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Jack Fisher: Ohio Ag Man of the Year
By Tim White, editor, Ohio Farmer
In the final unofficial tally, Issue 2 passed by 840,864 votes — approved by 64 percent of the voters. Make no doubt about this: It was a group effort from the agricultural community with commodity organizations, farm groups, individual farmers and the ag media getting the word out.
That said, it was the work of the Ohio Farm Bureau under the leadership of Jack Fisher, executive vice president, that got the job done. The Humane Society of the United States came to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and requested action on animal welfare issues in February. Ohio livestock commodity leaders were at that meeting, but it was the organization and direction of the OFBF that came up with a workable plan and pushed the resolution through the Legislature. In the process, the organization also created a Center for Food and Animal Issues to lead the discussion about animal care and maintain the viability of production agriculture.
Agriculture has been a business in Ohio since the first settlers came to the state. Ohioans know farming. That the citizens of this state would trust their farmers more than a Washington, D.C.- based radical organization like HSUS is no surprise at all.
As he faced off with Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS, Fisher told a crowd of Columbus Rotarians that farmers care about animals because the creatures provide their livelihood, but he urged the public to “put humans first. We’re all about the humane treatment of animals, just not treating them as humans.”
Pacelle countered that placing the issue in the constitution was an effort by agribusiness interests backing Issue 2 to “choke off” reform efforts.
“We wanted to elevate the issue,” Fisher responded. “I’m proud to be an Ohioan. I’m proud to be an American. I’m proud of the system we have. I’m not going to apologize for it.”
Hats off to the ag community for stepping forward and pulling it off. Yes, there is more hard work to be done, and the hearings ahead to implement the new Livestock Care Standards Board will be packed with opinions, but the vote is final — Ohio has its own plan in place.
Thanks to OFBF and Fisher for their leadership in rallying Ohio voters.