As Ohio Farm Bureau members met with their representatives in Washington, D.C. this week, a hot topic was an impending railway strike set for midnight Sept. 16, which had the potential of throwing an already stressed supply chain into chaos as trains hauling agriculture goods and more would have come to a complete halt.

“You don’t have to visit many cooperatives, elevators and agriculture retailers to realize how important rail is to Ohio agriculture and our members,” said Brandon Kern, senior director of state and national policy for Ohio Farm Bureau. “Our message to lawmakers this week was to keep the trains moving and not to put more pressure on an already bogged down supply chain.”

A tentative agreement brokered by the Biden administration between railway companies and railroad unions was reached in the wee hours Thursday morning, seeming to avert what would have been a $2 billion “hit to our economy right away,” according to U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who spoke to Farm Bureau members this week. “This is a serious economic issue and huge to our economy, not just to Ohio, but around the country.”

Farm Bureau members and leadership urged Congress to act immediately if necessary to keep commerce open, and several legislators appeared prepared to do so. 

“An extended rail strike would have cascading effects on farmers and ranchers, and the best solution for agriculture and the U.S. economy is to avoid a strike entirely,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “We hope workers and management come to an agreement immediately and keep trains moving. If not, AFBF urges Congress to prepare to intervene, if necessary, to prevent a rail stoppage of any duration.”

During a Thursday morning breakfast, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown spoke to Farm Bureau members in Washington, D.C. and expressed optimism regarding the tentative agreement reached by the unions and railroad companies.

“A strike would have been just a disaster for all of us – for farms, for industry,” Brown said. “The biggest fight was over sick days. I think that’s been reconciled to the general satisfaction of both sides. So I think the news is good.”

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

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
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Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
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.
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Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
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Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
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Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
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.
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Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
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.
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Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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