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The Ohio Farm Bureau news update area is provided by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Find more from Ohio Farm Bureau by visiting their website, www.ofbf.org.

Goals achieved in 2019 Ohio Farm Bureau membership campaign

The membership team of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and volunteers throughout the state set some lofty goals at the start of the 2019 membership campaign. After a full year of countless events, meetings, phone calls and contacts, those efforts culminated into goals being met and exceeded, as the final tally for farmer and ag professionals membership gain came in at 107.2%, year over year.

“These accomplishments would not be possible without the leadership of our county membership coordinators and the commitment of their dedicated teams of volunteers that invite their family, friends, neighbors and local businesses to join them as a member of our organization,” said Paul Lyons, Ohio Farm Bureau’s vice president of membership. “Achieving these goals has even greater meaning, as we celebrate 100 years of doing the important work of our organization.”

An impressive 81 counties received the Milestone Award for achieving a gain in farmer and ag professional members, and 14 volunteers won the Murray Lincoln Award for signing up at least 50 new members to Ohio Farm Bureau.

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Contest winners’ products reaching broader audience

Sarah Steinbrunner isn’t a mom, but the 21-year-old Ohio State University senior is well aware that, for many children, the traditional lunch staple of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich isn’t an option. Too many kids these days have peanut allergies, some so serious that peanut products aren’t allowed anywhere near them.

Accepting the Signature Food Contest award for Beannut Butter in 2018 were, from left, Collin Crooks, a sophomore at Ohio State University and Banzo Foods bookkeeper; Taylor Crooks, company CEO and 2018 Ohio University graduate and Sarah Steinbrunner, a senior at OSU and the company’s Chief Science Officer. With them is Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp.

So she and her boyfriend, Taylor Crooks, 22, decided to develop a “butter” that tastes like peanuts but contains no nuts at all.

Their Beannut Butter (which is being rebranded with the name Yippea) was one of two products that judges picked in July as the 2018 winners of the Ohio Signature Food Contest, a statewide competition held annually by the Center for Innovative Food Technology and sponsored by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

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‘Farm team’ takes the field in Columbus

What would a ballgame be without a hot dog and a cold brew?

During the 2019 baseball season the Cleveland Indians Triple A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers, will be introducing Ohio’s Farm Team, honoring Ohio Farm Bureau members who produce those items that make a day at the ballpark, well, a day at the ballpark.

“We are proud to be partnering with the Ohio Farm Bureau as they celebrate their 100th anniversary,” said Ken Schnacke, president and general manager of the Columbus Clippers. “Without farming, this country would not be what it is today, and farmers play an instrumental part in our everyday lives by the products they grow and raise. Farmers in America are truly some of the real all-stars in our communities.”

Nine Farm Bureau members from all over Ohio and from all aspects of agriculture will represent the industry at Clippers’ Family Days at Sunday home games throughout the season.

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Webinar: Help ensure you qualify for Social Security benefits

As a farmer or rancher, did you know that you might not qualify for Social Security benefits in retirement? Do you know how to get your current Social Security statement of benefits?

Ohio Farm Bureau is committed to helping you protect your financial independence and is working with our No. 1 partner Nationwide to deliver a series of valuable learning sessions designed to help you plan for retirement.

During the Social Security, the Choice of a Lifetime webinar, Nationwide can show the simple steps to take to identify future projected Social Security benefits and help you create a filing strategy.

Register online for any one of three upcoming webinars:

4-5 p.m., Tuesday, May 28, 2019
2-3 p.m., Tuesday, June 11, 2019
4-5 p.m., Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Please be advised, the Ohio Farm Bureau is not an affiliate of Nationwide.  Nationwide Retirement Institute will facilitate the educational events on retirement topics, such as Social Security benefits.
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Field Day with Jordan: Demonstration farms research findings

Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Water Quality Research Jordan Hoewischer hosts Aaron Heilers for a discussion of the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network. Heilers is project manager for the network, which is a partnership between Farm Bureau and NRCS that showcases conservation practices and provides educational opportunities for the public, government officials and farmers to share what is being learned from the farms’ practices.

Field Day with Jordan Hoewischer is an ongoing series of conversations with experts and leaders who are helping to shape and secure the future of Ohio’s ag industry for generations to come.

