Ohio Farm Bureau

The Ohio Farm Bureau news update area is provided by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Find more from Ohio Farm Bureau by visiting their website, www.ofbf.org.

Field Day with Jordan Hoewischer: Nationwide Insurance

Host Jordan Hoewischer sits down with Dan Durheim, associate vice president, Nationwide Sponsor Relations; Shawnda Vega, account executive, Nationwide Sponsor Relations; and Tim Hicks, business development field director for Ohio Farm Bureau, to discuss the history between Ohio Farm Bureau and Nationwide and how the two organizations remain committed to providing programs and solutions to meet members’ needs.

Field Day with Jordan Hoewischer is an ongoing series of conversations with experts and leaders who are helping to shape and secure the future of Ohio’s ag industry for generations to come.

Following are some highlights from this episode. Read the complete transcript.

Q: So I know a lot of our members, a lot of people listening, the general public may know why Farm Bureau and Nationwide are connected so I guess whoever wants to go… Why Nationwide, why Farm Bureau, why are we here. What’s the connective point with Nationwide and Farm Bureau?

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Legal with Leah: LEBOR update

There have been many developments on the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) front since the law was passed by Toledo voters. In the latest Legal with Leah, Ty Higgins visits with Ohio Farm Bureau’s Policy Council Leah Curtis about the actions being taken by both sides of the issue and why farmers should keep up with LEBOR updates, whether they live in the watershed or not.


Ty Higgins: I know you’re getting a lot of calls from farmers saying you know what does this mean for me and we’re getting into you know April here. Farmers are starting to think about getting into the fields when they can, when things dry out and work the fields getting ready for planting and this is just one thing on their mind. So you know looking short term, long term what’s next for LEBOR?

Leah Curtis: So as far as the litigation goes, you know litigation can move kind of slowly but certainly I think, you know, they’re trying to move as fast as they can and how long it will take we can’t really say but certainly having the injunction in place is a very good thing that should, you know, give people a lot of peace of mind as they do get to that you know into planting this year and into prepping their fields and getting ready.

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Beginning farmer incentives take shape in Ohio House


A bipartisan effort in the Ohio House gives beginning farmers financial incentive to establish themselves in the state’s agricultural industry.

Co-sponsored by Rep. John Patterson (D-99th District) and Rep. Susan Manchester (R-84th District), House Bill 183 would authorize a nonrefundable income tax credit for beginning farmers who attend a financial management program, and a nonrefundable income tax credit for individuals who sell or rent farmland, livestock, buildings or equipment to beginning farmers. Eligibility requirements would be affirmed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Both representatives offered testimony on the bill to the Ohio House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on April 9. Ohio Farm Bureau policy supports legislation that establishes beginning farmer incentives.

“Several forward-thinking OFBF members realized the challenges of exit and entry in agriculture and successfully added Farm Bureau policy supporting incentives for new and beginning farmers,” said Jenna Beadle, Ohio Farm Bureau director of state policy.

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17 graduate from Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER program


Seventeen farmers and agribusiness professionals from around Ohio recently graduated from Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER Institute Class X. The elite leadership program was started in 2008 to help agricultural advocates gain influence over public policy issues that impact their businesses and communities.

Class X graduates are Megan Dresbach of Circleville, Katie Esselburn of Shreve, Kayla Finton of Coshocton, Doug Franz of Mt. Gilead, Amy Hamilton of Hillsboro, Amanda Hill of Marion, Jacob Hoelscher of Osgood, Sarah Ison of Moscow, Bailey Morrell of Wooster, Victoria Popp of Cincinnati, Trish Preston of Canal Winchester, Ashley Rose of New Vienna, Aubry Fowler-Shaw of Thornville, Sara Tallmadge of Loudonville, Lindsey Walls of Defiance, Laramie Wells of Russellville and Jonathan Zucker of Marion.

Over the course of a year, Class X participants learned from experts on how to become better leaders and advocates for the agricultural industry, including spokesperson and media training, etiquette training, social networking and communications.

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Brewing young farmers and ranchers

The American Farm Bureau Fusion conference was held March 15-18 in Milwaukee and brought together leaders from Promotion & Education, Women’s Leadership and Young Farmers & Ranchers programs. The event provided educational tracks, networking opportunities and energized participants with new ideas and strategies to take back to their home state. This year, Ohio had 34 Young Ag Professionals members in attendance.

Personally, I was one of the 10 Ohio Farm Bureau scholarship recipients, which covered both my registration and travel. Being gifted the amazing experience of this conference has become one of my greatest memories with Ohio Farm Bureau thus far.

Ryan Matthews limboThe conference kicked off on Saturday morning with all of Ohio cheering on our very own Collegiate Discussion Meet participant, Aryn Copeland. Then our first session included a limbo competition that I was so gracefully nominated to compete in and gave me an early push out of my comfort zone both socially and physically.

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Ohio Farm Bureau fights expanded eminent domain authority

The fight to protect landowners from expanded eminent domain authority continues. 

