Ohio Farm Bureau Federation sent the following letter to the editor in response to The Columbus Dispatch’s “Keep Your Word” editorial regarding the agreement made between Ohio’s agricultural community and The Humane Society of the United States.
The Aug. 30 Dispatch editorial “Keep Your Word” ignores the cornerstone of the June agreement between Ohio farm organizations and the Humane Society of the United States, which is HSUS’s acknowledgement that the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is the ultimate authority for determining the proper treatment of farm animals.
Ohioans who passed Issue 2 last November to create the Board said they wanted Ohio experts to make decisions for Ohio. That is why the parties to the agreement offered recommendations to the Board, not mandates. Further, the agreement states that HSUS and the farm groups will jointly fund research to help answer difficult questions about animal care. Fact, not opinion, should be the foundation for standards that will impact Ohio jobs, farm viability and food affordability. ODA Director Boggs is correct; the Board should seriously consider what farm groups and HSUS suggested, but its job is to do what voters mandated.
The editorial also incorrectly describes the participants in the agreement. Farm Bureau wasn’t alone in the process. We worked along side the organizations representing Ohio’s beef, corn, dairy, pork, poultry and soybean farmers. Additionally, characterizing Farm Bureau as the representative of “big agriculture” is factually incorrect. 98 percent of the farms in Ohio are family owned and operated; 80 percent of those farmers hold a Farm Bureau membership. Regardless of their farm’s size, type or production practice, each member has an equal vote in the governance of Farm Bureau. It may be a convenient story-telling tactic to portray Farm Bureau as “big ag,” but it is far from reality.
John C. (Jack) Fisher
Executive Vice President
Ohio Farm Bureau Federation