• Dirty Energy,  State Policy

    Farmers Celebrate as Ohio EPA Terminates Permit for Coal Mine in Perry State Forest

    After two years of grassroots organizing, local farmers, community members, and forest supporters celebrated a major victory in their campaign to prevent coal mining on public land just outside New Lexington, Ohio in Perry County. On January 30, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) announced it will terminate CCU Coal and Construction’s wastewater discharge permit for a proposed 545 acre strip mine in the Perry State Forest in close proximity to farmland, local residents, and public recreation spaces. The termination of the permit came at the request of the coal company, according to OEPA, and will take effect April 1. “This is a huge victory for our community, our forest,…

  • State Policy

    Land Access Legislation Moves to the House Floor

    OEFFA has been working with members of the Ohio House and Senate to pass legislation that would incentivize land transfer between current landowners and beginning farmers. After months of work, the House Bill 183, the Family Farm ReGeneration Act, passed out of the Ohio House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee unanimously on November 19. OEFFA is thankful to the bill’s co-sponsors Rep. Susan Manchester and Rep. John Patterson. In October, OEFFA’s Begin Farming Program Coordinator, Rachel Tayse, presented testimony to the committee on the need for this bill based on her experience working with aspiring and early career farmers. According to Rachel’s testimony, “… OEFFA’s elder farmer generation call on…

  • State Policy

    Ohio Governor Signs Hemp Legislation into Law

    Farmers will soon be able to grow and process hemp in Ohio, after Governor Mike DeWine signed legislation this week removing its prohibitions. Before that can happen though, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) must develop a formal program and rules, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will need to approve. Hemp contains a fiber, grain, and oil that can be extracted for cannabidiol (CBD), which is now being used in food and dietary supplements. Both hemp producers and processors need to apply for a license to grow or process their products to be in compliance with state and federal law. Those licenses will be valid for three years.…

  • General,  State Policy

    New Report Details Challenges and Opportunities for Ohio Agriculture

    Ohio Agriculture: The Changing Contours of Farming Every five years the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Statistics Service (USDA NASS) completes a comprehensive survey of agriculture across the country. The 2017 survey results show how Ohio could benefit from increased and targeted investments. OEFFA’s new report, “Ohio Agriculture: The Changing Contours of Farming,” helps put Ohio in focus by providing a national overview and state-level analysis of farm demographics, farmland, farm size, farmland tenure, local and regional marketing, and organic agriculture. It includes recommendations for Ohio policy makers, community and economic development professionals, and investors. Notable statistics include: Nationally, the number of women operators was up almost 27 percent.…

  • State Policy

    OEFFA Members Work the Statehouse

    OEFFA 2019 Lobby Day a Success! Support for beginning farmers has been a high priority for OEFFA and its members for years. The policy program has been advocating for the state to adopt a measure successfully implemented in Minnesota that provides tax credits for landowners who sell or lease land or other agricultural assets to beginning farmers. The recent release of the five-year Census of Agriculture by the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed some good news for Ohio agriculture generally, and reveals opportunities for the state to grow healthy food systems, contribute to rural community economic development, and grow the agricultural sector by supporting this industry. After decades of farm…

  • State Policy

    Family Farm ReGeneration Act Moves Forward

    The average age of farmers continues to climb, more than 100 million acres of farmland will changes hands in the near future, and the biggest challenge identified by beginning farmers is access to land. OEFFA is working to see how the state of Ohio could do more to ensure a future for agriculture. More than a year ago, we began meeting with members of the Ohio Legislature to alert them to a legislative tool Minnesota recently passed. In little more than one year, the Minnesota Beginning Farmer Tax Credit received more than 800 applicants and provides tax credits for landowners that transfer land to a beginning farmer. OEFFA reached out…