By Steven Collins
The Circleville Herald
CIRCLEVILLE— Steve Stivers, U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 15th District, recently held a roundtable with Pickaway and Ross County farmers to discuss what Congress can do to improve local agriculture.
The roundtable was held on Ohio Christian University’s Campus at the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center. Stivers opened the session by sharing his thoughts on issues such as farm insurance and conservation programs.
“We’ve got a farm bill coming and it’s important that we get it right,” Stivers said. “It’s important we continue crop insurance in a way that works for everybody. I know we expanded it in the last farm bill. I am curious what people are thinking about crop insurance and how it’s going.”
The hour-long discussion, which featured about a dozen area farmers with acreage of varying size, discussed five main topics including the Farm Bill, trade, infrastructure, regulatory reform and tax reform.
Stivers said he learned a lot from the local farmers and had some helpful takeaways he can use when he goes back to Washington D.C. to discuss legislation with fellow lawmakers.
“I learned a lot from the folks, whether it was the farm policies we need to change, on trade what we need to do to open up markets, that farmers are willing to pay for infrastructure because they know they use it and need to use it, and even tax policy where they admitted we need to make a change to the co-op piece,” he said. “It was an informative and free-flowing discussion. I learned a ton and I was glad to be here and glad we had representation from a lot of the parts of the ag community.”
Stivers said it’s important for him to have discussions with local people to find out how the legislation is working.
“I believe these meetings are the most important thing I can do,” Stivers said. “There are people that will say, when members of Congress are not in Washington, they’re not working. I actually think when I’m home in the district meeting with constituents on topics I’m going to discuss in the future, that’s the most important time I can spend. It allows me to make the right decision when I get back to Washington.”
Stivers said getting to work in his district and learning what’s working is a part of that.
“I not only consider it work but I consider it the most important piece of work, to meet with the people I represent, understand how legislation affects them and how I should vote,” he said. “There are things I learned today; where other people told me it was good and it was a win, but they said this was too much. People in Washington aren’t that candid. It’s nice to hear from Ohio farmers that are candid with me.”