OFBF annual meeting underway with plenty of policy to discuss

The 97th annual meeting of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) is underway in Columbus and will include a broad policy debate on pertinent agricultural issues and recognition of the efforts of county farm bureaus around the state.

“This is an opportunity to recognize the good work of our county farm bureaus. We are a federation, and federations function best when you have strong county farm bureaus,” said Jack Fisher, OFBF Executive Vice President. “It is also always about preparing for tomorrow. We are a policy-oriented organization. From the start, we always thought we could do more for each individual if we work together. We review policy and are looking at what type of business climate we need for our farmers. Today we are more inclusive and we are talking about the relationships between our farmers and our consumers, so the subject matter gets a little broader. This year, for example, we are talking about marijuana because society wants to know more about it. The issues we are talking about have a long tenure and we have to have a community discussion about what is best for the state of Ohio and take it back home.”

Ohio Farm Bureau president Steve Hirsch anticipates a number of important and challenging issues on the floor.

“We’re going to talk about a lot of policy — water quality, nutrient management, taxes including CAUV, income tax the commercial activity tax and a couple of others. Along with that we will talk about how we want to fund those government services we want to have. We will also talk about some national issues like GMO labeling, transportation, the waters of the U.S. rule, and the produce safety rule,” Hirsch said. “This is grassroots policy developed through the counties. It works its way up from the counties through our policy development committees.”

Nearly 350 delegates will finalize the organization’s policy for the coming year. Other issues are expected to include energy development, meat inspection regulations, invasive species and the structure of local governments.

In addition, OFBF will elect leaders, conduct leadership training and recognize county Farm Bureaus and individuals for their contributions to the organization and community. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Strong Foundation…Building for Tomorrow.”

Attendees will be updated on Farm Bureau’s new membership structure that was approved by delegates at last year’s annual meeting. A special session will introduce members to the reorganized Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.

Coverage of all events will be available in real time online at ofb.ag/97thAnnualMeeting.

AUDIO

Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Director Jack Fisher visits with the Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo about the importance of this annual event.

Larry Antosch with Ohio Farm Bureau tells Dale about the latest with Water Quality Ohio and the Ohio Water Action Plan.

OFBF’s Leah Curtis has details on CAUV.

Ohio Farm Bureau President Steve Hirsch goes over some of the policy that will be covered this year.

Trisha Levering is the President of the Knox County Farm Bureau, which put together a mobile app to help farmers understand new laws and keep in compliance with those regulations.

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