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Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Ohio Farmers Union added hemp cultivation and specific recommendations for Lake Erie water quality woes in its 2019 statement of public policy proposals.Adopted at its recent state convention in Lima, OFU’s “Special Orders of Business” outline the organization’s legislative and executive branch priorities on both the state and national level for the year.Two topics new on OFU’s slate this year are industrial hemp production in Ohio and a call for state political leaders to lessen the tax burden on Ohio’s woodlands.“While we are grateful for the recent changes to the CAUV formula, there still exists issues with some outlandish tax assessments on woodlands around the state. Woodlands provide immense environmental benefits and we’ll be talking to state leaders this year about tweaks to their valuation for tax purposes,” said Joe Logan, OFU president. “With harmful algal blooms and other water quality issues, we need to make sure we don’t negatively incentivize farmers and rural landowners regarding conservation.”Logan is also optimistic about the prospects for industrial hemp production in Ohio. Since the 2018 Farm Bill lifted the federal prohibition on the cultivation of industrial hemp, Logan said he’s been contacted by a growing number of farmers and even a Texas state ag official looking for information on what Ohio’s approach will be to the crop.“The ball is in the state of Ohio’s court — and I know that officials at the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture are aware that there’s a growing number of farmers who may wish to diversify by adding hemp to their crop rotation,” Logan said. “The Ohio Farmers Union supports a state hemp program, but only in the event that it’s designed to work and be available to all farmers in all parts of the state.”Logan said hemp is a unique and versatile crop for the fiber to the oil derived from the plant. He does sound a note of caution however regarding the market outlook.“There are a few ‘get rich quick’ ideas out there,” he said. “Farmers need to do their homework and be aware of how the markets work now and have a plan.”OFU also tweaked its nutrient management and Lake Erie water quality special order. The family farm organization is continuing to support former Gov. John Kasich’s executive order, which identified eight watersheds feeding the harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie’s western basin. OFU’s lengthy proposal boils down to accepting impaired or distressed status for those watersheds and using funds available through SB 299 (2018) for soil testing in those areas and eventual suspension of manure spreading in “hot spots.”“We believe the state should use federal EPA’s ‘adaptive management’ concept which would allow for constant review of the data and reassessment of any action plans,” Logan said. “We believe that state agencies working with researchers and the affected farmers can ultimately manage this situation so that any prohibitions or additional regulations would be lifted when the local data reflects a return to acceptable phosphorous loads.”Also included in OFU’s policy proposals this year:A statement that USDA should respect the will of Congress on SNAP work requirements;Renewed support for the renewable fuel standard and condemnation of the overuse of so-called “hardship waivers” by the fossil fuel industry;Increased accountability for state and federal agricultural commodity check-off programs;A slate of healthcare reform proposals that would benefit rural Americans;Support for a solar energy project in Highland County;A moratorium on monopolistic, anti-competitive corporate mergers in ag industry;Tax credits for sellers of farmland to beginning farmers in Ohio; and,Support for the Buy American Agricultural Act.Follow this link to read the 2019 OFU Special Orders in their entirety.
Sri Lanka manager Ashantha de Mel on Friday complained to the International Cricket Council (ICC) about the “unfair” pitches provided for the island nation’s matches in the ongoing World Cup so far.He also highlighted the poor condition of training facilities and accommodation.”What we have found out is that for the four matches we have played so far at Cardiff and Bristol, the ICC prepared green pitches,” he told Daily News as reported by ESPNCricinfo.”At the same venues, the other countries have played on pitches which were brown and favourable for high scoring.”The pitch being prepared for our match against Australia on Saturday at The Oval is green. It is not sour grapes that we are complaining. But it is very unfair on the part of the ICC that they prepare one type of wicket for certain teams and another type for others,” de Mel said.Sri Lanka’s two most recent matches were washed out in Bristol. The Lankans began their campaign on two green decks in Cardiff, where they lost to New Zealand and beat Afghanistan.”Even the practice facilities provided at Cardiff were unsatisfactory. Instead of three nets, they gave us only two. Also, the hotel where we put up at Bristol did not have a swimming pool, which is very essential for every team, especially for the fast bowlers to relax their muscles after practice.”The hotels that Pakistan and Bangladesh were put up at Bristol had swimming pools. We wrote to the ICC listing all these shortcomings four days ago but so far we have not had any response from them. We will continue to write to them until we get a reply,” de Mel said.advertisementThe ICC, on its part, has denied the allegations saying that pitches were overseen by an independent advisor.”We employ an independent pitch advisor to work with the host curators at all ICC events and the ICC Men’s World Cup 2019 is no different,” an event spokesperson was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.”We are happy with the wickets that have been produced across the event so far in English conditions.”As part of the four-year planning process to deliver this event, we have liaised with all teams to ensure they are happy with their set up and are available to work with them should any issues arise that have not been previously anticipated. At the heart of our planning is the philosophy that all 10 teams are treated equally to enable them to have the best possible preparation for the event,” the spokesperson said.Also Read | World Cup 2019: Why India are outright favourites against PakistanAlso Watch: