(3-26-19) Ralph Schmit described some of the current conditions in agriculture in a presentation at the Celina Kiwanis meeting on March 20. As part of his presentation, Schmit briefly reviewed the H-2A program, a guest worker program that allows employers to hire foreign nationals to do temporary or seasonal agricultural work. Participants can be employed for a certain period of time, return to their homes and be replaced by another group of workers.
Workers may stay up to three years and typically do jobs such as picking produce, such as onions and apples, two examples Schmit used to show the give and take between markets. While the US exports tons of onions and apples each year to Mexico and Canada, it also imports tons of onions and apples from Canada and Mexico each year.
A crop that has experienced swings in popularity and legality over the years is hemp. Early in the country’s history, hemp was an important crop used for products such as paper and canvas. According to historian Oscar Will, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 hampered hemp production. World War 2 provided a boost to hemp farmers, but the development of synthetic fibers in the 1950’s spelled the end of profitable hemp production. A 2018 farm bill legalized the growing of hemp but left the decision to permit its growth to the states. Despite the popularity of hemp products, particularly CBD oil, Ohio farmers cannot grow hemp.
After Schmit’s talk, the members took care of club business. Kelly Westgerdes moved up to the president-elect position since a member had to relinquish the position due to illness. Westgerdes will be club president during the 2019—2020 year.
The club discussed varying its meeting schedule by adding at least one evening meeting per month, making it easier to recruit workers who can’t come to lunch meetings.
Members were reminded to make reservations for the Division meeting on April 2. The Kiwanis Club of Celina meets at CJ’s Highmarks at noon on Wednesdays.
For more information about the club, like them on Facebook or find them at celinakiwanis.wix.com/kiwanis-club-celina.