SEBRING, Ohio – State Rep. John Boccieri feasted on a buffet dinner before thanking nearly 125 Mahoning County Farm Bureau members for the food they produce when the group met for its annual meeting Oct. 2.
“I like to eat. Thank you for providing plenty of good food for me,” he said, noting American farmers and the bounty they produce are a matter of national defense.
“We can’t be dependent on other countries to supply our food,” he said to those in attendance at Tall Oaks banquet center in Sebring.
Legislative update. Boccieri, a member of the county Farm Bureau and the general agriculture committee in the legislature, updated members on issues evolving in the General Assembly.
Of particular interest is House Bill 152, which transfers regulatory oversight of livestock operations in the state from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
That transfer is effective Nov. 5.
“This moved oversight of land application of manure from the EPA to the ODA. Who best to handle that than folks who deal with livestock every day?” he said.
Boccieri also mentioned legislation effective Oct. 29 that restructures the way crop seeds are identified and sold in Ohio.
Pay close attention. Closer to home, the legislator identified sewage and waste disposal as two of the hottest topics.
He said he’s noticed more homeowners’ frustration as they’re forced to abandon private septic systems and connect to sanitary sewers as they become available with more rural development.
“That law has vague connotations that have to be addressed in the state legislature. I really hope the legislature does address this issue soon; it’s affecting you,” he said.
He also said Ohio would become a dumping ground for out-of-state waste if land application of sewage sludge is not addressed.
“I encourage you to be attentive to the changes,” he urged.
Policies. Members had some of their own ideas for policy resolutions on the county, state and national levels.
Proposed county resolutions covered road improvements and visibility; illegal disposal of trash; farm tire recycling; CAUV monitoring; private property rights; and preservation of the Mill Creek MetroParks experimental and educational farm.
State resolutions included those related to the private and sanitary sewage battle; livestock quality assurance; water drainage demands as they relate to state engineering projects; and support of a cost-shared wildlife abatement program.
Members also voted to oppose including government subsidies in calculation of property values.
Dues go up? State trustee Jeff Zellers, of Hartville in Stark County, shared news that the state Farm Bureau board of directors unanimously approved a $10 dues increase for the 2005 membership year.
“We haven’t had a raise for 15 or 16 years. But it won’t be the state deciding this, it will be the members,” he said.
Final approval or denial of that measure rests in the hands of each county’s delegates when they convene for the state annual meeting in December.
Mahoning County members currently pay $48 per year.
“I believe in [the increase]. Those of you who farm full time, like me, know the price of fertilizer, parts, labor, CAUV, and it’s not a lot when you see what Farm Bureau does for you,” Zellers said.
Regular business. All 10 committees in the county received stars in the standards of achievement program.
Zellers and organization director Pearle Burlingame presented stars to Tom Koch, county president; Maggie Mullen, advisory councils and young farmers; Marjorie Yerman, agricultural ecology;
Duane Moff, government affairs and policy development; Jenifer Weaver, information; James Olds Jr., marketing and farm income;
James and Mary Moore, membership; Kim Moff, promotion and education; Cindy Kingston, safety; and Tim and Aimee Hum and Brenda Markley, youth council.
Delegates elected for the 2004 state annual meeting were Yerman, Doug Martig, Dave Kenreich and Mary Moore. Alternates are Mullen, Mike Miller and Alan Anderson.
Yerman and Lola Ann Kurtz ran unopposed for two-year terms as women’s trustees.
Other awards. Nationwide Insurance agent Jim Lewis, who has helped the organization as an agent for 43 years, received the county’s partner award.
Tom Puch, a certified crop adviser for Agland Co-op, received the Excellence in Crop Advising award. The award recognizes advisers who help farmers with nutrient, soil and water management, integrated pest management and crop production.
Jenifer Weaver took home awards as the county’s representative in discussion meet and excellence in agriculture competitions.
Youth member Tasha Agustin was surprised to receive a special appreciation award from the youth council. Agustin served as secretary of the group.
Other youths presented scholarships were Stephanie Gallegos-Riehl and Anna Kellgreen, outstanding youth award and $100 savings bond; Mark Miller, Farm Bureau agricultural scholarship, $300; and Kellgreen, Alan J. Withers agriculture and leadership scholarship, $300.
Upcoming chairmen. Most committee chairs for the upcoming year will remain the same. Wayne Greier will take over the safety committee, and Ralph and Chris Wince will return as heads of the youth council.
Sarah Schlegel will hold the newly created position of Nationwide sponsorship coordinator.
(Reporter Andrea Myers welcomes reader feedback by phone at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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