Some Thoughts on Ohio Issue 2

October 5, 2009 at 8:15 am 97 comments

The following is a summary of Issue 2 Ohio from Brian Roe, AED Economics, Ohio State University. One of the most common questions relates to compensation for board members. I have placed the compensation issue at the end of the post (thanks to Peggy Kirk Hall, OSU Director of Ag Law Program).

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October 26, 2009 Update: The Ohio Issue 2 Factsheet is now available at: http://agvanwert.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/ohio-issue-2-osu-fact-sheet-on-legal-questions/

As the fall election season approaches, many are becoming aware of Ohio’s Ballot Issue 2, which pertains to care standards for farm animals.  This article does not provide an analysis of whether Issue 2 is good or bad nor does it address any issues concerning the science of animal care.  Rather, I go through a series of questions about the management implications of Ohio Issue 2 if it should happen to pass and if it should happen to fail.

Given the novelty of the Issue 2 Ohio initiative, firm answers are difficult to provide.  However, I try to provide some possibilities of what passage or defeat of Issue 2 might mean for Ohio livestock and poultry farmers.  Exact language of this initiative is available here.  Questions A – G are answered by using language from the ballot initiative and joint resolution itself, i.e., I am basically re-organizing the words in the initiative to answer some common questions.  Questions H – M were formulated by me and based upon my own research and analysis.  I thank Peggy Hall of Ohio State’s Agricultural Law Program for discussing and clarifying some of the legal implications and ‘what ifs’ of the initiative with me as I developed this work, but the content contained below is solely my responsibility.

Some Basics About Ohio Issue 2

A.  What happens if Ohio Issue 2 passes?

  • A Livestock Care Standards Board is created in Ohio

B.  Who is on the Board?

  • 13 Members
    • No more than 7 from any single political party
    • Ohio residents
    • Representatives of Ohio family farms, farming organizations, food safety experts, veterinarians, consumers, the dean of an agricultural department at an Ohio college or university, a county humane society representative

C.  What is this Board authorized to do?

  • Establish standards for governing the care and well-being of livestock and poultry in Ohio

D.  What should these standards attempt to achieve?

  • Maintain food safety
  • Encourage locally grown and raised food
  • Protect Ohio farms and families

E.  What factors must be considered when establishing and implementing these standards?

  • Agricultural best management practices
  • Biosecurity
  • Disease prevention
  • Animal morbidity and mortality data
  • Food safety practices
  • Protection of local, affordable food supplies
  • Any other factors deemed appropriate by the Board

F.  Who administers and enforces these standards?

  • The Ohio department that regulates agriculture

G.  If someone wants to challenge the standards created by the board, is there any recourse?

  • The administration and enforcement of the standards by the Ohio department regulating agriculture is subject to the authority of the General Assembly.

Some ‘What-Ifs’ About Issue 2 and Beyond

H.  If Issue 2 Ohio passes, does it mean that nothing will change for Ohio livestock farms?

  • This is not clear.  Consider several speculative scenarios (and, please, do not consider my introduction of these scenarios as an endorsement of any of them).
  1. Absolutely no change for producers. The newly created Board is seated and essentially adopts existing livestock practices as their chosen standards.  The department implementing and enforcing these standards finds no need to verify whether individual operators are in line with these practices or utilizes a verification method with virtually no cost to individual producers.
  2. Only paperwork/administrative changes for producers. The newly created Board is seated and essentially adopts existing livestock practices as their chosen standards.  The department implementing and enforcing these standards requires that all producers document compliance via a record keeping and paperwork regime.  So, even though no operator would alter production practices, all operators may need to undertake additional administrative work that can be costly and time-consuming, particularly for smaller operations where the livestock entity is not the core enterprise.
  3. Changes in production practices. The Board is seated and eventually (perhaps with changes in membership due to administration turn over or public pressure upon legislative members) adopts care standards that would substantially alter production practices.  The department implementing and enforcing these standards would then need to implement a compliance regime that verifies that practices are actually changed to comply with new standards, which could alter the fixed or variable costs of producers in addition to administrative costs.

I.  If Ohio Issue 2 passes, does it mean that future ballot initiatives aimed at banning certain animal care practices are impossible?

  • Passage of Ohio Issue 2 would not guarantee that California-style ballot initiatives would not be introduced in 2010 or beyond, but would likely decrease the odds of such targeted animal care initiatives.  Subsequent initiatives seeking to ban certain practices would have to alter Issue 2 to accommodate the goals of subsequent initiatives, which could cause further delays.

J.  If Ohio Issue 2 fails, what could happen?

  • Ohio voters might vote on a California-style ballot initiative in 2010 or beyond that would seek to ban cages for hens, farrowing crates for gestating sows and crates for veal calves, perhaps by amending the Ohio constitution.  Note that most previous state-level animal care initiatives have not amended the constitution of the state, but rather just changed regulations.  Only the Florida ballot initiative, which banned farrowing crates, amended the state’s constitution.  Amendments to a state’s constitution are more rigid in implementation and harder to change than simple legislative initiatives.
  • Legislators and farm groups may instead try to broker a Michigan-style negotiated deal to avoid a ballot initiative where most of the above-mentioned practices are eventually banned, but the main bargaining chip is how long before such standards are mandatory.  For example, the standards will not be in full effect until 2020 for Michigan.

K.  If a California-style initiative passes in Ohio in 2010, what would happen?

  • Farmers currently using banned practices will have to make a decision among 3 options:

1.   Spend money to

  • Change production techniques
    • Any big change in production practices costs money
    • Most methods  that would be banned are currently the least expensive production methods, particularly at larger scales of production
    • A study of the effects of banning cages for laying hens in California was conducted by UC – Davis economists, and found that non-cage systems would increase costs of production by about 20%.
    • Alter sales and marketing strategies
      • No one in Ohio would be required to buy the products produced under the altered production standards, so they would need to work through niche companies that sell products for a premium and try to recoup their increased expenses via higher sales price.
        • However if many farmers try to sell to this niche market, those historically high sale prices will decline as the market may become flooded with additional product.

2.   Spend money to move their operation to a location that allows such practices

3.  Exit the line of business subject to the new standards

L.  If a California-style initiative passes in Ohio in 2010, will fewer total animals be subject to the banned practices?

  • It depends on how many farmers choose option 1 under question K in the previous section.  Consider two extremes:
  1. All current farmers using the banned practices stay in business at the same exact level of production and implement alternative production methods.  Then all of the animals currently exposed to the banned practices each year would be raised using alternative means, which would clearly reduce the worldwide number of animals exposed to the banned practice.
  2. All current farmers using the banned practices either move or exit.  Then the same number of animals worldwide would be raised using the banned practices, just their location would be shifted out of Ohio while the products are shipped back to Ohio for consumption.
  • The truth will lie somewhere in between and will likely depend on:
  1. How much demand (and price premiums) for animal products raised under alternative production systems increases by the required transition date.  This in turn will depend on:
  • Whether consumers willingness to pay increases
  • Whether lots of other producers in other states also transition and flood the market for these alternative production system goods.

2.   How much the costs and efficiencies for alternative production systems improve by the required transition date.  This is turn will likely depend on:

  • How many other farmers will have implemented these systems and, through experience, reduced the cost and increased the efficiencies of such systems
  • If good information and financing is made available to farmers interested in transitioning to alternative systems.

