“You grow it and we’ll sell it”


AGRICULTURAL BRIEFS

Staff Reports



The Ohio Senate changes CAUV

Alleviating the Tax Burden for Ohio’s Farmers: Senate Bill 36, sponsored by Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) updates the way agricultural property values are calculated in order to alleviate the tax burden for Ohio’s farmers and help incentivize conservation practices vital to protecting Ohio’s natural resources.

Ohio Farm Bureau statement in response to passage of Senate Bill 36 – CAUV reform

With passage of SB 36, the Ohio Senate has taken a much needed step to help farmers who have been subjected to extraordinary property tax increases. By reforming the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) formula, the bill will bring relief to family farmers who have seen farmland property taxes increase by more than 300 percent in recent years. These increases have come at the same time that farm income has undergone significant decline. SB 36 also ensures that farmers are not penalized for adopting conservation practices that protect water quality.

Ohio Farm Bureau appreciates the Senate’s attention to the single most troublesome issue for farmers and landowners. We will continue to work with the Senate and House as they complete their efforts to reform the CAUV formula.

See, Taste, and Experience Life on the Farm

2017 Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series Guide Available

Columbus, OH—The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 2017 farm tour, workshop, and event line up offers a multitude of experiences, including: strolling through organic fields and pastures, acquiring basic homesteading skills, learning from early career growers following their farm dreams, hearing stories from Ohio’s founding sustainable farmers, grasping the ins and outs of growing food in the city and on reclaimed urban lots, scaling up vegetable production, choosing the right farm equipment, and processing poultry.

OEFFA’s 27 summer farm tours, workshops, and other special events are part of the 2017 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series. Five of these events focus on urban agriculture and are presented by Central State University Cooperative Extension.

Meet knowledgeable local farmers ready to share their wisdom, and experience sustainable agriculture up close during these farm tours:

  • Saturday, June 17: Renewable Energy Farm Tour—Woodland Ridge Farm and Learning Center, Athens Co.
  • Tuesday, June 20: On-Farm Research and Organic Vegetable Farm Tour—Artisan Acres, Wayne Co.
  • Sunday, June 25: Diversified Beginning Farm Tour—Homecoming Farm, Athens Co.
  • Saturday, July 29: Youth Urban Farming Tour—Green Corps Midtown Learning Farm, Cuyahoga Co.
  • Friday, August 11: Organic Grain Seed Breeding Farm Tour—Valley View Farm, Logan Co.
  • Sunday, August 13: Vegetable Equipment Systems Farm Tour—Mile Creek Farm, Montgomery Co.
  • Tuesday, August 22: Grass-Fed Livestock Farm Tour—Grassroots Farm, Pike Co.
  • Sunday, September 10: Healthy Soil Farm Tour—Margraf Family Farm, Seneca Co.
  • Saturday, September 23: Cheesemaking and Homestead Tour—Blackstone Farm, Monroe Co.
  • Saturday, October 21: Pasture-Raised Livestock Beginning Farm Tour—Moores Heritage Farm, Ashtabula Co.

Develop production skills, explore a dream to farm, tour the countryside, network with beginning farmers, and taste summer’s bounty during these workshops and special events:

  • Tuesday, August 8: Young and Beginning Farmers Q&A and Networking Session—Rambling House Soda, Franklin Co.
  • Sunday, August 20: The Farmers’ Table—Maplestar Farm, Geauga Co.
  • Sunday, September 10: Poultry Processing for the Small Farm and Homestead Workshop—Tea Hills Farms, Ashland Co.
  • Sunday, September 24: Harvest Bicycle Ride—Fairfield Co.
  • Sunday, October 15: Farm Vision Workshop—OEFFA, Franklin Co.
  • October 2017-February 2018: Heartland Farm Beginnings® Training Course—OEFFA, Franklin Co.
  • Friday, November 3-Saturday, November 4: Grow More Vegetables, Make More Money Workshop—Procter Center, Madison Co.

