Lawmakers continue to look into Ohio Livestock Care Board funding

Buckeye Farm News

Lawmakers and interested parties are looking into alternative funding methods and strategies for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.

“There has been a lot of conversation about how to get the board running and establish a strong program at a lower cost (than the preliminary estimates of up to $500,000),” said Beth Vanderkooi, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation director of state policy.

Vanderkooi said discussions are centering on scaling back the expense of the board in its first year and looking at more efficient use of staff that is already in place at the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).

“Alternative funding options continue to be part of discussions as well,” she said, noting that ODA may be looking to lower its previously proposed three-year phase-in of a 15-cent per ton fee increase on commercial livestock feed.

Opponent testimony was held the first week of February for House Bill 414, which sets the details of the board. Among concerns raised during testimony was that organic livestock farmers want assurance that they may continue to raise animals according to federal standards.

Vanderkooi said much of the concerns dealt with the decisions the board would make, as opposed to how the board would operate as outlined in HB 414.

“The bill is working to establish a process for fair consideration,” she said.

The process to bring together a “broad scope of Ohioans to establish a well thought-out, scientifically-based system for how Ohio farmers care for livestock,” would be better for farmers of all sizes than “multi-million dollar, well-funded, out-of-state activists imposing their beliefs about animal agriculture in Ohio,” Vanderkooi said.

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