COLUMBUS — Ohio’s largest farm and food organization has established 2017 policy positions on agriculture’s role in protecting water quality, wildlife damage to crops and livestock and the state’s drug epidemic.
During Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s 98th annual convention, 338 delegates representing all 88 Ohio counties voted on hundreds of positions that will set the organization’s direction for the coming year. The meeting was held Nov. 30 – Dec. 2 in Columbus.
Agriculture’s ability to have a positive impact on water quality was high on the agenda.
Delegates opted to get in front of the possibility that Ohio might create some type of farm stewardship certification program for farmers. The idea has been discussed among various stakeholders. In order to inform the discussion, Farm Bureau set forth some criteria on how the plan might look. Delegates said a certification program should build upon existing water quality programs, protect the farmer’s confidentiality and provide legal and regulatory certainty for farmers who choose to participate.
Wildlife damage to crops and livestock also earned the attention of delegates. Policy was written that advocates for farmers to be able to respond to crop damage in a more immediate fashion. Farm Bureau would also like to see federal wildlife management administered locally to help create a more efficient system for addressing crop and livestock damage. Policy also seeks permission for farmers to deal with nuisance wildlife by offering hunting privileges to members of their extended family.
Ohio’s growing drug epidemic is not confined to metropolitan areas, which led Farm Bureau delegates to discuss the challenges drugs bring to rural areas. The organization will advocate for multifaceted solutions including prevention and recovery efforts and support for law enforcement.
Other topics addressed by the Farm Bureau delegates included protections for landowners against eminent domain claims, local infrastructure needs and funding challenges and changes in federal policy to account for advances in technology in areas such as drones or use of e-logs in commercial driving records.