Below are excerpts from the interview, and here is the transcript. Listen to the complete episode and past episodes via Soundcloud, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Google Play.

Jordan: So what are the objectives of the project? I mean obviously, you know, …we’re demonstrating there’s certain things on a farm.

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Deadline extended to certify 2018 crop production for MFP program

USDA extended the deadline to May 17, 2019 (from May 1) for agricultural producers to certify 2018 crop production for payments through the Market Facilitation Program, which helps producers who have been significantly affected by foreign tariffs, resulting in the loss of traditional exports. USDA’s Farm Service Agency extended the deadline because heavy rainfall and snowfall have delayed harvests in many parts of the country, preventing producers from certifying acres.

Payments will be issued only if eligible producers certify before the updated May 17 deadline. Note: The MFP application period closed Feb. 14, 2019. Producers have until May 17, 2019 to certify production.

Qualifying crops

The MFP provides payments to producers of corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, wheat, dairy, hogs, fresh sweet cherries and shelled almonds. FSA will issue payments based on the producer’s certified total production of the MFP commodity multiplied by the MFP rate for that specific commodity.

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Michael Bailey named Ohio Farm Bureau vice president

Michael Bailey of Marysville has been named vice president, strategic partnerships for Ohio Farm Bureau. In this newly created position, he will develop and manage key relationships and partnerships within the farm and food sector and with businesses, educators, public officials and others. He also will be responsible for the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation; OFBF Development Corporation; member benefits and services; Young Agricultural Professionals, youth and leadership development programs and Farm Bureau events.  

Bailey has extensive experience in building productive relationships, creating partnerships and attaining shared goals and applied those skills in numerous senior administrative positions within state government.  At the Ohio Department of Agriculture, he served as deputy director, executive director of the Livestock Care Standards Board, senior program manager for the marketing division and executive director for the Office of Farmland Preservation. At the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, he was chief of the Division of Soil and Water Resources and most recently chief of the Division of Parks and Watercraft.  

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Ohio Farm Bureau joins Opioid Education Alliance

The opioid crisis is devastating countless communities across the state, as Ohioans are now more than two and a half times as likely to die from a drug overdose than a car accident. In fact, Ohio ranks third in the nation for opioid overdose deaths with more than 5,000 Ohioans dying from overdose in 2017 alone.

Healthy, drug-free residents are important to a thriving community and economy, which is why Ohio Farm Bureau has joined the Opioid Education Alliance. The alliance, which is composed of more than 40 business, civic and government organizations, has a mission to spread opioid misuse prevention messages through its Denial, OH campaign. The Denial, OH campaign features public service announcements that are set in the fictional town of Denial, Ohio, where residents are “in denial” that their children could become addicted to opioids.

Check out the PSAs, and educate yourself, your family and friends on proper prescription opioid use and disposal.

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Broadband access a priority for Farm Bureau

Ohio Farm Bureau is continuing to work with state leaders on having broadband accessible for all Ohioans across the state. Entire Ohio communities continue to have no broadband connectivity or limited reliability, putting them at an economic disadvantage, said Jenna Beadle, OFBF director of state policy.

“The biggest thing we hear from our members about not having broadband is the economic impact for those in the workplace and how even students are affected because they increasingly have to do their homework online and can’t always run over to McDonald’s or their local library for Wi-Fi access,” she said.

Last year the state legislature failed to pass a bill establishing a residential broadband expansion program through the Ohio Department of Development Services. Ohio Farm Bureau has been meeting with state leaders to reintroduce the bill, which would provide grant money to help offset the high infrastructure cost for companies putting broadband into areas with few customers.

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Ohio farmers rally to help Nebraska colleagues

Ohio farmers from various parts of the state made the long trek to Nebraska at the end of March to help fellow farmers as they recover from the worst flooding in the state’s history.

A “bomb cyclone” left behind unprecedented flooding in many parts of the Midwest, with more than $1 billion in damage in Nebraska alone, as well as long-term disruptions to markets throughout the country and devastation for farm families.

