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Legislative process continues to shape livestock board
Buckeye Farm News
As the House Agriculture Committee approved implementing legislation for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, the Senate began work on its version of the bill.
Amendments to House Bill 414 removed the proposed three-year phase-in of a 15-cent per ton increase on commercial livestock feed and permitted the director of agriculture to use existing funds at the Department of Agriculture. Similarly, Senate Bill 233 frees up $162,000 from other sources in the General Revenue Fund (GRF) to get the board running. The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville, and Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina.
“We applaud the discussions that have been ongoing between legislative leadership, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and stakeholders on the subject of funding,” said OFBF Senior Vice President of Public Policy Keith Stimpert during House testimony in February.
“We believe (the Livestock Care Standards Board) benefits both consumers and farmers, and as such, should be funded from general revenue sources,” he said, while also noting that the state’s fiscal challenges left OFBF open-minded toward alternate funding sources.
Right of Entry
SB 233 further clarifies some of the provisions included in the House bill. Specifically, it states that the regulating entity may request to enter a farm, which a livestock farmer would have the right to deny, therefore requiring a warrant for entry. SB 233 also requires the regulating entity to follow biosecurity standards in place on farms it enters.
Organic Standards Clarifications
An amendment to HB 414 further clarified that rules adopted by the Livestock Care Standards Board would not apply to organic producers if the rules violate USDA national organic standards.
In his testimony, Stimpert noted OFBF supports the clarification for organic producers as well as added language that states the Board will not be able to establish a livestock identification program or develop standards for food processing.
OFBF opposes any expansion of the authority of the Livestock Care Standards Board.
“It’s important that the Livestock Care Board be effective in the development of standards and the enforcement of those standards,” Stimpert said. “This measure is the next step in making Ohio a national leader in livestock care and strengthening the relationship between farmers and consumers.”
For the latest on the Board, visit Ohio Farm Bureau's Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board news page
Here are a few of the provisions the House and Senate are now considering for the Livestock Care Standards Board.
- Funding for the board would come from existing sources in the General Revenue Fund rather than the commercial livestock feed fee.
- Organic farmers would not be subject to any standards that conflict with the national organic program.
- Regulators would need the farmer's permission or a search warrant to enter a farm.