SMITHVILLE, Ohio — David Daniels is passionate about keeping Ohio agriculture a strong industry.
“Ohio agriculture is a $105 billion industry,” said Daniels, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, at the 2012 Wayne County Farm Bureau annual meeting held at Ramseyer’s Pumpkin Patch in Smithville.
“That is a big deal. If it had not been for agriculture and the farmers and their families supporting our local businesses, my hometown of Greenfield would have dried up and blown away.”
He admitted that growing up on a crop and livestock farm, he never thought standing ankle deep in cow manure would look good on a resume. But when he was asked to consider the job as director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, he was honored.
“Gov. Kasich wanted someone who understood small agricultural systems and was able to transfer that knowledge to larger systems,” he said.
Daniels said 2012 is proving to be a challenging year for farmers, specifically with lower crop yields, and may force many farmers to stop and think about what they are doing on their farms.
“The governor is concerned about what is going on in the state,” he said. “That is why he signed an executive order declaring all 88 counties agricultural disaster areas and instructed state agencies to do what they can to assist farmers.
“It is going to hit livestock farmers hard three or four months from now, when the cost of feed is going to get expensive.”
“This is a tough situation,” he added. “We are doing what we can to make sure whatever resources producers need are available to help them out during these tough times.”
Roger Baker was introduced as the new state board member representing Wayne, Ashland, Medina and Summit counties.
“It is an honor to serve Wayne County,” he said. “When it comes to agriculture, if it happens in the state, it has already happened in Wayne County. If you are lucky enough to live in Wayne County, you are lucky enough and if you are lucky enough to be in agriculture, you are lucky enough.”
Baker encouraged the members to provide feedback on the proposed severance tax issue currently under discussion by the OFBF board of trustees. Recommendations on the issue were to impose a 4 percent tax on gas and oil and lower the state income tax rate, impose a 5 percent tax and remit revenue back to municipalities for infrastructure improvements and local services, propose no additional tax, or stay neutral on the matter.
Pam Haley, northeast region women’s trustee ,said Wayne County has one of the most active council programs in the state. Three councils were recognized in the annual council contest: YRU Farmers, NW 10, and Meadowlarks and Crows.
Haley said the issue of water quality is one thing the state board has been discussing. She told the audience that the ODA, ODNR, Ohio EPA and other related agencies have been working on establishing policies for the Lake Saint Mary watershed.
Haley said OFBF would be sponsoring a series of meetings to help farmers review their plans, bring them up to date if needed and make sure they are in compliance.
During the meeting, members voted on county, state and national policies including supporting the re-establishment of a horse slaughtering facility in Ohio; encourage lawmakers to outlaw people from gaining access to livestock facilities under false pretenses to secure videos, audio or pictures; and support landowners seeking to renegotiate old leases to include mineral rights not included in areas used for natural gas storage.
Colin Gordon was recognized as the Distinguished Volunteer award recipient. He has served as a board member, board secretary and chairman of the communication committee.
Elected to the board of trustees were Mike Haley, Mark Dotterer, Rhett Acker, Kurt Mairs and Joel Steiner.
Delegates to the 2013 annual meeting will be Acker, Haley, Will Moore, Dean Shoup, Fred Finney, and Randy Tegtmeier. Alternates will be Matt Vodraska, Brian Jentes and Jamie Pitman.
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