M. What has happened to egg production in California since the passage of the California ballot initiative?

  • California is the 5th leading producer of eggs nationally.
  • The 2008 ballot initiative will require changes in the way laying hens are raised.  Note two things about the initiative and the laying hen industry:
    • The rule changes will not go into effect until 2015.
    • The exact implications of the law for production practices have not been fully articulated
      • For example, it has not been determined whether the law outlaws all cages or just cages small enough to limit birds from turning around fully with wings spread without touching other birds.
    • However, comparing layer hen numbers from July 2008, which preceded the ballot initiative, to July 2009 numbers, which follow the initiative, we find that:
      • The number of laying hens in California dropped by about 1 million birds
      • This is the 2nd largest decline in laying hen numbers among all states
      • This represents 24% of the laying hen population decline observed nationally
      • California’s share of the nation’s laying hens declined from 6.1% to 5.8%
      • All reductions in laying hen numbers in California occurred among large flocks while small flock numbers gained slightly.
    • These numbers may indicate initial industry response from the impending regulatory changes
      • However, other regional factors cannot be ruled out as drivers of the change in hen numbers given the short time frame of the data analyzed

N. Why not propose an alternative to banning certain production practices?  For example, ban the sale of products in Ohio that do not use certain practices.

  • There has been some discussion of an effort to do this in California in light of the passage of the California law banning cages in the production of eggs produced in that state.
  • For Ohio, such a ban on the sale of such products would encourage Ohio farmers to not exit or move production because they now have the advantage of a built-in home market for selling products raised under such standards.
  • This would likely alter the production circumstances of more animals globally than a California-style ban that focuses only on production within the state’s borders.
  • Such an initiative would also force Ohio consumers to think more fully about the implications because they would now be forced to pay any additional production costs associated with banning such practices through higher prices at the store.
  • However, such an alternative may not be practical as it may face federal legal challenges as an infringement of interstate commerce.  Although, other states, such as California, have passed regulations such as a ban on the sale of foie gras from force-fed geese regardless of where the foie gras was produced.

Financial Compensation for Board Members and Financial Operation of the Board

Ohio’s Office of Budget and Management has prepared a fiscal analysis of the proposal, located here:  http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/ballotboard/2009/2-analysis.pdf

A few quick points from OBM’s analysis:

  • Assumes that the board members will serve voluntarily.
  • Predicts that the state will require two full-time staff persons to administer a program.  This amount does not include any regulatory staffers to ensure compliance, since the proposal does not state that it requires compliance.
  • Estimates annual operating expenses for the Board at $176,703 for the first year and $162,280 for subsequent years.
  • Assumes that funding will derive from the state’s General Revenue Fund, since the proposal does not designate a funding source.

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Before you comment, you may want to review my blog policies. Comments that do not follow the policies will be deleted. I simply ask that individuals keep comments within the bounds of respectful civil discourse. (updated by A. Kleinschmidt 10/20/09)

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97 Comments

  • 1. barb  |  October 9, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you for your thoughts on this issue.

  • 2. Mike Haley  |  October 9, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Andy,

    This is the most comprehensive and fact based breakdown of issue 2 that I have found so far. Wish I would have seen it sooner, I have spend over 20 hours reasearching the issue to find all the information you have provided!

    One thing I would like to add is regarding the funding of this board. The members serving on this board would be volunteers, only to be compensated for mileage and other minor expenses. Therefore this will be a cheap way to protect the welfare of our animals and ensure that our food is produced in a cheap and humane manner.

    Thanks for organizing it so well!

    Mike

    • 3. andykleinschmidt  |  October 9, 2009 at 8:35 pm

      Thanks Mike, but the real credit goes to Dr. Brian Roe. He wrote the article.

  • 4. Glenn  |  October 13, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks to all involved for an unbiased observation! You might also want to check out another website, (not related to this issue, but related to politics) http://www.civilityproject.org . I encourage civility in all aspects of life, especially politics. This summation does an excellent job of this.

  • 5. Karen Schulz  |  October 13, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Who appoints the board?

    • 6. andykleinschmidt  |  October 13, 2009 at 10:02 pm

      Appointed by the Governor with Senate approval.

  • 7. Mike Haley  |  October 13, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Karen,

    One seat is automatic, the Dean of Agriculture
    one seat (a farmily farmer) is chosen by the speaker of the house
    one seat (also a family farmer) is selected by the Senate chair
    The rest are appointed by the governor with Senate approval

    • 8. andykleinschmidt  |  October 13, 2009 at 10:23 pm

      Thanks for the clarification Mike.

  • 9. lynn  |  October 14, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    thank you for your info. I’m curious to find info on what the ohio farmers think about the issue. Are they mostly for or against it. I usually buy my eggs from a local farmer, but it would be nice to not have to make a special trip to do that. How will this issue affect the other livestock(cows,pigs,sheep)?

    • 10. Carla Owens  |  November 2, 2009 at 3:17 pm

      I am an avid farmer’s market shopper and I’ve asked all the vendors their views and all strongly oppose issue 2.

  • 11. Mike Haley  |  October 15, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Lynn,

    I am a full time farmer grain and beef farmer, I am fully in support of this issue. As far as effecting any livestock is unsure, what the board is supposed to do is establish practices that are humane and favorable to livestock health. As far cows and sheep there are not to many questions about their practices by animal rights groups, so I do not see a much regulations placed on them. The practices that will most definately be looked at first are the ones that animal rights organizations are concerned with – that are practices that limit animals from standing up, turning around, and stretching their limbs without touching its enclosure or other animals. The three main practices this effects are chicken cages, pig gestation crates and farrowing stalls, as well as tie stalls for horses. This board will be able to look at research and facts to determine if those practices should be continued in this state. In other states such as Florida, Arizona, and California were legislation was passed it was purely based on emotion, and not facts or research, so unfortunately farmers may be forced to raise animals that will lead to greater mortality rates and disease.

    That is my opinion, I would suggest that you talk to the farms you buy your eggs from to get their opinion of this board as well. Most farmers in my area support this issue, but will not say that it is 100%.

    Thanks,

    Mike Haley

    • 12. barb foose  |  October 24, 2009 at 10:54 pm

      I do raise a small amount of chickens for meat and eggs, also grow produce, herbs, greens, berries, fruit and cut flowers. I am a small CSA farm just under 11 acres.
      I believe that big business/Government (as you can see there is much more money backing the YES vote just by all the signage, TV ads) are pushing this for more control by the government like so many things are on the Federal and State levels the past few years.
      No one is thinking about the people or livestock.
      I not only am against this Issue 2 as a farmer whom is too small to fit in any programs now, yet the yes vote will give the government hand in hand with big business agriculture control on what I can do at the farm. And make the choose of as a consumer what will be available for me to purchase.
      I do not think we need more government controll over anything. Ohio is suppose to be so broke and we have Dept. that are to over see the food industry whom is always crying they don’t have the funding to do their job. Well let’s make sure they have the money to have the man power to up hold the job they are to be doing, not make a new group of people to cost us yet more money.
      I don’t want more government in my life telling me what I can and can not do. I have paying a portion of my wages for 40yr. to make their (government) pay check and support the government programs that are meant to help us Americans when we need it — I have yet had them help when in need.
      I am not anti-American I just think we need to be more responsible and stop letting large money put fear into you and stand up and do the right thing take care of yourself, and reach out to others.
      As a farmer I say NO — When the next hurdle comes as far as how animals are raised comes will face that again. I know there are large amounts of people and everyone is use to having everything same day any day so this is where the need for the industrial farming comes in (not that I like it, not a pretty picture I know I drove truck over 18 yr. been to the slaughter houses, feed lots, egg plants). Should this pass I believe once again the burden will be laid on us small farms as some of the groups supporting the yes are the same groups supporting the chips being placed in all livestock.
      As an Ohio born and raised I say NO — as it is more government control being shoved down our throat using scare tactics and the amendment is not even complete (the term of the board has not even been decided) and it may not be a majority of one political party but, are they going to make sure that is not a majority of any one organization or sister organizations, is there really going to be a farmer on the board, that happens I would like to hear from them for the job.
      Let’s just stop — don’t be afraid of what says it is to come — we will have the choose to speak and vote on that when it comes — handing over our rights to a half put together (sounds like still in the brain storm stage) government group to tell us what we can do — will not stop what is still going to come only we will not have say in it, we will just have to watch while a handful of people deiced what we have to do.

