For Immediate Release: Contact:
April 8, 2010 Carol Goland, Ph.D.
(614) 421-2022 Ext. 202, email@example.com.
Columbus, OH—A picture of how the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board will function is starting to develop, following the passage of implementing legislation and this week’s appointment announcements from Governor Ted Strickland.
On March 31, Governor Strickland signed into law implementing legislation, authorizing the creation of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.
After legislators balked at the idea of a fifteen cent per ton tax on animal feed to fund the Board’s operating costs, Senate Bill (SB) 233 was amended to require that the Board’s initial costs be funded using the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) existing budget. Starting in 2011, however, SB 233 allows the ODA to fund the board using private donations, grants, and any civil penalties the Board collects against farmers found to be violating its regulations.
“Funding this board, at least partially, with private donations creates a conflict of interest; the very agricultural interests that the Board is created to regulate could fund its operations,” said OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland. “Imagine what would happen if the Ohio Coal Association funded the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Creating a situation where conventional agriculture special interests can fund their own oversight, puts small farms and family farmers at risk.”
Just one week later, on April 6, Governor Strickland named his appointments to the Board, further cementing its ideological leanings.
“OEFFA, along with our partners, recommended to the Governor a list of qualified individuals who could represent organic farmers, small family farmers, and farmers’ market managers. None of these recommendations were accepted,” said Goland. “Instead, the appointments monolithically represent one form of agricultural practice. Nowhere are the interests and expertise of those who represent organic farmers, small family farmers, and farmers’ market managers reflected. This is a discouraging start for those of us who were told that the board would represent and consider a diversity of perspectives.”
“Taken together, these actions should deeply concern small farmers and those of us who are working to rebuild local food systems,” concluded Goland.
The Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters who committed to work together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.