LOUDONVILLE, Ohio — Marcia Lahmers was recognized as Ashland County Farm Bureau‘s Distinguished Volunteer during the farm group’s annual meeting Aug. 13 at Mohican Wilderness Adventure in Loudonville.
Lahmers has been active in the county Farm Bureau, serving on committees, serving as a board member and serving as president.
U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-18th, gave an update on the 2008 farm bill, which is set to expire in late September, and said direct payments, crop insurance and food stamps are among the most hotly debated items in the bill.
Gibbs also addressed another challenge, the Maritime Transportation System, which is a primary source of transportation for agricultural products.
“The river system is critical to many industries,” he said. “We need to get locks updated and the ports updated.”
Also attending was Dave Hall, R-97th, who chairs the Ohio House agricultural committee.
Pam Haley, northeast region women’s trustee, stressed the importance of the council programs as part of the grass roots organization, and encouraged those in attendance to become part of a council.
Two of the county’s councils were recognized in the annual contest: Happy Buckeyes, and the Happy Trails Council.
Haley said the issue of water quality is growing in importance, and the ODA, ODNR, Ohio EPA and other related agencies have been working on establishing policies for the Lake Saint Mary watershed.
“The rules and regulations would affect farmers across the state. You need to make sure that you have your nutrient management plans in place and that you are in compliance,” Haley said.
“The last thing we need is more regulations.”
Roger Baker was introduced as the new state board member representing Wayne, Ashland, Medina and Summit counties. Baker encouraged the members to provide feedback on the proposed severance tax issue.
Recommendations on the issue were to impose a 4 percent tax on gas and oil and lower the state income tax rate, impose a 5 percent tax and remit revenue back to municipalities for infrastructure improvements and local services, propose no additional tax, or stay neutral on the matter.
“Sometimes we take things for granted,” Baker said. “The severance tax and water quality issues are critical. They could affect how we farm our land.”
During the meeting, members voted on county policies including conducting educational programs on new farm truck regulations, funding projects for the county’s 4-H program and working to expedite moving the local Farm Services Agency.
State policy suggestions approved included support for landowners seeking to negotiate leases to include mineral rights not included in areas used for natural gas storage; request the Livestock Care Standards Board reexamine its standard opposing docking tails on dairy cattle. They also approved a suggested code change for the OFBF’s Code of Regulations related to membership renewals.
Elected to the board of trustees were Bill Burrow, Matt Stewart and Christy Hulse. Delegates to the 2013 OFBF annual meeting will be Evan Hahn, Christina Fisher, Christy Hulse and Justin Ringler. Alternates will be Ron Dickerhoof and Erik Manges.