<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
  • November 10, 2022 12:53 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)

    WHAT: OhioPLANT Annual Meeting

    WHEN: Thursday, November 17 from 10 am to 2 pm

    WHERE: Jefferson Country Club, 7271 Jefferson Meadows Drive Blacklick, Ohio 43004 


    10- 10:30 am

                Greetings and remarks from OhioPLANT Chairman, Don Sutton

    - Discussing the coalition that formed to make OhioPLANT;

    - Overview of the past year, where we are, and what the future looks     like.

    - Fiscal status

    10:30- 11:00 am

                State Senator Bob Peterson

    - Discussing the election, lame duck in the legislature, and what he                     sees for next year

    11:00- 11:30 am

                Dan Kenny, Chief of the ODA Division of Plant Health 

    - Discussing Ohio’s pesticide certification and training program, the     changing federal requirements and what changes are expected to                         Ohio’s program.

    11:30- 12:00 pm

                Tony Seegers, OhioPLANT lobbyist

                    - Legislative Update

    12:00- 12:15 pm

                Break/ Lunch begins

    12:15- 12:45 pm (lunch continues)

    Political panel discussion with:

     - Ann Aquillo, former Director of Government Affairs with Scotts, 

     - Brandon Kern, Ohio Farm Bureau Director of State and National   Affairs, 

     - Nick Blazer, Government Solutions Group and contract lobbyist for the   Ohio Soybean Association

    - Moderated by Tony Seegers

    12:45- 1:00 pm


    1:00- 1:30 pm

                Kirk Hines, Chief of the ODA Division of Soil and Water Conservation 

                     - Discussing the H2Ohio program

    1:30- 2:00 pm

    Member discussion

    - Industry updates from members, OhioPLANT membership drive, and                     the Green Industry Day at the statehouse in 2023.

  • November 10, 2022 12:50 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)

    2022 State of Ohio Election Results

    Ohio House and Senate

    It was a historic election night for statehouse Republicans as the party is set for the most favorable margins they have enjoyed in decades when the 135th General Assembly begins in January.

    In the House, the Republicans may have a 68-31 supermajority, a gain of four seats.  The word “may” is important as Republican Ronald Beach has a small lead over incumbent Rep. Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester) in the 5th District.  One unexpected blow to House Democrats was the loss of Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton), the No. 2 Democrat in the House to Republican Challenger Jim Thomas.

    The GOP in the Senate has a majority not seen since 1951 with the defeat of Democrat Sen. Tina Maharath of Canal Winchester by challenger Michele Reynolds.  The GOP is poised to start the new General Assembly at the beginning of the new year with a 26-7 majority.  

    Statewide Offices

    Gov. DeWine easily beat his Democrat opponent, Nan Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton, 63 percent to 37 percent.

    Attorney General Dave Yost, State Auditor Keith Faber, Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Treasurer Robert Sprague also won their reelection bids.

    Ohio Supreme Court

    Justice Sharon Kennedy won her election against her Democrat opponent to take over the Chief Justice seat from the retiring Chief Justice, Maureen O’Connor.

    Republican Justices Pat Fisher and Pat DeWine, son of Gov. DeWine, both won reelection to their seats.

    This was the first Supreme Court election where the candidates for justice had their party designation next to their names on the ballot.

    State Issues

    Issue 1, a proposed amendment to the state’s Constitution that requires judges to consider public safety when setting monetary bail, was approved by voters.  Issue 2, the second proposed amendment to the state’s Constitution on the ballot was also approved by voters.  It bars local governments from enabling non-citizens to vote in local elections.

    U.S. Senate

    Republican JD Vance won his bid over Democrat Congressman Tim Ryan to replace retiring Senator Rob Portman.

    U.S. House

    Democrats picked up a House seat with Democrat Greg Landsman beating incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati).

    Current State Representative Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) won her bid to fill the seat left open by Tim Ryan’s U.S. Senate bid.

