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Farmers of Ohio Unite

Published Sep. 24, 2009 | Discuss this article on Facebook
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Buckeye Farm News

Farmers find common ground with Issue 2

An often used tactic of the animal rights industry is to segment agriculture, pitting larger farms against small, the cattle farmer against the hog farmer.

But when out of state activists began questioning the integrity of Ohio’s farming community, they were met with a united response.

Not only have hog, cattle, dairy, poultry and sheep farmers come together to show their dedication to the well-being of their animals, grain farmers are standing up with them.

Their message: enough is enough. No longer should the farmers’ character be dragged through the mud as animal rights groups perpetuate horrific imagery and half-truths. And animal care decisions should never be held at the mercy of emotional campaigns that are a disguised effort to turn people away from eating meat, milk and eggs. Not in Ohio.

The result was the creation of Issue 2, a ballot measure that will ensure animal care standards in the state are based on comprehensive analysis by knowledgeable Ohioans through the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, which includes family farmers, veterinarians, a food safety expert and others.

The Ohio Corn Growers Association and the Ohio Soybean Association each have emphasized that Issue 2 will help ensure viable livestock farms, which are a major customer of Ohio-grown grain.

“Now is the time for all farmers, regardless of what they produce, to come together in a unified effort to protect Ohio agriculture,” said Ohio Corn Growers Association Executive Director Dwayne Siekman.

The Ohio Soybean Association issued a statement saying it has “always supported animal agriculture and supports Issue 2 because establishment of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board will ensure that guidelines for animal care will be under the expertise of Ohio-based experts who will use their best knowledge in making decisions affecting animal agriculture and that make sense for Ohio farmers and Ohio consumers.”

Livestock organizations, knowing farmers are fully committed to the well-being of their animals, have said farmers are willing to do more than what is expected of them.

“Our consumers can be confident in the care that Ohio hog farmers are giving their animals and in the safety and quality of the food we produce. It is our livelihood and our responsibility. Our support for the Board further illustrates our commitment to do just that,” the Ohio Pork Producers Association said in a statement.

In addition to the corn, soybean and pork associations, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Dairy Producers Association, Ohio Poultry Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and the Ohio Livestock Coalition are all supporting Issue 2.

"Cattlemen see this...as everyone's issue, including consumers who have a right to know more about how their food is produced and to be reassured that in addition to our livestock receiving excellent care that we also continue to provide safe and affordable food," said Elizabeth Harsh, executive director of the Ohio Cattlemen's Association. "We see this discussion as important to everyone in this country because an abundant supply of safe and affordable food is a priority for us all."

The Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, which described itself as “an advocate for meaningful, responsible animal care and well being” said voters should approve Issue 2.

“Veterinarians convey sound scientific knowledge, animal behavioral understanding, and appropriate focus on balancing the tenets of food safety, animal well being and production efficiency,” the group said.

Add to that the overwhelming bipartisan support that Issue 2 has received, including both chambers of the legislature, Gov. Ted Strickland and Sen. George Voinovich.

The Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food banks and the Ohio Restaurant Association have endorsed the issue. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce is backing the measure.

Hundreds of endorsements from local leaders and community organizations are also rolling in.

“From farmers and veterinarians, to hunger advocates and consumers, once you see Issue 2 for what it is, it really makes a lot of sense for Ohio,” said Doug Foxx, OFBF director of political education. “This is an extremely positive and proactive step for the state to take. Everybody who supports care for animals, a strong local food supply and the viability of Ohio’s family farms should vote ‘Yes’ for Issue 2.”

Find more information and resources at www.ohiolivestockcare.org.

Add your support for Issue 2

Rally to Support Issue 2

Regional rallies are being held throughout Ohio in the coming weeks to encourage a “Yes” vote on Issue 2. Visit www.ohiolivestockcare.org for dates and locations. Join other farmers to show your community that you support Issue 2.

Contribute

Campaign contribution envelopes have been sent to farmers throughout Ohio. Every contribution matters as the Ohioans for Livestock Care Campaign gears up to encourage the public to vote “Yes” for Issue 2. You can also contribute online at www.ohiolivestockcare.org or by sending a check to Ohioans for Livestock Care, 280 N. High St., Columbus, OH, 43218

Yard Signs

The Ohioans for Livestock Care campaign is asking farmers to begin displaying yard signs starting Oct. 1 as a coordinated effort to show support for Issue 2.

Get Involved

Contact your county Farm Bureau for volunteer opportunities and materials that are available to encourage a “Yes” vote for Issue 2.

Tell Everyone

Host a barbecue on your farm, talk with your neighbors or tell family and friends to support Issue 2 because it will ensure strong family farms, excellent care for animals and safe, affordable, local food in Ohio. Make sure everyone you know plans to vote, and that they vote “Yes” for Issue 2.

Paid for by Ohioans for Livestock Care PAC, John C. Fisher, Treasurer, 280 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43215.



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