LOGAN – The Hocking County Farm Bureau is known to be a grassroots organization that hosts an annual policy development meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to bring community leaders and elected officials together to discuss issues affecting the community today, and how to help solve problems in Hocking County.

“We are like a vessel in water going somewhere and it is up to us to influence the direction of where we go,” said Bruce Ebert, vice president of the Hocking County Farm Bureau.

He asked for ideas from those attending so the bureau could begin the policy development process.

Neil Shaw, president, started the discussion regarding water in Hocking County.

“I would like to see countywide water because Hocking County’s water is bad,” he said. “This makes a lot of people need water softeners which doesn’t work most of the time.”

Other topics discussed at the meeting included getting broadband into the county, CAUV taxes, immigration reform, House Bill 160, sewer in small communities with in the county, EPA issues, 4-H funding, solar and wind energy and the increasing of doing business were all issues prevailing at the meeting early Tuesday morning.

Jerry Isles led a discussion regarding energy development. “We see a lot of folks wanting to get a good lease which is a huge issues in other counties in the state with oil and gas development,” Isles said.

He noted several people have banned together in other counties and received good upfront contracts and are getting up to 20 percent royalties and upfront payments of $5,000 an acre.

Ebert added that the Farm Bureau has an expert in energy, Neil Arnold, who has been to Hocking County a few times.

“Be careful with pipeline right-a-ways because they will try to put you an agreement for this year and next,” Arnold said.

Hocking County Engineer Bill Shaw discussed a decrease in state funding to Hocking County. “I agree with state tax, but not getting funding really hurts, and those funds are never put back,” he said, indicating the state continues to cut from local governments.

The county is responsible for maintaining over two-thirds of the bridges and road miles on state highways.

According to Bill, from 2005 to 2013 asphalt has gone up 99 percent, concrete is up 36 percent, road salt is up 60 percent and a new dump truck has gone up approximately 70 percent.

“Our revenues have only gone up about 1 percent and we work too hard to get where we are in this county,” he said.

In the 1980s there were approximately 180 bridges you couldn’t cross, and now every bridge in the county is passable, Bill explained.

The issues discussed were noted and will be considered during the policy review. According to its social media sites, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, founded in 1919, “works to create a partnership between farmers and consumers that meets consumer needs and ensures agricultural prosperity in a global marketplace.”