    Here are the results in the other U.S. House races:

    • 2nd District: U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Cincinnati) defeated Democrat Samantha Meadows.
    • 3rd District: U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Blacklick) defeated Republican Lee Stahley.
    • 4th District: U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) defeated Democrat Tamie Wilson.
    • 5th District: U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) defeated Democrat Craig Swartz.
    • 6th District: U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) defeated Democrat Lou Lyras.
    • 7th District: Republican Max Miller defeated Democrat Matthew Diemer for the seat currently held by the retiring U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ashland).
    • 8th District: U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Troy) defeated Democrat Vanessa Enoch.
    • 10th District: U.S. Rep. Michael Turner (R-Dayton) defeated Democrat David Esrati.
    • 11th District: U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Cleveland) defeated Republican Eric Brewer.
    • 12th District: U.S. Rep. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) defeated Amy Rippel-Elton.
    • 14th District: U.S. Rep. David Joyce (R-Chagrin Falls) defeated Democrat Matt Kilboy.
    • 15th District: U.S. Rep. Mike Carey (R-Columbus) defeated Democrat Gary Josephson.
  • September 26, 2022 2:09 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)

    The OPARR Board voted at their September 23 board meeting to change the name of the organization to, “Ohio PLANT" with the tagline "The Coalition of Pesticide, Landscape, Agriculture, Nursery, and Turf Professionals”.  The idea for a name change has been discussed over the last few years to reflect a growing membership of partners representing nurseries, landscape and lawn care, and golf courses.  It was not an easy task to agree on a name that stayed true to OPARR’s original and continued core mission to represent pesticide and fertilizer applicators while respecting the new industry associations that joined over the last couple of years.

    After much debate, the board believes the new name will reflect the growth of the organization while continuing its original mission.  A larger voice carries more weight at the statehouse and Ohio PLANT will remain your advocate.

    A new logo and website will be forthcoming.

  • January 05, 2022 4:08 PM | Tony Seegers (Administrator)
    • NOTE: This article is not presenting a position on the use of vaccines or vaccine mandates.


      After several weeks of discussion, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) finally released its 490 page emergency rule (or Emergency Temporary Standards “ETS”) mandating all employers with 100 or more employees ensure their workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing (at the employers’ expense).  This was one of several vaccine mandates rolled out by the Biden Administration, with the others being for healthcare workers and federal contractors. 

      OSHA’s proposed rule purportedly left the door open to apply the mandate to all employers at a later date.  However, the rule was stopped before it went into effect.  Employers and states filed lawsuits across the country against OSHA’s rule and on Nov. 12 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order staying the rule’s enforcement.  As a result of this ruling, OSHA suspended “activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS [the emergency rule] pending future developments in the litigation.”

      Because of the multitude of lawsuits in the federal district courts across the country, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation conducted a lottery to determine which of the thirteen circuit courts would hear the consolidated cases, picking our very own U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (the Sixth Circuit covers Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, and Tennessee).  All the challenges to the OSHA ETS were consolidated and heard before a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati.  Unfortunately, on December 17 the Sixth Circuit dissolved the stay put in place by the Fifth Circuit allowing the OSHA mandate to proceed.

      Immediately after the decision, two hours in fact, a broad coalition of 26 trade groups filed the first of several emergency appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court requesting a stay pending the Court’s review.  In turn, OSHA granted employers extra time to comply with the requirements- January 10 to develop compliant procedures and February 9 to begin testing.

      The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in the case for Friday, January 7 along with another appeal of COVID vaccine requirements for healthcare workers.  You can listen to the oral arguments before the Court on January 7, here.

      Ohio Vaccine Mandate Update

      The Ohio House of Representatives was considering legislation to do the opposite of the OSHA proposal.  House Bill 435 was introduced to prohibit employers from requiring a vaccine.  It also prohibited the use of vaccine passports to deny entrance into a business or a building owned by the state or local government or service from a business or state or local government.  The bill failed to garner support and stalled in committee in mid October.

