Rural broadband, meat processing, water quality efforts, timber management and wildlife management were among the priorities set by delegates at Ohio Farm Bureau’s 102nd annual meeting.
The approved policies set the direction for the organization’s activities in the coming year. A total of 380 delegates representing all county Farm Bureaus participated in the debate and discussion.
The coronavirus pandemic exposed the growing need for reliable broadband connectivity throughout rural parts of Ohio. From precision agriculture to shopping safely for groceries, virtual learning to telehealth, the use of online resources has quickly become a necessity. The expansion of broadband throughout the state will make these options available for all Ohioans.
The challenges of 2020 also put a strain on America’s food supply system, particularly meat processing facilities. Delegates added policy language that would promote growth for more regional facilities to be operational, helping to alleviate over capacity at meat and poultry facilities and allow for more marketing options for Ohio’s livestock producers.
Ohio Farm Bureau reiterated its ongoing support for the H2Ohio water quality initiative, created by Gov. Mike DeWine and passed by the Ohio Legislature in 2019. Tens of millions in funding has been allocated to partner with farmers in the Maumee River Watershed to continue expanding best practices focused on proactive solutions to address the state’s water quality challenges. Other policy votes addressed property rights and taxes, livestock care and energy infrastructure.
In addition, Ohio Farm Bureau’s officers were elected during the organization’s 102nd annual meeting.
Frank Burkett III of Massillon has been re-elected president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, which is the highest elected office in the state’s largest and most inclusive farm and food organization. Burkett has been on the state board since 2007 as District 9 trustee representing members from Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage and Stark counties.
James W. (Bill) Patterson of Chesterland has been re-elected first vice president of the organization. He joined OFBF’s board of trustees in 2011. He will continue as the District 4 trustee representing Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties.
Cy Prettyman of New Bloomington has been re-elected treasurer of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Prettyman was elected to the board of trustees in 2012 and represents members in his district that encompasses Crawford, Marion, Morrow and Richland counties.