Bureau seeking help on issues, rates

Recently, as I was waiting for the mechanic to finish working on my vehicle, I was introduced to a fellow state employee, from another department, who was also there to get his vehicle worked on. Somehow our discussion turned to insurance.

He had recently switched his auto and home insurance to Nationwide. He also told me that he didn’t know what Farm Bureau was, but since he got a discount on his premiums if he was a member, he joined. So, as we waited, I shared with him about Farm Bureau.

In 1919, under leadership by many, but especially Murray D. Lincoln, Farm Bureau was born. Ohio farmers organized themselves for the betterment of their businesses. Early issues that Farm Bureau worked on included getting electricity to rural areas of Ohio, group purchasing of farm supplies, and the marketing of farm commodities.

Farmers, working together with help from this new leadership, were achieving the mission of Farm Bureau – to help farmers.

Auto insurance was also a big issue for rural Ohioans. They were paying the same premiums that their city neighbors were paying even though rural Ohioans drove fewer miles and had fewer claims. In 1926, OFBF (Ohio Farm Bureau Federation) Mutual Automobile Insurance Company was formed. In 1955, this company became what we now know as Nationwide.

OFBF is still going strong today. Current issues of concern include the environment, taxes, trade, regulation, livestock, land use, health and safety, property rights, wildlife and more.

How does Farm Bureau decide what position to take on issues?

This is a “grass roots” organization. The OFBF is made up of the individual county farm bureau boards, each having their own board of directors. These individual boards are represented by 26 trustees on the state OFBF Board of Directors.

Tonight is the Trumbull County Farm Bureau annual meeting. Members in attendance will vote on proposed local, state and national policies. These policies were developed as a result of local issues and concerns from Trumbull County members.

Approved policies will then be presented at the OFBF annual meeting in December by the elected delegates from Trumbull County. Delegates from counties all over Ohio gather at the OFBF annual meeting to discuss and vote on these proposed policies. The state board of directors use these policies to direct the actions of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

Not a farmer, so you don’t care? Well, I beg to differ with you.

I could list all of the member discounts you can get by showing your OFBF membership card; there are many and I encourage you to check those discounts out at www.ofbf.org.

OFBF membership is so much more. They are a source of accurate information on agricultural and landowner issues. Farmers are landowners and taxpayers like you and experience many of the same issues. And what you might think as issues that only pertain to agriculture really do affect you as well.

We all need farmers because they produce the food we eat.

Your membership is a great way to help support agriculture and is greatly appreciated!

Mary Smallsreed is a member of Trumbull County Farm Bureau and grew up on a family dairy farm in northeast Ohio.