      However, HB 435 has been reincarnated in a new bill, HB 218.  Originally drafted to temporarily extend bar hours and exempt bars from a statewide curfew, that language was replaced with nearly identical language from HB 435 in the House Commerce and Labor Committee on Nov. 18 and passed by the committee and the House that same day.  It currently is being heard in the Senate General Government Budget Committee.  The bill has been roundly opposed by many business trade associations as an infringement on employers’ internal management and operations.  Others have said the bill does not go far enough to prohibit vaccine mandates in the workplace.

      For employers, HB 218 prohibits an employer from requiring an employee receive a vaccine, drug, biological product, or a form of genetic immunotherapy that utilizes “messenger ribonucleic acid, deoxyribonucleic acid, or any other genetic vaccine technology and for which the United States food and drug administration has not issued a biologics license or otherwise granted full approval”.  So far, only Pfizer’s vaccine has been issued a biologics license and under the bill, can be required by employers.  For purposes of the bill, an emergency use authorization by the FDA (what all the COVID vaccines originally were authorized under) is not a biologics license nor full authorization by the FDA. 

      Under the bill, if an employer requires a COVID-19 vaccination that has been issued a biologic license, like the Pfizer vaccine, the employee may satisfy the employer’s vaccination requirement by either taking the vaccine or taking a COVID-19 vaccine available under an emergency use authorization.

      HB 218, like HB 435, provides employees the ability to seek an exemption from the vaccine for:

    • ·      Medical contraindications; 

    • ·      Natural immunity;

    • ·      Reasons of conscience, including religious convictions.

    The bill also creates a cause of action for unlawful discriminatory employment practice if the employer violates the provisions of the bill summarized above.



  • December 03, 2020 3:57 PM | BRIAN LAURENT (Administrator)

    OPARR Updates for December
    Written by Belinda Jones


    • As you know, former Speaker Householder was indicted this summer on bribery and extortion charges in the amount of $60 million;
    • The House voted Householder out as Speaker but he got to keep his House seat; and, get this, he won re-election to his House seat
    • In the meantime, Rep. Bob Cupp (R; Lima) was elected Speaker.  Cupp has vast experience having served in both chambers and on the Ohio Supreme Court; he has a reputation for bringing groups together and tackling complicated issues such as school funding
    • Fun fact: As Senate President Larry Obhof leaves his seat as Senate President due to term limits, his successor will be Sen. Matt Huffman (R; Lima).  I think this is the first time in Ohio history where both the Senate President and the Speaker are from the same home town.  Do we have any active members (aka new best friends) from Lima?


    • One of the big issues for 2020 has been HB 6 (the nuclear bailout bill) that triggered the Householder arrest along with five of his cronies;  AND just last week the FBI raided the home of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo. Randazzo resigned.
    • Rather than trying to do a rush job of repealing and replacing HB 6, the House and the Senate are passing a one-year moratorium on the bill so the subject matter (which is more complicated that just the bailout) can be given proper (and legal) attention
    • Another bill that is supposed to pass during lame duck is the capital bill. This is a bill that gives state funding for "brick and mortar" community projects. However, the bill has not been introduced yet.  Even so, we are hearing the House and the Senate are hoping to leave Columbus for the year next week.  EEEK!


    • There is a great divide in the republican party (particularly in the Ohio House) regarding how Gov. DeWine has handled Covid. Many republicans are refusing to wear masks and the most conservative arm of the House republicans have actually introduced bills and resolutions calling for Dewine's impeachment
    • The rub is that many conservatives think the Gov has usurped his authority by closing businesses, etc…
    • Meanwhile, the covid cases keep increasing in staggering numbers


    • Next year the House and the Senate are constitutionally required to pass a balanced state budget by June 30.  As such the budget will be the key focus. With Covid having hit state revenues pretty hard, and with State Agencies having been asked to cut their budgets this past summer, don't be surprised if some of our state agencies are going to need to ask for modest fee increases.  Don't panic.  We will be working on it but let's just say next year is an important year for Green Industry Advocacy Day (Feb 24)


    It seems like a lifetime ago that we were all excited about and focused on the H2Ohio program.  In the first year of the biennium, members of the ag community, researchers, soil and water conservation districts and environmental groups collaborated and formed the Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative (OACT).  Through their great work nearly 2000 north west farmers (or, one million acres) enrolled in the H2Ohio program.  In order to qualify for funding in year two, farmers must be certified, and must use approved conservation practices.

