Ohio joint ag committee hearing Aug 2023

Among the items Ohio Farm Bureau supported in the new state budget was $190 million for the Ohio Expo Center 2050 project. The state budget allocation approved in June will allow for buildings to be renovated and renewed, and infrastructure repaired and upgraded at its current location to make the Ohio State Fair and Expo Center the best in the country.

Ohio agriculture groups, led by Ohio Farm Bureau, were involved in this process for several years, culminating in February 2023 with recommendations on the State Fair and Expo Center that were shared with Gov. Mike DeWine’s 2050 Ohio Expo Task Force.

The ag groups’ vision and involvement is paying off now. 

“The Ohio State Fair is one of the greatest opportunities we have to bridge the urban/rural divide and showcase our amazing industry and way of life to hundreds of thousands of Ohioans every year,” Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp said during his Ohio House and Ohio Senate Joint Ag Committee testimony this week. “Through the task force, many interested parties gave input on what the future of the fair should look like, and out of the final study, the vision for the Ohio Expo Center emerged.”

Sharp noted that the work done by the 2050 Task Force, including working with third-party master planning consultants, has lifted up the importance of investing and keeping the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair at its current location and investing in its future without removing its footprint in central Ohio. Supporting thousands of 4-H and FFA students, along with showcasing careers in agriculture, are just some of the many ways this investment helps secure the future success of the state’s No. 1 industry.

The recommendations were shared with the Ohio Expo 2050 Task Force to ensure that the input, ideas and concerns of the agriculture industry, including preserving the current location and footprint with a strong investment for improvements, were properly incorporated into the state’s new Vision Plan. The ag groups put forth their 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.

“This historic investment in the vision for this fair and the Ohio Expo Center will allow us to continue that great mission for generations to come,” Sharp said.

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.
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Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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