Farm Bureau tells lawmakers: property taxes hurting family farmers


Staff Report



‘Together with Farmers’ ads to help launch Farm Bureau membership campaign

COLUMBUS (OFBF) – Problems get solved when people work with each other. That’s the belief behind Ohio Farm Bureau’s new membership campaign, Together with Farmers.

Farm Bureau’s beliefs, as featured in the campaign, are centered on quality food grown in Ohio, clean air and water, farmland preservation and opportunities for the next generation. Ohioans who share these values have a place in Farm Bureau, and Farm Bureau members are calling on Ohioans from throughout the farm and food community to consider joining this cause.

Membership is open to farmers and anyone whose profession is directly impacted by the health of Ohio agriculture, and to anyone interested in local foods, landowner rights and preserving Ohio’s agricultural heritage.

Through membership participation in Farm Bureau, people cooperate to create common sense public policy, boost local economies, ensure food safety, provide family security, develop young leaders, support charitable works and protect the environment while enhancing food production.

Locally, Farm Bureau members across the state are asking like-minded Ohioans to become part of this effort. The grassroots membership campaign focuses on current members making visits, placing phone calls and reaching out to their communities.

“This one-on-one membership work is vital to the success of our organization,” said Paul Lyons, senior director of membership for Ohio Farm Bureau. “We really appreciate the work of our members.”

Lyons noted that last year a record eight Farm Bureau members won the Murray Lincoln award for signing 50 or more new members and 121 won the Ambassador award for signing at least 10 new members.

This year, the volunteer effort is being supported by a television campaign, radio commercials and outreach across social media and other digital channels.

“For nearly 100 years, farm families have helped themselves by helping each other through Farm Bureau,” said Lyons. “We’re excited to be inviting friends and associates who share our values to become a part of our great work. We can get a lot done, together, with farmers.”

To learn more about Farm Bureau’s beliefs and mission and to join the community, visit TogetherWithFarmers.org or call a local, county Farm Bureau office.

COLUMBUS – Ohio Farm Bureau members recently made their case for property tax relief during testimony before the Ohio Senate Ways and Means Committee. In addition, Farm Bureau leaders met with Ohio House members as the representatives continue to explore pathways forward for CAUV reform. Farm Bureau is seeking changes to the state’s Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) formula, which in recent years has threatened the viability of family farms.

Ohio farmers saw a 307 percent increase in property taxes between 2008 and 2014. Those higher taxes are now being paid at a time when some farm crop prices have fallen as much as 50 percent.

In testimony before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Farm Bureau State Trustee Mike Bensman told lawmakers, “For those of you who have worked in small business, ask yourselves if you would be able to manage a tax increase of 300 percent. It’s not an easy thing to budget for.” Bensman and his brothers are the fourth generation to farm in Shelby County where they currently operate 4,000 acres of crops.

Katherine Harrison owns a small livestock farm in southeastern Franklin County and also is a Farm Bureau state trustee. She recently repurchased a portion of the family farm where she will be the fifth generation to work the land. “I anticipate (the farm) can bring in about $180 per acre per year. The taxes run approximately $120 per acre per year. That leaves a possible net of $60 per acre per year to pay down a loan for $300,000 to purchase the land.”

The Farm Bureau leaders testified on Senate Bill 36, which would remove incorrect assumptions in the CAUV calculation formula and make the formula less affected by non-farm factors. The bill would also remove a disincentive for farmers to adopt practices that protect water quality.

The hearing took place when nearly 300 Farm Bureau members were in Columbus for their annual legislative visits. In meetings in lawmakers’ offices, the farmers shared their personal stories about the tremendous burden being felt by family farmers throughout Ohio and asked for their help in reforming CAUV.

“CAUV has become the absolute No. 1 issue for our members,” Bensman said.

“Farmers are deeply vested in and play a vital role in our community,” Harrison added. “Part of the responsibility of being a steward of the land, is paying appropriate levels of taxation. But the current tax situation creates pressures that make it more difficult for small farms to remain.”

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Staff Report

‘Together with Farmers’ ads to help launch Farm Bureau membership campaign

COLUMBUS (OFBF) – Problems get solved when people work with each other. That’s the belief behind Ohio Farm Bureau’s new membership campaign, Together with Farmers.

Farm Bureau’s beliefs, as featured in the campaign, are centered on quality food grown in Ohio, clean air and water, farmland preservation and opportunities for the next generation. Ohioans who share these values have a place in Farm Bureau, and Farm Bureau members are calling on Ohioans from throughout the farm and food community to consider joining this cause.

Membership is open to farmers and anyone whose profession is directly impacted by the health of Ohio agriculture, and to anyone interested in local foods, landowner rights and preserving Ohio’s agricultural heritage.

Through membership participation in Farm Bureau, people cooperate to create common sense public policy, boost local economies, ensure food safety, provide family security, develop young leaders, support charitable works and protect the environment while enhancing food production.

Locally, Farm Bureau members across the state are asking like-minded Ohioans to become part of this effort. The grassroots membership campaign focuses on current members making visits, placing phone calls and reaching out to their communities.

“This one-on-one membership work is vital to the success of our organization,” said Paul Lyons, senior director of membership for Ohio Farm Bureau. “We really appreciate the work of our members.”

Lyons noted that last year a record eight Farm Bureau members won the Murray Lincoln award for signing 50 or more new members and 121 won the Ambassador award for signing at least 10 new members.

This year, the volunteer effort is being supported by a television campaign, radio commercials and outreach across social media and other digital channels.

“For nearly 100 years, farm families have helped themselves by helping each other through Farm Bureau,” said Lyons. “We’re excited to be inviting friends and associates who share our values to become a part of our great work. We can get a lot done, together, with farmers.”

To learn more about Farm Bureau’s beliefs and mission and to join the community, visit TogetherWithFarmers.org or call a local, county Farm Bureau office.