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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.

Higgins joins Ohio Farm Bureau staff

Ty Higgins has been named director of media relations for Ohio Farm Bureau. He will be the organization’s primary point of contact for journalists reporting on farm, food, environmental and public policy issues. Higgins also will contribute content across Farm Bureau’s print, broadcast and social channels and will work with Farm Bureau members as they communicate with public officials and consumers.  

For the last eight years, Higgins has been a farm broadcaster, writer and network director for Ohio AgNet and Ohio’s Country Journal, where he has been deeply engaged in issues important to both farmers and the public. His 23-year career includes farm broadcasting at WRFD radio and the Agri Broadcasting Network and as an on-air personality for WHOK radio in Columbus.  

Higgins will work alongside Ohio Farm Bureau Senior Director of Corporate Communications Joe Cornely, who will retire at the end of 2019.  

He and his wife, Angela, are parents of two children.

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100th American Farm Bureau Annual Convention coverage

Monday, Jan 14
This morning’s closing General Session featured the announcement of the Young Farmer and Rancher competition results, the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge Awards, remarks from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and keynote speaker President Donald Trump addressed the group.

Jess and Adam Campbell did not advance in the Excellence in Agriculture contest.

The counties that won the County Activities of Excellence presented at the IDEAg Trade Show.

Sunday, Jan. 13

OFBF President Frank Burkett proudly represents Ohio.
OFBF President Frank Burkett proudly represents Ohio. Photo: AFBF

The opening General Session of the 2019 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention began with the annual parade of state flags. Notable presenters included Louisiana governor, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Mike Strain, commissioner of Louisiana’s department of agriculture and forestry. AFBF President Zippy Duvall delivered his annual address, focusing on the history of AFBF and how it has been a united voice over the last 100 years.

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Lake Erie Bill of Rights could be on February special election ballot


You could be sued by Lake Erie, or more precisely, by any resident of Toledo who wants to speak for the lake and finds fault with the way you’re farming or doing business.

It sounds incredible, and likely won’t become a reality, but the threat is real enough that Farm Bureau is engaged in the legal maneuvering.

Farm Bureau Policy Counsel Leah Curtis explains that a proposed amendment to the Toledo City Charter may be on the ballot during a special election Feb. 26. The measure would give Lake Erie and its watershed legal standing in court and allow any Toledo citizen to represent the lake and file lawsuits on its behalf.

The rights this measure would grant the lake include, “an ability to exist, flourish, be free from pollution” and other broadly described entitlements.  Any farming practice that allegedly infringes on these rights presumably makes the farmer subject to a lawsuit.

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Meeting with Judge Judi — AgriPOWER Session 4 blog

By Trish Raridan Preston, AgriPOWER Class X participant

Our AgriPOWER class focused our November session on two primary topics: state level governmental and judicial affairs and sustainability. Our travels brought us to the capital city of Columbus, which is where we met up with Supreme Court Justice Judi French, who gave us a personal tour of her cpreston-agripowerourtroom, as well as shared with us the judicial process for the court. 

We enjoyed the opportunity to meet with several of our elected officials through legislative visits in the House of Representatives. Our discussions were a mosaic of topics that were concerns we brought from our various home counties and an illustration of the broad experiences and backgrounds from which we each hail. From water quality management to funding for 4-H and extension education to the opioid crisis hitting all of our communities in devastating ways, we shared personal stories from our home farms and neighbors.

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2019 Scholarship opportunities

Numerous agricultural organizations, county Farm Bureaus and the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation are offering scholarships for students whose parents are members of that organization, or for students pursuing majors in an agriculturally related field.

The list will be updated throughout the year.

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation. Various scholarships and application due dates, some as late as June 30.

Ohio Agricultural Council is offering six $1,500 scholarships to assist students pursuing undergraduate and graduate level agricultural-related studies. Applications can be found by clicking here. Application deadline – Feb. 15.

Kavanagh Wildlife Farm, Inc. (scholarships for students in Greene and Clark counties) Apply by April 15.

County Farm Bureaus offering scholarships:

Adams County–apply by March 28

Brown County–apply by March 28

Champaign County–apply by April 1

Clark County–apply by April 1

Clermont County–apply by

Darke County–apply by April 1

Delaware County–apply by April 1

Franklin County–apply by Feb.

