Recent letters to the editor regarding Ohio Farm Bureau’s involvement in the wild and dangerous animals issue have contained several factual errors.
The letters attribute three quotes to Ohio Farm Bureau representatives: “We are always supporting things our members don’t”; “We have always stood against exotic animal ownership”; and that we said nontraditional animal owners are “acceptable collateral damage.” These quotes are fabricated.
Additionally, the letters claim Farm Bureau leaders are ignoring members’ wishes. Every voting member of every county Farm Bureau may vote on who should represent them at the annual business meeting. In turn, these elected voting delegates establish policies and elect state board members. The state board carries out the policies and applies them to emerging issues.
Specific to Farm Bureau’s engagement in nonfarm animal issues, the board based its decision on existing policies and extensive member input. Subsequently, the board’s decision was affirmed by the full delegate body, not once, but at each of the next two annual business meetings.
Because Ohio agriculture is so diverse, there are few issues on which every farmer will agree. It’s Farm Bureau’s job to reach consensus and to carry out the resulting policy.
We welcome dissenting voices, but ask that those voices not quote us incorrectly or mischaracterize our policy process.
(The author is senior director, corporate communications, with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.)