As I celebrate my six-year membership with the Trumbull County Farm Bureau, I am always impressed with the activities of its volunteer members.
Even though I'm not a farmer, my position as the administrator / executive director of the Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District and our work with agriculture made this a very good organization for me to be part of.
I recently attended the Ohio Farm Bureau's Connect-Lead-Succeed conference and gained a whole new insight into one of the largest membership organizations in Ohio and its work on other issues affecting the farming community and its members. I went through training on collaborations, bridging the generations and membership planning.
The governmental savings for farmers don't even take into account the money-saving benefits that all members, farmers and non-farmers alike, receive through their membership. Benefits such as Nationwide Insurance savings on personal and agri-related products to the Ohio Farm Bureau's Workers Compensation group savings plan have benefited many farm bureau members up to 85 percent off their base rates. I have known members saving close to $1,000 per employee.
You can also review your current workers comp rates through the Farm Bureau's administrator Comp Management by filling out an AC-3 form and sending it in by the end of January to see what savings you could have as a member. I've personally talked with other food-related businesses about the program and even restaurants can save thousands per year off their Workers Comp rates just by joining. For an AC-3 Form, please call me at 330-637-2046, Ext. 108, or email to check into the group savings.
It's easy to understand why farmers should be members of an organization that serves as its voice to government. Having been part of the Trumbull Farm Bureau's Government committee, I have seen the work done by local volunteer members and staff, especially at the state and federal levels, to protect an industry so vital to our country's food supply.
Issues such as eminent domain, private property rights and state tax reform are being lobbied for farmers all across the country. Successful legislative efforts have directly benefited the farming community with financial savings on items such as Current Agriculture Use Valuation, tax adjustments and rollbacks from property taxes, truck licenses, sales tax exemptions, tangible personal property tax savings and gasoline tax exemptions. For a 200-acre farm, these savings equate to more than $5,000 per year, so the membership investment of just more than $63 per year is indeed a great deal.
Now I understand why so many non-farmers like myself are members, as they personally or through their businesses benefit financially as they support an organization that keeps food on their table. To me, this certainly is a win-win situation and a reason to be part of your local Farm Bureau.
Mike Wilson is the executive director of the Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District and is an Associate Member of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau.