Senator Brown hears farm bill priorities from Ohio farmers

Photo provided by Ohio Farm Bureau

Ohio Farm Bureau members and stakeholders discussed 2023 Farm Bill priorities with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown on Monday.

Brown, who is a member of the Senate Ag Committee, says it was impactful to hear from a wide variety of farmers in northeastern Ohio.  

“Northeast Ohio is known for an abundance of and a good cross-section of American agriculture from row crops, dairy, beef, and fruits and vegetables to maple syrup, grapes, and more,” he says. “I do these roundtables every four or five years because I’ve been on the ag committee for my whole senate career. We do these roundtables to learn about what Ohio needs in the farm bill and then we build this bill over the course of a year and in the end, it will be strong and bipartisan with 70 to 80 votes in the senate, something we don’t do very often, and it’s really important for agriculture.” 

Ohio Farm Bureau President Bill Patterson says there are unique challenges facing the agriculture industry as work begins on the 2023 Farm Bill.

“We were fortunate to be able to host Senator Brown in preparation of the 2014 Farm Bill and it is always good to have him back on the farm, especially in preparation of the 2023 Farm Bill,” he says. “…The topics in a farm bill vary and are wide and so there was also a very large representation of those involved in the agricultural community. From an Ohio Farm Bureau standpoint, we support all of agriculture. We are looking to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.”  

Brown says it’s helpful to hear from the state’s agricultural producers.

“There were discussions on industrial hemp and urban agriculture,” he says. “We heard a lot on the difficulty of attracting young people, especially to dairy farms. It’s a challenge to get young people to want to work in dairy. We know that we need a good immigration program because we know how hard immigrants work and want to work on farms. We also heard about the high challenges of fertilizer costs.” 

Other issues discussed during the roundtable included supply chain challenges, funding, crop insurance, conservation programs, cattle market transparency, and specialty crops.

Patterson says there is an opportunity to continue the conversation.

“Anytime you have a listening session like this, there is no possible way that everyone at the table can get their full points across,” he says. “The important thing is that people were able to get their primary points across and then we have staff, and the senator has staff who can talk about these things and continue conversations. We put a face to the message.”

The roundtable took place Monday at Patterson Fruit Farm in Chesterland.

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