CAUV, water quality and the state budget topics at OFBF Ag Day at the Capital

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Roughly 250 Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) members gathered in Columbus yesterday to receive updates on important state legislation, hear from state government leaders and visit their lawmakers’ offices as a part of the 2017 Ohio Farm Bureau Ag Day at the Capital.OFBF members heard from Secretary of State Jon Husted who stressed the importance of Ohio agriculture.“Agriculture creates a lot of economic activity but perhaps even more important is the cultural part. People in the agricultural community have values that I believe are America’s founding values of hard work, personal responsibility, family, faith, and community. Those are important to the fabric of building a strong society — raising good children, building a good work force and having the values that make America what it is,” Husted said. “Farmers are important to Ohio and we value you but we also need to cultivate the talent we need to work in the variety of areas the agricultural economy creates. If we get things right, agriculture will prosper in Ohio and Ohio will prosper.”There were numerous OFBF priority issues highlighted but water quality and Ohio’s current agricultural use valuation (CAUV) dominated the conversations.“There is an extended list of issues but the two biggest are water quality and CAUV. That is where the focus is right now,” said Frank Burkett III, OFBF president. “When you look at where CAUV is right now, we need to make some changes and this is a great opportunity for Farm Bureau members to share their personal stories about CAUV with their legislators. The Senate has introduced a bill on that and there are discussions in the House about CAUV. We are very hopeful that the State of Ohio will act in the best interest of the entire state to make some reforms.”Ohio’s CAUV values have increased nearly 300% from 2008 to 2014. Legislators discussed the issue in 2016 but no final legislative action was taken. There are 41 counties set for property tax re-evaluation this year with a struggling farm economy, further amplifying the CAUV problems in 2017.In terms of water quality, OFBF members are pointing out that they have been actively involved with addressing the issue.“We are being proactive with water quality within the state. Our members live and work in these areas and they are committed to improving water quality and doing the right things,” Burkett said. “I am very excited about where this organization has been, where it is now and where it is going with regard to water quality.”The state budget was another important point of discussion.“It is a mixed bag. It is a long process. This state budget doesn’t go into effect until July 1. There will be so many changes along the way so it is hard to take a firm position on anything yet,” said Jack Irvin, OFBF Senior Director of State and National Policy. “Overall funding is something we look closely at. Do the Department of Agriculture and Soil and Water have the resources they need? School funding is always top of mind for our rural districts. There are discussions on severance tax and how that would impact the oil and gas industry in Ohio. There are some water quality components in there too.”Other OFBF priority issues for 2017 include taxes, transportation, education, economic development, Ohio’s drug epidemic, energy, and farm safety. As usual, there was no shortage of topics to discuss at the event both among the OFBF staff and membership and with the legislators they visited.“Our members are the grassroots of this organization and they are down here advocating for the priority issues of our organization,” Burkett said. “That is what our organization has been built on and I am very proud to see our members here today.”last_img

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