Brown and Gibbs named Legislators of the Year

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) recently recognized Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) as OSA Legislators of the Year. OSA awards this distinction to a legislator or legislators who have shown a tremendous contribution to the success of the Ohio soybean industry.

Brown and Gibbs both played critical roles in the passage of the farm bill in early 2014 as both men served on their respective chambers’ Agriculture Committee. Thanks to their work, Ohio soybean farmers’ priorities were front and center in the new bill.

Senator Sherrod Brown visits with OSA's Jerry Bambauer, Adam Ward before being honored as OSA's Legislator of the Year

Senator Sherrod Brown visits with OSA’s Jerry Bambauer, Adam Ward before being honored as OSA’s Legislator of the Year

“It’s my pleasure to recognize Sen. Brown and Rep. Gibbs as OSA Legislators of the Year,” said Jerry Bambauer, OSA president and Auglaize County soybean farmer. “As agriculture is only one percent of the U.S. population, it is more important than ever to cultivate the relationships we have with the legislative leaders who understand farmers’ contribution to U.S. citizens and the economy. I want to thank Sen. Brown and Rep. Gibbs for recognizing that contribution and working so hard on behalf of Ohio’s 24,000 soybean farmers.”

Gibbs was officially presented this award in March during OSA’s visit to his office on Capitol Hill.

“I am honored to receive Legislator of the Year from the Ohio Soybean Association,” said Rep. Bob Gibbs. “OSA was critical throughout the development of a market-driven farm bill that would ensure American consumers would continue to have an abundant, safe and affordable food supply. Ohio’s farmers are a key driver of our economy and job creation and I am grateful for all they do every day to produce wholesome food for all Americans.”

During the farm bill process, Brown partnered with Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to be the leading voices of support for the Agriculture Risk Coverage program, both supported by OSA.IMG_0242 (800x534)

AUDIO: Ty Higgins visited with Senator Brown shortly after receiving OSA’s Legislator of the Year Award.

OSA farmer leaders presented the award to Brown during a special event and meeting at the farm of Bret Davis, OSA chairman and Delaware County soybean farmer.

“With one in seven jobs related to food and agriculture in Ohio, it’s crucial that Ohio farmers have the resources they need while saving taxpayers’ money,” Brown said. “This farm bill achieved that balance and the members of the Ohio Soybean Association helped to push this bill across the finish line. Representing Ohio farmers is an honor and I thank the Ohio Soybean Association for its recognition as legislator of the year.”

The centerpiece of the deficit reduction measures in the 2014 Farm Bill is the new Ag Risk Coverage (ARC) program, which is based on the bipartisan Aggregate Risk and Revenue Management Act (ARRM)

Brown authored with Sen. John Thune (R-SD) last year.  This new approach to farm risk management ends the era of fixed, “direct farm payments.” ARC is a market-based program that relies on current crop-year data, market prices, and actual yields, making payments to farmers only when they face price or yield losses.

AUDIO: OSA’s President Jerry Bambauer shares with Ty the importance of the relationship between farm organizations and lawmakers.

Sen. Brown talks with Delaware County farmer Bret Davis before being given the Ohio Soybean Association's Legislator of the Year Award

Sen. Brown talks with Delaware County farmer Bret Davis before being given the Ohio Soybean Association’s Legislator of the Year Award

Brown has been working to reform the farm safety net since he joined the Senate Agriculture Committee. In the 2008 farm bill, he worked to include the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program after hearing about the need for farm safety net reform from a Henry County farmer who attended a roundtable Brown convened.  ARRM will continue the work towards a market-based safety net by eliminating fixed-price support programs, reducing overlap with crop insurance, simplifying application and administrative processes, and saving billions of taxpayer dollars.

In addition to the farm bill, Brown and Gibbs currently support the passage of the Water Resources Development Act, which will help ensure farmers’ ability to get their product to both domestic and international markets. Without the final passage of this legislation, U.S. infrastructure will continue to decay.

Bambauer said, “We look forward to working with Sen. Brown and Rep. Gibbs on this and other legislative priorities over the next year and ensuring Ohio soybean farmers are heard.”

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