Editorial: Helping Ohio’s new farmers


This country, and this state, need farmers.

We should do all we can to encourage those trying to become farmers — especially family farmers — corporate farms will take care of themselves. Family farmers usually become an integral part of a community. It’s a tough, expensive, and low profit margin business. That business also puts food on our tables.

There’s a bill that just made it out of an Ohio House committee that could help new farmers out. House Bill 95 is moving slowly and has failed to garner enough support for passage in past versions. This time should be different.

The bill’s provisions can motivate folks interested in tilling the land or raising livestock to get through those first critical years.

The bill proposes a tax credit for beginning farmers. It will encourage beginning farmers to learn more about financial management. Importantly, the bill creates a credit for established farmers selling or renting equipment to new farmers.

The credits under the current bill would be limited to a total of $10 million over six years, a reasonable sum that will allow the program to be evaluated before increasing the credits.

The bill sets out some requirements to vet the award of the credits. Included is a beginning farmer certification by state agriculture officials or an equivalent federal certification.

Agricultural workers in general, and most certainly farmers, are among the forgotten producers in our society. That forgetfulness of those who grow and harvest the fruit of the earth, imperils all Ohioans, and all Americans. With the exception of water, nothing is more crucial to a stable society and a happy and healthy society, than the availability of food.

The coronavirus shortages of many foodstuffs reminded us of the delicate nature of our food supply. It’s a good reminder to think about where those beef and pork roasts, potatoes and ears of corn came from.

Ohio should support those willing to take a stab at farming, whether they come from an agricultural background or not. The bill not only provides the tax credit but an incentive to learn about the difficult task of making a living while farming.

It’s a good piece of legislation that the General Assembly should pass.

— Toledo Blade, May 29