record and position on American Farm Bureau’s key issues and Ohio Farm Bureau’s key votes while the candidate has been in office.

At the state level, candidates deemed favorable to the agriculture community are given the designation “Friend of Agriculture,” awarded by AGGPAC (see sidebar below). In open seat screenings only, both candidates in a race can receive this designation.

How the process works

For races with incumbents, candidates are evaluated based on their voting record, an issue survey and county Farm Bureaus’ input on their level of engagement. For incumbents to be considered for the designation, they must have a satisfactory voting record in regard to Ohio Farm Bureau key votes, which are those issues deemed critical enough to make representatives aware of their vote’s importance to the interests of Ohio Farm Bureau members.

For open seat races, county Farm Bureaus will host screenings for Statehouse candidates to determine Friend of Agriculture status. After a group of members from within the district interview both candidates and discuss priority issues, the screening committee can designate one candidate, both candidates, or neither candidate as the Friend of Agriculture.

Ohio Farm Bureau publishes an Election Guide for members every two years. Look for
this year’s Election Guide in the September/October issue of Our Ohio magazine.

What is AGGPAC?

The Agriculture for Good Government Political Action Committee (AGGPAC) is Farm Bureau’s political action committee that routinely monitors the voting records and political campaigns of Ohio’s elected officials at the state and national levels. Candidates are screened by local Farm Bureau members to determine if they are agriculture friendly and then AGGPAC supports their campaign.

Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially.
Sara Tallmadge's avatar
Sara Tallmadge

Ashland County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
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.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
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.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
I was gifted the great opportunity through an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Pathways grant to run a series of summer camps here. That really expanded my vision of what ‘grow, maintain, sustain and explain’ could actually be.
Jim Bruner's avatar
Jim Bruner

Mezzacello Urban Farms

Farming for Good
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.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
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.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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