A hearty thanks to those who voted for and supported Issue 2 last week. It passed by a large margin with the support of farmers and a large group of consumers. Since this legislation goes into effect immediately, Ohio can now get busy implementing the mechanism to decide guidelines and appoint the non-partisan representative Livestock Care Standards Board.
Every major farm organization in Ohio supported Issue 2 along with a large number of consumer and other groups. Now we hope those who didn't support the issue will take a second look and get behind establishing livestock care standards for Ohio. This board, made up of Ohio people, can far better decide what is best for Ohio rather than outside animal rights group.
Agricultural support came from family farms of all sizes, small and large. The number of so-called mega-farms in Ohio, depending on how you define them, can be counted on one hand. In our area we have lots of farms that someone with 150 acres would call large. But if a family farms 500 to 1000 or more acres, those farms are not considered large by today's standards.
Passage of Issue 2 is a win-win for both farmers and consumers. Our society today is about three generations removed from the farm and doesn't have any real idea what it takes to produce our food. Nor does society understand the benefit of the efficiencies of the larger family farms. Along with today's technology, they are producing quality, safe, abundant, economic food for all of us.
With rare exceptions, most area and Ohio livestock farms understand what good animal care is and use practices that provide that care. They know that to make a reasonable return on their farm, they must give their animals the best of care. So livestock care standards that may be adopted by this board will probably not affect many of our farms because they are already doing what is best for their animals.
Ohio is being watched by states across the nation for our leadership in setting up our own livestock care standards. They will also be watching how the implementation of the law will be handled. So we in this state need to be sure we are setting an example that others want to follow.
Now we hope those who opposed Issue 2 will stop, take a good look and get behind the work to be done by the Livestock Care Standards Board. A close look at this board says it will not favor large farms over small ones as some seemed to think. Nor was this issue promoted by just "big" agriculture. Yes, "big" in terms of the number of farmers supporting the issue, but not in size.
Now the work is just beginning and support will be need from everyone in the state next year.
So again thanks to those who supported Issue 2. It will help protect Ohio agriculture. Remember also that we have a large number of family farms right here in our area that depend on agricultural regulations that are fair.
Parker is an independent agricultural writer and works with the local Farm Bureau Board.