WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s first hearing on the 2012 Farm Bill, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) met with Steve Hirsch, newly-elected President of the Ohio Farm Bureau, to discuss legislative priorities in Washington today. Adam Sharp, Senior Director of Legislative Policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau, also attended today’s meeting.
“The Ohio Farm Bureau has a rich history of strengthening and representing Ohio’s farmers and agricultural industry,” Brown said. “As the Senate begins to consider the next Farm Bill, I look forward to working with the Ohio Farm Bureau to ensure that the Farm Bill reflects the needs and potential of Ohio’s small towns and rural communities so Ohio’s largest industry will continue to thrive.”
The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) held their Executive office elections this spring and elected Steve Hirsch, of Chillicothe, as President. Hirsch previously served as OFBF’s first vice-president for three years and as a 10-year board member for Fairfield, Hocking, Pickaway, and Ross counties. He and his family own a fruit farm in Ross County where they grow apples, peaches, grapes, strawberries, raspberries and other crops.
In advance of the 2012 Farm Bill, Brown launched his ‘Grown in Ohio’ listening tour in Chesterland at the Patterson Fruit Farm last month. At a similar listening session during consideration for the 2008 Farm Bill, the idea for the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program was born and eventually adopted in the final bill. The ACRE provision allows farmers to choose a new safety net program that protects against drops in yield or prices, which is critical for farmers given the uncertain and volatile agriculture markets.
In March, Brown addressed the Ohio Farm Bureau in Washington, D.C, where he announced his plans for the ‘Grown in Ohio’ tour. At that speech, Brown outlined priorities for economic development and job growth in Ohio’s agricultural industry. In March, Brown also held a call with nearly 30 Ohio farmers to announce that he will be the new Chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth, and Energy. The critical panel is responsible for job creation in small towns and rural communities and the continued development of renewable fuels and clean energy technologies that support rural America.
Brown has held more 170 roundtables throughout the state, and he is the first Ohioan to serve on both the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee. Agriculture is still Ohio’s largest industry.