Learn how to farm in the city and achieve food security, and tour thriving urban agriculture projects that are reclaiming vacant properties, during these urban agriculture farm tours and workshops presented by Central State University Cooperative Extension:

  • Saturday, June 24: Urban CSA Farm Tour—Urban Greens, Hamilton Co.
  • Friday, July 28: Diversified Urban Development Farm Tour—New Harvest Cafe and Urban Arts Center, Franklin Co.
  • Saturday, August 12: Personal Food Security Workshop—CSU Dayton Auditorium, Montgomery Co.
  • Saturday, September 2: Urban Livestock Farm Tour—Glass City Goat Gals, Lucas Co.
  • Wednesday, September 20: Farm the City on Solid Legal Ground Workshop—Cuyahoga County CSU Extension, Cuyahoga Co.

Explore audio excerpts, photography, multimedia pieces, and print materials from OEFFA’s Growing Right Oral History project during one of 15 stops on its tour of central Ohio farmers’ markets and groceries June-August. Get the full schedule here.

Visit with OEFFA member farms during four annual open houses held at Snowville Creamery on June 10, Foraged & Sown on July 16, Carriage House Farm on September 17, and Pastured Providence Farmstead on October 21.

This series is also promoted in cooperation with The Ohio State University Extension Sustainable Agriculture Team and the Clintonville Farmers’ Market, who are sponsoring additional tours.

All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise indicated in the series brochure.

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters who committed to work together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association

41 Croswell Rd., Columbus OH 43214

614-421-2022 www.oeffa.org

USDA Awards First Loans in the Rural Energy Savings Program

WASHINGTON – Acting Deputy Under Secretary Roger Glendenning announced that USDA is providing zero-interest loans to two rural energy providers to help business and residential customers lower energy use and costs.

“Funding commercial, farm and residential energy efficiency investments supports rural economies,” Glendenning said. “These investments save money for consumers, create jobs in the community and help energy providers better manage costs.”

USDA is awarding a $13 million Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP) loan to South Carolina’s KW Savings Co. and a $1 million loan to the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC). These are the first loans USDA is making through RESP. They are being provided through the Electric Program of USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, the successor to the Rural Electrification Administration. The Electric Program makes loans and loan guarantees in rural areas to nonprofit and cooperative associations, public bodies and other utilities to help finance the construction of electric distribution and generation facilities.

KW Savings will use the USDA loan to provide funds to seven rural electric cooperatives for South Carolina’s “Help My House” program, which supports investments in behind-the-meter technologies and building improvements to reduce consumers’ energy bills. The seven cooperatives are: Aiken Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Santee Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Little River Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Lynches River Electric Cooperative, Inc.; and Broad River Electric Cooperative, Inc.

NOPEC, a nonprofit regional council of governments, will provide energy improvement loans to small businesses in 206 rural communities across 13 counties in northeast Ohio. USDA’s funds will support NOPEC’s Savings Through Efficiency Program (STEP), which is expected to reduce energy costs for small businesses by 15 percent.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

Secretary Sonny Perdue to Make USDA Reorganization Announcement in Cincinnati

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio to make a USDA reorganization announcement at Consolidated Grain and Barge. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Farmers Know the Benefits of Trade, Secretary Perdue laid out his plans for the reorganization saying, “We’re creating a new undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, whose focus will be on promoting U.S. food, fiber and fuel around the world. This realignment will help me, as agriculture secretary, to be an unapologetic advocate for American products. My message for farmers is simple: ‘You grow it and we’ll sell it.’”

Secretary Perdue Issues Policy Memo on Religious Liberty and Freedom of Speech

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today affirmed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s renewed dedication to religious liberty and freedom of speech. In a policy statement released to all USDA employees, Secretary Perdue said, “Today, I want to reestablish this Department’s commitment to safeguarding every American’s First Amendment rights, particularly the right to free speech and the right to religious free exercise. USDA is committed to protecting both.”