Ohio Farm Bureau successfully prevented an expansion of takings authority in the Senate’s version of the transportation budget, but it could return.  Legislators from both chambers must reconcile their two versions and were to provide a final transportation budget to Gov. Mike DeWine by March 31, however details were still being hashed out as of April 1. 

The amendment would have increased quick take authority, which allows property to be taken immediately without the normal eminent domain process. The amendment would allow utility companies to bypass normal eminent domain procedures and instead allow the utility to take immediate possession by depositing with the court an amount the utility believes is an appropriate value. 

Farm Bureau policy policy supports adequate compensation before beginning a project.

“This amendment eliminates the landowner’s negotiating power,” said Jenna Beadle, OFBF director of state policy. 

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Injunction pauses enforcement of LEBOR

Editor’s Note: Below is an update from Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp regarding the next development in a Wood County farmer’s lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights:


For several weeks your Farm Bureau has been making you aware of the possible threat of lawsuits against farmers after Toledo citizens passed an ordinance that would give Lake Erie rights in court. While there’s still a long road ahead, there is some positive news to share with you.

On March 18, U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary issued a preliminary injunction pausing enforcement of the recently passed Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR). This action stems from a lawsuit filed by a Wood County farmer the day after Toledo voters passed LEBOR in a special election.

Farm Bureau stands with the farmer and his family and we appreciate that this injunction will prevent the law from taking effect while the case is litigated.

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Ohio Farm Bureau takes part in Equine Affaire


Ohio Farm Bureau will be participating in the Your Farm Forum in the Bricker Annex during the Equine Affaire April 11-14 at the Ohio Expo Center.

At 1 p.m. Friday, April 12, OFBF staff will present on Current Agricultural Use Value at a seminar titled “CAUV: How to qualify for and save on property taxes through Ohio’s ag use program.” At 3 p.m. staff will cover Ohio’s ag district program and how this “right to farm” law assists with farm liability concerns.

For a full list of all the activities at the event, click here.

Equine Affaire, Inc. was founded in 1993 with the goal of creating a first-class, education-oriented horsemen’s exposition. The mission of Equine Affaire is to host events that improve the horse management, training, and riding skills of current horsemen; promote communication and cooperation within a widely diverse national horse industry; provide an introduction to the world of horses; and showcase the finest horses and riders representing a variety of horse breeds and equestrian disciplines in a non-competitive environment.

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Farmers annual trip to Washington, D.C.

Ohio Farm Bureau’s farmer leaders, members of the media and select staff will be in Washington, D.C. March 12-14, 2019 for the 73rd annual County Presidents’ Trip.

While there, they will hear from American Farm Bureau public policy staff members, visit the Chilean Embassy, and most importantly meet with their representatives to make known Farm Bureau’s views on priority issues such as farm economy, trade, regulatory reform, technology and infrastructure.

Special guest speakers include Sen. Sherrod Brown; Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Bob Gibbs; and Gregg Doud, chief agricultural negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, among others.

Highlights from each day of the trip will be posted at this page. Follow the news on social media @OhioFarmBureau or #ofbdc.

Thursday, March 14

The third and final day of the 73rd annual Ohio Farm Bureau County Presidents’ Trip to Washington, D.C. began with a breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club with keynote speaker, Sen.

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DeWine announces H2Ohio water quality initiative

Gov. Mike DeWine has outlined his H2Ohio water quality initiative, which he introduced as part of his proposed budget for the 2020-2021 biennium.

“Water is vital to everyone, yet communities throughout the state face real and different challenges, such as algae blooms, failing septic tanks, nutrient pollution and threats of lead contamination,” DeWine said. “We cannot continue to lurch from water crisis to water crisis. I am proposing an H2Ohio initiative that would allow us to invest in targeted, long-term solutions to ensure safe and clean water across the state of Ohio.”

DeWine’s proposal would create a special H2Ohio Fund that would be used to protect Ohio’s water quality over 10 years and could amount to approximately $900 million.

OFBF Executive Vice President Adam Sharp said, “The governor’s approach to water quality is refreshing for Ohio agriculture. The H2Ohio initiative and its extensive resources shows an understanding of the complexities that come with this issue.

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Local workers’ compensation meetings set throughout state

A complete list of dates and locations for workers’ compensation safety training classes is now available. Ohio Farm Bureau’s Workers’ Compensation Group Rating Program members are required to attend one safety seminar per year to remain eligible in the program.

The program enables small employers with better-than-average claim histories to combine claim expenses and rate calculations to take advantage of premium savings currently reserved for large employers. Most members save the maximum 53 percent allowed by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

If interested in participation in the program, call CompManagement at (800) 825-6755, option 3 or request a quote.

A complete list of dates and locations is below:

3/12/19 | 9 a.m.
Brown County Fairgrounds, Georgetown, Ohio

3/4/19 | 6 p.m.
Lincolnview Schools, 5945 Middle Point Rd., Van Wert, Ohio

4/10/19 | 8:45-11 a.m.
Buckeye Agricultural Museum, 877 W. Old Lincoln Way, Wooster, Ohio

3/21/19 | 6:30-9 p.m.

