Larry Obhof

Ohio Senate president Larry Obhof. (Submitted Photo)

We are heading into one of my favorite times of the year, when agricultural communities come together at fairs throughout the State of Ohio. My family and I look forward to visiting the Medina, Richland, Holmes and Ashland county fairs and Ohio State Fair over the next several weeks.

County fairs bring back fond memories from my childhood. I grew up on a farm and was active in 4-H. I know from experience that for youth involved in organizations like 4-H and FFA, the county fairs mark the culmination of a year of work and preparation. They showcase Ohio’s agricultural communities and give our families the opportunity to make their own memories.

I am proud that communities across our state continue to celebrate agriculture in this way. This year, I helped ensure the continued vitality of our fairs by sponsoring a budget provision that provides each county fair with the opportunity to obtain a $50,000 state grant to make capital improvements.

Since I joined the Senate, I have fought for our agricultural communities and have made sure that their voices are heard in Columbus. This included eliminating the death tax, so that Ohio’s farmers can pass along a legacy to their children without government demanding more than its fair share. We also updated the decades-old formula for determining agricultural property values, known as the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (or “CAUV”), to make sure that farmers are not disproportionately impacted by short-term changes in commodity prices.

This year is no different. The Senate has continued to focus on issues that are important to our agricultural communities and, by extension, everyone that they serve. This includes water quality, and specifically protecting and preserving Lake Erie and our other waterways by working with farmers instead of against them. I co-sponsored Senate Bill 2, which will create a watershed planning and management program and help coordinate best practices among farmers and local soil and water conservation districts. The Senate passed Senate Bill 2 unanimously in June.

Unfortunately, this fair season follows what has been a very difficult year for our farming communities due to severe weather and flooding. This gives us even more reason to come out and support the hard work of these families and local businesses, who have persevered in spite of the adversity they have faced.

Because of these challenges, Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague has re-opened the application period for the Ag-LINK program, which provides farm operators and agribusiness owners an interest rate reduction on loans up to $150,000. Agribusinesses may also be eligible for interest rate reductions on small business loans under ReEnergize Ohio and GrowNow, two additional programs administered by the Treasurer. If you have any questions about these programs or your potential eligibility, you can contact the Treasurer’s office.

I look forward to visiting the fairs around our district this month and next, and I hope to see you there. I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about what we are doing at the Statehouse to support agriculture, or any other issues important to you. You can find a list of all the fairs in Ohio at OhioFairs.org. You can also contact me at obhof@ohiosenate.gov or by calling me at 614-466-7505, and stay up-to-date by following me on social media @OhioSenateGOP.

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