      • 13. Dawn  |  October 29, 2009 at 12:53 am

        I agree with you on this 100 percent. Great comment.

      • 14. marlene froning  |  November 4, 2009 at 10:57 am

        My father would be ashamed how people take care of their animals our girl’s (cows) roamed the pasture fields and had a warm barn for winter and shelter from the stroms, they were not placed in crowed into small pens, they had names and they came to us. We milked 150, sold grade a milk. Factory farms should not be as large as they are because do receive the compassion, their just a number a milk machine. The chickens walk on wire live in tight cage with no way to stretch their wings, they should be able to walk and scratch at the ground and be a chicken, would probably be much healthier. I know farm work and I know not to fill my animals full of chemicals to much them grow faster or produce more. Dad let this one guy under no circumstances would he fill our hogs with drugs, I just remember as a kid Dad scared the guy. My Dad’s, “What you take from the earth you put back.” If you take a tree down you put back two. What our animals left in the barns, went back onto the fields and let nature take it’s course. I still live by those rules and I am coordinator for our recycling center.
        We don’t need for government in our lives, we as a county are losing more and more freedom. Wake-up!

        • 15. Mike Haley  |  November 4, 2009 at 3:19 pm

          Marlene,

          Last I checked we are aloud to raise our livestock in any manner we chose as long as we are not abusing them and are following the laws set forth in this state and country.

          Sounds like your father was a great man, and right in the fact that what you take out of the ground you also put back, that is the golden rule of farming.

          Good luck and maybe well meet in passing some day!

  • 16. Dennis  |  October 15, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Good information. How do we know about the funding of the proposed board and the compensation vs. volunteer status of members? I do not see it in the Resolution.

  • 17. Mike Haley  |  October 15, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Dennis,

    I was at a meeting where Ohio Director of ag spoke about this. The legislature will set up rules for the baord in the Ohio Revised Code if this is passed. The plan is to have a volunteer board with no retirement. Board members will be compensated for expenses such as milage through the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

  • 18. andykleinschmidt  |  October 15, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    In response to the numerous questions on the issue of board member compensation, OSU’s Peggy Kirk Hall has prepared the following:

    The Office of Budget and Management has prepared a fiscal analysis of Issue 2, assumptions based on similar boards. It assumes that board members would serve voluntarily, but that the board would require two paid staff. Funding would likely come from the state’s general revenue fund. The analysis is here: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/ballotboard/2009/2-analysis.pdf

  • 19. Tom  |  October 16, 2009 at 12:05 am

    As a Farm Bureau member I worked on our local committee to find ways to fight and defeat HSUS and PETA at their own game.

    My problem with this constitutional amendment is the excessive power it places in the hands of a 13 member group of non-elected bureaucrats.

    This issue should not have been a constitutional amendment. The same objective to thwart PETA and HSUS could have been accomplished by including the key words “agricultural best management practices for such care and well-being” in section 900 of the Ohio Revised Code.

    The big question for me is, “What did it take to twist the arms of all the members of both the House and Senate to make them take such a draconian measure?” If we change the Constitution every time the wind blows from the wrong direction, what value remains in it? What next? Change the US Constitution to remove free speech and religious freedom?

    VOTE NO on ISSUE 2

    • 20. barb foose  |  October 24, 2009 at 10:58 pm

      Very well said, I hope more people look at this whole issue – the bottom line as you have put it.
      thank you

  • 21. Jan Ireland  |  October 16, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Farmer with 50 head of cattle or less. If issue 2 passes does that mean that HSUS can not lobby to have Issue 2 revoked in some way? If I am not mistaken the noose is already tightening in those states nearby who settled with HSUS. As an animal rights movement to end eating meat and ownership of domestic animals and their capacity to do so due to their wealth. They can still confiscate cattle and other farm animals for “abuse” is that correct? From the way Wayne Pacelle acted when he found that he was not so welcome in Ohio (most people would call it a threatening tantrum) this organization may start confiscating animals for so called abuse, would that be considered terriorism? This certainly concerns me. I have followed HSUS and their tatics for about three years and it is frightening how much power they have in many states though lobbying and laws they have gotten passed but not in the name of animal welfare, but animal rights. There is a difference. It is time for farmers to keep in touch with their government representatives on farm and animal issues because our government officials are paid by you. Be a voice in issues that concern you.

    • 22. Clare  |  October 19, 2009 at 11:31 pm

      Wayne Pacelle is coming to Columbus , Ohio on Nov 2nd – maybe you can get in on the GTown Hall meeting and put these questions to him!

  • 23. ST  |  October 16, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    These answers are so irresponsible. Who answered these questions? An economist. A lawyer will tell you that you can’t deduce all of those answers out of the four-paragraph proposed amendment. It is vague. In fact Ohio Supreme Court Justice Maureen O’Connor said that Ohio Issue 2 is an “inappropriate use” of a constitutional amendment. See the article “Justice O’Connor critical of Issue 2″ in thecourier.com on-line. She was speaking at the University of Findley on Oct. 16, 2009 and said that decisions on how farm animals should be treated should be left to the general assembly not a board of so-called experts. What a scam.

  • 24. afarmersdaughter  |  October 16, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    just a little fyi on sows, if not put in farrowing crates for gestating, ours has accidently killed each litter, so unless you want a sharp rise in pork prices think about what your voting for. Farmers have reasons why certain animals are treated and housed in certain ways.

  • 25. debra  |  October 17, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Here is a link from the League of Women Voters. Scroll until you read about the issues.
    http://www.lwvohio.org/

    Who initiated this issue? Who has backed it financially?

    • 26. andykleinschmidt  |  October 19, 2009 at 11:24 pm

      Hi Debra,

      The issue was initiated by a collaboration of individual farmers, agriculture commodity groups, and other farm groups working together. As for who is backing it financially, I personally know several farmers who are donating resources to the Issue 2 campaign.

      Andy

      • 27. Clare  |  October 19, 2009 at 11:34 pm

        Yes and I heard Monsanto have been funding it too – now if there was ever a reason to run away from this issue and vote no – it would be that!

        • 28. Scott  |  October 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm

          Monsanto would never give money to this board, they have no interest in animal agriculture, in fact they sold their only animal ag line off over a year ago because they saw no profit in animal agriculture!

          Besides, as a small farmer I could care less about what monsanto does or does not support, I am going to make my own choices that ARE BEST FOR ME, not them!

          For that reason I am voting YES on Issue 2!

          • 29. Richard Stewart  |  October 25, 2009 at 6:24 pm

            I am neither here nor there on Monsanto though I need to see proof either way to confirm they are giving money. I know Cargill has signs up at all its grain facilities near us.

            I an confused about the whole “I am going to make my own choices that ARE BEST FOR ME, not them!” comment because voting for a board to determine what you do is not necessarily the best route to support that claim.

            Just saying. :)

            • 30. Scott  |  October 25, 2009 at 8:17 pm

              Richard,

              Most farmers have come to the realization that we are going to face animal husbandry regulation, the question is what regulation. I understand that you dont want any regulation on animal care at all, thats fine, but unfortunately that means facing unkown regulations from groups that dispise all aspects of animal agriculture, that is not in my best interest, I would rather have an equal knowledgable board making decisions for me.

              thats all.

