Tom Demaline, owner of Avon, Ohio's Willoway Nurseries and past chairman of the board for AmericanHort, wrote an editorial in the Cleveland Plain Dealer urging Ohio legislators to pass a farm bill.
In the editorial, Demaline explained how the horticulture industry fits into a bill more widely known for controversial issues such as work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or row crop and livestock programs. Many Americans do not realize that other farm bill provisions are critical for specialty crop industries – including horticulture.
In the Plain Dealer editorial, Demaline used his business as an example of how the bill helps companies across America.
"There are a wide range of diverse businesses and American workers that rely on a stable, well-crafted agriculture policy to keep their industries moving forward. I know that firsthand, because my family and I have more than a half-century's experience in one of those industries -- horticulture."
This is far from the first instance of Demaline stepping onto the political stage. Last year, he participated in a "farmers' roundtable" with President Trump and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. He was the sole representative of the nursery industry at the meeting.
Photo by Kimberly Rottmayer: Demaline receiving a Horticultural Industries Leadership Award in 2017. Read more about Demaline's accomplishments here.