2024 County Presidents' Trip to Washington DC

Ohio Farm Bureau’s farmer leaders plus members of the media and select Farm Bureau staff were at the nation’s capital March. 12-14, 2024 for the annual County Presidents Trip to Washington, D.C.

Over three days, participants heard from experts and, in turn, voiced their thoughts on topics as far reaching as the farm bill to trade to infrastructure. This annual trip is an opportunity for members 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.

March 14

The final day of the 2024 County Presidents’ Trip began with breakfast with Sen. Sherrod Brown. Brown, who is on the Senate Agriculture Committee, started his remarks with his thoughts on the farm bill process. He told members that most farm organizations like Ohio Farm Bureau understand that the current farm bill is working, but acknowledged that a new one is necessary.

“The last farm bill in 2018, I believe, was the most bipartisan farm bill we’ve ever had,” Brown said. “That is our goal, to get that kind of bipartisanship in a bill through the Senate. I recognize the importance of the input you have given, and we have to put our heads down and do this bill.”

For Ryan Hiser from Fayette County, the annual fly-in to Washington is what Ohio Farm Bureau is all about.

Farm Bureau leaders finished the 2024 Presidents’ Trip to Washington D.C., at the Canadian Embassy where they learned about trade.

“This trip is super important in terms of advocacy and policy because of the amount of work we get to do with our lawmakers. We are able to see what they’re looking at and give them some viewpoints they may not have seen,” Hiser said. “I really love coming on these trips, not just for the places and the work that we are doing, but also for the people that we get to be with.”

The trip was rounded out by a visit to the Canadian Embassy, where participants learned about the strong relationship between Ohio and Canada as far as trade is concerned and got an update on the USMCA trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

A total of 85 county Farm Bureau leaders and Ohio Farm Bureau staff made the trip this year, representing members from across Ohio, advocating for issues important to agriculture and rural Ohio as a whole.

March 13

On top of meeting with representatives on Capitol Hill during the 2024 County Presidents’ Trip, Ohio Farm Bureau members also got some time with members of the Senate. Wednesday’s activities kicked off with Sen. J.D. Vance, who joined Ohio Farm Bureau members over breakfast. Vance talked about the farm bill and how the biggest debate over getting a new one passed is between one side wanting more funding for crop insurance and the other for environmental policies.

Sen. J.D. Vance spoke with Ohio Farm Bureau county presidents in Washington, D.C.

“That conflict is a big part of what’s driving the delay in the farm bill,” Vance said. “This government is dysfunctional, but not that dysfunctional, and I know you all want more clarity and confidence in what’s going on with farm policy, and we will try to get that to you as much as possible.”

Vance said he cares a lot about Ohio agriculture and the food we produce, noting that if there was ever a major conflict, the people of Ohio and the entire country will be good because of the self-sufficiency of the nation’s farmers.

Dr. John Newton was also a guest at breakfast. He is the chief economist for the Senate Agriculture Committee under Sen. John Boozman of Arizona. Newton had some eye-opening statistics about the previous farm bill, discussed how a new five-year farm bill might look and shared some of the challenges of getting one across the finish line soon.

Before heading to Capitol Hill, participants were joined by Missouri and Minnesota Farm Bureau member-leaders to compare policy notes and strategies for their meetings with lawmakers and also heard from Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. They were also joined by the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Ohio’s former state conservationist, Terry Cosby, who urged Ohio Farm Bureau members to get more young people interested in soil science as the need for more and more people in his field grows at a rapid pace.

The majority of the afternoon had county presidents taking their messages to congressional leaders, which included the clarity that can be gained with a new five-year farm bill, continued tax reforms and more trade opportunities.

For the third and final day, Ohio Farm Bureau leaders will visit with more legislators and pay a visit to the Canadian Embassy before heading home.

March 12

The 2024 Ohio Farm Bureau County Presidents Trip kicked off Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The jam-packed day included a policy briefing from American Farm Bureau experts, as well as a rundown of issues important for Ohio agriculture directly. They discussed the importance of the farm bill and the need to get long-term legislation completed as soon as possible.

“Last year on this trip we were talking about the farm bill and once again this year it is our biggest priority issue,” said Ohio Farm Bureau President Bill Patterson. “We need to make sure that lawmakers understand that updates are needed with everything that has happened since the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, and the sooner we can get a new five-year farm bill passed the better.”

The day also included a trip to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where members heard from Chief Economist Seth Meyer. He shared all of the work his office does, including putting together the monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate reports.

Seth Meyer
U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Seth Meyer speaks with Farm Bureau county presidents on their first day in Washington, D.C.

“Laying out our picture for crop commodity prices is that they are expected to fall in the coming year,” Meyer said. “One of my concerns on the crop side is that margins are going to get squeezed for producers and while the farm economy has had three good years, this year is going to be a real challenge in terms of margins.”

The visit also included a presentation from the Foreign Ag Service and their work to find more trading partners across the globe.

Tomorrow morning, Ohio Farm Bureau will host Sen. J.D. Vance for breakfast at the Capitol Club, where leaders will also hear from John Newton, PhD., who serves as a chief economist for the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Online Extras

Coverage from RFD-TV: Policy Priorities: Ohio Farm Bureau members are voicing their concerns on Capitol Hill

Coverage from Brownfield Ag News: Farm Bureaus head to hill pressing for farm bill action

Coverage from Brownfield Ag News: Farm Bureau says Senate needs to understand the importance of tax reform

Coverage from Brownfield Ag News: Another farm bill extension might be a possibility

Coverage from Spectrum News: Ohio Farm Bureau advocates for updated 2024 farm bill in D.C. 

Coverage from Brownfield Ag News: Bipartisan support on childcare likely in a new farm bill

Coverage from Ohio’s Country Journal: Power in numbers at Washington, D.C.

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.
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Mandy Way

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