              • 31. Richard Stewart  |  October 25, 2009 at 9:32 pm

                Scott

                This will be probably my most biased post and I apologize for that. I am completely against Issue 2 and it bothers me so many Ohioan farmers are for it.

                I wish you would ask the same questions of a future with “The Board”.

                What guarantees do you get under “The Board”? It sounds like you know when the rest of us do not. This is not a criticism of you just a question. I have not be promised anything. Now one has told me that I will or will not be able to process 300 chickens a year and a couple thousand eggs without needing additional bio-security.

                Will this “Board” make it easier for me, more difficult, or keep things status quo? Or is it going to make things easier for a 6 million chicken liquid egg processing facility? Is that farming? I don’t think it is. Maybe we need to define farming these days.

                As a small farmer I am seeing an avalanche of future federal rules coming down the pipeline from NAIS to netting salad greens to prevent “wild bird” contamination.

                I see “The Board” as a possible source of new legislation that I need to deal with because big farms cut corners but have deep pockets.

                Nope, far too many years of getting the lesser of two evils, I am happy fighting both…I can look at myself in the mirror when I go to bed at night and look at my daughter knowing I fought for her future. I may lose but forums like this gave me a chance to try and fight (and I appreciate Andy for letting us discuss this).

                • 32. Scott  |  October 25, 2009 at 9:49 pm

                  With that said, this board promises to research best animal husbandry practices factually, not emotionally. After reseraching it will determine what practices should be acceptable.

                  Currently its up to each animal shelter in every county to do this job, its required they investigate it in the Ohio Revised Code. They are supposed to be doing what this proposed board is doing, but they cant, they dont have the knowledge, resources, or the funds to do it.

                  So let me ask you this, are you ok with letting your local shelter decide whats acceptable animal husbandry standards on your farm, if not then should have a state board decide, or should we allow AR groups to change our constitution little by little untill you cant do anything anyways?

                  This may have been your most biased post on this blog maybee, but I have seen your comments on others, your reputation in my mind is very condecending and biased to your ways only, this is a very big world, open your eyes for once!

                  • 33. andykleinschmidt  |  October 25, 2009 at 10:06 pm

                    Friendly reminder to keep comments within the bounds of respectful civil discourse.

                    AK

                  • 34. Richard Stewart  |  October 26, 2009 at 11:11 pm

                    Scott

                    The board promises nothing. How can it? It does not exist. We have no idea who will be put on the board or even how it will determine anything.

                    Will it require me a decade from now to run an operation for 200 chickens the same as it would an operation of 6 million? Will it be populated by animal rights activists populated by a changing political environment in Ohio? Will I be buried in a mountain of paperwork? Who knows. What I do know is that if someone comes to take your farm by introducing anti-livestock legislation I’ll be there to fight for you AND me, just like I am now.

                    Issue 2 supporters are WILLING to play Russian Roulette with our livelihoods hoping it will be better a decade from now or fifty years from now. I am not.

  • 35. Richard Stewart  |  October 19, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Will the board trump the Ohio EPA?

    • 36. Mike Haley  |  October 19, 2009 at 11:52 am

      Richard

      The proposed Ohio livestock care standards board will only have the authority to establish livestock care standards. The EPA deals with environmental concerns and regulations and not livestock husbandry, therefore neither bull will have the authority to establish regulations that would conflict or trump one another.

      • 37. andykleinschmidt  |  October 19, 2009 at 11:26 pm

        I concur with Mike’s answer. Issue 2 will not ‘trump’ Ohio EPA. Ohio EPA’s focus is on environmental issues. Issue 2 focus is on livestock care.

        AK

  • 38. Richard Stewart  |  October 20, 2009 at 7:19 am

    Thanks for the EPA thing…our farm is at the mouth of the Miami River and water quality has been slowly going up and I admit that I enjoy that.

    Another question…did anyone think about what would happen if the board were stacked with folks that were pro-animal rights? These are political appointed positions and as we all know politics changes like the wind.

    The very thing most of us would like to see not happen, could in fact happen.

    I’ll admit that even though I am a farmer, I do not and will not support Issue 2 and have been fairly vocal about it, in part, for this very reason. So, I do want folks to know that so that it does not appear that I am trying to hide that.

    I question why we need an Amendment and not just simple legislation so that if things do not work well it can be easily removed.

    Some of you will tell me its to protect us, but I can see the irony of all of this: IF we pass this, and I think it will, that means we also have the votes to defeat any super restrictive animal rights bill a group like HSUS or PETA might try to push through.

    What IF, they get enough of these types of people on the board to pass issues? What then?

    I enjoy the neutrality of the original article we are all responding too, and while I am not neutral I enjoy keeping it civil. Thanks everyone!

    • 39. Clare  |  October 20, 2009 at 12:12 pm

      “Another question…did anyone think about what would happen if the board were stacked with folks that were pro-animal rights?” –

      …sounds like someone with something to hide if you ask me!

      Have you even done any research or read any articles other than this one on the topic? HSUS is AGAINST issue 2 – get educated! Don’t you think they they would be trying to support it if they had their own agenda?

      • 40. Richard Stewart  |  October 20, 2009 at 1:27 pm

        Clare

        I have been one of the few traditional farms in the Cincinnati region that has been EXTREMELY vocal AGAINST Issue 2. I am quite well educated on this issue as well as politics in the Ohio State House and Senate.

        While HSUS is opposed to this issue now, it is merely an matter of politics to get onto the board and with enough arm twisting and the right political environment the very people Issue 2 supporters fear and I mean FEAR, to the point of irrationality, could be in control of the board.

        Or they might not. No one can say what the political environment in Ohio will look like a decade from now. Unlike some I understand exactly how difficult it will be to remove this Board once its in place. In the end its simply another corruptible element in our State government where positions can be awarded rather than earned, especially when campaign coffers run low. I would think that regardless of how we agree or disagree on the issue of Animal Rights Ohioans as a whole would not want this.

        Clare, I’ll take your comments as simply a misunderstanding, especially when you know that I am a true free range and “grass farmer” advocate and local food leader. I sell to restaurants and am building a sustainable commercial system on my own dime.

        I am a Libertarian and I would prefer neither Big Ag or Animal Rights folks telling me how to do anything.

        http://www.carriagehousefarmllc.com

        • 41. Clare  |  October 20, 2009 at 2:08 pm

          “Clare, I’ll take your comments as simply a misunderstanding” –

          …please do as if you read some of my other postings I am against Issue2 also. In fact I am having a rather lengthy debate with a local Ohio Farmer over Facebook about it right now. I know we cannot forsee the future – but I for one am hoping that California Ballot Initiatives come into play for the welfare of animals.

  • 42. Mark Thorne  |  October 20, 2009 at 10:51 am

    This is a good discussion.

    I also can not support Issue 2, but for different reasons than above. While the buzz words in the amendment sound good, the creation of the board is biased toward conventional production, are unclear in their meaning. For example, all but one spot on the board would have no reason to consider “best management practices” for laying hens as anything other than “confined in small cages for life.” I raised cattle and sheep for a number of years on my family’s ranch before I had to leave due to the recession of the 1980’s. I slaughtered my own animals for food, including chickens, and worked in a slaughterhouse for a time while in college. But, I am now vegetarian and make a committed effort when I eat eggs, only to purchase those that are locally produced or at least cage free. I do this not because I think I am better than anyone else, but because it is simply what I feel I can live with. And the thing is, there are becoming more and more people, especially younger people, with this same mindset than ever before. It seems that what needs to happen in Ohio and in agriculture in general is an awakening to the current paradigm shift in food consumption and animal well-being. I would much rather have a home-grown approach, than imposed regulation, to insuring ethical treatment of animals as well as sustainable food production, but, I see nothing in the wording of this issue that would effect this outcome.

