Stark County Ohio cornfield

That was a message that was loud and clear from our members coming out of our 104th annual meeting in December. The Ohio Farm Bureau team and our volunteers will relay that same message to lawmakers in Columbus and Washington, D.C. throughout the year.
According to American Farmland Trust, over 500,000 agricultural acres will be taken out of production and converted to both urban and highly developed uses and low-density residential uses by 2040.

Ohio land use map
Key: Brown: Cultivated Crops
Green: Forest
Gold: Hay/Pasture
Red: Developed
Source: Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission




There are many different ideas as to how to protect the farmland we have in Ohio which, by the way, is almost half of the state. One of those is the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Farmland Preservation Program. Since its inception, the program has helped 589 family farms in 61 counties preserve 91,507 acres in agricultural production. Currently, this important program faces legal challenges when it comes to development and eminent domain. Our members see the value in this program and the need to preserve it, so they are calling for the support of additional funding for the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP) to help meet the growing demand for farmland preservation efforts.

Another way to keep farmland viable is to have a plan for what happens to that land once the next generation takes over. Nationwide’s Land As Your Legacy program can help families have a clear vision for the long-term future of the farm. Many of us wish to see the farm continue for many years to come, but it is only a wish until you put it in writing. You can find out more by visiting with your local Nationwide representative.

In addition to those programs, the most effective way to protect Ohio farmland is to keep farms strong. If agricultural production is supported by lawmakers, farms will be sustainable. If the farm economy is working, those farms will thrive. And if those farms belong to an organization that is vigilantly protecting their best interests, like Ohio Farm Bureau, farm families will succeed.

There is no doubt that pressures from industry, investors, energy and sprawl will continue to mount across Ohio in a battle for highly productive ground. Perhaps it is time once again for a larger conversation about farmland preservation in our state, as each acre taken jeopardizes future food production and food security for our nation.

Farm Bureau will work diligently to find ways to help our state’s economy and population grow, while maintaining the land and resources to continue to feed both.

Adam Sharp is Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president.

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.
Ernie Welch's avatar
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.
Matt Aultman's avatar
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.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
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.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
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.
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

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