Agriculture and Ohio’s Rural Economy

Agriculture and Ohio’s Rural Economy

Sherrod is no stranger to the importance of Ohio’s number one industry — agriculture. During summers and school vacations, he worked on his grandparents’ farm, cleaning gutters and putting up hay for a herd of Guernseys. As Ohio’s first Senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than forty years, Sherrod is fighting to support the state’s farmers.

Small towns and agricultural communities are all too often overlooked and underserved. Sherrod is fighting for family farmers throughout Ohio by strengthening the farm safety net, creating opportunities for direct marketing of local food, and championing reforms that keeps more money in the hands of farmers and less for crop insurance companies. He is working hard to create more economic opportunity in rural Ohio by expanding access to broadband Internet, fighting for agricultural exports, and encouraging rural businesses who are expanding into the clean energy sector.

A key tenet of Sherrod’s strategy for creating jobs in rural Ohio is to expand broadband Internet access to every Ohioan. Brown led the fight in Congress to dedicate crucial broadband funding to rural Ohio. As a result, in August 2010, the USDA and Department of Commerce announced the funding of Ohio’s Middle Mile Consortium (OMMC), a public-private statewide partnership, received more than $141 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for broadband expansion.

Using his role on the Agriculture Committee, Sherrod is helping connect family farmers with Ohio families who want access to fresh, local food. Local and regional food markets benefit consumers and the farmers who can obtain a higher price for their products. Ohio families need greater access to healthy, locally-grown foods and family farmers need access to a greater variety of markets.

Sherrod traveled across Ohio on a Farm Bill listening tour to gather ideas on how to improve the farm safety net. At one of these meetings, a farmer from Northwest Ohio suggested the creation of a modern safety net that would help farmers protect themselves against disasters but would cost less to taxpayers than that of the traditional farm programs. Sherrod led the effort to develop and write this proposal into the 2008 Farm Bill and today Ohio farmers have a choice in farm programs that allows them to choose between traditional farm programs and a new program that protects against drops in yield or prices — a critical issue for farmers in an uncertain farm economy. After a year of poor prices for Ohio wheat farmers, the new Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program, made the first payments to Ohio farmers in September 2010. Sherrod was named legislator of the year by the National Corn Growers Association for his work on the ACRE program and the 2008 Farm Bill.

From his seat on the Agriculture Committee, Sherrod will play a critical role in drafting the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill. Sherrod is committed to ensuring that all sectors of Ohio’s agriculture economy are set on a path to success. With farmers in Ohio facing smaller margins for their goods and farm incomes projected to drop, Sherrod will work to sure-up the farming safety net and protect Ohio’s farming families.