    • 43. andykleinschmidt  |  October 20, 2009 at 10:35 pm

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for the comment. The issue of sustainable agriculture is indeed huge. In fairness, I don’t believe it is the intention of Issue 2 to address sustainable agricultural practices. Rather, I believe the entire focus of Issue 2 is on general livestock care.

      AK

  • 44. Clare  |  October 20, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Nicely put Mark – I agree with your comment completely!

  • 45. Steve  |  October 20, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    How is “family farmer” defined for purposes of serving on the board?

    • 46. Richard Stewart  |  October 21, 2009 at 8:08 am

      There is no legal definition of “family farm” an could mean a small homestead of a dozen acres or one of the larger company ag-business like…

      …Kathy Heimerl’s family ag-business (she has been sending letters to editors) her family owns a larger farm of about 600 acres. The rent a couple thousand acres, they process 250 THOUSAND hogs a year, have regional offices in five towns or cities in Ohio, process 200 beef cattle, are a major seed seller for Monsanto and Pioneer, and have, around 49 locations of different uses around the State (including Mad River Swine LLC and Eagle Creek Swine LLC). Owner Jim Heimerl is also the Vice President Ohio Pork Producers Council.

      Its a good question…not too sure there is one. There certainly is not one on the ballot.

      I think the family farm thing is a political label to be honest. As farmers “family farm” simple means its been and is still family owned, regardless of size, power, and money. To the public “family farm” means quaint and small.

    • 47. andykleinschmidt  |  October 21, 2009 at 10:47 pm

      Richard is correct in that the term ‘family farmer’ is a very nebulous concept with no universally agreed upon definition.

  • 48. Elaine C  |  October 21, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Thanks for the great article. I now can make a more informed decision on Issue 2. I do have a problem with this being a constitutional amendment. Wouldn’t legislated regulations on large mega farms be a better way to do this?

  • 49. HarleyRidingLady Pierpont, Ohio (Ashtabula County)  |  October 21, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I’m just a small time goat farmer with some chickens thrown into the mix. I will vote no for the issue, just for the simple fact that it’s an appointed board. Enuff Said!

  • 50. Shirly-Ann Miller  |  October 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Are dog breeders included?

    • 51. andykleinschmidt  |  October 21, 2009 at 10:42 pm

      Good question. Based on the language that I have seen, my unofficial answer would be ‘no’.

      AK

  • 52. mary holohan  |  October 22, 2009 at 12:04 am

    I am not involved in farming and found this discussion when looking for info re this ballot issue. It has been extremely enlightening. Before reading this I was concerned this was a PETA sponsored bill. I am absolutely against PETA since their involvement in the healthcare field. My question – how long would it be before this could be introduced legislatively and is there someone ready to champion the legislation?
    Great discussion! Thx

    • 53. andykleinschmidt  |  October 22, 2009 at 12:10 am

      Good question. If Issue 2 fails, I am not aware of another plan for introducing livestock care legislation. The matter at hand is Issue 2, and whether or not that will pass in November.

      • 54. Richard Stewart  |  October 22, 2009 at 7:32 am

        To be fair it should be said that there is no legislation in the works restricting livestock care either.

        If Issue 2 were to fail it would simply mean business as usual on Ohio Farms.

        • 55. Brian Zaverl  |  October 22, 2009 at 10:14 pm

          Forget the technicalities, if Issue 2 fails it will leave the door wide open for radical animal rights groups like PETA to push through California type restrictive rules that would make it cost prohibitive to raise livestock in this state and eventually the whole country, you will have to be very wealthy to be able to even buy chicken. Think about it! Check up on the agendas of these radical groups funded by the National Humane Society .(There Goal is a MEATLESS SOCIETY) not to take care of your pets or endangered animals like they would like you to believe. When groups like this use graphic photos to get there point through their is usually more than meets the eye to their message.

          • 56. Clare  |  October 22, 2009 at 10:32 pm

            Peta or so called “radical animal rights groups” you talk of DID NOT ‘PUSH THROUGH’ anything in California….. it’s was called a BALLOT for a reason – it was up for vote just like it ‘might be’ be up for voting here should Issue 2 fail (which I personally hope it does)… stop the scare mongering – you’re beginning to sound like an activist yourself!

            “When groups like this use graphic photos to get there point through their is usually more than meets the eye to their message.”

            And when people like you use these activist’s groups to push your own agenda – then the same applies!

            • 57. andykleinschmidt  |  October 22, 2009 at 10:39 pm

              Friendly reminder to those wishing to make comments. Keep it civil or I will not allow your comment.

          • 58. Richard Stewart  |  October 23, 2009 at 8:59 am

            Brian

            Voting Yes OR No on Issue 2 is not going to prevent a group like PETA from pushing an agenda. Now voters, can do that.

            I am not too sure who is telling you this, but it is simply not the case.

            Rest assured Brian, if PETA was to try to remove meat from our plates I would be just as vocal as I am against Issue 2.

            As the price for food issue…I’ll argue that cheap food has done more to ruin farmers than any animal rights group. We are fortunate to have 300 acres of farmland within 20 minutes of downtown Cincinnati, and I understand that not all farmers are so lucky. We began to move away from massed produce cheap grains and livestock to more diverse production…eggs, chicken, honey, organic produce, non-GMO corn meal, soup beans, potatoes, fruit.

            Yes, you will pay more for our food. You will also know EXACTLY where it came from, how it got there, and how clean it is. You eat less and stay just as healthy. There is nothing wrong with paying more for our food and paying those that make a decent wage. The only folks that can make money making cheap food are the food processing companies.

            I am not too sure food costs are relevant to Issue 2 though. Issue 2 is simply Ohio voters letting a board of 13 people make decisions for us farmers. As a farmer I don’t like anyone telling me what to do, regardless of who is doing the telling and think that is something you can appreciate.

          • 59. barb foose  |  October 24, 2009 at 11:21 pm

            I think you should plan for the possibility that NHS will put up a issue for vote to make changes. Get ready now keep on top of it and pass the word.
            Don’t pass issue two which is less direct or a finished product then what ever NHS would want to have passed. Yet you are willing to just hand over the control to the state Government with no future say.
            Keep your rights and the future rights for we the people not let fear guide you to had over everything to the government which could be the worse of the evil.
            Stand up now and keep your rights and when the time comes be it next year stand up again for your rights.

            • 60. andykleinschmidt  |  October 24, 2009 at 11:24 pm

              Hi Barb,

              I am not familiar with ‘NHS’. May I ask that you enlighten me?

              AK

  • 61. Aurora Cooney  |  October 23, 2009 at 9:06 am

    A true Animal Rights person would not support a more “humane” way to exploit and commodify animals. I don’t know what everyone is so afraid of? Ohio animal welfare laws are pathetic, what makes you think that the 13 board members who profit from animal agribusiness are going to be motivated to change anything?

  • 62. Jim DeLuca  |  October 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    The issue of whether the Humane Society or PETA are after a meatless society is a just a way of avoiding dealing with real health issues..

    The big issue is that Americans eat excessive amounts of animal protein which is considered one of the big reasons why cancer and heart disease are such epidemics. Part of the reason meat is a health issue is because of the way the animals are raised with antibiotics and hormones and no real natural animal habitat/behavior allowed.

    If more ethical treatment of livestock raises the price, then people may eat less and become more healthy and the cost of health insurance may go down.