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AgriPOWER Class XI applications due April 19

In 2019, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation will select 20 individuals to participate in AgriPOWER, a leadership and advocacy development program, which will consist of seven multi-day institutes (17 total days). Applications are due April 19.

Topics covered will include public policy matters facing local communities, the state of Ohio, the nation and the world. Additionally, specific sessions will help class members develop important skills necessary to become an effective leader and advocate for agriculture. Two of the institute sessions will be held out of state (one in Washington, D.C. and the other location will be decided at a later date) to help class members gain a valuable understanding of national and global issues. Brochure

Consider applying if:

• You want to improve your understanding of current issues and develop the skills necessary to lead and become an advocate for agriculture.
• You have a passion for agriculture and see yourself in a leadership role in the future.

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Members, legislators talk issues at 2019 Ag Day at the Capital

Braving ice and snow, hundreds of Farm Bureau members gathered in downtown Columbus to meet one-on-one with their state senators and representatives during Ohio Farm Bureau’s annual Ag Day at the Capital Feb. 20. Ohio Farm Bureau priority issues such as the biennial state budget, water quality, economic development, infrastructure and energy were discussed, along with a host of other community issues.



Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and OFBF Executive Vice President Adam Sharp took part in a “fireside chat” to discuss infrastructure, education and water quality, among other topics. DeWine vowed to make it a point to work with the agricultural community.

“Our way of operating whether on this issue or any other issue is to bring people together and bring agriculture to the table,” DeWine said.


OFBF Senior Director of Corporate Communications Joe Cornely and Dorothy Pelanda, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, followed DeWine and Sharp.

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$23.5 million headed to Lake Erie water quality efforts

On the same day Toledoans passed the Lake Erie Bill of Rights that may make it harder for farmers to focus on nutrient runoff over frivolous lawsuits, the Ohio Department of Agriculture announced new assistance programs to help producers achieve water quality goals in the Western Lake Erie Basin, funded by the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 299.

“Farm Bureau has been engaged in identifying water quality solutions for years and the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 299 in 2018 was an important step in the right direction to build upon the progress that has been made,” said Jack Irvin, OFBF senior director of state and national policy. “The Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts are both important boots on the ground partners to help identify and implement practical and effective solutions to our water quality challenges.”

The legislation provided $23.5 million for soil and water conservation districts located in the Western Lake Erie Basin for nutrient management programs.

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Farm Bureau to support farmer’s legal action against Lake Erie Bill of Rights

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has pledged its support to member and Wood County farmer Mark Drewes, who today filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality and legal status of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights. Toledo voters yesterday approved creation of LEBOR during a special election. Drewes’ suit was filed in the Federal District Court for Northern Ohio.  

LEBOR grants rights to Lake Erie and empowers any Toledo citizen to file lawsuits on behalf of the lake. It gives Toledoans authority over nearly 5 million Ohioans, thousands of farms, more than 400,000 businesses and every level of government in 35 northern Ohio counties plus parts of Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada.  

LEBOR was passed despite the prevailing legal opinion that many of its provisions are unconstitutional.

Drewes is a long-time member of Ohio Farm Bureau and is on the board of directors for The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association.

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Ag districts provide defense for farmers

With the Feb. 26 special election on the Lake Erie Bill of Rights looming in the city of Toledo, Ohio Farm Bureau is encouraging farmers to enroll their operations in an agricultural district. 

OFBF Policy Counsel and Senior Director of Member Engagement Leah Curtis sat down with Ty Higgins, OFBF director of media relations, to discuss LEBOR’s potential impacts and the overall benefits to farmers who enroll in an agricultural district.

The Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) states that Lake Erie, and the Lake Erie Watershed, has the right to “exist, flourish and naturally evolve…” and gives any Toledoan the right to file a lawsuit on the lake’s behalf against any business or government entity in the Lake Erie Watershed.

The ag district program provides an affirmative defense for farmers in certain types of nuisance lawsuits. While it is not certain this defense will apply in potential LEBOR cases, it is one of the best and most underutilized tools in agriculture.

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2019 State, National Priority Issues

Each year, Ohio Farm Bureau’s grassroots policy development process surfaces those issues that have a significant impact on production agriculture, our food system and our communities. These priorities are where Farm Bureau will focus efforts for the continued strength and success of Ohio agriculture in 2019.


No bill is more important to the operation of key state agencies and programs that support agriculture than the state’s two year operating budget. The Ohio Department of Agriculture must be funded at levels that allow it to effectively carry out its core mission as well as responsibilities such as the ongoing implementation of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act, nutrient management regulations, fertilizer applicator certifications, meat processing inspections, livestock care standards, dog breeding and oversight of Ohio’s Soil & Water Conservation Division. Farm Bureau also will support funding for water quality programs that produce science-based data and strategies, and can verify on-the-ground practices and results to protect Ohio’s water resources.

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