2024 AFBF delegate session

At the 105th American Farm Bureau Annual Convention earlier this month, Ohio Farm Bureau member-approved policies were shared with AFBF delegates for consideration.

Delegates to the business meeting voted to create new policy, introduced by Ohio Farm Bureau members, to address the growth of artificial intelligence in agriculture. AI has the potential to enhance farming practices and conserve resources, but privacy rights must be respected.

“It was recognized by AFBF delegates that we don’t have a lot of policy for this new technology that is starting to rapidly progress in our industry,” said Jack Irvin, vice president of public policy with Ohio Farm Bureau. “This new policy will help guide the organization as we look at legislation and issues that may come with artificial intelligence.”

The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones in agriculture is also ramping up. While other states had proposals, Ohio Farm Bureau members’ recommended policy on UAVs was selected given its thoughtfulness. This policy will be shared with the FAA to encourage an update to drone regulations needed for agricultural operators. The policy also encourages a streamlined process for all licenses and exemptions needed for agricultural operators using their drones to increase production and minimize requiring inputs for maximum efficiency through techniques such as crop imaging, scouting and application.

On the farmland preservation front, after tough discussions, delegates from the Buckeye State successfully had policy adopted when it comes to land use for renewable energy. Learning from challenges around development of new infrastructure and transmission lines, Ohio delegates requested that AFBF “review federal green energy policy, including commercial solar projects, as it relates to farmland impact and reliable power generation, supply and grid reliability.” The information gathered by the staff at American Farm Bureau will serve as a baseline to future discussions over green energy as well as solar energy.

Outside of Ohio Farm Bureau’s suggestions, delegates voted to stabilize wage rates for guest workers and revise H-2A and H-2B programs to better meet the needs of America’s farms; reaffirmed their support for increasing reference prices in the farm bill and maintaining a strong crop insurance program, including an expansion of eligibility to ensure more commodities are covered; called for changes to the contract poultry pay system to ensure long-term economic sustainability for farmers and to require more transparency from chicken companies; and added policy to recommend Congress investigate fertilizer supply chain outages and tariffs placed on imports.

Ohio 2024 AFBF delegates

Serving as Ohio delegates were (front row l to r): John Bolte, Chris Weaver, Cy Prettyman and Bill Patterson, with Bill Myers and Mike Videkovich serving as alternate voting delegates.

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.
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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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