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Budget bill has provisions of interest to farmers
House Bill 487, part of a comprehensive review of state government management operations and policies also known as the Mid-Biennium Review (MBR), has several provisions of interest to Ohio Farm Bureau members.
The MBR includes Clean Ohio Fund provisions for $6 million to the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program and $36 million to the Green Space Conservation program. Funding for these programs was left out of the capitol appropriations bill earlier this year, which only included a $6 million appropriation for Clean Ohio’s Rails to Trails program.
“What you see when you look at the additional $6 million and $36 million is a total funding of about $48 million, equaling almost half of the total allowable amount under the bond issue,” said Beth Vanderkooi, OFBF director of state policy. “This was a way to balance both including the preservation money and also realizing that we are not in a spend and spend and spend economy.”
The bill also includes a $3 million appropriation to go toward water quality efforts in Ohio and a provision that creates a funding stream for the ag STEM school.
“We really appreciate the bipartisan support of this bill by the legislature, especially the work by Chairman Widener (R- Springfield) and Chairman Amstutz (R- Wooster) to support Clean Ohio,” Vanderkooi said.
Farm Bureau also thanks Gov. John Kasich for his support of these important programs.