Speaker of the House, Senate President Talk Water Quality with OSA Board

December 27, 2018 Ohio Soybean Association

At the November Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) Board of Trustees meeting, one topic dominated the conversation: water quality. The meeting, held at the Ohio Statehouse, offered the chance for board members to discuss solutions to the water quality issue and the means to fund that solution. During the meeting, several members of the Ohio Senate and  House of Representatives took a break from the commotion of a lame duck session to speak to the board about issues most important to Ohio’s soybean

First, the board met with Speaker of the House Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) about broadband access, water quality and trade issues. Speaker Smith stressed the importance of reaching out to representatives. He added that farmers should take the time to educate their representatives about how  each issue uniquely impacts farmers, especially for the representatives who do not have a background in agriculture.

When discussing water quality, Allen Armstrong, OSA chairman and soybean farmer from Clark County explained that farmers don’t want any nutrient runoff. “Those nutrients leaving my fields are $100 bills. I don’t want them to leave,” he said. Speaker Smith responded, “The last thing we want is to make it more cumbersome to do what you do every day.”

Next, the board met with Rep. Brian Hill (R-Zanesville), chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, and Sen. Bob Hackett (R-London), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. They discussed a potential bond issue to help fund a solution to the water quality problem, stating that agricultural groups need to be included in the decision-making process.

“Nobody likes mandates — especially in the economy we’re in today,” Rep. Hill said. Sen. Hackett agreed, saying, “We’re trying to create an  environment to help businesses.” The two seemed optimistic about the future legislative relationship with newly-elected Governor Mike DeWine.

The board was visited lastly by Sen. Larry Obhof (R-Medina), president of the senate. Sen. Obhof seemed to think that legislation affecting water quality will be one of the top issues for the first six months of 2019.

OSA also elected new executive board members. Allen Armstrong of Clark County, OSA’s former president, moved into the role of Chairman. Scott Metzger of Ross County and Ryan Rhoades of Marion County also moved up the chain, becoming President and First Vice President respectively. Patrick Knouff of Shelby County was elected Vice President, Jennifer Wilson-Oechsle of Van Wert County was elected treasurer and Jeff McKanna of Hancock County was elected secretary.

The OSA board spent the afternoon meeting with various members of the House and Senate ag committees about water quality and rural broadband access. For more information about the best ways to reach out to your own representatives, please contact Emilie Regula Hancock, OSA’s policy and membership coordinator, at eregula.hancock@soyohio.org.

Sen. Bob Hackett (left) and Rep. Brian Hill
Senate President Larry Obhof
Speaker of the House Ryan Smith