The pandemic’s influence was evident at the Ohio Farm Bureau’s annual meeting Dec. 7-11 — both in the way the meeting was conducted, and in the policy priorities delegates set for 2021.
Priorities set included rural broadband, meat processing, water quality efforts, and timber and wildlife management.
The meeting was held partially remotely and partially in-person. The hybrid meeting included recognition of award winners, elections and setting policy priorities for next year. The main business and delegate part of the meeting was held Dec. 11. During the meeting, 380 delegates from county farm bureaus across the state voted on policy changes and priorities.
“I know this meeting’s not what we all envisioned,” said Frank Burkett, president of the farm bureau, in a recorded opening session address. “But I also know that farm bureau members have always prevailed and always delivered … we will complete the business of our organization.”
On rural broadband, delegates voted to support eliminating local match requirements from state funding sources, and disconnecting state funding from FCC coverage maps, among other things. They also voted to support establishing a state broadband authority and regional broadband councils within the Ohio Broadband Office.
Delegates reiterated support for the H2Ohio water quality initiative. They also added policy language to encourage growth in the meat processing industry. This would give Ohio livestock farmers more marketing options and help address over capacity at meat and poultry processing facilities.
Other policies voted on included livestock care, energy infrastructure and property rights and taxes.
The district and region trustee elections were Dec. 7 and 8. Adele Flynn, of Wellington, was re-elected to serve as the District 3 trustee. Roger Baker, of Wooster, was re-elected to the District 8 trustee position.
Katherine Harrison, of Canal Winchester, was re-elected as the District 11 trustee. Matt Aultman, of Versailles, was elected to his first term as District 14 trustee.
Al Miller, of Marietta, was re-elected to a fifth term as the District 17 trustee. Lane Osswald, of Eldorado, will serve a fourth term as the District 18 trustee.
Finally, Jenny Cox, of Dresden, was re-elected as the southeast regional trustee.
The bureau also elected officers during the meeting.
Burkett, of Massillon, was re-elected president. James “Bill” Patterson, of Chesterland, was re-elected first vice president. Cy Prettyman, of New Bloomington, was re-elected treasurer.
During the annual meeting, the farm bureau also recognized award winners in recorded videos throughout the week.
Josh and Sarah Ison, of Clermont County, won the Excellence in Agriculture Award. Micah Mensing, of Wayne County, was this year’s discussion meet winner. Nathan and Lynn Steiner, of Wayne County, won the Outstanding Young Farmer Award.
The Delaware, Pickaway, Tuscarawas, Henry and Scioto county farm bureaus were recognized with County Activities of Excellence Awards. Becky Cropper, of Brown County, won the Cooperative/Agriculture Educator Award.
The bureau gave out two Distinguished Service Awards. One went to Tim Corcoran, of Ross County.
The other was posthumously awarded to Yvonne Lesicko, who died unexpectedly in June this year. In a video recognizing her and several other award winners, the bureau said Lesicko packed a career’s worth of accomplishments into her 11 years with the farm bureau.
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