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Golden Owl Honorees


Honoring Ohio’s Ag Educator of the Year

During December and January, 10 agricultural educators are being named as Golden Owl Award finalists in surprise ceremonies throughout the state.

Presented by Nationwide, Ohio FFA and Ohio Farm Bureau, the Golden Owl Award honors educators for their outstanding contributions in helping future agricultural leaders.

Nominations were accepted through November 2018. The 10 teachers who have been selected as Golden Owl honorees receive a $500 prize and entrance into the final selection stage. One honoree then will be chosen for the grand prize, the Golden Owl Award and $3,000.

The Golden Owl Award winner will be announced in April.

NOTE: This post will be updated as the finalists are announced.

Congratulations to the finalists:

Dave Stiles, Indian Valley High

Pictured: Nationwide Sponsor Relations Account Executive Shawnda Vega, OFBF Organization Director Michele Specht, Indian Valley High FFA President Clayton Sprowl, finalist Dave Stiles, Nationwide Agent Don Kemp, Indian Valley High Principal Robert Clark and Alyssa Bregel FFA State Supervisor/Ohio Department of Education.
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UPDATE: Market Facilitation Program sign ups

UPDATE Jan. 3, 2019: Due to the partial shutdown of the federal government, Farm Service Agency offices are currently closed and unable to process in-person applications for the Market Facilitation Program. There are other options to sign up for the program electronically. Click here for more information. Deadline to apply is Jan. 15. Farmers who have already signed up but have yet to certify their 2018 crop production will have to wait for FSA offices to open in order to do so. 

PREVIOUS: This week, USDA released the second and final round of trade mitigation payments aimed at assisting farmers impacted by the ongoing trade and tariff implications around the world. Corn, soybean, dairy and other farmers in Ohio and across the country are now eligible to receive Market Facilitation Program payments for the second half of their 2018 production.

Producers who have signed up for MFP are eligible for the first and second payments.

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Ohio Farm Bureau Centennial on Town Hall Ohio

At the close of World War I, Ohio farmers organized to preserve their livelihoods and lifestyles. In 1919, they gave birth to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. And since its origin, Farm Bureau has gone on to significantly shape the culture and economy of the Buckeye state. On this edition of Town Hall Ohio, celebrate the centennial of the state’s largest and most influential farm and food organization and hear from and about its leaders, its accomplishments and its plans for the future.

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Logan County awards first grant from Agriculture Impact Fund

Logan County Farm Bureau is excited to announce the awarding of one of two grants from its newly formed Logan County Agriculture Impact Fund to Indian Lake/Ohio Hi-Point FFA program.

The Logan County Agriculture Impact Fund was created from the proceeds from last April’s Logan County Ag Impact Fund Reverse Raffle organized by the county Farm Bureau, and the county is proud to be able to award over $17,000 in grants this first year. The grants are designed to support and improve the agricultural footprint for youth, agriculture organizations, and schools to develop/improve programming about agriculture, improve infrastructure for agriculture education or promote agriculture in our community.

Indian Lake/Ohio Hi-Point FFA program received a $7,350 Ag Impact Grant for the construction of a 24-by-26-foot animal project building. The building, called a chick-inn hutch, will be constructed on the school’s campus and will be stocked with equipment for feeding and maintaining animal projects that the chapter’s students will be raising.

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Summer Intern needed

Summer Intern Position: Champaign, Clark, Darke and Miami Counties

The position will be located in Miami County and is a part-time position, 20-30/week. Position Summary.

To apply please send resume and cover letter to:

Miami County Farm Bureau
1554 McKaig Avenue Building B
Troy, Ohio 45373 or email to [email protected]
Deadline to apply: Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. Anticipated start date May 1.

Primary Duties
1. Provide support/event coordination to county leaders on county program and special projects as assigned by the Organization Director in pursuit of Ohio Farm Bureau and county Farm Bureau goals and objectives.
2. Assist Organization Director with membership prospecting with agribusiness, local businesses, affinity partners, and other community groups in an effort to grow membership by developing business partnerships.
3. Assist Organization Director with membership prospecting with consumers and farmers in an effort to grow all individual/family membership classifications for members and supporters.

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Summer Fellowship Opportunity

Franklin County Farm Bureau is seeking a summer fellow for 2019. This position will provide special project and program support to the Organization Director to meet the needs of the membership relative to established organizational goals and objectives. An ideal candidate should have a knowledge of the agriculture industry. The position will be located at the Franklin County Farm Bureau office and is a full-time position, 40 hours/week. 