    The idea of legislating the limits on products from outside of Ohio that do not comply with the Ohio limitations is a good one. Supports the local farmers. Maybe the farmers who do not comply with potential new regulations could not sell in Ohio but could ship out of state (as long as that could be tracked ).

    • 63. Clare  |  October 23, 2009 at 3:41 pm

      Jim – I agree with everything you say, but as an animal lover I am still against Issue 2. I don’t trust these so called experts on making rules and regulations and believe these issues should go to ballets like in California and not be government decided. For God’s sake Monsanto practically own the government – who have put MANY farmers out of business and forced to throw away their hertiage seed. I don’t trust the US government and never will – it’s a huge “you scratch my back i’ll scratch yours” system with overall greed dictacting everything. Anyones welfare human or animal would be out of the window!!

      • 64. Jim DeLuca  |  October 23, 2009 at 4:20 pm

        Hi Clare,
        While I am also concerned about the ability of government to provide for the common good due to so much money in lobbying; I also am aware through experience that if there are no governmental financial penalties for lying about compliance then most people will. IE, if the USDA rules on organics did not have financial penalties then people will just say their products are organic and just charge more money. That issue is currently active around organic milk, with several giant dairies lying that are now being investigated.

        Jim

  • 65. Jim Prall  |  October 23, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Let me compliment everyone on a refreshingly civil discussion, and one that actually stayed on the point the whole way through – unlike so many internet threads!
    I agree it makes little sense to amend the state constitution over this issue. I also agree it is somewhat over the top to say this has to pass to prevent “out of state” activists like PETA from “imposing” extreme rules. PETA can’t impose anything on Ohio; the voters remain in control, whether through ballot initiatives or through the state legislature. Amending the constitution for such a narrow issue sounds like a bad idea in so many ways, as others have already commented.
    If readers haven’t come across the writings of Michael Pollan, I recommend checking out his book _The Omnivore’s Dilemma_ (and based on that one, I expect his other book _In Defense of Food_ should be worthwhile as well, if I can ever get time!)
    He’s neither a vegan nor an animal rights activist, but he shines the harsh light of day on high-volume intensive animal husbandry in the US, and it certainly provides plenty of “food for thought” (he also spends a whole chapter on gathering wild mushrooms – something I’ve never even dared to try – but you can skip that part if you just want to get to the part about farming.)

    • 66. Mike Haley  |  October 24, 2009 at 12:18 am

      Pollan has some interesting points, but I would also suggest anyone reading his work to consult actual farmers and find out more information in regards on how food is produced.

      I have found alot of his discussion is based on using the extremes, and dont actually reflect how my neighbors and I farm.

      • 67. Richard Stewart  |  October 24, 2009 at 9:44 am

        This is all getting offtopic from Issue 2.

        I will say that as a farmer that makes a living farming I have found Pollan to be a champion for farmers and good food. Pollan is in no way extreme.

        Pollan is one of the reasons why we are leaving what has become the traditional farming method of two or three crops and one or two breeds and become more diversified.

        The author, along with several others has, for all intents and purposes provided some of the best free advertising for my farm and the food we sell.

        Maybe its a fad…maybe not. In the Cincinnati area we are seeing a new food culture develop that favors more diverse seasonal menus that change. As farmers we should encourage this. This type of agriculture (animal and plant) is highly profitable. It certainly requires more understanding than the simple corn and bean and wheat crops we grow today (and make no mistake, 50% of our gross income is still from these crops) but its well worth the effort.

  • 68. jim  |  October 23, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Thank you for all the information. I am glad I found it when I did. All of your comments and questions have been read through two or three times now. I will be voting no on issue 2, just for the rcord. thanks again, jim

  • 69. Mike Haley  |  October 24, 2009 at 12:14 am

    I have been busy harvesting, I see I missed alot of conversation during the great weather we have had the past week!

    for those wanting more info the Catholic Conference of Ohio have some very good discussion points to consider on this issue http://bit.ly/3L71Y9

  • 70. Clare  |  October 24, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Remember, early voting is open, and you can make your stand against big business and big government TODAY!

    Call your county Board of Elections and find out where you can make your voice heard:
    http://www.facebook.com/l/3be57;www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/elections/boeDirectory.aspx

  • 71. Tom  |  October 24, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Issue 2 is an expansion of State Government that creates unchecked power and new layers of unaccountable bureaucracy over our livestock farmers.

    What did it take to twist the arms of all the members of both the House and Senate to make them take such a draconian measure? If we change the Constitution every time the wind blows from the wrong direction, what value remains in it? What next? Change the US Constitution to remove free speech and religious freedom?

    The text of issue 2 shows just how rushed the process was and how little thought went into doing the job right. The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is not even an imperfect solution. It is not a solution at all. The correct solution is to add the proper language into Ohio Revised Code, a process that would require both the House and Senate to debate and agree on language and the Governor to sign the bill into law.

    We are being told that this Board will protect farms from animal rights groups, but what will protect the farmers from the Board, a panel of bureaucrats without accountability?

    After reading the proposed resolution, we have several questions regarding Issue 2.

    Why did the Ohio Farmers Union decide to oppose issue 2 in their August meeting?

    Will we need a license or permit to own and raise livestock in this state?

    Will special training and classes be required to obtain the right to raise livestock?

    Will someone come to our farm to ensure that we follow the guidelines set forth by this Board, without search warrants or probable cause?

    Will we be criminals, and subject to fines/prison if we disagree with the standards set by the Board and fail to comply?

    Will these board members be paid? If so, who decides their salary?

    How will the actions of this board be funded: by taxpayers or farmers?

    How will Board decrees be enforced?

    How long will the terms of appointees be? Indefinite or limited?

    Why is this Board given “excusive authority to establish standards governing the care and well-being of livestock and poultry in this state” instead of the farmer?

    Why are the members of this Board appointed (10 by Governor) and not voted into their position by the farmers themselves?

    What appeal process will be available for those who wish to challenge the standards set by this Board? Will that appeal require a fee also?

    Why only three “family farmers”? Won’t they be outnumbered by the other 10 non-farmers?

    What effect will the approval of the Board have on organic and all natural farms?

    Why is Farm Bureau using fear to provoke the acceptance of this amendment?

    Will this Board view livestock as the private property of the farmers with Divine right to govern them as their own conscience directs? Or is livestock the property of the State?

    Will this Board establish rules regarding vaccines?

    Will we be required to keep updated farm records and submit them annually to this board?

    Will the Amish of Ohio be exempt from any rules that contradict their religious beliefs?

    Why would we want to establish a government entity to “protect us (farmers) from special interest groups” when the very way these groups achieve their goals is to lobby and control government entities?

    Doesn’t this proposed amendment contradict the original FFA Creed. paragraph three, which states:

    I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of organized farmers to serve our own and public interest in marketing the product of our toil. I believe we can safeguard those rights against practices and policies that are unfair.
    If we have sworn the oath of the Pledge Of Allegiance, which professes “Liberty and Justice for all,” since this amendment takes the liberty to raise livestock from an individual farmer and gives it to the direct control of the State, would we be committing hypocrisy according to our spoken oath?

    Are horses included under the authority of this Board? If not, shouldn’t they be protected from animal rights groups too and be subject to the standards decreed by this Board?

    Is forfeiture of liberty the only way to protect livestock farms in Ohio from animal rights groups? Are there other options available?

    In conclusion, we support the opposition to Issue 2 as expressed by the Ohio Farmers Union, The League of Women Voters, Ohio Food and Water Watch, The Ohio Environmental Stewardship Alliance, and all the major newspapers in Ohio.

