New Agricultural Organization Strives to Improve Working Relationships

February 12, 2002

FINDLAY, Ohio - Agricultural employers seeking to improve their human resource management skills have assistance from a new organization.

Mid American Ag and Hort Services, Inc. (MAAHS), a consortium of Ohio and Indiana associations, organizations and employers, was designed to help agricultural employers effectively address employee concerns and improve their working and earnings environments, specifically with migrant labor.

"Migrant labor, specifically within the Hispanic population, is steadily increasing in Ohio, especially in agricultural, nursery and landscape professions," said Ron Overmyer, an Ohio State University Extension agent and a MAAHS advisory board member. "The development of MAAHS is in response to the increasing interest in improving human resource skills of agricultural employers."

MAAHS will hold its first employer seminar and annual meeting Feb. 26 in Findlay, Ohio from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Topics of discussion include compliance of regulatory issues concerning offshore labor, immigration, social security, and child labor; as well as addressing cultural and social issues of Hispanic labor. The seminar fee for MAAHS members is $30 per person and for nonmembers is $50 per person. The fee includes lunch and materials.

MAAHS was borne out of a coalition involving the Ohio State Extension Farm Labor Relations Program, Ohio Farm Bureau, Indiana Farm Bureau and Ohio commodity organizations to address issues concerning seasonal migrant labor. "As things progressed, there was a strong interest from agricultural leaders in the state to better address their human resource needs," said Overmyer. "We are hoping to continue with the farm relations program as a complement to MAAHS. MAAHS addresses specific regulatory labor issues, while our educational program focuses on other human resource management issues and cultural issues."

Members of MAAHS and other employers are welcome to register for the event. More information and the registration form are available on Ohio Farm Bureau's web site at http://www.ofbf.org under "Upcoming Events." Interested parties may also contact MAAHS at (614) 677-4530; by mail at P.O. Box 479, Columbus, Ohio 43216; or by e-mail at labor@ofbf.org. Registrations are requested by Feb. 20, 2002.

Nonmembers wishing to join MAAHS should contact the organization at (614) 677-4530 or e-mail labor@ofbf.org for membership information. Part of the nonmember seminar fee may be applied to a MAAHS membership if the payment and agreement form is submitted by March 8, 2002.

Current sponsor members of MAAHS include the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Indiana Farm Bureau, Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association, Ohio Florists' Association, Ohio Fruit Growers Society, Ohio Vegetable and Potato Growers Association and Ohio Landscapers Association.

Author(s): 
Candace Pollock
Source(s): 
Ron Overmyer