    While year one of H2Ohio is worthy of applause, like most parts of our lives, the program has been negatively impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic.  Nearly all state agencies had to make cuts and sacrifices.  Recently, ODA submitted a request before the Ohio Controlling Board appropriation for year two funding of H2Ohio.  

    We are grateful that we have such dedicated leadership in the Administration and at ODA so the H2Ohio program can continue to help battle water quality issues in our great lake.  Thank you Ohio Farm Bureau Federation for your leadership on this issue and for the testimony you provided to the controlling board.


    The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), along with most state agencies, have staff working remotely.  ODA has days where associates are in person at ODA but the agency has frozen any off-site speaking engagements for their personnel.  

    Tim Derickson

    One change worth noting is the move of ODA Assistant Director Tim Derickson from ODA to the Jobs Ohio program.   Unsure of his actual title but I have been told that Derickson will be head of agriculture issues at Jobs Ohio.  This is a great opportunity for Tim and we wish him well!  He has been a great friend to the green industry.  We wish him well!

    Pesticide RecertificationOne of the many issues affected by Covid is pesticide license recertification.  On the one hand, ODA, with great resolve for the integrity of their program,  has been reticent to move toward providing on-line options.  However, because of social distancing requirements, ODA ultimately made the following statement: 

    "The pesticide regulation program has just produced guidance for requesting approval of live webinar events for pesticide recertification.  This option is available for our traditional course sponsors that we’ve worked with in the past.  There are some very specific requirements for attendance verification and data, but the goal is to help meet the demand created by COVID-19 cancelations and precautions while maintaining the integrity of the education programming."  stated Dan Kenny

    Details are available here:

  • June 27, 2020 4:52 PM | BRIAN LAURENT (Administrator)

    Written by Belinda Jones, OPARR Executive Director

    The Legislature

    The Ohio General Assembly schedule was greatly impacted by the pandemic.  They basically took off the months of March and April and came back early May with a flurry of activity and a fair amount of divisiveness.  Almost immediately upon their return to Columbus (plus virtual meetings), there was a noticeable divide about whether to wear masks or not.  Oddly, the mask debate seems to fall along party lines with republicans not wearing masks and democrats adhering to the Governor's recommendations. 

    The other "great divide" centered around the Governor and ODH Director Amy Acton's aggressive approach at slowing the spread of Covid.  Certainly, Ohioans can boast that the strict measures put in place saved us from some of the horror other states saw (or are seeing) as a result of the pandemic, but at the same time, the toll on Ohio businesses is catastrophic.  By and large, the green industry was relatively "lucky" as we were deemed essential and were allowed to stay open from the outset.  Others were not as lucky.  House Speaker Larry Householder (R; Glenford) convened a committee to vet business concerns during the "shut down".   Some House members took issue with the Governor and Dr. Acton's approaches and there were several intense words of skirmish via Twitter and the press.

    The pressure became so intense that protestors met outside of the Governor's press conferences and there were even protestors that appeared at Dr. Acton's home.  Having worked literally 24/7 for months, Dr. Acton recently stepped down as ODH Director and will now serve as the Governor's health advisor.   Attorney Lance Hines will serve as interim Director of ODH.

    Of course the divisiveness was only exacerbated with the unfortunate killing of George Floyd and others.  Although mostly peaceful, protestors have at times lit up Columbus, the state house, other beloved buildings like the Ohio Theater with graffiti.  As the melee continued, House democrats  worked on legislation to have racism declared a public health crises and they tried to amend bills that pertained to the sale, distribution and display of the confederate flag.  Overall, this has been a very disturbing spring.