  • 72. Vote No on Ohio Issue 2 « BayBranch  |  October 24, 2009 at 10:33 am

    [...] language can be found at The Ohio Ballot Board, Issue 2. It is not long, it is worth reading. And here is a nice unbiased breakdown of the [...]

  • 73. Clare  |  October 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I was just pondering a Pork pie for my supper here in the UK (I was vegetarian in the US – but since returning to my homeland am eating meat again, as I was against growth hormones and the welfare of farm animlas in the US – not meat iteslf) and upon researching where the meat in our local supermarket comes from before buying said pork pie – I found this article quite interesting:

    http://www.co-operative.coop/corporate/Sustainability/social-responsibility/animal-welfare/food-production/meat/

    On another note – McDonalds here is backing a HUGE financial campaign stating that their burger patties are all made from 100%Beef raised only in the UK and ireland – nothing added just salt and pepper – you can see the ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itoyH5cNI00

    I am not convinced – but not unconvinced enough to buy and eat one to see for myself!!!

  • 74. Mike S.  |  October 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you for your very helpful article. It’s refreshing to have an unbiased, unopinionated, but factual article. The comments, from both “sides” of the issue are also enlightening.

  • 75. Kris Johnson  |  October 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I will vote no on Issue #2. The mischief this unaccountable board could create for small farmers who raise animals ecologically, is hard to foresee, but it’s easy to imagine they would be quite protective of the big CAFO operations that cause so much damage to the environment, farm communities, and our health, besides treating the animals inhumanely. I only eat grass-fed meat and dairy, and know my farmer well. The notion that food should be cheap only reflects the lack of understanding of all the hidden costs of cheap food, plus our reluctance to pay a fair wage to all who labor, so they can afford to buy quality food at a fair price.

  • 76. vudutu  |  October 25, 2009 at 11:37 am

    I am not a farmer but I raise some of my own food and I am a serious foodie, as far as I can see after reading up on issue 2 it appears is more likely to harm the small local producer than help so my conclusion is VOTE NO ON 2.

    We all eat so we all have a stake in this. I have been a serious eater for almost 40 years and I have I think these discussions and the locavores trend are the best thing I have ever seen happen for the good of not only our food but our health, animals, our earth, environment, kids, future generations and community.

    I urge everyone to vote no on 2 and think the debate actually can have a great positive effect by bringing together producers and consumers. Since I am so passionate about what I eat many people as me what they should do to become more informed, I suggest everyone do three things.

    #1 Read everything you can by Michael Pollan, his in depth research and common sense approach to the subjects are informative, entertaining and approachable. Richard and Jim’s comments on Pollan are spot on.

    #2 Watch “The Future of Food”
    http://www.thefutureoffood.com
    by Deborah Koons Garcia, who, by the way is a Cincinnati native. Every farmer should see this film. You will think twice using Monsanto products.

    #3 Refuse to be involved in corporate agriculture, processed and fast food. It is killing you, making your kids fat and ruining the earth.

    “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
    Michael Pollan

    • 77. Mike Haley  |  October 25, 2009 at 1:42 pm

      I cant find any information that says that this board would be bad for a small farmer, the only places I see this information is in scare tactics used by biased opponents to the bill. If it is perceived this way because Ohio Farm bureau is supporting it then I suggest you do some more research on the group. Yes, they do support sound, large farming practices but more importantly they support more small farmers in Ohio than any other group. Look at were Ohio Farm Bureau invests most of its advertising money at http://ourohio.org/ or look at some of the things that it lobbys for http://bit.ly/CmuFr

      This board will be looking at animal care issues only, by what I can tell you are pro-sustainable agriculture. I have not seen or heard of any sustainable farmers that raise their animals in inhumane situations – unless they have poor management in their methodology. If the board looks at facts and finds that animals are treated humanely in operations like CAFOs then this is a good thing for a sustainable farmer, meaning that large farmers are not competing directly with them. If the board feels that chickens must be cageless then it hurts the small sustainable farmer that raises free range eggs becuase now that large farmer will be raising his eggs in a matter that will allow him to label his eggs “free range”

      As a farmer, I support farmers large and small! That means any following good management practices, including sustainable, orgainc, traditional, conventional, and even CAFO’s. There are bad apples in each type of practice I mentioned, lets not use those to misrepresent the good farmers that use a practice in a humane and environmentally safe manner.

      Thanks for your time,

      Mike

    • 78. andykleinschmidt  |  October 25, 2009 at 6:51 pm

      I don’t see any language in the Issue 2 proposal that indicates passage of Issue 2 would hurt ‘small’ farms to the benefit of ‘large’ farms.

      AK

  • 79. Richard Stewart  |  October 25, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    I am posting this to point out that a common argument I hear from Issue 2 folks is that they are fighting outside influences…when in reality both sides have outside influences. Of course, most of the cash is on Issue 2’s side…

    Here are some:

    UNITED EGG PRODUCERS – GA (They are also one of the single largest contributor with $200, 000 for Pro-Issue 2)
    PIONEER HI-BRED INTERNATIONAL INC. – IA
    IOWA PORK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION – IA
    NATIONAL PORK PRODUCERS COUNCIL – IA
    MINNESOTA SOYBEAN RESEARCH & PROMO COUNCIL – MN
    MINNESOTA PORK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION – MN
    HY-LINE NORTH AMERICA, LLCC – IA
    ELI LILLY & COMPANY – IN
    LIVESTOCK MARKETING ASSOCIATION
    MIDWEST POULTRY SERVICES, L.P.. – IN
    INDIANA FARM BUREAU – IN
    MISSOURI PORK ASSOCIATION – MO
    INDIANA PORK PRODUCERS ASSN – IN
    HOG SLAT, INCC – NC
    US POULTRY & EGG ASSOCIATION – MO
    ILLINOIS PORK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION – IL
    MISSOURI SOYBEAN ASSN – MO
    IOWA FARM BUREAU – IA
    COUNTRY VIEW FAMILY FARMS LLC – PA
    INDIANA PORK PRODUCERS ASSN – PA
    PA PORK PROD.COUNCIL – PA
    KANSAS PORK ASSOCIATION – KS

    References:
    http://www.progressohio.org/page/community/post/daveharding/CZCM/
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/21530163/Analysis-of-Ohioans-for-Livestock-Care-PAC-1

    • 80. andykleinschmidt  |  October 25, 2009 at 10:08 pm

      Note from Andy Kleinschmidt: I asked Richard to provide a few references for the list above and he quickly responded. I have placed those links in Richards original comment above.

      AK

  • 81. Clare  |  October 25, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Thank you Richard – very well researched!

  • 82. Clare  |  October 25, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    A great video! Kudo to those that put it together – please pass along.

    • 83. Scott  |  October 25, 2009 at 10:32 pm

  • 84. vudutu  |  October 25, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    When in doubt follow the money.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/21530163/Analysis-of-Ohioans-for-Livestock-Care-PAC-1

    or if that won’t work

    http://tinyurl.com/yj2rnws

    Being a Libertarian I am for less government not more, what bothers me the most is is the people funding the passage of this bill are the same big ag people who brought you H1N1 and E Coli contamination. Not one of the small local farmers I buy from are asking for more regulation or supporting issue 2.

    It does sound to me like the main intent, and hence the reason big ag is supporting the bill is to head off more painful (to big ag) legislation in the future. As near as I can read issue 2 would most likely harm, not help the farmers I buy from.

  • 85. Clare  |  October 25, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    What is also considered “livestock” – while I read Jim Rowe, Tuscarawas County dairy farmer, and chairman of a Farm Bureau committee known as The Center for Food and Animal Issues state that horses, poultry, hogs, sheep and cattle are considered as livestock, while dogs, cats and other companion animals would not be affected by the board’s standards.

