COLUMBUS — Ohio Farm Bureau hosted a roundtable discussion about the 2023 Farm Bill with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown Aug. 29. Area farm bureau members and stakeholders discussed the development of the next farm bill and what policies should be considered for the farm bill to help farmers across Ohio through the current challenges facing the state’s agriculture sector.
“The farm bill is about the most bipartisan thing we do in Washington because it is really unique in that it represents everybody,” said Senator Brown. “This bill has always been designed to deal with the risks in agriculture and with high capital costs the risks are even greater.”
Issues covered during the roundtable included the importance of crop insurance, dairy and conservation programs, cattle market transparency, specialty crops and urban agriculture.
“With all of the unique challenges facing agriculture today, the next farm bill will be of utmost importance for Ohio farmers,” said Ohio Farm Bureau President Bill Patterson, who hosted the event at his family’s fruit farm in Geauga County. Ohio Farm Bureau leaders from the state and county level were in attendance.
The following day, Brown met with Ohio sustainable and organic farmers to discuss their needs and challenges before the 2023 Farm Bill, at Green Field Farms in Wooster. The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association partnered with Green Field Farms for a tour and listening session.
“This is an incredibly challenging time that also provides many opportunities,” said OEFFA policy director Amalie Lipstreu. “We can provide greater support for farmers to ensure clean water, sequester carbon and grow healthful food for their communities, while contributing to a diverse and resilient food supply.”
Many sustainable and organic farmers are interested in being part of the solution to climate change. For livestock farmers, many seek investments in custom meat processing so they can access markets. Due to the limited number of processing facilities, some livestock farmers have had to schedule their appointments up to two years in advance.
Crop insurance was discussed as an important topic in the upcoming farm bill. Eli Dean of Timberlane Farms said crop insurance was an incredibly valuable tool, but its subsidies need to be brought in line with other farm subsidy programs that have caps in place.
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