Applications are due March 2, 2019.

Please send a cover letter and resume to

Franklin County Farm Bureau, Attn: Steve Berk

P.O. Box 368, Hilliard Ohio 43026 or email  [email protected].

View the complete description.

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Watershed rules sent back to ODA for further review

Ohio Farm Bureau testified at a recent Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review meeting where watershed in distress rules potentially impacting eight watersheds in northwest Ohio were discussed. The review committee ultimately decided to send the rules back to the Ohio Department of Agriculture for further study.

JCARR voted 8-1 to send them back to ODA because the proposed amendments to the Ohio Administrative Code were potentially in conflict with the proposed legislative intent of the rules in the first place.

According to Tony Seegers, director of state policy for Ohio Farm Bureau, the committee decided to tell ODA to “revise and refile” the rules. Doing so gives the agricultural community more time to work with the new administration in 2019 on the rules. Governor-elect Mike DeWine takes office on Jan. 14.

“The rules as proposed grossly exceeded the statutory authority granted the department by the General Assembly,” Seegers said.

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Field Day with Jordan Hoewischer: AFBF Economist Dr. John Newton

In the latest episode of Field Day with Jordan Hoewischer, Ohio Farm Bureau’s Director of Water Quality and Research talks with American Farm Bureau Chief Economist Dr. John Newton.

Hoewischer and Newton talk about the “tough shape” the farm economy has been in for a number years for various reasons, from low crop prices to trade and tariff issues, and how much impact the newly signed Farm Bill may or may not have on farm income in the future.

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. Complete transcript.

Q: I know there are a lot of different sectors, but what’s the general feel of the overall ag economy?

A: Well it’s been in the doldrums now for a few years.

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Farmers concerns grow as pipeline construction progresses

As multiple pipeline projects move to construction phase throughout the state, they haven’t come without some headaches for farmers.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has seen a growing number of farmer concerns with regard to drainage activities and soil remediation as part of the ET Rover pipeline project. While Rover’s FERC-approved Ag Mitigation Plan and easement language allows the company to dispose of standing water into adjacent tracts of land off the designated right of way, they must compensate impacted landowners for damages.

Farm Bureau laid the groundwork for such agreements. As early as summer 2015, OFBF staff started meeting with ET Rover officials as they looked to lay pipeline on a northwest diagonal from Monroe County to Fulton County. In those meetings, Farm Bureau stressed the importance of mitigating impacts to farmland and conducting adequate land remediation as part of the company’s pipeline development project.

Farm Bureau organized landowners to testify at FERC hearings and conducted more than 100 pipeline briefings along the project route since early 2015 to educate landowners on pipeline regulations and how to obtain qualified legal counsel.

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Farm Bureau launches energy program

Ohio Farm Bureau is partnering with an Ohio-based energy management firm, Community Energy Advisors, to establish the Ohio Farm Bureau Energy Program.
The program will assist members in making energy choices, shopping for energy, learning about rebate options and the best ways to manage their energy resources.

“We have worked together to develop this program to provide education, protection and savings to members statewide,” said John Marihugh, OFBF director of member services. “The program can provide highly competitive pricing to members in shoppable electric and natural gas regions.”

Ohio Farm Bureau’s newest member benefit takes the guesswork out of energy costs and gives members an opportunity to save money. It doesn’t matter if power is generated through a cooperative or a municipal utility, or in one of the large, for-profit utility regions, the OFBF Energy Program provides tips and tools to help better manage electric and natural gas costs.

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Growing Our Generation

Stay connected to young Ohio farmers and ag professionals by subscribing to the Growing Our Generation e-newsletter. Discover insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.
Make Connections
Guest editors from across Ohio offer unique outlooks on current issues impacting young farmers.
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Get the latest on statewide events and learn how you can get involved in your community.
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  • State YAP Committee
  • Annie Lohstroh, Pickaway County
  • Jesse Whinnery, Coshocton County
  • Ryan Matthews, Highland County
  • Victoria Popp, Clermont County
  • Nicole Steiner, Wayne County
  • Brynn and Christian Hoffman, Fairfield County
  • Ohio State Fair edition
  • ExploreAg program interns
  • Cambell and Jessica Parrish, Champaign County
  • Hannah Schrader, Hocking County
  • Doug and Lisa Kahlig, Mercer County
  • Micaela Wright, Darke County
  • Emily Krikke, Huron County
  • Marissa Mulligan, Franklin County
  • Adele Flynn, Lorain County
  • Amanda Barndt, Wood County
  • JD Bethel, Champaign County,
  • Willie and Brooke Murphy, Clinton County
  • Brady Campbell, Washington County
  • Megan Lezzer, Wayne County
  • Erika Murray, Morrow County
  • J.L.
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    Ohio Farm Bureau Podcast Directory

    Ohio Farm Bureau produces regular audio content that is available for download on iTunes and Google Play.

