Ohio Farm Bureau

Members endured another year of challenges in 2022. Inflation aggravated the economy and kept the skyrocketing cost of everything from fertilizer to parts and fuel at sustained levels throughout the year. Spring and summer rains delayed planting in some parts of the state, as labor shortages worsened and concerns about the supply chain continued unabated.

Through it all Farm Bureau continued to advocate for agriculture in big and small ways – from fighting for priority issues such as landowner property rights and the next farm bill, to educating members about the need to study solar leases carefully. Further, much work behind the scenes goes into ensuring Farm Bureau has a seat at the table when water quality initiatives are discussed and on a local level, ensuring farmers have a voice when something such as a bypass cutting through farmland hits the radar. Farm Bureau is everywhere you can’t be.

In order to continue to do this work, many changes to the organization’s structure went
into effect in 2022 as part of a new strategic plan. Changes in 2022 included efficiencies such as the reduction of state office space, the elimination of a separate mailing of Buckeye Farm News, implementation of a new field staffing pilot project and a membership dues increase. These measures and more will keep Ohio Farm Bureau advocating for you, our members, for years to come.

Here’s a look back at key victories and organization highlights in 2022:

Nationwide partnership

NationwideThis partnership continued to offer tremendous value for members and Ohio’s agricultural community in 2022, as was evidenced in several Farm Bureau member testimonials throughout the year. In addition to member education programming, the partnership co-sponsored a number of events including Grain Bin Safety Week, the Golden Owl Award, Black Farmers Conference and dozens of county-level events. The Select Partners preferred partnership program for insurance agents continued to flourish as well in its second year. The Nationwide partnership remains the foundation for Ohio Farm Bureau’s continued success.

Meat Processing Grants

With the support of the Ohio Farm Bureau, the Ohio Meat Processing Grant Program was established. It was in so much demand, the state expanded funding twice in 2022. Grant funding is used to implement processing efficiencies, expand or construct facilities at existing sites, assist in training and certification, and improve harvest services. Each company received a grant of up to $250,000. A total disbursement of $28 million has been awarded to meat processors in 50 of the state’s 88 counties.

Ag projects funded through state’s capital budget

The capital budget signed into law last summer allocated resources to a myriad of initiatives over the next two years. Ohio Farm Bureau heavily advocated for two major projects 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, which will both have a major impact on Ohio agriculture directly.

Expo Center recommendations

2022 Ohio State FairLed by Ohio Farm Bureau, a total of nine major Ohio agriculture groups released recommendations to modernize the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair, putting forth objectives in areas such as the mission and vision for the Expo Center; land use and optimization; the overall experience for youth and the public; and funding, governance and operations. The ag coalition said to keep the state fair at the Expo Center.

Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network

Entering its sixth year of nutrient management research, the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network released a new video series that features several farmers in northwest Ohio who are using funding from the H2Ohio water quality initiative to implement subsurface nutrient placement on their farms. Subsurface placement of nitrogen and phosphorus is considered a best management practice that protects surface water quality by dramatically decreasing nutrient runoff potential.

Landowner rights

Ohio Farm Bureau filed several legal briefs in the courts in the area of eminent domain this year, fighting to protect landowners’ rights. Additionally, Farm Bureau worked to get a key piece of legislation introduced as House Bill 698. If passed it would create a more direct legal route for a landowner to receive compensation when property is taken by the government without compensation.

Enlist ban revoked

Early in the year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decided to prohibit the use of Enlist Duo and Enlist One herbicides in certain Ohio counties. Farm Bureau engaged the Ohio congressional delegation and members of the Biden administration to voice concerns about the new policy. Following Farm Bureau-led meetings with EPA’s senior agriculture advisor, the agency reversed the ban in March.

Securities and Exchange Commission rule ignites action alert

SEC  rulesThe Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed rule to require climate disclosures by public companies could severely impact family farms and ranches and intensify the already concerning rate of consolidation in agriculture as the proposed rules could apply to the entire supply chain of a company. Farm Bureau led the charge to submit comments to the SEC with concerns about the rule, which remains in limbo and has not been adopted.