Anyone who wishes to make a contribution to help Nebraska farmers recover can do so through the Nebraska Farm Bureau disaster assistance fund set up for relief efforts. Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Ag Professionals Committee also has donated $1,000 to the relief effort.

Ohioan’s help was gratefully received in the Cornhusker state. Visit links to media coverage of relief efforts by Ohio farmers below:

Ohio’s Country Journal

Farm and Dairy

Kearney Hub (Nebraska)

107.9FM KITC Radio (Nebraska)

Nebraska TV

CAPTION: A group of farmers making up Ohio’s Rural America Relief left for North Bend, Neb., at the end of March.

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2019 ExploreAg adds more camps – application deadline extended

UPDATE: The deadline to apply has been extended.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is offering STEM-based camps called ExploreAg. The ExploreAg program is a FREE week-long experience for high school students where they are introduced to various aspects of agriculture, food science, environmental sciences and more, both in the classroom and through opportunities for hands-on learning both on and off campus at the Ohio State University, OSU ATI and Central State University. New this year is the addition of two camps, for a total of four, and 25 students will be accepted for each camp.

ExploreAg students will interact with and learn directly from internationally known teachers, scientists and researchers. Subject areas include food science, precision agriculture, animal science, natural resources, management skills, technology and agricultural business. In addition to the classroom experience, scholars will participate in field experiences that highlight cutting-edge research and meet industry partners to provide a glimpse of various careers in related fields.

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Vote in the Raise Your Hand for 4-H contest

Only one in three young people say they have the skills to handle what life throws their way. If we don’t give kids the opportunity to succeed, we all fail. That’s where 4-H comes in. Ohio 4-H Youth Development programs meet youth and families where they live, serve community needs and build critical life skills young people need to thrive.

Again this year, the “Raise Your Hand” initiative is an opportunity to secure funding for 4-H hands-on learning programs.

4-H alumni, supporters and friends are asked to vote for Ohio to win funding to help more kids. Vote now and Ohio’s 4‑H program could win $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000 to help more young people do, learn and grow.

Ty Higgins visits with Ohio Farm Bureau’s First Vice President Bill Patterson about the Raise Your Hand initiative and how easy it is to take part.

Raise your hand for 4-H.

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Field Day with Jordan Hoewischer: Nationwide Insurance

Host Jordan Hoewischer sits down with Dan Durheim, associate vice president, Nationwide Sponsor Relations; Shawnda Vega, account executive, Nationwide Sponsor Relations; and Tim Hicks, business development field director for Ohio Farm Bureau, to discuss the history between Ohio Farm Bureau and Nationwide and how the two organizations remain committed to providing programs and solutions to meet members’ needs.

Field Day with Jordan Hoewischer is an ongoing series of conversations with experts and leaders who are helping to shape and secure the future of Ohio’s ag industry for generations to come.

Following are some highlights from this episode. Read the complete transcript.

Q: So I know a lot of our members, a lot of people listening, the general public may know why Farm Bureau and Nationwide are connected so I guess whoever wants to go… Why Nationwide, why Farm Bureau, why are we here. What’s the connective point with Nationwide and Farm Bureau?

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Legal with Leah: LEBOR update

There have been many developments on the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) front since the law was passed by Toledo voters. In the latest Legal with Leah, Ty Higgins visits with Ohio Farm Bureau’s Policy Council Leah Curtis about the actions being taken by both sides of the issue and why farmers should keep up with LEBOR updates, whether they live in the watershed or not.


Ty Higgins: I know you’re getting a lot of calls from farmers saying you know what does this mean for me and we’re getting into you know April here. Farmers are starting to think about getting into the fields when they can, when things dry out and work the fields getting ready for planting and this is just one thing on their mind. So you know looking short term, long term what’s next for LEBOR?

Leah Curtis: So as far as the litigation goes, you know litigation can move kind of slowly but certainly I think, you know, they’re trying to move as fast as they can and how long it will take we can’t really say but certainly having the injunction in place is a very good thing that should, you know, give people a lot of peace of mind as they do get to that you know into planting this year and into prepping their fields and getting ready.

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Beginning farmer incentives take shape in Ohio House


A bipartisan effort in the Ohio House gives beginning farmers financial incentive to establish themselves in the state’s agricultural industry.

