Ag's state of the union

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					                                                                                                                                         Ohio Farmer ■ May 2007              5
  Ohio News Watch

                                                                        Ag’s state of the union
                                                                              EN. George Voinovich’s       stress it puts on livestock pro-    five. Our costs have pushed
                                                                              forum brought key ag         ducers. Since the BSE [bovine       them out of business. We are
                                                                              issues to light. One by      spongiform encephalopathy]          now getting canned toma-
                                                                        one, around the tables, more       issue with South Korea, we          toes from China. Pickles are
                                                                        than 20 Ohio farm leaders          have only gotten half of our        coming from India. We need to
                                                                        spoke about topics that are        market back there. We are free      find ways to compete.
                                                                        important to the farmers and       traders and believe this is im-
                                                                        consumers they represent.          portant to all of agriculture.      Tom Jackson, executive
                                                                        Here is a sampling of the                                              director of Ohio Grocers
                                                                        comments.                          Donnie Winchell, executive          Association
                                                                                                           director, Ohio Wine Producers       The country-of-origin amend-
                                                                        Jack Fisher, executive vice        Half of the wineries in the state   ment was a 12th-hour change
FARM BUREAU FRIEND: Bob Peterson (left) and Jack                        president, Ohio Farm Bureau        were not here eight years ago.      in the farm bill and has not
Fisher (right), both of Ohio Farm Bureau, presented an award            There are dynamic changes          Wine has provided a real eco-       worked out well. It has raised
recognizing Sen. George Voinovich’s service to farmers.                 going on within our industry.      nomic development shot for          the cost to manufacture and
                                                                        Many in this room helped to        some of our rural areas. But        produce food, and increased
                                                                        create a road map for where        our growers are aging, and          prices for consumers. It’s

Lawmaker                                                                we are going and, as a result,
                                                                        we are well-positioned to con-
                                                                        tinue to grow. Agriculture is
                                                                        well-positioned to be partners
                                                                                                           there is development pressure
                                                                                                           on some of our best production
                                                                                                                                               not working and needs to be

                                                                                                                                               Terry McClure, Ohio

                                                                        in the polymer industry. We        John Stevenson, director of         Republican Agriculture
                                                                        would like to see our involve-     Ohio Farm Service Agency            Coalition
                                                                        ment in the food industry in-      Our computer system is in a         These are exciting times. We
                                                                        creased here. Let’s feed the       crisis mode. It is an embar-        have ramped up production,
                                                                        clientele here.                    rassment to the agency that         and young people are actually

for farmers
                                                                        Dwayne Siekman, execu-
                                                                        tive director of Ohio Corn
                                                                        Growers Association
                                                                        We know that ethanol and the
                                                                                                           we have not updated our tech-
                                                                                                           nology since I was last here in

                                                                                                           Geoff Hetrick, Ohio Restaurant
                                                                                                                                               saying, “We can stay in ag.”

                                                                                                                                               Wayne Earley, Ohio Polymer
                                                                                                                                               Inc. executive director
                                                                                                                                               Agriculture is the most inno-
                                      Key Points                        price of corn has been a big       Association president               vative part of the state’s large

