Holmes County Farm Bureau sets policies, goals for the year ahead

NASHVILLE, Ohio – Holmes County Farm Bureau hosted its first farm tour in a number of years, and it was well received, according to Tim Brumme, chairman of the farm tour committee.
The tour stopped at dairy farms, an Alpaca farm, a grain farm, a furniture business, pottery maker, a honey/pasture-raised beef and poultry operation and the fire station, ending at the 2007 Holmes County Farm Bureau annual meeting.
Challenges. Darrell Kick, president of Holmes County Farm Bureau, told those attending that one of the biggest challenges the county is facing is raising the consumer’s awareness of where their food comes from.
“As generations move further and further away from the farm, the public doesn’t understand what we do,” he said.
“The Our Ohio program shows consumers we still have family farms; they are just bigger. They need to understand what we do and how we do it.”
Susan Brinker, organization director for the county, stressed the importance of members’ involvement in the organization and commended the county on a good membership campaign, reaching gain in active members, but falling just shy of total gain.
Legislation. Brent Porteus, state trustee for Holmes, Licking, Coshocton and Knox counties, stressed the importance of communicating at the grass-roots level with state and federal legislators.
He urged Farm Bureau members to contact their representatives and tell them to support the farm bill passed by the House.
Porteus also gave the group an update on what is happening at the state level.
Following the work of the strategic task force, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has established several goals to make the organization more member friendly.
These goals include marketing farm bureau to achieve growth; increasing grass-roots involvement; allowing the counties to focus on what is important in their area; expanding relationships with Nationwide and other organizations; protecting personal property rights; influencing the farm bill, trade, labor and energy issues; and speaking out on environmental issues and animal agriculture.
Policies. Members voted to approve county policies, including new regulations to slow the development of farm land; supporting the cleaning and dredging of Killbuck Creek to prevent flooding in the county; and supporting a school funding system that spreads the financial burden to both property and nonproperty owners.
State policies approved by the members include encouraging ODNR to develop methods to aggressively thin the deer population in the county; and supporting a constitutional amendment that would protect personal property rights and curb the abuse of eminent domain.
National policies include supporting a ban on importing agricultural products from countries that use chemicals banned in the U.S.; encouraging subsidizing the development and research of new or alternative fuels to speed their entry into the marketplace; supporting hay crop insurance at the national level; and support a local Farm Service Agency in every county.
Elections. During the meeting, members elected county trustees: Denny Snell, Erika Schuch and Mike Sprang; and delegates to the 2008 OFBF annual meeting: Steve Straits and Tim Brumme.
Brinker recognized county committee chairmen for achieving star awards, including: Tim Brumme, policy development; Angi Brumme, promotion, education and image; Jackie McKee, information; Steve Straits, government affairs; Erin Kick, Nationwide; and Larry and Pat Lang, safety.
Action leaders for 2007-2008 will be Jackie McKee, communications; Erica Schuch, organization; and Tim Bromme, public policy.

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