    I have also read that if dogs are considered livestock then this WOULD be affected by the board’s standards, and there are a lot of Amish Puppy Mills here in Ohio… Ohio has seen a 500 percent increase in the number of wholesale commercial dog breeders in the past five years. Will our government appointed board also be running the Amish puppy mills too??

    http://amishamerica.typepad.com/amish_america/amish_puppy_mills/

    http://www.columbusdogconnection.com/PupMillsInOH.htm

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2801609&l=9f1f91fb2e&id=659543369

    • 86. Mike Haley  |  October 26, 2009 at 11:07 am

      Clare,

      The Ohio Revised Code defines what is livestock, and what is not. you are correct that horses, poultry, hogs, cats, and cattle are livestock and Dogs and cats are not. The ORC also states that any humane shelter in the state is responsible for investigating any alleged abuses of both livestock and companion animals.

  • 87. vudutu  |  October 26, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Here is some text from one if the mailers of the big ag backed PAC.

    “For generations, Ohio farmers have provided us the same safe, locally grown food they feed their own families. Yes for Issue 2 will help to ensure that continues for generations to come.”

    If we haven’t had the need for a change in the Ohio constitution to to fix something that is not broke why do we need it now?

    http://www.ohioact.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Issue2.pdf

  • 88. Jen  |  October 26, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Agriculture is changing and there is no way at stopping it. People are father removed from agriculture than ever and now they are starting to wonder where their food is coming from. There are so many misconceptions about large farms and people thinking they treat their animals worse than those raised on small farms. My background is in poultry and I have seen brids raised free range out scratching around in their poop compared to those in cages where their eggs are clean and off the floor. The birds I’ve seen are well taken care of, they have constant access to food, and clean water.
    Back to Issue 2, Ohio Farmers should be kept in charge of Ohio Livestock and produce. Things are changing and we should be proactive about these changes coming. Why wait till it’s too late and the out of state groups come in with their vegan agendas and millions of dollars and have them tell us how to raise our animals. By then it would be too late to have our opinions voiced. Issue 2 is the best way for Ohio farmers, large and small, to keep power on their own farms. Please learn more at safelocalohiofood.org and Vote Yes November 3rd.

    • 89. andykleinschmidt  |  October 26, 2009 at 2:11 pm

      I concur with Jen’s comments that people are indeed further removed from food production than ever before. This is an important issue, no doubt. Please take time to read all the information to make sure you are making the most informed decision possible.

      I also want to add to what Jen wrote about large vs. small farms. This is a misconception that large farms are bad and small farms are good. Size does not matter with regard to animal care, and ultimately what matters is farm and livestock management. As my rancher friend Jeff Fowle put it, “We need to encourage and support all businesses in agriculture that are positive. It’s the management, not the size.”

      There is a place in our modern day agricultural world for many types of farms: large, small, organic, diversified, integrated, livestock, grain, etc etc. I prefer not to use labels as ‘small’ or ‘large’. Labels do not matter — what matters is focusing on safe, efficient food production to feed an ever expanding global population.

      AK

    • 90. Richard Stewart  |  October 26, 2009 at 3:13 pm

      “Why wait till it’s too late and the out of state groups come in with their vegan agendas…”

      Out of State agendas? Someone is going to force me to be a Vegan? Where has this happened?

      What we do know for a fact is that BOTH SIDES are getting out of State participants. Big Ag is dumping LOTS of money into the campaign and as seen in a previous post.

      Again, no one is pushing a Vegan agenda. I can buy a poor quality burger or the best cut of beef in California just the same as I can in Ohio. There is no shortage of supply or demand in that State.

      Do not believe the propaganda folks.

  • 91. Jim DeLuca  |  October 26, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Seems like an earlier post demonstrates clearly that lots of out of state money is supporting this issue.

    Can anyone direct us to the out of state money that is opposing this issue?

    Jim

  • 92. Mark Thorne  |  October 26, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    In contrast to Jen’s argument, I would question whether clean eggs and access to constant food and water constitutes a reasonable life for the hen. I just looked up the dimensions for one company’s layer cages and the specifications for a single compartment holding 6 hens are 24 in. by 22 in. I would guess the hen would choose scratching around in poop if given the choice, but I agree, that does not justify cramping hens into a small floor space and calling it “cage free,” either. Yes, agriculture has changed, it is now a huge commodity-producing machine that is run by huge agribusinesses with powerful government lobbies. Check out the documentary movie Food Inc.

    Secondly, it is true that most people are not associated with their own food production. But that does not justify economy-of-scale livestock abuses any more than it implies that most people don’t care how food (or pet) animals are treated. Issue 2 is on the ballot apparently to head off initiatives against caged layers, farrowing crates, veil pens, etc. If these means of production are so wonderful, then why is so much effort going into changing the Ohio State Constitution?

    Thirdly, in response to an earlier post, Monsanto does indeed have an interest in the animal industry as Roundup Ready soybeans and corn are a huge component of the food animal diet.

  • 93. vudutu  |  October 27, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Jim for more info on the pac $ look up at Richards post #75

  • 94. Bruce  |  October 27, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    What will it cost the Ohio taxpayers?

  • 95. Clare  |  October 27, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Interesting Article on the front page of THE TIMES UK today.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6891362.ece

  • 96. Kirt  |  October 29, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I’m a farmer, probably considered “small”. I don’t think anyone can survive these days farming inefficiently or without concern for the well-being of their livestock. It seems like regulating the way animals are raised for income in a depressed industry is pretty much controlled by the market values already. Maybe if there was some State regulatory board made up of 75% farmers and only 25% food processers/consumers the current profit margins of the farmer’s products would become positive and therefore generate less need for un-natural means of generating high yields – which in the end is what is raising these issues with farm animal husbandry.

    I’d like to know how I could put my name in the hat for becoming the “Executive Director” of this 13 volunteer panel, who’s worth $79,808 a year and doesn’t make any of the decisions having to do with Ag? Or his/her $45,942 secretary.
    I’m never going to make that milking cows, gathering eggs or slop’n hogs.

    Just like the fundamental reason behind this so-called need for “The Board” is the same mis-direction of funds as this Exec. Director…the money once again is going to the wrong people. It figures they want 3 farmers to make decisions for the whole state of Ohio for nothing. When do our elected leaders regulate who gets the profits for the real work?

    If farming was profitable at all for the amount of labor and Capital Investment required, NO one would have to squeeze chickens in little cages or pump hormones into cows. I’m disgusted too when I see all the grain farms around mine with “Vote YES for Issue 2″ in their yards and fields, most of which don’t even have a head of livestock on their place anymore. Why?…because they can’t make any money at it.

    Big or small, there’s easier ways to mistreat animals than milking anywhere from 45 to 2,500 head of cattle 85 hrs a week or than borrowing $500 to $50,000/yr for pig feed.

    • 97. vudutu  |  October 30, 2009 at 1:25 pm

      Kirk I feel for you, I am afraid with all the advertising big business wins again. Near as I can tell the only way for smaller farmers to survive is to leave the monoculture world of corporate farming and find a niche.

      Read everything you can by Michael Pollan, especially what he as written on Polyface farms.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyface_Farm

      http://www.polyfacefarms.com/

      Watch “The Future of Food”

      http://www.thefutureoffood.com

      by Deborah Koons Garcia, who, by the way is a Cincinnati native. Every farmer should see this film.


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This blog is no longer being maintained. Information on this blog may still be relevant, but for the latest agronomic information and farm management information please visit http://corn.osu.edu and http://ohioagmanager.osu.edu, respectively.

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