Agriculture news briefs

Staff Reports

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation statement supporting passage of CAUV reform and important agricultural measures in House budget bill

The following statement can be attributed to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation: Ohio’s family farmers appreciate the inclusion of CAUV reform in the budget bill passed today (May 2) by the Ohio House. The adjustments to the Current Agricultural Use Value formula will provide critical relief to farmers who have seen farmland taxes increase by more than 300 percent at a time when farm income has dropped dramatically. The bill also ensures that farmers are not penalized for adopting conservation practices that protect water quality.

OFBF thanks House members for being responsive to the needs of the farming community.

Ohio Farm Bureau also supports the bill’s crucial funding for Extension services, agricultural research and development and Soil and Water Conservation Districts. These services provide important science-based information that benefits the farm and food community.

OFBF designated HB 49 as a “Key Vote,” indicating its high level of importance to the agricultural community and rural Ohio.

As House Nears Budget Vote OFU Gets Onboard

Family Farm Group is Concerned About DRC Farmland – Will Testify in Senate

COLUMBUS – For the past several years farmers in Ohio have seen skyrocketing farmland property tax increases – that could be coming to an end with Ohio’s next state budget.

“We’ve had a couple days to review what the Ohio House is proposing and consider whether we can be fully supportive,” said Joe Logan, President of the Ohio Farmers Union.

“We’ve sought relief from the Ohio Dept. of Taxation for years with little help, but finally our elected representatives are responding to the desperate cries of Ohio’s family farmers,” Logan said.

Ron Sylvester, OFU external relations director said Tuesday that the family farm organization is asking members to contact state representatives and express support for House passage of the state budget bill.

“We are concerned about the Administration’s and some legislators’ desire to work outside of normal open and competitive bidding processes to sell the thousands of acres formally farmed by the Ohio Dept. of Corrections,” Sylvester said.

“We do want the budget to pass the House this week and we’ll try to learn more about state leaders’ decision-making on these public lands in the Senate,” Sylvester said.

Ted Finnarn, OFU attorney and 41-year member of the Ohio Dept. of Taxation’s Agricultural Advisory Committee said what the House is proposing “will return the CAUV calculations to more reasonable values and allow conservation acres to be taxed at lower rates since these acres do not produce any crops.”

“The interest-capitalization rate used in the formula will be modified to lessen the influence of non-farm factors by increasing the holding period from five to 25 years,” said Finnarn. “These changes, resulting in lower CAUV values, will be phased in over two re-evaluation cycles (6years), so that they do not cause any dramatic impacts to local governments and schools.”

Ohio’s farmers have experienced farmland property tax increases reaching 300 percent in each of their past two to three triennial Current Agricultural Use Valuations. While the CAUV formula is complicated, one component, has been adversely affected by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s near zero interest rates – so-called quantitative easing – which lasted for years after the official end of the last recession.

CAUV was instituted so that agricultural land would be taxed at its “use” value and not it’s real estate development value. CAUV helps keeps farms in production and cuts down on unnecessary urban sprawl.

Food contest gives Ohioans chance to live dream

TOLEDO – Residents across Ohio now have the opportunity to transform their food product dream into a reality with the Ohio Signature Food Contest, running now through June 22, 2017.

Sponsored by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), the contest will showcase new, innovative products from across the state.

“Our experience and industry feedback indicates an increasing desire for local foods by both consumers and retailers,” stated Rebecca A. Singer, president and CEO, CIFT. “This contest serves as a platform to help fill that appetite for ‘local’ in an innovative and creative way while assisting in launching the next signature food item for Ohio.”

The economic benefit from a food manufacturing company can be significant based on the number of people employed, the increased income potential realized by a restaurant advancing a “signature item” consumers recognize, and the trained base of resources already available within the region.

Entering is simple and quick. Contestants complete an online form outlining the basic details of their food product, and food industry experts will judge each based on the viability of the product, commercialization potential, business strategy, marketability and overall appeal to the marketplace. Emphasis is placed on products integrating Ohio ingredients when possible. Finalists will then be invited to present their business concept and food product to a panel of judges.

The Ohio Signature Food Contest winner will be announced during a special ceremony in late July at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus, Ohio.

Following the announcement, the winner will receive technical and business development assistance to help advance a product to the marketplace, as well as production of product to be used for consumer feedback.

Production will be available at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen in Bowling Green, Ohio, a nonprofit commercial facility that educates and advises new and growing businesses, provides access to a commercially-licensed kitchen, networking opportunities with other similar entities, and technical assistance.

Products do not need to be fully designed or ready for market, rather an ability to communicate a specific vision. The technical assistance aspect of the award will provide guidance toward a finished product.

Due to the collaboration with OFBF, increased awareness of this opportunity will be shared with their network. Consideration of membership is encouraged based on the mutual interest in the advancement of local food products.

Deadline to submit the completed application is Thursday, June 22, 2017 (one product per applicant). The entry form along with rules/regulations is available at, or call 419-535-6000, ext. 117 for more information.

About the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT)

CIFT is a developer and provider of technical innovations and solutions for the food processing, agribusiness and agricultural sectors of the economy in our region, our state and beyond. These innovations and solutions are developed in order to enhance the economic performance of the food processing and agricultural sector. CIFT is an affiliate of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio) MEP program, designed to help small to mid-sized manufacturers in Ohio become leaders in their industry.

