Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guest Column from State Representative Jim Buchy

The State of Ohio Agriculture

Agriculture is one of the top issues for our local communities, and for that reason it has been a priority for my office. Currently, I am working on HB 229, an agricultural omnibus bill. The bill has passed committee and awaits a vote on the House floor. This bill will streamline regulatory operations at the Department of Agriculture and help Director Zehringer operate the Department more efficiently. The bill addresses regulatory issues at the department from inflatable rides to permitted farms and from grape production to horse racing. As the state legislature works on this bill, it is well known that this spring has been very concerning in the Ohio agriculture community. The large amounts of precipitation have caused a late planting season, and the late season could cause significant problems. I will continue to monitor the issue.

The first week of June opened a planting window that was much needed. There are still many concerns about the late planting season. It may result in lower yields and a later harvest. According to a June 5th USDA NASS Crop Condition Report, only 58 percent of Ohio corn was planted while the five-year average is 99 percent by that same date. Soybeans are understandably even further behind. The report said 26 percent of Ohio soybeans were planted with a five-year average of 88 percent. There have been several good days for planting since this report, and the statistics are likely to increase significantly in the next report. The wet spring in Ohio is causing havoc for Ohio agriculture. Outside of Ohio, crop planting has been much more successful and may offset the issues arising in Ohio.

There are many concerns for our communities when crop planting is running this far behind. The first of those concerns is the potential of higher grain prices for feeding livestock. House District 77 contains 40 percent of the permitted livestock operations in Ohio. The cost of providing feed for these large livestock operations will greatly affect the communities. With the increased costs, prices in the grocery store will rise. Another issue is the accessibility of corn for ethanol plants. In Ohio there are several ethanol plants, and their production capabilities largely rely on local corn. If there is not local corn, many have the capacity to produce the fuel with corn that can be trucked in or brought to the Ohio facilities by rail. Agriculture is very important to the local and state economy, and issues such as the late planting season must be monitored closely.

For farmers, the wet weather means more than just getting the planters in the fields later. It also results in the necessity for these environmental stewards to work with the federal and state agricultural agencies to ensure they are meeting requirements of the programs they have enrolled in. Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), cover crops and crop insurance are all subject to deadlines that have been affected by the wet spring. If you are a farmer and you have not discussed these issues with the local Farm Service Agency, the Ohio State Extension Office and the Division of Soil and Water you may want to consider using the next rainy day to speak with these experts.

The first five months serving you as state representative have been rewarding, and I appreciate the warm welcoming I have received from so many in the district. The issues being addressed in Columbus will impact your lives. The contact you have made with the office to oppose and support these measures is important, and I will continue to communicate with the residents of the district. The issue of agriculture will continue to be at the forefront in my office, and I will use my experience to keep Ohio food the safest and least costly in the world. These communities are some of the best places in the world to live and rear a family, and maintaining strong agriculture is crucial to protecting our families.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Featured Posts

/* Track outbound links in Google Analytics */