Ohio lawmakers debate equine checkoff

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SALEM, Ohio – Several years ago, Susan Prokop paid $125 for a pony for her daughter to ride and show.
Three years later, she sold the pony for $750. A little boy showed the pony for a year, and his family sold it to a third owner for $1,300, Prokop says. When that third family sold their pony, they pocketed $3,500.
Every time a horse is sold, it puts money into the economy, Prokop says. Plus, that one pony required show feed and forage, saddles, farrier service, costumes and riding hats and boots, horse trailers and trucks and fuel.
“That little pony paid somebody every day of its life and put a lot of money into the economy,” Prokop said.
Prokop, a boarder and breeder of Welsh ponies and Haflingers in Geauga County, backs an equine checkoff in the state, a tool to assist horsemen in research, education and promotion.
Promotion. Prokop, who chairs the Northeast Ohio Farm Bureau Equine Advisory Council, sees a chasm between the industry’s importance to agriculture in Ohio, and what enthusiasts are doing to keep themselves viable.
The biggest breakdown comes in counting Ohio horses, she says. No census is taken on farms that don’t already receive a survey – farms that have cattle or pigs or sheep or chickens. That leaves a huge number of stables – and possibly hundreds of horses –

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