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Farmers meet with state lawmakers

Published Feb. 5, 2009 | Discuss this article on Facebook
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Rep. Jim Zehringer, center, talks with Farm Bureau members from his district. Photo by Seth Teter

 

Buckeye Farm News 

Ohio farmers met face to face with their lawmakers during Farm Bureau's Ag Day at the Capitol.

“It’s kind of a one-day blitz to get out our agricultural message,” said Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) Senior Director of Legislative and Regulatory Policy Adam Sharp. “OFBF staff can only do as much as elected officials can relate back to their districts. Farm Bureau members put a face on the issues. Legislators need to hear the stories to make it real to them.”

 “We’re here as a sounding board if you need us,” Mahoning County Farm Bureau member Douglas Martig told a legislator from his district who in turn asked Martig to draft a letter of Farm Bureau members’ concerns.

It was Martig’s first time participating in Ag Day, and it was an experience he found valuable.

“It’s good to meet with (legislators); they want to hear our concerns. Farm Bureau and its members are respected, and it’s especially critical to be here now (during the current economic state).”

Mahoning County Farm Bureau President David Kenreich, a two-time veteran of Ag Day agreed. “We (Farm Bureau members) strongly believe in what we do. We don’t always get what we want, but when we talk our legislators listen.”

The meetings also gave legislators a chance to ask for opportunities to meet and learn back in the districts. Some even set up tours and meetings based upon the face-to-face encounters.

“Even a city boy like me knows the importance of Farm Bureau and people like you to the state of Ohio,” said Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish, addressing Ag Day attendees. “Our farms have been and will continue to be a critical part of creating a strong state.”

County leaders attended breakout sessions to help prepare for meetings with their legislators. Topics focused upon the mechanics of ballot issues, private property rights, importance of involvement and energy opportunities in agriculture. According to Sharp, Farm Bureau members met in 80 percent or more of the offices of the entire Ohio House.

 



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