In the weeks ahead, farmers all across Ohio will be repairing equipment, preparing their fields and buying seeds and fuel in advance of the upcoming planting season. Agriculture is big business here in Ohio - farming and other agriculture-related businesses pump nearly $100 billion into our state's economy each year and employ thousands of Ohioans. However, with our unpredictable weather and the rising cost of fuel, farmers often find themselves struggling to meet the costs associated with their operations. That's why the Agricultural Linked Deposit Program (Ag-LINK) was created in 1985 - to help support Ohio's agriculture community by lowering the cost of loans for farmers. Ag-LINK provides farmers with low-interest financing on loans that they can then use to help finance their costs for seed, feed, fuel and other items. Since its inception, the Ag-LINK program has provided more than $2.8 billion in reduced-rate financing to more than 40,000 Ohio farmers. Recently, members of the Ohio Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 281, which seeks to modify the Ag-LINK program by raising the maximum individual loan amount for farmers from $100,000 to $150,000 and the amount of money the Ohio Treasurer can place in agriculture linked deposits from $125 million to $165 million. The increased amounts were recommended by the Ohio Treasurer's office due to the growth of the state's investment portfolio. Senate Bill 281 will give Ohio's agricultural businesses more opportunities for participation in the Ag-LINK program. It will help family operations, whose costs, paired with inflation, have greatly increased over the years, as well as new farmers who may have extra start-up costs and limited access to capital. I am hopeful that Senate Bill 281 will receive approval from the Ohio House in the coming weeks so that more farmers can take advantage of this program. Farmers interested in applying to the Ag-LINK program can speak with their lender or the Ohio Treasurer's Office to determine if they are eligible. Applications for the 2012 lending period must be completed by 5 p.m. on March 9. A listing of lending institutions and an application can be found at www.tos.ohio.gov/aglink. For more information on Senate Bill 281 or any other piece of legislation, please visit www.legislature.state.oh.us and click the "Search for Legislative Information" tab. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or concerns you about any of issues we are discussing at the Statehouse. I can be reached by phone at (614) 466-0626, by e-mail at SD29@senate.state.oh.us or by writing State Senator Scott Oelslager, I Capitol Square, 2nd Floor, Columbus, OH 43215.
Senator Oelslager represents Ohio's 29th Senate District, which encompasses portions of Stark County. He serves as Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. For more information, please visit www.ohiosenate.gov/scott-oelslager.
 
 
 
  
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