Huron County Farm Bureau Board of Trustees is currently seeking members for two open board seats to the Board of…Read More
Shortly after the Ohio General Assembly passed a Capital Budget in the form of House Bill 687, Gov. Mike DeWine signed it into law. This funding allocates $3.5 billion to a myriad of initiatives over the next two years.
“This budget is designed to support infrastructure and brick and mortar projects,” said Brandon Kern, senior director of state and national policy with Ohio Farm Bureau. “There is also funding in this budget provided for community projects, like local parks, and assistance for our county fairs as well.”
Ohio Farm Bureau heavily advocated for two major projects that are slated for funding through this legislation. Support for a new state-of-the-art Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at the Ohio Department of Agriculture and much needed renovations to the Ohio Expo Center will have a major impact on Ohio agriculture directly
“The ADDL is the only full-service, all species veterinary diagnostic laboratory in the state of Ohio and it is absolutely critical in the defense of threats just like we are seeing now with African Swine Fever in pigs and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in poultry and other animal disease outbreaks that may occur,” Kern said. “The current laboratory occupies an antiquated building, it lacks the space needed for adequate testing capacity and it is functioning without updated technology and the latest equipment that its counterparts across the country have.”
Farm Bureau worked with ODA to assess its needs for an upgraded laboratory and then shared those needs with lawmakers. The nearly $71.5 million allotted for this project will allow ADDL to continue to protect the food system at the highest level for both the agriculture sector and Ohio consumers.
Also in the Capital Budget is $21.5 million for the Ohio Expo Center and Ohio State Fair. This funding is broken down into three categories: one for immediate and critical facility improvements and modernization, one for emergency renovations and equipment as needed and one for the work of the Ohio Expo 2050 Task Force, which was created to develop the recommended long-term vision of the Ohio State Fair.
“We view this portion of the budget as an initial down payment for making urgent fixes to the Expo Center grounds,” Kern said. “The comprehensive needs for the facility are going to require significantly more resources as we pointed out to our representatives earlier this year, but this is a great initial investment to get the process started.”
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