Highlighting the need for a climate of mutual respect and tolerance, Perdue added, “I expect each and every USDA employee to uphold their fellow Americans’ First Amendment freedoms. Whether we are inspecting private businesses for compliance with food safety laws or protecting our public lands for recreation, cultivation, and preservation, we must set the example of our nation’s highest ideals. These are lessons we learned as children – that we should be kind to others and treat them with respect. Doing so is not optional, and it is not discretionary.”

The policy memo comes on the heels of President Donald J. Trump issuing the Executive Order on Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.

Rural America deserves a champion

Center for Rural Affairs asks Sec. Perdue not to eliminate the position of Undersecretary for Rural Development

Lyons, Neb. – Center for Rural Affairs Policy Associate Anna Johnson said rural America stands to suffer as a result of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s reorganization as announced by U.S. Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue.

“The Center for Rural Affairs has fought on behalf of rural communities for nearly 45 years. We are heartened that Sec. Perdue is making strong efforts during his early days in office to express support for rural communities. However, we are concerned about the path he has chosen. Sec. Purdue has proposed eliminating the position of Undersecretary for Rural Development and moving oversight of Rural Development agencies to the Deputy Secretary, USDA’s second-in-command. If he makes this change, Sec. Perdue will be removing the position of the most significant rural advocate within USDA. Rural America stands to suffer as a result.

“While USDA has a broad mission to promote and support our country’s food and agriculture, Rural Development is the only part of USDA that has the explicit directive to support rural communities.

“USDA’s Rural Development Agencies – the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, the Rural Utilities Service, and the Rural Housing Service – have complex, broad, and deeply important responsibilities in rural communities. These include providing loans for treating wastewater and for the construction of single and multi-family homes.

“Other Rural Development programs, such as the Rural Microenterprise Assistance Program and Value-Added Producer Grant Program, facilitate innovation and encourage success. We’ve seen that 21st Century jobs being created in rural communities are driven by entrepreneurship. For rural communities to thrive, we particularly need to support the job-creating mission of this agency.

“Each of the other mission areas within USDA has similarly complex and important responsibilities, including natural resource conservation, nutrition assistance, and food safety. By removing the position of Undersecretary for Rural Development, rural communities will no longer have a dedicated advocate or an equal seat at the table at USDA.”

Sec. Perdue’s reorganization announcement follows a request by the Trump Administration to cut the USDA budget by more than 20 percent. That proposal includes eliminating the Rural Business-Cooperative Service and Water and Wastewater Loan and Grant Programs.

Johnson continues:

“If Sec. Perdue truly wishes to support rural America, we ask that he not eliminate the position of Undersecretary for Rural Development nor support deep cuts to the budget of Rural Development. Instead, we ask him to appoint a strong advocate for rural communities as Undersecretary for Rural Development, and to support a budget that allows Rural Development to carry out its mission.

“Rural America deserves a champion who is not distracted by the other demands of managing the diverse responsibilities of USDA. By retaining the Undersecretary position, USDA will be better positioned to work with rural people and achieve a vision for America that includes thriving rural communities and economic opportunity for all.”

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

Secretary Perdue Announces Creation of Undersecretary for Trade

Reorganization of USDA Elevates Rural Development as Department Priority

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a recognition of the ever-increasing importance of international trade to American agriculture. Perdue made the announcement standing by barges filled with agricultural products along the banks of the Ohio River. As part of a reorganization of USDA, Perdue also announced the standing up of a newly-named Farm Production and Conservation mission area to have a customer focus and meet USDA constituents in the field. Finally, Perdue announced that the department’s Rural Development agencies would be elevated to report directly to the secretary of agriculture in recognition of the need to help promote rural prosperity.

Perdue issued a report to announce the changes, which address Congressional direction in the 2014 Farm Bill to create the new undersecretary for trade and also are a down payment on President Trump’s request of his cabinet to deliver plans to improve the accountability and customer service provided by departments.

