COLUMBUS – Ohio Farm Bureau voting delegates tried to wade through 140 pages of proposed policies during a two-day session Dec. 2-3 in Columbus.
On at least one issue, they found themselves divided, literally, on opposite sides of the fence.
Line fence debate. Last year, delegates requested the state Farm Bureau board convene a task force to study the state’s line fence laws before acting on proposed policy.
This year’s policy recommendation started with the work of that task force.
State law currently requires owners of adjoining lands to equally share the building and maintenance of all line fences between them, unless otherwise agreed.
Farm Bureau members find regional disparities in the interpretation and enforcement of the current line fence law, created in 1904. Newcomers to rural areas are largely unaware of the law in general.
After nearly 45 minutes of discussion that carried over to a second day, the delegates approved a new section of policy that covers line fence.
Hot topic. The next step is to craft legislation and find a lawmaker to carry the bill.
Any proposed legislation won’t be without its opponents. In a previous General Assembly, one state representative introduced a bill that would have repealed the partition fence law altogether.
Code change. The only other item of business that garnered as much heated discussion was a proposed change to the organization’s state code that would have eliminated four women’s trustee regional positions on the state board.
Although many counties have discontinued similar women-only seats on their county boards, state delegates did not approve the code change.
Trustee election. Nine of the board’s 26 seats were up for grabs in this year’s trustee elections.
The following trustees were re-elected: Keith Truckor of Metamora; Mike Schumm, Willshire; Gary Boldosser, Republic; Steve Hirsch, Chillicothe; Bob Peterson, Sabina; and Eric Wolfer, Fayetteville.
Ellen Joslin of Sidney was elected to represent the members in Auglaize, Logan, Mercer and Shelby counties. She originally joined the board in 2000 as northwest area women’s trustee.
Kim Davis of Carrollton was elected to represent Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson and Tuscarawas counties and Andra Troyer of Madison County was elected southwest area women’s trustee.
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