Co-sponsored by Rep. John Patterson (D-99th District) and Rep. Susan Manchester (R-84th District), House Bill 183 would authorize a nonrefundable income tax credit for beginning farmers who attend a financial management program, and a nonrefundable income tax credit for individuals who sell or rent farmland, livestock, buildings or equipment to beginning farmers. Eligibility requirements would be affirmed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Both representatives offered testimony on the bill to the Ohio House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on April 9. Ohio Farm Bureau policy supports legislation that establishes beginning farmer incentives.

“Several forward-thinking OFBF members realized the challenges of exit and entry in agriculture and successfully added Farm Bureau policy supporting incentives for new and beginning farmers,” said Jenna Beadle, Ohio Farm Bureau director of state policy.

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17 graduate from Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER program


Seventeen farmers and agribusiness professionals from around Ohio recently graduated from Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER Institute Class X. The elite leadership program was started in 2008 to help agricultural advocates gain influence over public policy issues that impact their businesses and communities.

Class X graduates are Megan Dresbach of Circleville, Katie Esselburn of Shreve, Kayla Finton of Coshocton, Doug Franz of Mt. Gilead, Amy Hamilton of Hillsboro, Amanda Hill of Marion, Jacob Hoelscher of Osgood, Sarah Ison of Moscow, Bailey Morrell of Wooster, Victoria Popp of Cincinnati, Trish Preston of Canal Winchester, Ashley Rose of New Vienna, Aubry Fowler-Shaw of Thornville, Sara Tallmadge of Loudonville, Lindsey Walls of Defiance, Laramie Wells of Russellville and Jonathan Zucker of Marion.

Over the course of a year, Class X participants learned from experts on how to become better leaders and advocates for the agricultural industry, including spokesperson and media training, etiquette training, social networking and communications.

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Brewing young farmers and ranchers

The American Farm Bureau Fusion conference was held March 15-18 in Milwaukee and brought together leaders from Promotion & Education, Women’s Leadership and Young Farmers & Ranchers programs. The event provided educational tracks, networking opportunities and energized participants with new ideas and strategies to take back to their home state. This year, Ohio had 34 Young Ag Professionals members in attendance.

Personally, I was one of the 10 Ohio Farm Bureau scholarship recipients, which covered both my registration and travel. Being gifted the amazing experience of this conference has become one of my greatest memories with Ohio Farm Bureau thus far.

Ryan Matthews limboThe conference kicked off on Saturday morning with all of Ohio cheering on our very own Collegiate Discussion Meet participant, Aryn Copeland. Then our first session included a limbo competition that I was so gracefully nominated to compete in and gave me an early push out of my comfort zone both socially and physically.

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Ohio Farm Bureau fights expanded eminent domain authority

The fight to protect landowners from expanded eminent domain authority continues. 

Ohio Farm Bureau successfully prevented an expansion of takings authority in the Senate’s version of the transportation budget, but it could return.  Legislators from both chambers must reconcile their two versions and were to provide a final transportation budget to Gov. Mike DeWine by March 31, however details were still being hashed out as of April 1. 

The amendment would have increased quick take authority, which allows property to be taken immediately without the normal eminent domain process. The amendment would allow utility companies to bypass normal eminent domain procedures and instead allow the utility to take immediate possession by depositing with the court an amount the utility believes is an appropriate value. 

Farm Bureau policy policy supports adequate compensation before beginning a project.

“This amendment eliminates the landowner’s negotiating power,” said Jenna Beadle, OFBF director of state policy. 

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Injunction pauses enforcement of LEBOR

Editor’s Note: Below is an update from Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp regarding the next development in a Wood County farmer’s lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights:


For several weeks your Farm Bureau has been making you aware of the possible threat of lawsuits against farmers after Toledo citizens passed an ordinance that would give Lake Erie rights in court. While there’s still a long road ahead, there is some positive news to share with you.

On March 18, U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary issued a preliminary injunction pausing enforcement of the recently passed Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR). This action stems from a lawsuit filed by a Wood County farmer the day after Toledo voters passed LEBOR in a special election.

Farm Bureau stands with the farmer and his family and we appreciate that this injunction will prevent the law from taking effect while the case is litigated.

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