Monday, November 2, 2009

Ohio Decides Fate of The Agriculture Tomorrow

Issue 2 farming amendment could influence agriculture programs at OSU
By Whittney Smith
Published: Sunday, November 1, 2009

Voters will decide Tuesday whether the state will establish a board to regulate how Ohio’s farmers care for livestock, a decision that might affect Ohio State’s agriculture programs.

Ohio’s agricultural industry lobbied hard to have the amendment added to the Ohio Constitution because some farmers say that is the only way they can stop animal-rights advocates from forcing costly reforms as they have done in six states already. Labeled as Issue 2, the amendment would create a 13-member board that would set standards on how farmers care for livestock.

Issue 2 supporters are afraid the Humane Society of the United States will achieve in Ohio what they accomplished elsewhere if the issue fails. The group opposes certain animal confinement practices and has lobbied in other states for legislation that bans gestation crates for sows and restrictive cages for hens and veal calves. The group has identified Ohio as the next target for such reforms.

OSU President E. Gordon Gee and Bobby Moser, dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, both support the amendment.

“I have read the issue, I have talked to a lot of people about it and I am voting for it,” Gee said during an Oct. 9 taping of Town Hall Ohio, a syndicated program by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Gee said he views Issue 2 as an important opportunity for the university to take a leadership role in animal welfare research and science.

Many agriculture students support the amendment because they fear the efforts by the Humane Society of the United States may limit their employment options if they limit how producers raise livestock.

“Agriculture is my past, present and future,” said Ryan Langenkamp, president of Buckeye Dairy Club. “As a senior in animal science this issue means a lot to me.”

Along with Buckeye Dairy Club, Sigma Alpha and Saddle and Sirloin have launched outreach campaigns on campus through rallies and campus awareness projects. Read More

Tomorrow, Ohio residents will have the opportunity to determine whether their own residents and experts in the field will determine proper livestock handling guidelines or the world’s wealthiest animal rights organization who’s stated goal is to eliminate animal agriculture. This article did a nice job of highlighting how this could impact young people who are planning on returning to production agriculture. If this bill doesn’t pass, the fate of many multi-generational family farms could truly be in jeopardy.

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