COLUMBUS — Themes of animal well-being, environmental issues and communicating with consumers were prevalent at the 2011 Ohio Livestock Coalition Annual Meeting and Industry Symposium, held in Columbus.
“The meeting provides farm organization leaders and farmers from across Ohio with perspectives from state and national agriculture leaders,” said David White, Ohio Livestock Coalition executive director.
The meeting opened with remarks by newly appointed Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer who described his new role with the Ohio Department of Agriculture; planned initiatives under his leadership; and provided an update on the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.
Guests heard from two speakers on animal welfare-related issues. Peggy Kirk-Hall, director of Ohio State University’s Agricultural and Resource Law Program, discussed the changing state of farm animal welfare from the legal perspective.
Joy Mench, professor of animal science at the University of California-Davis, provided expertise on the holistic approach to animal welfare and changes that animal agriculture should be preparing to address.
In addition to animal care issues, environmental responsibility was another important topic discussed at the annual meeting. Rob Hamilton, administrator with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Resources; and Larry Antosch, senior director for the Program Innovation and Environmental Policy, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, presented about distressed watersheds and what this situation means to Ohio’s agriculture community.
The session also answered questions about harmful algae blooms and discussed the policy implications and impacts on livestock farmers.
Farmers and consumers. Center for the Food Integrity CEO Charlie Arnot reviewed current research on consumer attitudes about farming and shared opportunities for farmers to communicate with consumers. He also discussed the importance of effectively communicating with women about today’s agriculture.
In partnership with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the Ohio Livestock Coalition also named the 2011 Neighbor of the Year Award winner. The award recognizes a farmer who has positively developed and enhanced relationships between neighbors in Ohio’s farm communities.
The recipient of the 2011 award is Knollman Farms of Hamilton. Knollman Farms committed to being a responsible farmer and a leader in the local community. Knollman Farms received a plaque and a $250 cash donation to an organization of the farm’s choice courtesy of the Ohio Livestock Coalition and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.
For more information contact Diane Hurd, 816-556-3144.