For the 68th time, county presidents from The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation made their way to Washington D.C. to meet with their Congressional representatives. This annual journey is a grassroots effort to the core, with these farmer-leaders making appointments to speak to their lawmakers one-on-one.
A meeting of this nature always holds a bit more weight with Representative Bob Latta of Ohio’s 5th District, as the region his represents is the largest farming district in the state.
“I felt as though Mr. Latta knew what we were talking about when it came to our concerns and seemed to take the same stand on those issues that we do,” said Brian Nusbaum, president of the Defiance County Farm Bureau. “Whether it was what this winter may mean for our industry or how the changes in the new farm bill would affect farmers, he just seems to get it and we appreciate that.”
Farm Bureau presidents from Williams, Fulton, Lucas, Ottawa, Wood, Henry Paulding, Putnam, Hancock, Wyandot, Hardin, Van Wert and Mercer counties joined Nusbaum and filled Latta’s office to discuss the workings of the new farm bill, the minimum wage, the propane shortage, immigration reform and regulatory issues.
“It wasn’t anything like I expected it to be,” Nusbaum said. “Congressman Latta gave us plenty of time to visit with him about the issues we feel need attention for the sake of Ohio agriculture. He was very accommodating and after a while it felt like a nice conversation with a neighbor.”
Being a neighbor is something that Representative Latta (OH-5) takes to heart, making a trip back to his district as much as he possibly can.
“Visits from my constituents are extremely valuable, as they shed light on the issues that are most important to the people I represent in Congress,” Latta said. “As the state’s top industry, Ohio’s agriculture industry is critically important to the future of our state’s economy. Now that we have a farm bill, the Farm Bureau provides great insight into how I can further assist our state’s farmers and agricultural producers at the federal level to ensure Ohio agriculture remains second to none.”
The Congressman also discussed energy issues with OFBF members and the importance of keeping energy costs affordable for Ohio businesses. In fact, the week that the county presidents made their visit, the House passed H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act, which included an amendment sponsored by Congressman Latta. The legislation, of which Latta is an original co-sponsor, offers a reasonable alternative to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed greenhouse gas standards for new power plants and the agency’s planned regulations for existing power plants.
“This Administration is working day and night to eliminate the use of coal in this country,” Latta said. “In places like my home state of Ohio where approximately 78% of our energy comes from coal. The Electricity Security and Affordability Act is just one step to ensuring coal remains part of America’s energy mix and that the Administration pursues energy policies that encourage a diverse and affordable electricity portfolio.”