Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Experience at the Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

Last week, I went to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio. I was one of 341 delegates who attended to discuss policy and current agricultural issues.

Geauga County Delegates: Linnie Lausin, Gene Wetzel and me
 The conference began with current event information sessions. I attended forums focusing on water quality and agriculture education. Both topics of interest to me and our farm.

The second day of the conference, the General Session began. Delegates reviewed and debated
2013 state and federal Farm Bureau policy and proposed new policy. This is truly a grassroots
organization where policy comes from the county level and trickles up to the state and federal
organizations. We discussed a variety of policy from severance tax to animal care.

The 341 delegates seated at the Annual Meeting
Any county can introduce policy proposals. I proposed a policy wording change that states, “We
support the use of bio-fuels provided there are minimal impacts on the livestock industry”. This is a topic for which I feel strongly. The ethanol policy, subsidies and mandates in this country have driven up the price of grain commodities we use to feed our cows. This has caused severe financial hardship for many families with dairy, beef, hog and poultry business. My goal is for Farm Bureau to recognize ethanol policy impacts grain and livestock farmers and to think of both when considering bio-fuel policy. Unfortunately, my proposal did not receive majority support so it will not become part of state policy. This was disappointing, but not a surprise since the number of grain farmers who benefit from ethanol mandates outnumber the livestock farmers who have been negatively impacted by it. Even though I did not get the result I was hoping for, I’m glad I had the opportunity to speak up.

Me working with Farm Bureau staff to craft my bio-fuel policy proposal
A highlight of the conference was a visit from Governor John Kasich who shared his passion for
issues ranging from tax reform, privatizing the Ohio turnpike, getting rid of red tape to make Ohio
business-friendly, supporting enhancements for education and making the EPA user-friendly. The
Governor is a focused person with the drive to get things done. Agree with him or not, I have to
admire his candid talk and conviction for the policy he believes is best for Ohio.

Governor John Kasich speaking to us
Click to enlarge Governor Kasich's Policies to Help Ag Thrive in Ohio
One of the things I value most about attending these meetings is the opportunity to talk with others who share the same love of agriculture and understand the challenges. It’s great to chat with old friends and make new ones. Gathering at meals to have conversations with people from other counties is fun and interesting. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent Geauga County as a delegate.

To read more about the OFBF Annual Meeting, check out these articles:
Ohio Farm Bureau's 94th Annual Meeting
OFBF forging policy for the coming year, Ohio Country Journal
Ohio Farm Bureau: We need our nonfarm members, Farm and Dairy Newspaper
Farm Bureau delegates set policy, Pike County Daily

1 comment:

Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment! I’m opening the doors of our farm to share with you and enjoy engaging in discussion. Please be respectful in your comments. I reserve the right to remove posts that include name calling, slander, and vulgar language or contain links to websites that assault animal agriculture.

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