         HIO farm leaders of all                                        topic. We are entering a new       We lost 250,000 manufacturing       polymer industry. We need
                                      ■ Leaders caucused with senator
         types took advantage                                           dynamic between energy and         jobs in the state and that ham-     a biorefinery in the state. We
                                        to discuss ag topics.
         of an invitation from                                          food. When you look at our         pers the service sector be-         can start with agricultural
George Voinovich to discuss           ■ Voinovich expressed concern     policies, you can’t impact         cause there is less disposable      inputs and produce a wide va-
agriculture’s hot topics at the         about the budget deficit.        one without impacting the                                              riety of outputs. As we reuse
                                                                                                           income. The escalating cost
senator’s farm forum at the           ■ He is urging Ohio to become a   other. We can meet the needs       of health care makes it tough       biofuels inputs, we will in-
Ohio Department of Agriculture          world leader in ethanol.        of ethanol. Corn yields have       for small businesses to sur-        crease revenues.
last month.                                                             increased about 3% to 5% a         vive. We are in dire need of tax
    With Chris Korleski, di-        Medicare, we are really headed      year. Our concern is with rail     reform to eliminate the estate      Joe Logan, president of Ohio
rector of the Ohio EPA, seated      for budget trouble.”                and trucking, which are really     tax that prevents parents from      Farmers Union
on his right and Robert J.             He saluted agriculture’s role    stressed.                          passing their business to their     We need to continue to em-
Boggs, director of the Ohio         in providing alternatives for                                          children.                           phasize our biosecurity needs.
Department of Agriculture, on       energy. “Sixty percent of our oil   Jeff Sollars, president of                                             We are concerned about the
his left, Voinovich convened the    comes from overseas. Eleven         Ohio Soybean Association           Scott Higgins, Ohio Dairy           imports of ethanol. Brazil is
meeting of 26 leaders of com-       percent comes from Venezuela.       Soy diesel has really taken off.   Producers Association CEO           producing ethanol without
modity groups, farm organiza-       We have got to get out of the       We are using 50 million gal-       Ohio is 11th in milk production     following the labor and en-
tions, agencies and institutions.   Middle East. I call that the        lons. But we need to extend        in the nation. We need to focus     vironmental conditions, and
    Voinovich     opened      the   fourth world war, and we need       the blenders credit in order       on a milk production security       shipping it under CAFTA to
meeting by telling leaders that     to be independent of that oil       to support this production.        program. We have a tremen-          avoid tariffs.
severe budget pressure will         production.”                                                           dous research and safety infra-
color the farm-bill discussions.       Voinovich recognized the         Elizabeth Harsh, execu-            structure in place, but we need     Sandy Kuhn, Ohio Livestock
    “We have really large fiscal     work of the 25 x ’25 group that     tive director of the Ohio          innovation to make sure it is       Council executive director
problems. Our national debt         has targeted producing 25% of       Cattlemen’s Association            there in the future.                We cannot let the horse-
is the largest it has been in 55    the nation’s fuel on farm by the    We have folks who are thrilled                                         slaughter bill pass. We need to
years. Foreign ownership of our     year 2025. “Bill Richards has       with the opportunities for         Bill Hirtzel, founder of Hirtzel    continue to fund our Animal
debt has increased 35% in the       been a leader in that area, and     ethanol and those who are          Canning                             Diagnostic Center.
last five years; they own 55%        we have to realize it will impact   not thrilled. We would like to     We had 147 food-processing
of our debt. If central banks       the cost of our food, but we        discuss the incentives that        plants in Ohio, Michigan and        Dick Isler, executive director
overseas decide to move their       need to get cellulosic ethanol      have been put in place and the     Indiana in 1947. Today there are    of Ohio Pork Producers
money, we are going to see our      in production. We are not there                                                                            We favor trade agreements
interest rates go up dramati-       yet, but we have to get it going                                                                           because one in seven hogs in
cally,” he said.                    so we can produce ethanol with                                                                             the U.S. are exported. We are
    He noted that agriculture is    cornstalks and switchgrass.”                                                                               concerned about an animal
doing pretty well. “USDA proj-         He expressed approval for                                                                               welfare title in the farm bill.
ects a strong long-term farm        the rapidly developing ethanol                                                                             We are concerned about the
economy.”                           business in the state.                                                                                     consequences of higher input
                                       “We have six plants under                                                                               costs this year.
Policy extension                    construction now and six or
“I know the Ohio Farm Bureau        eight more that could be built.                                                                            Chris Korleski, director of the
and the Farmers Union are both      Remember ethanol is not                                                                                    Ohio EPA
urging us to extend the current     moved in a pipeline. The closer                                                                            I am a graduate of the College
farm bill at least one year, but    you are to the supply, the more                                                                            of Agriculture at Ohio State
there is real pressure on the       you are going to use it.                                                                                   and earned a master’s in
non-defense budget.                    “I think Ohio is going to be                                                                            agronomy at Nebraska. My
    “As it is, we either need tax   very big in the use of ethanol.                                                                            goal is to make better rela-
reform or a temporary tax to        We need to move quickly in                                                                                 tions between our community
pay for the war. We are sticking    that direction as a state. We                                                                              and your community. We need
it on the backs of our kids and     need to be the leader in the        TOMATO TOPICS: Bill Hirtzel says the canning industry has left         to discuss all issues and keep
our grandkids. As baby boomers      world in putting renewable          Ohio for California, while Tom Jackson waits to speak on behalf of     our lines of communication
take more Social Security and       fuels to work.”                     the Ohio Grocers Association.                                          open.