If you ask five farmers in Ohio about the one issue that keeps them up at night, you might get five different answers. That’s what makes the annual Ohio Farm Bureau county presidents’ trip so interesting.
Among the major topics of a new farm bill, regulatory reform and water quality, farmers from all over the state were also able to share their more close-to-home concerns to their respected members of Congress during one-on-one meetings on Capitol Hill.
“We are kind of the boots on the ground because we do it, see it and work with it every day,” said Greg McGlinch, a Darke County farmer on this year’s trip. “Being able to come out here to tell them what we do and helping to set certain policies, then sharing how those policies effects our business is important.”
For McGlinch, conservation was top of mind. He told District 8 Representative Warren Davidson that much progress has been made on the conservation front and this is no time to stop that positive momentum.
“We have implemented a lot of conservation and have seen a lot of good progress,” McGlinch said. “With progression you have to keep investing to continue to see good results and from there when there is see something good that is working it is likely to be taken on by other farmers.”
There were some dairy farmers lobbying with Ohio Farm Bureau inside the beltway and their long-term woes were heard by legislators as well. For Tuscarawas County dairyman Jim Rowe, dairy policy was high on the list, as was getting and keeping a reliable, legal workforce.
“I think agriculture is getting a black eye because of the number of illegal immigrants and we realize that number is high but Congress hasn’t given us a vehicle to make them legal that makes sense,” Rowe said. “It’s a touchy subject and we’ve gone anywhere from throw them all out to let them all in and somewhere in between we have to come up with a program that keeps the workers that we need here in the United States.”
Rowe is back in the milking parlor this morning and getting caught back up on the chores he missed while he was in Washington, but says he hopes the time spent getting his message across to Congressman Bob Gibbs was worth the effort.