News Briefs


Buckeye Farm News 

New administration reverses funds for COOL

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, under a directive from the White House, recently put a hold on all regulations that the Agriculture Department issued in the Bush administration’s final days, promising to “conduct a thorough review.” This included country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules. Vilsack later announced USDA would reverse a Bush administration plan to move $3.2 million from the Specialty Block Grant Program to enforce country-of-origin labeling (COOL). Former Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer planned to transfer the $3.2 million from the block grant program to pay for enforcement and education activities for COOL.

Equine bill re-introduced

In January, Rep. John Conyers, D-MI, re-introduced the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009 (H.R.503). With 60 sponsors, the bill would criminalize the possession, transport, sale, delivery or receiving in interstate or foreign commerce of a horse or horse meat with the intent that it be used for human consumption. It would thus apply to the transport and sale of horses for slaughter in the United States or to a foreign country. Penalties would include fines and/or one year imprisonment for a first offense or one involving five or fewer horses. Offenses involving more than five horses or repeat offenders would face increased fines and/or up to three years imprisonment. The bill was introduced in the last Congress as well, but this time a provision was removed that required the attorney general to “provide for the humane placement or other humane disposition of any horse seized in connection with an offense.”

Register for Trends and Issues Conference

The future of farm policy and climate change will be up for discussion at OFBF’s 2009 Trends and Issues Conference on March 26 at the Fawcett Center in Columbus. Speakers include Ohio State University Agricultural Economist Carl Zulauf and Garth Boyd of Camco Global, a carbon credit aggregation firm. Reservations are required and are due March 9. Visit or call 614-246-8288 for details.


Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.

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