Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board: More than a paper tiger

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SALEM, Ohio — A plan to fund and implement Issue 2 is expected to be introduced by Ohio’s legislature by the end of January.

The legislature began its 2010 session the week of Jan. 11.

Feed fee

A draft of a plan to fund Issue 2, the constitutional amendment approved by voters in November, calls for a $500,000 increase in a fee assessed on bulk livestock feed.

The fee will pay for the annual operations of the 13-member Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, including the salaries of an executive director and a handful of employees, according to draft rules developed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio Farm Bureau and other agriculture organizations.

According to the draft plan, the state fee paid by commercial feed distributors, now 25 cents per ton of bulk feed sold, would increase incrementally over three years to 40 cents per ton.

Still on drawing board

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert J. Boggs said the department has been meeting with environmental and farm groups to sketch out the draft legislation.

“It’s a very deliberate process, what we are doing,” Boggs said.

He said he hopes the legislation is introduced the week of Jan. 20.

Boggs said voters were promised an active board and not just a paper trail.

“When the people voted, they were told we wouldn’t be a paper tiger. They wanted good enforcement and that will take some resources,” Boggs said.

How much needed?

What’s unclear is how much money is needed for the first year.

Boggs said since the board will be new to the state, it is difficult to gauge how much money will be needed to conduct investigations and provide enforcement programs.

“We would rather have enough resources from Day One and not have to go back to legislature and ask for more funding,” said Boggs.

Clock is ticking

Keith Stimpert, Ohio Farm Bureau senior vice president of public policy, also stressed that the plan for Issue 2 is still in the draft form, but lots of dialogue is taking place about it.

“Hopefully, the legislature will act fairly quickly once they start their session.”

He expects a hearing on the measure will begin in January.

Board will set standards. “One thing people need to understand is this will be a procedural bill,” Stimpert said.

Stimpert said the yet-to-be-introduced bill will set up how long terms will be, and outline the responsibilities of the board and the ODA. Once the governor and speaker make a appointments, then the group can get to work on establishing policies and livestock care practices. The legislation will not spell out what the livestock standards will include, those determinations will be originated by the board itself.

Pioneer

Meanwhile, Ohio is making a name for itself in the fight against the Humane Society of the United States, and states like Missouri are taking a lot of interest in what is going on here in Ohio.

The HSUS is circulating a statewide ballot initiative in Missouri that would establish new rules for dog breeders, but some in Missouri agriculture feel it’s a threat toward their business, as well.

Boggs traveled to Missouri Jan. 7 and 8 to talk with state leaders about the Ohio ballot initiative. He said Ohio is gaining national recognition for what was accomplished here and he expects other states may use the state as an example.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

3 Comments

  1. Katie Myers says:

    “Boggs said since the board will be new to the state, it is difficult to gauge how much money will be needed to conduct investigations and provide enforcement programs.”

    This was and still is my main issue with the Livestock Care Standards Board. Before Ohioan’s voted, we knew that there would be a cost. No one could throw out an accurate number, yet we passed it on a broke budget.

    Who will pay? The commercial feed distributers? Not alone, they will be forced to raise their prices then we the farmers and tax payers will pay.

    According to the Issue 2 promotional material, 13 people would volunteer their time (minimal travel stipens)…NOW? An E.D. and staff. Guess what Ohio, we voted for bigger and bigger government and we allowed it with a constitutional amendment!

    HSUS still has plans to put their own initiative on the Ohio ballot in 2010. They do not feel defeated by this, but we Ohio farmers and consumers and tax payers pockets and liberties are slowly being defeated.

  2. Mike Sowers says:

    Does anyone in charge of this LCSB have a clue what they are doing? The OFB painted a great picture of how the board would protect livestock owners from the humane society and other organizations pushing animal rights to the extreme. So Ohio voters were swayed into voting in a “blank check” to a Group of board of members who were yet to be named at a cost that was unknown.Briliant! Would anyone cast a blank vote for the President of the United States if the candidate was to be named after the election? Evidently they would if the OFB told them to.

  3. Alex says:

    Video of dairy cow abuse at Conklin Dairy in Plain City, Ohio: http://www.mercyforanimals.org/ohdairy/

    This board created by Issue 2 is manned by factory farmers, with the exception of one. Quite a manipulative maneuver, to appeal falsely to altruism, if you ask me. There is one lone voice to stand up and represent citizens’ and animals’ perspectives. Here is the truth: factory farms abuse animals–the videos are boundless and available all over the Internet. If you honestly believe that this is okay, I don’t know what can be said for you; do you honestly not believe that there is something wrong with beating baby cows and confining them so that they cannot move and their bones and muscles disintegrate? That torture and abuse is the only life that they see on this Earth, for agribusinesses’ own greed? I understand that you grew up on a farm, but I do not think that you understand that you are being a bit ignorant and not making a few connections, including the fact that these huge factory farms also pollute waters and produce stench that makes it difficult to even walk outside or open a window. When farms really “mess up” and pollute groundwater (through waste lagoons and other such barbaric attempts at “engineering”), streams, etc., the cleanup is funded by taxpayers. This is what you call an externality–it is not included in market price, but someone is paying for it eventually. (You can look this up in an Econ textbook if you don’t believe me, as I can see that your opinions are already quite well-molded by the propaganda of factory farms, none of whom are really on your side unless they want your vote to keep their financial interests safe). Thus, when family farmers rightly give their animals a bit more care and are responsible, bringing most externalities to the market price, their total capital input/investment is usually more per pound of whatever they are selling than the factory farm. Both businesses are selling their products at the same market price, so the net profit of the factory farm (per pound of whatever is sold) eclipses that of the family farm. I could also inform you of the fact that one day subsequent generations are going to look back at some of these sick practices and abhor them, much the same way that I deplore many ridiculous societal constructs and customs of the past. The Jim Crow Laws were once a reality; don’t think that just because you live in the United States there aren’t things that can be improved upon. It’s a wonderful country–and we’ll prove it when Ohio voters show at the polls that we want responsible, humane, (yet the bill is modest) reform. The proposed conditions ask for basic, civilized, humane treatment and a right for sentient beings not to be tortured. It also gives honest family farmers a chance at competitiveness in the marketplace. And please speak only for yourself–I hope that if anyone from other states who may be reading this article/post realizes that all Ohioans are not as ignorant as the person who wrote this article.

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