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Ag-LINK available to help farmers and agribusiness

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Ag-LINK available to help farmers and agribusiness

It has been said time and again, and it remains true – agriculture is the backbone of Ohio’s economy. As an industry, it creates jobs, spurs economic development, feeds our families and instills pride in communities across the Buckeye State.

But the extreme weather of the last several months has taken a serious toll on farmlands across Ohio. In some places, the rain has been so constant, and the fields so flooded, that many Ohio acres are going unplanted. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has tracked planting progress since the 1970s, and few years have proven as challenging as this one.

That is why we at the Treasurer’s Office recently reopened the application window for our Ag-LINK reduced interest rate loan program. Through Ag-LINK, qualified farmers and agribusiness owners can receive a 2 percent interest rate reduction on operating loans up to $150,000. At a time when the weather remains unpredictable and margins may be tight, these reduced rate loans can assist with upfront costs of feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel and other flood-related costs.

The Ag-LINK application period is currently open and will run through Nov. 15. If you are interested in learning more about the Ag-LINK program and how it can help you, please visit our website ( ) or give us a call at 614-466-6546.

Robert Sprague, Columbus

Robert Sprague is Ohio Treasurer.

FirstEnergy poses a threat to our economic wellbeing

Independence comes at a heavy price. Since the nation’s founding, men and women in our armed forces have sacrificed much for our freedoms and quality of life.

Our appetite for energy makes us vulnerable, nationally and in Ohio. Our dependence on foreign sources of energy keeps the threat of war on our doorstep.

We are threatened right here at home, as well. FirstEnergy continues to lobby Ohio legislators to pass legislation that would give FirstEnergy a massive bailout for its Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants in Ohio – even after its subsidiary and owner of the plants filed for bankruptcy. If the bailout is approved, First-Energy customers will have to pay for this massive bailout and will see their electric bills jump.

Additionally, the bailout could kill jobs, and drive investment and tax revenues out of Ohio. It threatens jobs and tax revenues from the new natural gas-fueled power plants. If the bailout drives away private investment in natural gas fueled power plants, it will also drive away the thousands of jobs required to build these plants, and millions in new tax revenues from these plants. A bailout of FirstEnergy is a threat to Ohio’s energy security.

We must elect candidates who support energy policies that will lead us to self-sufficiency and by doing so free ourselves from importing energy from countries that don’t share our values or best interests.

As a veteran, I know energy independence plays a huge role in our national security. It will keep our sons and daughters in uniform off foreign soil. Vote to elect candidates who will promote the development and preservation of domestic energy and American energy independence. Vote for candidates who oppose the bailout of FirstEnergy. Vote to keep our troops at home.

John Williams, Youngstown

An end of an era is nigh

As August approaches and the end of The Vindicator draws near, we must wonder who will now be the voice of the people, who will inform us on political and election issues, how will our young athletes be recognized for their achievements.

The Vindicator has been the voice of the Mahoning Valley for 150 years. When the steel industry collapsed in the late 70’s, they were there giving hope that from the ashes of tragedy a Phoenix would rise.

The Vindicator has been with us through thick and thin, good and bad. They were there, so as we watch The Vindicator ride off into the sunset like Roy and Dale, we wish them well and Happy Trails to you.

Jim Eidel, Beaver Township

Mahoning Valley is losing part of its heart and soul

Yale Law School’s Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic (MFIA) is “dedicated to increasing government transparency, defending the essential work of news gatherers, and protecting freedom of expression.” These are the values that convinced me to join MFIA. They are the same values that informed my decision to stay in New Haven this summer and continue working as a fellow with the clinic. And they are the values that made the news of The Vindicator’s inevitable shuttering all the more difficult to process.

I was born and raised in the Mahoning Valley. When I graduated from Youngstown State in 2017, I had no expectation of enrolling at Yale. Now that I’m here, my experiences have brought into clearer focus the things I love about my hometown and the paper that memorialized it for 150 years.

Local papers serve a vital role in democratic society. They inform the electorate and hold powerful people to account. Their value cannot be replicated elsewhere.

The Pew Research Center reported in 2018 that 20 percent of Americans get their news from social media. As sources of information, networks such as Facebook may cause more harm than good. A 2016 study from researchers at Dartmouth, Princeton and Exeter found that one-fourth of Americans digest misinformation online, and that Facebook was the “most important mechanism” for spreading it.

Newspapers do more than fact check. They also stitch communities together. As Todd Franko wrote, “we were also your births, deaths, weddings, sports, fundraisers, illnesses, business openings, graduations, fish fries and more.”

Facebook can’t re-create that.

After The Vindicator closes, my work in media law will continue. That work has shown me that in losing The Vindicator, Youngstown has lost more than its democratic watchdog. It’s also lost part of its heart and soul.

Jacob Schriner-Briggs, New Haven, Conn.

Ohioans misled by backers of ‘clean-energy’ measure

Greenwashing is the practice of “making a company appear more environmentally friendly than it really is.” Public Relations departments at industries have become quite masterful at greenwashing environmental problems.

Advertisements for the controversial Ohio House Bill 6, dubbed the “Clean Energy Bill”, do just that.

Citizens of Ohio have been barraged with fliers in their mail and ads on television and radio. TV ads show families in windblown grass fields with the sun shining down, but clean-energy sources like solar and wind are not included in HB6.

The bill is simply a bailout for FirstEnergy Solutions’ two aging nuclear power plants: Davis-Besse and Perry. The bill will also allow Ohio Valley Electric Corp. to continue charging customers for its two 1950s-era coal-fired plants.

Credits that would have gone to solar and wind generation are now excluded from the bill. Ohio’s taxpayers will be paying for bad decisions made by FirstEnergy.

The bill was never intended to be about clean energy or staving off the climate crisis. It will end current mandates that Ohio utilities get more power from renewable energy sources.

Once again, Ohio politicians are putting the possibility of a thriving green-energy future for the state on the back-burner as they sell out to the industries padding their campaign bank accounts.

Dr. Randi Pokladnik, Uhrichsville