Beginning Farmer Tax Credit becomes law

A few years ago, a group of leaders with the Young Agricultural Professionals program proposed an idea to create an incentive for established farm owners to transition their operations to beginning farmers. After a few years of research, hearings, negotiations and working through the legislative process, Gov. Mike DeWine signed HB 95 into law in April. This bill creates a tax credit to assist the next generation of farmers while helping the current generation transition their operations.

U.S. Supreme Court cases involve ag

Agricultural issues were highlights of the opening weeks of the U.S. Supreme Court in November. First up was the Sackett v. U.S. EPA case, which questioned how it is determined when a wetland is covered under the Clean Water Act. Second was a case over Proposition 12 in California, which is a ballot measure banning the sale of certain livestock products that are not raised under certain conditions, even on farms outside the state. Farm Bureau has filed legal briefs in both cases to help provide a voice for the agricultural industry.

Advocating to make E15 available year-round

E15 year-roundOhio Farm Bureau, along with the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association and the Ohio Ethanol Producers Association, asked Gov. Mike DeWine to notify the U.S. EPA that Ohio wishes to implement the sale of E15 year-round. The request was made to the EPA in June. E15 was offered last summer by the federal government, but the actions from Gov. DeWine will push to allow E15 to be offered year-round without the competitive disadvantage of additional regulation.

Water Quality Status Report

Water quality is always a literal work in progress for Ohio Farm Bureau. The 2022 Water Quality Status Report highlighted how signature water quality initiatives and partnerships such as the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network along with H2Ohio, and its farmer certification piece through the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative, have had major roles improving and protecting clean water. Further work also is done quietly behind the scenes by Ohio Farm Bureau staff and volunteers to help guide the state and region to a healthier H2O future.

Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative hosted a panel discussion on the findings of its 2021 Assessment Survey Report which detailed practices being used by farmers in the Lower Maumee watershed to manage water and nutrients. The survey results established a baseline of adoption for various farming practices in the Lower Maumee watershed.

Proof of water quality progress through data

water qualityPhosphorus is an essential nutrient for crop production and continues to be a focus in water quality improvement efforts. According to the most recent analysis of soil test data from The Fertilizer Institute, a consistent source for trusted information and data regarding the use of fertilizers in agriculture, the number of soil samples tested for Ohio increased from about 69,000 in 2001 to nearly 274,000 in 2020. Over the same period, the median soil test phosphorus levels dropped from 38 to 26 parts per million.

2022 Election Guide

The Ohio Farm Bureau Agriculture for Good Government Political Action Committee Friend of Agriculture designations were announced in the 2022 Election Guide, which was published in the October issue of Buckeye Farm News and online. The Friend of Agriculture designation recognizes Ohio General Assembly and U.S. congressional candidates for their views on issues of importance to agriculture, and for their alignment with Farm Bureau policy. In the midterm election, 92% of those designated a Friend of Ag won their races.

Winter Leadership Experience in Cincinnati

American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall was the keynote speaker at Ohio Farm Bureau’s 2022 Young Ag Professionals Winter Leadership Experience in Cincinnati in January. The annual event is open to young agriculturalists interested in building leadership skills, networking with agricultural leaders and making a difference in their communities.

Young Ag Professionals award winners

Fifth generation farmer John Hummel of Canal Winchester won Ohio Farm Bureau’s Outstanding Young Farmer Award. Stacie Anderson of Wood County was awarded Ohio Farm Bureau’s Excellence in Agriculture Award. Mike Hannewald of Lucas County was the winner of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals 2022 Discussion Meet competition. Anderson and Hannewald went on to win their respective national contests, as well.

Youth Pathways Grant recipient

Junior Achievement Virtual Inspire Career Exploration Fair was the 2022 recipient of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation’s Youth Pathways for Careers in Agriculture Grant. A total of $100,000 will assist this nonprofit as it develops programming that will prepare students for post-secondary training or direct placement in food, agricultural and environmental sciences industries.

