Ohio boasts a diverse landscape, from bustling cities to small town communities and rural expanses. While much attention is devoted to our big "3 C" metropolises, the other regions of Ohio are just as important to the lifeblood of our state. In fact, the farms that spread across our rural areas are a major industrial engine in Ohio, putting food on our tables and driving our state economy.
From March 11 to 17, we will celebrate Ohio Agriculture Week, recognizing all those who work to make the farming industry a success in the Buckeye State. One in seven Ohioans is employed in farming, and each of these individuals deserves our thanks for their tireless contributions to our state's prosperity. Indeed, Ohio's agricultural industry brings in about $98 billion a year, a significant portion of our yearly economic output.
Our agribusiness is not only impressive for its size and economic strength, but also for its diversity. The nearly 75,000 farms in Ohio are tucked into every corner of our state, and their farmland yields a wide variety of crop staples and livestock. Ohio's hardworking farmers produce soybeans, tomatoes, corn and more. Their efforts are easy to gloss over if you personally are not a part of the farming industry. Nevertheless, farming remains of utmost importance to the well-being of every Ohioan, no matter your place of employment. Ohio Agriculture Week is a chance to show gratitude to the men and women who drive our farming industry. They certainly deserve our appreciation and recognition.
Here in the 93rd House District, we are blessed to have more than 2,600 farms that dot our district. My district spans Guernsey, Monroe, Noble and portions of Washington and Muskingum counties. Across this wide expanse lie nearly 400,000 acres of fertile farmland that help to feed Ohioans and Americans across the nation.
My grandmother and great aunt owned a farm that lay at what is now Exit 1 off I-77 in Marietta. My dad grew up there, and had many fond memories of his days on the farm. It was a dairy farm. Due to the building of the interstate, it was taken by eminent domain in 1965, but before that it was especially well-known for its tomatoes and sweet corn. Fortunately, we have many other families who have continued uninterrupted in the farming business. Wonderful organizations like FFA and 4-H continue to support the training of emerging leaders from the farming community. One of the laments I hear from manufacturers as I get around the district and discuss workforce development is "I wish we had more farm kids - they know how to show up on time, work hard, and operate and repair machinery."
I sit on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in the Ohio House. I am an Ohio Farm Bureau member and am grateful for the opportunity to support farm families in their endeavors. This is an industry dominated by honest, hardworking citizens, rather than large corporations. Eighty-eight percent of Ohio's farms are operated by individual citizens like you and me, and 7 percent are run by partnerships. Additionally, of the 4 percent that are corporate-operated, 93 percent of these farms are run by family corporations. Ohio's farming industry truly reflects the perseverance, ingenuity and independence that propel our state forward.
During Ohio Agriculture Week, please pause to consider the work of Ohio's farmers as you go about your day-to-day activities, and let these seven days be a reminder for the rest of the year. Ohio's agricultural workers labor year-round and it is never a bad time to show our support for all that they do.
Rep. Andy Thompson may be reached by calling (614) 644-8728, e-mailing District93@ohr.state.oh.us, or writing to State Rep. Andy Thompson, 77 South High St., Columbus, Ohio, 43215.