“Food is a noble thing to trade. This nation has a great story to tell and we’ve got producers here that produce more than we can consume,” said Secretary Perdue. “And that’s good, because I’m a grow-it-and-sell-it kind of guy. Our people in American agriculture have shown they can grow it, and we’re here to sell it in markets all around the world.”

Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs

Agricultural trade is critical for the U.S. farm sector and the American economy as a whole. U.S. agricultural and food exports account for 20 percent of the value of production, and every dollar of these exports creates another $1.27 in business activity. Additionally, every $1 billion in U.S. agricultural exports supports approximately 8,000 American jobs across the entire American economy. As the global marketplace becomes even more competitive every day, the United States must position itself in the best way possible to retain its standing as a world leader.

“Our plan to establish an undersecretary for trade fits right in line with my goal to be American agriculture’s unapologetic advocate and chief salesman around the world. By working side by side with our U.S. Trade Representative and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the USDA undersecretary for trade will ensure that American producers are well equipped to sell their products and feed the world,” Perdue said.

USDA’s reorganization seeks to place agencies in more logical order. Under the existing structure, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), which deals with overseas markets, and the Farm Service Agency (FSA), which handles domestic issues, were housed under one mission area, along with the Risk Management Agency (RMA). It makes much more sense to situate FAS under the new undersecretary for trade, where staff can sharpen their focus on foreign markets.

Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation

Additionally, a new undersecretary will be selected for a newly-named Farm Production and Conservation mission area, which is to focus on domestic agricultural issues. Locating FSA, RMA, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service under this domestically-oriented undersecretary will provide a simplified one-stop shop for USDA’s primary customers, the men and women farming, ranching, and foresting across America.

“The men and women of American agriculture are hardy people, many of whom were born into the calling of feeding America and the world,” Perdue said. “Their efforts are appreciated, and this adjustment to the USDA structure will help us help them in even better ways than before.”

Under the reorganization plan, the undersecretary for natural resources and environment will retain supervision of the U.S. Forest Service. A reduction in USDA workforce is not part of the reorganization plan.

Elevating Rural Development

Just as importantly, the USDA reorganization will elevate the Rural Development agencies to report directly to the secretary of agriculture to ensure that rural America always has a seat at the table. Fighting poverty wherever it exists is a challenge facing the U.S., and the reality is that nearly 85 percent of America’s persistently impoverished counties are in rural areas. Rural childhood poverty rates are at their highest point since 1986, affecting one in four rural children, with deep poverty among children being more prevalent in rural areas (12.2 percent) than in urban areas (9.2 percent). The vitality of small towns across our nation is crucial to the future of the agricultural economy and USDA must always argue for the needs of rural America.

“The economic health of small towns across America is crucial to the future of the agriculture economy. It is my commitment to always argue for the needs of rural America, which is why we are elevating Rural Development within USDA,” said Secretary Perdue. “No doubt, the opportunity we have here at the USDA in rural development is unmatched.”

USDA’s report detailing the reorganization was transmitted to Congress this morning. You may click here to view the report on the USDA website. USDA employees and members of the public may comment on the reorganization plan by visiting this page hosted by the White House.

Ohio Agricultural Council Announces 52nd Class of Hall of Fame Inductees

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC) recently announced the 2017 Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees, including Dwight B. Beougher of Westerville, James J. Buchy of Greenville, Opal Holfinger of Troy, and Virgil L. Strickler of Lakeview. These individuals – who have committed their lives to working in, promoting and advocating for Ohio’s farm community – will be inducted as the 52nd Hall of Fame class on Friday, August 4, 2017, during a special breakfast ceremony at the Ohio Expo Center.

“Our Executive Board is very pleased to be honoring such outstanding individuals, whose passion, creativity and hard work epitomize those qualities sought in inductees for the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame,” said Jim Chakeres, OAC president. “Each stands out individually for exceptional contributions, and their collective decades of service have truly impacted Ohio agriculture.”

Induction will take place in the Cardinal Hall on the fairgrounds, which opened in 2016 and features an expanded Hall of Fame display and salute to Ohio’s agriculture community. The following four inductees will join 221 prior recipients named since 1966 when the program began.

Dwight B. Beougher of Westerville

Dwight Beougher has dedicated his life to serving the US feed industry and agriculture. His career in product sales began with twenty years at a major research and animal feed manufacturer, where he especially enjoyed teaching dealers and employees good manufacturing practices and animal husbandry. Later, he and his wife created a successful retail feed and farm supply business in central Ohio and were recognized nationally for their turn-around strategies. Dwight served as chairman of the Ohio Feed & Grain Dealer’s Association’s Feed Committee where he headed up rewriting the “Ohio Feed Law.”

Combining his love of agriculture, education and communication, Dwight now retired, has been instrumental in many programs as president of the Franklin County Farm Bureau. He continues to engage and share the story about his favorite subject – agriculture.

James J. Buchy of Greenville

James “Jim” Buchy is valued as a true statesman and a selfless leader who has served the state and agriculture in many ways. Jim grew up in Greenville, Ohio, working in and later owning his family’s meat packing plant as the fifth generation. Called to public service, he served in the Ohio House of Representatives for 22 years and later as an assistant director in the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Serving on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee during his Ohio House tenure, Jim assisted other legislators in understanding agriculture, worked to create a favorable business environment in the state, protected the environment; all while pushing the agricultural industry for continual improvement and growth. Jim’s work also invested in the youth of Ohio through legislation that brought 4-H and FFA programs to students in urban areas.

Opal Holfinger of Troy

Opal Holfinger has shared her quiet leadership for the betterment of Ohio agriculture and the state of Ohio through thousands of volunteer hours. For more than five and a half decades, Opal and her late husband Carl, fed cattle in Miami County. As a staunch advocate of Ohio’s beef industry, she served on the Ohio Beef Council Operating Committee from 1988-1996, helping shape the state’s beef council in the very early years of the national beef checkoff program. She also served in many capacities for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Cattle Women, and the Miami County Cattlemen’s Association.

Opal’s service extended into board leadership for 15 years and as treasurer of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Miami County Planning Commission and Zoning Board, Ohio Bicentennial Board and the Ohio Expositions Commission.

Virgil L. Strickler of Lakeview

Virgil Strickler has a lifetime of experience in the agricultural industry and serves as the longest-running General Manager in the history of the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair. Raised on a farm in Fairfield County, Ohio, Virgil began his career as an agricultural lender. In 1993, he was named Livestock and Agriculture Director of the Ohio State Fair, and Strickler also has served since 2004 as the General Manager.

Virgil has been passionate about supporting and educating Ohio’s youth about agriculture, as demonstrated through the 4th grade Ag is Cool program and the Youth Reserve Program for livestock participants, which created a multi-million dollar scholarship program. Strickler has created one of the top fairs in the nation, allowing the general public to better connect with the number-one industry in Ohio.

The Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame induction annually attracts more than 500 guests to honor the Ohio agricultural community and the select inductees dedicated to Ohio’s largest industry.

For further information about sponsorship in honor of the inductees, or to obtain tickets to the Agricultural Hall of Fame induction ceremony, contact the Ohio Agricultural Council at 614-794-8970 or via email at info@ohioagcouncil.org.

Statement of Secretary Perdue Regarding Trade Breakthrough with China

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue hailed the agreement between the United States and China on several key trade issues, most notably the return of American beef to the Chinese market after a hiatus that began in 2004.

Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:

“This is tremendous news for the American beef industry, the agriculture community, and the U.S. economy in general. We will once again have access to the enormous Chinese market, with a strong and growing middle class, which had been closed to our ranchers for a long, long time. I commend the persistence of President Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the U.S. Trade Representative’s officials, and our own USDA professionals. I also thank our Chinese counterparts, who worked so hard to get this agreement into place. When the Chinese people taste our high-quality U.S. beef, there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll want more of it.”

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AGRICULTURAL BRIEFS

Staff Reports