I wanted to take a minute to update you on some recent, exciting changes in Ohio that could have a big impact on you, your business and your family.
The budget signed last week by Gov. John R. Kasich understands and values the critically important role of Ohio’s $105 billion food and agriculture industry.
The budget includes new incentives to make the Buckeye State an even more attractive place to start and grow an agriculture-related business.
Beginning next year, the budget eliminates taxes for small businesses earning under $250,000 in business income — a benefit that should apply to virtually every Ohio farmer. For businesses above that income level, Ohio will establish a new, low flat tax rate of 3 percent.
The state’s income tax rate for all Ohio taxpayers will also be cut by 6.3 percent. That means you get to keep more of your hard-earned money.
We are excited to announce an expansion of the Department of Agriculture’s commitment to serve Ohio’s farmers. The state budget also relocates Ohio’s Soil and Water Conservation program, which works with the state’s more than 75,000 farmers on soil health and nutrient management issues, from the Department of Natural Resources to our agency.
We look forward to this move because it will give our agency (for the first time) responsibility over all farms, farm runoff and any impact on related soil and water issues, regardless of their size. This allows us to be a complete and total, one-stop resource for farmers in Ohio with nutrient questions and issues.
The Kasich Administration has made land and water conservation a top priority. This proposal was drafted to provide a seamless transition to ensure there is no interruption in Ohio’s efforts to aggressively improve the quality of our state’s water resources.
In total, Ohio has invested more than $1 billion since July 2011 in the Lake Erie watershed to improve drinking water and wastewater facilities, monitor water quality, plant cover crops, recycle dredge material, install controlled drainage systems on farm fields and fix faulty septic systems.
As we work to implement these changes, we look forward to continuing our work with you in support of our mission to serve farmers and protect consumers.
David T. Daniels is the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.