From the Ohio Pork Council: GIPSA – WE NEED YOUR HELP!

The so-called Farmer Fair Practices Act, also known as the GIPSA rule for USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration, is government overreach at its worst. If enacted, the regulation will cost the U.S pork industry $420 million annually (accoring to an Informa Economics study), restrict how farmers can sell, and packers can buy livestock and poultry – ultimately leading to less competition.

While discussions to withdraw the regulation have been ongoing, the Trump administration recently delayed implementation of the GIPSA rule for six months – allowing us more time to fight back. Now’s the time we need to work together and encourage USDA bureaucrats to withdraw this regulation from becoming a reality.

President Trump and USDA Sec. Perdue want to hear from you how this unnecessary, costly Obama-era federal regulation must be withdrawn.

Take action.

Tell President Trump and Sec. Perdue they have your support in this fight by clicking here to submit comments on the rule.

Need help, or have questions? Contact Bryan Humphreys at 614-882-5887.

Quality Nut Co. Issues a Voluntary Recall

MASSILLON, Ohio (May 5, 2017) – Quality Nut Co. of Massillon, Ohio is voluntarily recalling the following products due to undeclared allergens:

• SWEET AND SPICY MIX – 2 oz. bags. Labels did not declare the allergens soy and wheat.

• SWEET AND SPICY MIX – 3 oz. bags. Labels did not declare the allergen soy.

• HUNTER TRAIL MIX – 2.5 oz. bags. Labels did not declare the allergen milk.

• CHOCOLATE PEANUTS – 5 oz. bags. Labels did not declare the allergen soy.

• MILK CHOCOLATE PEANUTS – 4 oz. bags. Labels did not declare the allergen soy.

Products were available for sale prior to May 1, 2017 at locations throughout Ohio. This issue was discovered during a routine inspection conducted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. There have been no reports of illness involving products addressed in this recall, however people who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to these allergens are at risk for a serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

Customers with allergies or sensitivity to these undeclared ingredients who purchased the affected products should dispose of it or return it to Quality Nut Co. for replacement. Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Quality Nut Co. at 330- 327-6161.

Ag Secretary Perdue Pledges USDA Support in Face of Heartland Flooding

(Washington, D.C., May 4, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today pledged the full resources and support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in response to severe flooding occurring in many states across the center of the country. Representatives of relevant USDA agencies, including the Farm Service Agency, the Office of Rural Development, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will be on the ground gathering information and assisting members of the agriculture community with their needs as they prepare to assess the damage.

Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:

“The people of the American agriculture community are made of hardy stock and can withstand their fair share of hardship, but just the same, they should know that their USDA stands with them during this natural calamity. We have seen levee breaks and flooding in the wake of storms, some of which have caused the loss of life, and USDA is ready to assist in any way we can. We have USDA employees in every county in this nation, and our people will be visible as they work to support people battling the flooding. As always, our thoughts and prayers are with our agriculture community, but our resources will be with them too.”

Velvet Ice Cream to debut new cartons that support Pelotonia

Velvet Ice Cream makes its very first cartons of a bright, new package design being filled with its popular Vanilla Lovers Trio flavor. The Utica, Ohio-based ice cream maker’s new “Pelotonia-green” package is designed to raise awareness — and funds — for cancer research, with 25 cents of each carton sold now being donated top Pelotonia.

Agriculture Secretary Perdue and Acting U.S. Trade Representative Stephen Vaughn Announce Major EU Trade Breakthrough for U.S. Citrus Producers

(Washington, D.C., May 3, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Acting U.S. Trade Representative Stephen Vaughn today announced that the European Union (EU) has amended its requirements for imports of U.S. citrus. Specifically, the EU has dropped its requirement that U.S. groves be surveyed for citrus canker, which eases entry of U.S. citrus into the EU market and saves growers millions of dollars in production costs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) have worked continuously with EU officials over the last 10 years to ensure that the EU’s plant health requirements for citrus are based on scientifically-established risks. The new EU directive requires countries where citrus canker has been detected to have a disease management program and to ensure that exported fruit have no symptoms. The EU’s change means they are satisfied with APHIS’s disease management program. As a result, grove surveys are no longer required, saving U.S. producers an estimated $5.6 million dollars per year.

“At USDA, everything we do is grounded in sound science, so it is good to see that the EU has seen that our disease management program protects our citrus products,” Secretary Perdue said. “When we rely on science, it levels the playing field for everyone. And when the playing field is level, American agriculture will win.”

“The EU maintains a number of unwarranted sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) barriers on U.S. agricultural exports, and we have long called on the EU to base its SPS measures on science,” said Acting USTR Stephen Vaughn. “Today’s action removes a longstanding and unfair barrier and will help return U.S. citrus exports to the EU to the levels we had a decade ago.”

Florida producers grow 25,000 acres of grapefruit, of which 70 percent is intended for shipment to the EU market, according to industry estimates. Industry estimates that citrus exports are expected to increase by 25 percent, or about $15 million, during the first year.

Implementation of the new directive is expected in time for Florida’s grapefruit export season in mid-November.

Staff Reports