Foundation provides support for ExploreAg

Jana MussardJana Mussard of Mount Vernon was hired as ExploreAg and ag literacy program specialist for Ohio Farm Bureau. She oversees planning, marketing and implementation of the ExploreAg program, as well as creating a comprehensive ag literacy program that aligns with the ExploreAg workforce development program.

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation breaks records

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation awarded nearly $85,000 in scholarships to students across the state, the highest amount given in a single year. The annual golf invitational at Muirfield Village raised a record-breaking $100,000 for scholarships, grants and programs that help enhance agricultural communities and support careers in agriculture. The annual Cultivating a Cure, which supports cancer treatment and prevention research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, raised more than $120,000 in August.

Ohio Farm Bureau Travel Program returns

Ohio Farm Bureau Travel ProgramAfter a hiatus during the pandemic, the Ohio Farm Bureau Travel Program returned in 2022, offering packages to Hawaii, Ireland and Alaska. This is a partnership with the Maryland Farm Bureau and Collette Tours and Explorations by Thor.

Ohio State Fair makes a full comeback

2022 Dean's Celebrity Steer ShowThe Ohio State Fair returned in all its glory this past summer at the Ohio Expo Center and state fairgrounds in Columbus. Ohio Farm Bureau’s Land & Living Exhibit was back as well and included collaborations with industry partners to showcase various sides of agriculture in the areas of animals, food, technology, the environment and more. Ohio Farm Bureau also participated in the Dean’s Charity Steer Show, which raised $247,148 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio.

Changes to staffing through service delivery pilot project

Balancing resources to better deliver local member services have been important and challenging considerations for county Farm Bureaus in recent years. A new staffing arrangement involving eight county Farm Bureaus was launched last summer. The service delivery pilot project is being conducted in Hancock, Hardin, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, Wood and Wyandot counties. The pilot area is testing possible solutions that our research, county leader and member feedback have identified. These include the need to lead with the value of the organization, increase engagement with members, create new approaches to retain and invite new members into the organization and foster a culture that attracts and retains exceptional talent.

Ag leadership program AgriPOWER Class XIII

AgriPOWER Class XIIINine farmers and agribusiness professionals were selected to participate in Ohio Farm Bureau’s 2022-2023 AgriPOWER Institute. This yearlong program focuses on public policy issues confronting agriculture and the food industry such as consumer relations, regulations, energy, and trade policies. It helps individuals develop the skills necessary to become effective leaders and advocates for agriculture by learning from experts in these fields.

Ag Day at the Capital

Over 350 Ohio Farm Bureau members gathered in downtown Columbus to meet one-on-one with their state senators and state representatives during Ohio Farm Bureau’s annual Ag Day at the Capital in February. Ohio Farm Bureau priority issues such as strengthening the food supply chain, protecting landowner rights, supporting the next generation of farmers and connecting rural Ohio were discussed, along with a host of other community issues.

Washington, D.C. Advocacy Trip

2022 Washington DC Leadership ExperienceOhio Farm Bureau’s farmer leaders including young agricultural professionals, AgriPOWER Class XIII members and county presidents and vice presidents visited Washington, D.C. in September. Over the three-day trip, participants heard from experts and in turn voiced their thoughts 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.

14 counties receive national recognition

The American Farm Bureau Federation County Activities of Excellence awards celebrate unique, local, volunteer-driven programs that serve as models of innovation for local program development. There were 14 winning counties from Ohio in 2022: Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson, Tuscarawas, Clinton, Crawford, Fayette, Fulton, Gallia, Geauga, Lucas, Pike, Scioto and Wood.

2022 Membership campaign

The 2022 membership campaign concluded in March with 73,663 members. Here is a final list of some of the accomplishments for the 2022 Membership Campaign:
25 counties achieved at least active gain and the Milestone Award.
4 of those counties achieved at least a 3% active gain and the Explorer Award.
2 of those counties achieved at least a 6% active gain and the Trailblazer Award.
4 counties achieved total gain.
12 Murray Lincoln Award winners.
42 Ambassador Club winners.
15 Champions Club winners.

I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.
Bethany Starlin's avatar
Bethany Starlin

Hocking County Farm Bureau

Available scholarships
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
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.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton 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
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.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
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
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

Advocacy
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