    While the legislature was stagnant for a few months, when they returned in May, there were many new bill introductions.  Here are some of the bills we are following on your behalf:

    • SB 308 (Dolan) and HB 606 (Grendell) although not identical bills both generally would revise the laws governing immunity from civil liability and professional discipline for health care providers during disasters or emergencies, to provide qualified civil immunity to service providers providing services during and after a government-declared disaster, and to declare an emergency.  Both bills passed through their respective chambers but neither made it to the Governor's desk.  The lack of final action is really frustrating to health care providers and businesses who were hoping for immunity in these trying times. 

    Additional bills we are following on your behalf include:

    • HB 183 (Manchester, Patterson) To allow income tax credits for beginning farmers who participate in a financial management program and for businesses that sell or rent agricultural land, livestock, facilities, or equipment to beginning farmers.

    • HB 222 (Stolfus, House) would provide a tax credit for CDL training

    • HB 432 (Powell, Lang) regarding occupational licensing reciprocity

    • HB 485 (Stephens, Scherer) would remove renewal requirements for CAUV

    • HB 495 (Stein) pertains to vehicle registration for farm buses

    • HB 625 (Galonski) would name the hardy mum as one of the state's flowers

    • HB 665 (D. Jones) To modify the laws governing agricultural societies, to recodify the law governing amusement ride safety, to address funding and other issues related to county and independent agricultural societies and the Ohio Expositions Commission, and to declare an emergency.

    • SB 1 (McColley, Roegner) To require certain agencies to reduce the number of regulatory restrictions and to continue the provision of this act (pending in conference committee)

    If you have any questions about any of the bills referenced above, call me at 614-679-5062.

    Executive Agency Issues

    While the pandemic has been hard on businesses, it has also posed challenges to state agencies.  For example, as you know, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has statutory responsibility for pesticide applicator testing.  How will such testing be accomplished in the days of social distancing?

    OPARR Chairman Lonnie Alonso, Brian Laurent and I had a conference call with ODA to check on their plans.  Certainly, some believe that on-line testing is the wave of the future but others have concerns.  After numerous meetings in house, we learned that ODA was able to reopen for testing.  In-person pesticide and fertilizer applicator testing opened up on June 2nd in the Bromfield auditorium at ODA in Reynoldsburg.  ODA had limited capacity, so they were hoping to reserve initial in-person testing for folks that need new certification to conduct a particular business function.  ODA has been working to add capacity and possibly additional locations in July. 

    Additional details are available here:

    Questions can be directed the ODA pesticide team at 614-728-6987.


    The next update will contain information about the state house "races to watch".  In the meantime, know that we are in the process of contacting allies to join us in a fundraiser in August (hopefully) for Sen. Kunze (R; Hilliard).  Watch for more information about this event in the coming weeks.  If you want to be a host/participant, please contact me.

    Heartbreak in the Ag Community

    At deadline for this article, all hearts around capital square and particularly in the ag community are broken as we unexpectedly had to say goodbye to one of our own, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s, Yvonne Lesicko.  Having previously worked in the telecom industry for years, Yvonne joined the Farm Bureau in 2012 with a stellar reputation in hand.  Having grown up on a grain farm, Yvonne embraced the ag family and was admired and lauded by all of us for her intellect, political savvy, and her contagious enthusiasm.  The Ohio Lobbying Association (OLA) issued the following quote:  Adam Ward, Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President, shared the following statement: 

    "Yvonne Lesicko, Ohio Farm Bureau's vice president of public policy, passed away last night unexpectedly. She was 48. Yvonne was full of life, loved her husband Scott, son Oscar and all of her family and friends with the enthusiasm she approached all things. We are all in disbelief. Yvonne’s energy, humor and zest for life make this seem particularly unreal."  

    In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Fund established by the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation. This fund was established to support the causes and initiatives that she cared so deeply about, including but not limited to, farmer mental health, women in leadership, agricultural and environmental policy and youth scholarships. Visit to make online contributions or mail contributions to: Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation ATTN: Luke Houghton, P.O. Box, 182383 ,Columbus, OH 43218-2383. Make checks payable to the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation. Please put in the memo line Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Fund.

