The Ohio Farm Bureau is closing the book on its 100th year and looking to the next century as it hosts its two-day annual meeting in Columbus.
Farm Bureau delegates from around Ohio will discuss major issues in the agricultural industry and vote on the organization’s policy positions for the coming year. Farm Bureau spokesman Ty Higgins says one issue farmers are likely to weigh in on is Gov. Mike DeWine's H2Ohio plan.
“You know, it’s not just important for the western Lake Erie basin, or for the Lake Erie watershed, but water quality is important for farmers and everyone in Ohio,” Higgins says.
State lawmakers dedicated $172 million to the governor’s water quality plan, which he unveiled last month. Among other efforts, it aims to reduce phosphorus runoff from farms that contribute to algae blooms in Lake Erie.
In addition to state policy, Higgins says the ongoing trade war is on farmer’s minds. Although they can’t affect international trade at the state level, he notes they can still make their voices heard.
“Farmers, when this trade war with China started a little over a year ago, they expected that it was going to hurt in the short term,” Higgins says. “But as it got to a year and now more than a year, I think farmers are getting more and more concerned about where this trade war with China is going.”
He notes farmers still seem to be on board with President Trump’s broader effort to rein in unfair trade practices. But they want to get back to markets functioning normally rather than propping up producers with supplemental payments.