Holmes County Farm Bureau holds annual meeting

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MILLERSBURG, Ohio — A volunteer group is like milking a cow a cow by hand, according to Eric Shaver.

Shaver, a local veterinarian and 2014 president of Holmes County Farm Bureau, told members attending the 2014 Holmes County Farm Bureau annual meeting that it takes about 360 squirts to get a gallon of milk.

And, just like it takes a lot of squirts to get a lot of milk, it takes a lot of hands to get the work done.

Annual events

Shaver noted that during the year, Holmes County Farm Bureau was actively involved in several events around the county to promote the benefits of Farm Bureau to the general public. Their newest project is sponsoring the weekly market reports in a local weekly paper.

Danielle Dufour, east regional supervisor, commended the county on their work during the year, and noted there currently are 33 members from total gain and 32 members from farmer gain.

Ervin Raber was recognized for signing more than 50 members. She reminded members that Farm Bureau will be sponsoring a series of meetings on the 2014 farm bill.

OFBF will host their second annual Food and Farm Forum Dec. 10 as part of the OFBF annual meeting.

Membership drive

Paul Davidson, state trustee representing Holmes County on the OFBF board, told members that the state board is currently working on a new membership model which will be presented at this year’s annual meeting.

They have also formed an OSU Advisory Group to help determine the needs of OSU and the College of Agriculture. State Reps. Dave Hall and Al Landis were recognized with the Friend of Agriculture awards.

Hall is currently serving as chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. He told the audience that his committee worked on S.B. 150 to put together a bill that Farm Bureau would support.

“We talked to farmers to get their input on this,” he said.

Hall said the committee is also taking a look at H.B. 490, as they have a lot of issues with adequate funding for soil and water conservation and manure management issues. Hall said water quality issues continue to be a hot topic in the state as the Federal EPA was trying to take jurisdiction over the waters of the state.

Other issues

By working together with other stakeholders, the legislature was able to put together a good bill for Ohio. As two of the proposed policies related to CAUV came from local members to be voted on during the meeting, Hall said that there has been a huge spike in land values.

“We need to be mindful when we go down that path that we may open up Pandora’s Box,” he said. “We have to be careful how we handle it. It could be a minefield and all of the work we have done on CAUV could go away.”

Landis is serving his first term in the Ohio House and is also a member of the Agriculture and Natural Resources committee. He said the committee is an active one, dealing with major issues impacting Ohio farmers.

Landis credited Hall with slowing down S.B. 150 and H.B. 490 so they could get the right bill for Ohio residents.
“We listened to you and reworked the bills,” Landis said.

Scholarships

This year Farm Bureau established a new scholarship for graduating seniors interested in agriculture. Scholarships were presented to Mandy Taylor and Jessica Davis. The Scholarship was renamed the Holmes County Farm Bureau Larry Lang Scholarship.

Elected as trustees for a three-year term were Ryan Reusser, Scott Rodhe, Christy Stitzlein and Eric Shaver, trustee at large. Serving as delegates to the 2015 OFBF annual meeting will be Reusser and Ervin Raber, with Myron Schlabach serving as the alternate.

Eric Shaver recognized Gary Mast as the president for the coming year. During the meeting, members voted on county, state and national policies.

County policies included working with the local Amish community to educate members concerning the dangers of using tractors and trailers as people haulers.

Other county policies included working with local school districts to seek operating levies through income tax rather than property tax, working with local communities and organizations to establish farmers’ markets and commodity auctions to improve farm income through direct sales to end use consumers, working with local officials and business organizations to improve broadband coverage in the county, and working with the sheriff’s department to establish programs to help curb rural crime.

State policies

State policies brought before the members included amending the CAUV calculation formula, amending the CAUV calculation for livestock farmers, opposing the requirement of commercial drivers licenses for farm employees operating farm equipment on the highway, and working with the Ohio Department of Education to establish a standard for the number of Ag Ed programs based on farm census data for the area.

National policies included streamlining the process for granting temporary work visas for immigrant workers, continuing small business expensing deductions, and opposing amnesty for illegal aliens.

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