The agricultural lending cooperative Farm Credit Services is giving $100,000 to support two initiatives that aim to advance Ohio’s livestock community.
Half of the donation will be used immediately to support the Ohioans for Livestock Care campaign. The campaign is encouraging a “yes” vote on State Issue 2 this November in order to establish the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. The board would be charged with considering all aspects of animal care issues before any new standards are enacted.
The rest of the donation will support the efforts of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Center for Food and Animal Issues, which was established earlier this year as a long-term effort to engage in dialog over society’s relationship to animals.
Mike Bumgarner, vice president of the Center, said the two donations show that Farm Credit Services understands the challenges livestock farmers face when attempting to connect to consumers who are generations removed from the farm. It also makes good business sense for both farmers and their lenders to support Issue 2, he said.
“Neither lenders nor farmers can evaluate the feasibility of a business plan if they are threatened on an ongoing basis with emotional ballot initiatives that ban certain farming practices or equipment,” Bumgarner said. “The ability of farmers to repay their loans would be jeopardized if they are required, without any consideration of the impact to their farm, to redesign buildings or replace equipment.
Many view Issue 2 as a form of risk management, because it will ensure that careful consideration will be given to standards set for livestock care, including giving farmers adequate time to transition. It will also show Ohioans that continued trips to the ballot box are unnecessary, because the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is effectively addressing animal care issues on an ongoing basis.
As a separate effort, the Center for Food and Animal Issues is a broad and long-term initiative that will bring together farmers, hunters, researchers, zoos, pet owners and others who believe humans have a right to responsibly use animals. The Center will challenge the animal rights industry’s control over the debate about the proper role of animals in society.
“It seems logical that as an agricultural lender we would get behind the Farm Bureau’s initiative,” said Donnie Winters, president and chief executive officer for Farm Credit Services. “Many of our board members are livestock farmers themselves and wholeheartedly support the objectives of the Center, feeling that changes or advancements in animal well-being guidelines should be based on expert analysis, economic feasibility and sound information.”