    Town Hall OhioTown Hall Ohio is a weekly public affairs radio program. The hour-long broadcast elevates important issues such as private property rights, food safety, wildlife, education, science and technology, business challenges, government and politics. High profile guests from government, industry, academia and other arenas are regular guests on the program.
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    Legal with LeahPolicy Counsel Leah Curtis discusses topics impacting farmers and landowners such as property rights, taxes and other legal and regulatory issues.
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    Field Day with Jordan HoewischerDirector of Water Quality and Research Jordan Hoewischer hosts conversations with experts and leaders who are helping to shape and secure the future of Ohio’s ag industry for generations to come.
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    Legal with LeahHear from Ohio Farm Bureau staff experts on a range of topics impacting Ohio farmers and landowners.
    • google-play-badge

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    Centennial Gun Raffle

    As part of the Ohio Farm Bureau Centennial, and in support of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, a Henry Big Boy .44 magnum, a Henry Golden Boy .22 long rifle and a Ruger American Rimfire Farmer edition will be raffled, plus members have the option of purchasing a Henry Commemorative rifle of their own. A selection of calibers are available.

    Purchase raffle tickets below; tickets will only be sold online and there is no limit on how many tickets will be sold. Winners will be drawn April 1, 2019 by 5 p.m.

    Raffle tickets are $25 each, or 5 for $100.

    1st PrizeOhio Farm Bureau Centennial Rifle
    Henry Big Boy .44 Magnum
    MSRP – $1,200
    Click to view artwork
    2nd PrizeOhio Farm Bureau Centennial Rifle
    Henry Golden Boy .22 LR
    MSRP – $1,000
    Click to view gun artwork
     3rd Prize Ruger American Rimfire 
    Farmer Edition
    MSRP – $630
    Click to view gun artwork

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    North American trade deal signed, moves to Congress

    Despite the signing of the new trade agreement among the United States, Canada and Mexico Nov. 30, work remains as the focus now shifts to Congress and its ratification. The new free trade agreement that took more than a year of intense negotiations among the three partners to come to fruition.

    Officially called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) but dubbed NAFTA 2.0, the agreement must be voted on by each country’s legislative body before it takes effect.

    “Agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico increased from $8.9 billion to $39 billion under NAFTA,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “In every way, this new agreement is just as good, if not better than, the one that came before.”

    According to AFBF, several provisions in the agreement will have significant impacts on the agriculture industry:

    • USMCA will provide new market access for dairy and poultry products in Canada and maintains the zero-tariff platform on all other ag products and on all ag products to Mexico.
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    Updates from Ohio Farm Bureau’s 100th Annual Meeting

    Friday, Dec. 7:

    OFBF President Frank Burkett III and Executive Vice President Adam Sharp presented the membership and county awards at the Delegate Lunch Dec. 7.
    OFBF President Frank Burkett III and Executive Vice President Adam Sharp presented the membership and county awards at the Delegate Lunch Dec. 7.

    Ohio Farm Bureau Board of Trustee elections were held early on the last day of the OFBF 100th Annual Meeting. Two new trustees were elected, along with several trustees who were re-elected to their current positions.

    President Frank Burkett III, Vice President Bill Patterson and Treasurer Cy Prettyman were all re-elected to their officer positions on the board. State and national policy was discussed and voted upon during the general sessions. Several membership awards and county achievement awards were announced during the annual Delegate Lunch, where Executive Vice President Adam Sharp addressed the assembled attendees at the annual meeting.

    In a heartfelt speech, Sharp said he was “humbled and proud” to serve OFBF at this moment in its history.

    Watch the presentations and Adam’s address:

    Later tonight attendees will participate in the Centennial Celebration and a member-only concert by country star Chase Bryant at the Greater Columbus Convention Center to cap off the kickoff to Ohio Farm Bureau’s 100th year.

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