GAMBIER — David Daniels, director of agriculture for the state of Ohio, was the featured speaker at the Rural by Design event held Tuesday in Gund Gallery on the Kenyon College campus.
Daniels, a fifth-generation family farmer as well as a public servant, talked about how governmental decisions on the local, county and state levels affect rural communities. He said it is vital that the rural voice is heard when policies are developed because “agriculture has been and still is the bedrock for Ohio’s small communities.” He said lawmakers and regulators need to ask stakeholders how proposed programs and regulations will affect them, and follow up by listening to the answers.
Daniels listed some of the things on the state level which have benefited farmers, such as the focus by JobsOhio on agriculture and food production and the elimination of the estate tax on Jan. 1 2013. He said his family would have been positively impacted if the tax had been eliminated sooner — his uncle and father had to work 15 years to pay off the debt they incurred when they took over the family farm when his grandfather passed away. The elimination of the estate tax, Daniels said, will protect family farms and “will help provide us with a younger generation of farmers.”
Nutrient management is one of the challenges agriculture faces today, Daniels said, as is shale development. He said that while the lease payments some farmers have received from shale development has allowed them to stay on their farms, it is important to make sure further development is being done in an environmentally sensitive way.
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