WALDO, Ohio — Now that the Ohio Livestock Standards Board has been named, the real work begins.
Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs addressed the Ohio Livestock Coalition symposium April 8 with an update on the board.
Boggs said the creation of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board will provide an open process for developing standards for Ohio livestock.
He added there were more than 200 applications for the board and the diverse applications made it a tough appointment job for Gov. Ted Strickland.
However, Boggs said the members chosen provide a balanced board, both in geography and commodities. He added the members chosen were picked so that within an hour and half, a member can reasonably travel to an incident when called.
The first board meeting is tentatively set for April 27. After that meeting, regional meetings will be set so board members can hear what state residents want in the regulations for livestock care.
He added it will be slow, but eventually the board will put together the entire standards package for the state.
Boggs said the ODA will pick up the costs for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board until the next biennial budget is passed by the Ohio General Assembly.
He described the regulations passed by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board as a regulatory program. A notice will be sent to the offender if something is found. The offender will be able to fix the problem and pay a fine. If not, either side (the state or the offender) will be able to appeal the decision and go to court.
If the investigation shows abuse, then the case will be turned over to officials and the local humane society.
“This is a large job and it’s not going to be easy,” Boggs said.
Boggs had some stern words to share at the meeting about the Humane Society of the United States.
“This is an elitist organization that literally believes they know more than people in Ohio or know more than the people of Ohio,” Boggs said.
He added the board and the agriculture community needs support and all efforts are going to be needed this November. The group Ohioans for Humane Farms, an offshoot of the HSUS, is collecting signatures to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would dictate specific minimum care regulations the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board should create.
Boggs also told the crowd that he is taking all suggestions about the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board’s work because it can’t work unless the people have a say in it.
He added the board will attempt to make it a crime to make frivolous complaints about farmers. He said if it isn’t a rule of the board, then they will go the legislature to have legislation created to stop it.
Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board members:
– Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs
– Tony Forshey, state veterinarian for ODA
– Leon Weaver, of Montpelier, owner, Bridgewater Dairy and veterinarian
– Jeff Wuebker, of Versailles, co-owner of Wuebker Farms
– Bobby Moser, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the Ohio State University
– Jeffrey LeJeune, of Wooster, associate professor for Food and Animal Health at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center at the Ohio State University
– Harold Dates, of Cincinnati, president and CEO of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Cincinnati
– Jerry Lahmers, of Newcomerstown, cow/calf feedlot and grain farmer and served as a veterinarian for 29 years
– Lisa M. HamlernFugitt, of Reynoldsburg, executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Banks
– Robert Cole, of Gahanna, retired from various roles for the U.S. Department of Agriculture
– Stacey Atherton, of Newark, co-owner of Shipley Farms and 4-H club adviser
– Bill Moody, of Knox County, former deputy director of the Ohio Department of natural Resources and family farmer
– Dominic Marchese, of Farmdale, in Trumbull County, Navy veteran, farmer and member of the Ohio Wildlife Council
Source: Governor Strickland’s office