    Please keep OPARR board member Tony Seegers and the entire OFBF family in your thoughts. 

  • May 08, 2020 2:05 PM | BRIAN LAURENT (Administrator)

    May Updates - written by Belinda Jones

    I truly hope all of you are finding your way to continue working, order carryout and take care of your family and friends.  We are certainly living in unusual times. 


    With so many other matters in front of us, the Ohio Primary Election was barely a blip on our minds. Even so, OPARR remains supremely focused on candidates as we will definitely experience a new group of legislators next January. OPARR's relationships with legislators is one of our biggest strengths! Click here to find the primary election results. Overall, it is safe to say in the Ohio House, candidates supported by Speaker Larry Householder pulled off a "win". If you have a candidate that you want us to follow, please let me know!


    Before giving you other updates, I wanted to remind you that we have instituted a conference call option for the first Monday of the month at 3:30 pm. We appreciate those of you who have participated in the calls the last couple of months. Soon, this call will be available to supporters only, so be sure that you or your company are current with your OPARR dues. One of the major benefits of the call is that we get to hear updates from our member organizations! Rare is the organization of organizations! OPARR's "one voice" history continues and is a great benefit to members.


    I wanted to give a loud shout-out to Brian Laurent who has come on board to manage our website and various other important matters. Brian is uniquely qualified for these tasks and we are grateful for his wisom and work. You should know that we are doing many things through our website:  Please keep checking on the website and/or communicate with Brian or me for any special questions you may have. Here is Brian's email:


    It truly is hard to believe the massive impact Covid-19 has had on our families and businesses and our state and national economy. It is truly heartbreaking. While many of our members have been able to stay open/working, customer reaction/fears reign heavy. At the same time, there is a loud constituency who believe the Governor and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton have been too far reaching. Whatever your personal or political opinion, we are where we are and we need to keep our eye on the prize:  staying healthy - personally and economically. 

    One of the areas that is new to many of us is the authority granted to local health departments for enforcing the Administration's orders. As mentioned previously, please let us know if you have an aggressive local health department person.

    I am in regular communication with the Governor's office, the ODH, ODA and the Development Services Agency (DSA). As such, if you need any clarity, please call me directly.

    Meanwhile the Ohio House has really been putting pressure on the DeWine Administration to open the state immediately. In fact, this week, the House passed a bill that included an amendment that would limit emergency powers afforded to ODH Director Amy Acton. The amendment added to SB 1 (a priority bill for the Ohio Senate) would require any health order lasting long than 14 daysto be approved by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR). The bill goes back to the Senate for concurrence. In previous interviews, Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R; Medina) was "cool" to the idea of using JCARR to limit Dr. Acton's authority. Even so, the republican base is putting pressure on lawmakers to get the Governor to reopen the state. If the Senate passes the bill as is, the bill goes to Gov. DeWine who has already threatened a veto.


    As you know, our pesticide applicator licensing requirements are embedded in the Ohio Revised Code. However, the statute nor the ODA licensing timeline anticipated this unprecedented time of stay-at-home orders, etc…  OPARR is in regular communication with ODA on how they may handle the pesticide licensing schedule this calendar year. We have offered to be a resource and we will keep you updated on the pulse of ODA and the state as our talks continue.


    While Ohioans are struggling financially, so is the state. State revenues have fallen sharply and our state, unlike the federal government, is required to have a balanced budget. In March, Gov DeWine asked all state agencies to reduce spending by 20% and called for a freeze on new hires. This past week, Gov. DeWine announced further cuts and indicated that the agency and programmatic cuts will amount to $776 million with the largest cuts coming from Medicaid and education. DeWine announced these cuts while declaring that he will avoid tapping the rainy day fund. His rationale? He believes he may need to use the rainy day fund to balance the next biennial operating budget. 

