COLUMBUS — Water quality, property taxes, energy and illegal drug use topped the action items identified by delegates at the 97th annual meeting of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). Nearly 350 delegates representing all Ohio counties established the organization’s policies during the convention Dec. 2-4 in Columbus.
The Farm Bureau leaders renewed their support for collaborative efforts among farmers, municipalities, businesses and other stakeholders to find solutions to Ohio’s water challenges. The delegates supported the concept of a voter-approved bond measure to fund water improvement initiatives.
The organization continued to stress the importance of ensuring that the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) program provide an accurate valuation of farmland based on the land’s agricultural use only. Members also adopted new policy to support reform of the Ohio Forest Tax Law to better support woodland owners.
Farm Bureau delegates discussed the issue of rising drug use and passed policies to support programs that will reduce or eliminate Ohio’s drug epidemic. Additional new policy opposes the legalization of recreational marijuana and provides principles and considerations that Farm Bureau believes must be addressed in any future discussion of legalization in Ohio.
Delegates discussed the future of renewable energy, agreeing the use of economically viable renewable sources should be promoted. In addition, new policies were passed to address oil and gas pipeline development.
Concerns arising out of recent county charter proposals were also discussed by the delegates and resulted in policy that opposes their use to regulate agriculture.
On national issues, OFBF will be sending policies to the American Farm Bureau Federation for consideration by national delegates. Those address regulation of unmanned aircraft systems, reducing the spread of the weed Palmer Amaranth and updates to meat packing and processing laws.