    A strong ODA means a strong industry so, of course, we are in communication with ODA to see how budget cuts may impact our programs.  So far, so good, is what we are hearing from the Division of Plant Health.  At the April meeting of the Controlling Board three items were approved at the request of ODA:  one item was to pay farmers out of the Indemnity Fund for Vista Grain insolvency; another was to use 4C90 (Feed and Seed) funds to cover internal indirect costs; and finally, there was an item to increase appropriation to use additional federal money from APHIS for the ALB project.

    Rest assured we will stay on top of this and keep you posted.

  • April 14, 2020 11:14 AM | BRIAN LAURENT (Administrator)

    OPARR is able to advocate on the behalf of the fertilizer and pesticide industries in Ohio thanks to the generous support of our partners. OPARR's strength comes from the collaboration of manufacturers, businesses, and practitioners from the vast community of the industries we represent such as agriculture, golf course management, turfgrass management, pest management, and more.

    Thank you to our latest OPARR supporters!

    Champion Level

    • The ScottsMiracle-Gro Company

    Advocacy Level

    • TruGreen
    • Ohio Pest Management Association
    • Northwest Ohio Golf Course Superintendents Association
    • Central Ohio Golf Course Superintendents Association

    Our current Advocacy Level and Supporter Level partners can be viewed here:

    OPARR Partners

    Please consider joining these partners by renewing your support of OPARR today!

    Support OPARR

  • April 08, 2020 2:38 PM | BRIAN LAURENT (Administrator)

    We have been supremely focused on Covid-19 and have stayed in touch with the DeWine Administration from a number of different angles. Specifically, as soon as we heard that the administration was in the process of defining "essential services", we reached out through a number of different venues to make the case for our members that our businesses are essential.

    We sent letters to the Governor, Lt. Governor, Policy Director, Exec Assistant for Ag, OEPA and ODNR from ONLA, a combination letter from OLCA, OTF and Ohio Sports Turf and the golf course industry defending our cause (note: several of those groups sent letters directly as well).  As you know, agriculture and pest management were already deemed essential (hooray) but I did need to go to the mat to include landscaping and retail garden centers.

    Once the letters were sent, I fielded phone calls from the administraion to make our case.  I worked with contacts I have at the Ohio Department of Health as well because as you can see from the press briefings, ODH Director Amy Acton is generally leading the charge.

    Although essential businesses were defined, they were vaguely defined, and there are some gray areas, but generally, we were  fairly successful.  Within the gray areas, we have coordinated an effort to make sure we have in our trucks what we are relying on to support our definition of essential businesses and showing how we are complying with the order rather than calling the administration and asking too many questions for clarification.

    We realize that all of this is a great burden on our members, especially on the employment side, so, I have been staying abreast of the business efforts that are being lead by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. For more information on business support, see:

    OPARR also continued the new process for "first Mondays" conference calls (we have a conference every first Monday of the month at 3:30).  Monday's call was particularly enlightening and it was good to have great representation on the phone.  One of the best parts of our OPARR meetings is the association updates.  Here are a few BRIEF highlights:

    • From Brian Laurent, we heard about the efforts he has made on the issue.  He has fielded many calls and has been quoted in USA Today/Golfweek!  Way to go, Brian!
    • Mark Jordan, Westfield Golf and Country Club was on the call and gave us an update as Vice President of GCSAA.  He shared that 31 states have been "open" for golf; 13 states were not open for golf but maintenance is allowed; 5 states had no executive orders and Minnesota has no golf and no maintence allowed.
    • Mark Bennet shared that overall on the lawncare front, there has not been much confusion.  Knox and Montgomery counties questioned the essentiality of lawncare but Mark had armed his members with info and individually, members in those counties were able to win their case with both counties.
    • Lonnie Alonso shared that OPMA members have not had too many problems but he expressed concern that local county health departments are the "enforcers" of the Governor's orders and they no very little or nothing about what we do.  Additionally, he shared that he has had several phone calls with ODA staff who are concerned about how the stay-at-home orders impact the pesticide licensing schedule (NOTE: we will be following up on these issues)
    • Tony Seegers representing the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation shared that the Economic Disaster Loan at the federal level does not apply to agriculture (although they are working on that) but the Cares Act might allow for assistance.  He also discussed the problems the dairy industry has with milk production and milk rationing (GO BUY MILK).
    • Ann Aquillo, VP of Scotts MiracleGro couldn’t be on the call but she gave us a real time (today) update on what is going on at the federal level: "Things continue to change daily in our nation's capital as we deal with COVID 19. This story from CNN (link: ) highlights how difficult the roll out has been to get relief to the right groups. Right now, leaders in the US House and Senate are negotiating a Stimulus plus package within the next few days. This will largely focus on getting more dollars into the SBA program ($250B), but Democrats are also calling for cash to be infused for hospitals, state and local governments and SNAP. Expect to see action quickly and a much larger Stimulus 4 package later this month."  Thanks, Ann!
    As always, call me if you need help in anyway and we will keep you posted on what we are doing on your behalf.

    One voice,

    Belinda Jones

  • April 03, 2020 4:58 PM | BRIAN LAURENT (Administrator)

    DeWine Stay at Home Order – What You Need To Know

    Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton issued a Stay At Home order which required Ohio residents and businesses to stay at home or cease operations unless they are defined as ‘essential’ in the order.  Yesterday, the Governor extended the Stay at Home order to May 1st.   The goal of the order is to limit movement and interaction between individuals to only those activities and businesses that are most essential. Reduced interaction and social distancing are critical components to slowing the spread of COVID-19.  Businesses who are defined as essential need to be aware of the order’s provisions.

    Essential Business and Activities
    In general, the order includes provisions that apply to individuals and also to businesses. Citizens and workers may leave their home to perform essential activities (i.e. seeking medical care, procuring food, helping relatives, exercising outdoors) as well as to travel to and perform work at an essential business or operation. Businesses are deemed essential if they fall under a detailed list included in the order or if they part of a category listed on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During CIVOD-19 Response.  In general, any business involved in agriculture (either in retail, cultivation, or supply chain) is considered essential. Additionally, any businesses that support essential businesses are deemed essential as well; this would include contractors, gas stations and repair shops, and business support (i.e. legal, accounting, finance).

    What Businesses Need to Do
    If a business is deemed essential, it must still comply with mandates regarding social distancing and minimum essential staffing. Businesses should allow as many employees as possible to work from home. Further, employees and customers must remain at least six feet apart as much as possible. Hand sanitizer and cleaning products should be readily available. Finally, businesses should prepare documents for employees, drivers, and other personnel that provide information regarding the essential nature of the business and the employees activities. This should help with discussing operations with local health officials, law enforcement, and the public should the need arise.

    Support for Small Business
    Both the State and Federal government have enacted several protections for businesses during this time. The tax filing deadline for state and federal filings has been moved to July 15th and professional licenses issued by the state (along with drivers licenses) have been extended to avoid expiration during the COVID-19 emergency declaration.  BWC premiums and health insurance premiums are also deferred until the pandemic passes. Additional resources can be found here:

    At the federal level, the U.S. Small Business Administration is offering loans and assistance to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most notably, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) offers assistance to businesses through loans to cover the cost of payroll. More details can be found here:

    Census 2020

    As of April 1st, the 2020 Decennial Census is underway. This marks the first year that responses can be filled out electronically and all residents should have received information in the mail regarding the census. The Ohio Census Advocacy Coalition ( has number of resources for Ohio businesses and individuals. Census takes will start visiting homes this summer to ensure people who do not fill out a paper or electronic census are counted. The census is vital to the distribution of federal funds and apportionment of Congressional seats.

    Ohio Primary Moves to Absentee Only

    In-person voting for the March 17th Ohio Primary was cancelled under order of Dr. Acton, however absentee voting was permitted to continue. Following Dr. Acton’s order, the Ohio General Assembly passed HB 197 (COVID-19 relief bill), which extended the window for absentee voting through April 28th. There will be no rescheduled in-person voting day. Many states have delayed their primaries or moved to absentee only amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Voters can request an absentee ballot from their local Board of Elections. All ballots must be postmarked by April 27th.

<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software