To the Editor: Custar man: Issue 2 would protect food supply and ag PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Andrew Wilhelm   
Tuesday, 27 October 2009 08:25
I am proud to say that I am a part of the largest industry in the state - agriculture. I live on a family farm in Wood County and know the importance of safe food. This stable, affordable supply of sustenance has a pivotal issue on the ballot on Nov. 3. Issue 2 will form a board that will make decisions in furthering livestock welfare in Ohio. This board will be made up of Ohioans and this is an important point. Outside special interest groups are unable to see the big picture and cannot see how Ohio agriculture works. The new livestock care board would make decisions that would be logical and implemented fairly.
Issue 2 will be a constitutional amendment and many are saying this should not be. The Constitution is for important things they say. However, what is more important than food? The Constitution contains many industry-related amendments and articles. Its purpose is to protect Ohio citizens and uphold their rights. This board would do just that; protect the state's largest industry and food supply.
If ballot initiatives, like the one in California - backed by animal rights groups - were to pass here, every person owning livestock would be affected. The hundreds of 4-H livestock exhibitors in the county would be forced to comply the same way as farmers would have to. In fact, our county fair as held in previous years, would not meet the terms of such a law. Perhaps with an in-state board making these decisions, our 4-H'ers would be exempt and not cheated out of valuable life experience. There is no facet of agriculture, be it large or small that would remain unaffected by this issue.
Changes in the livestock industry affect crop growers as livestock is the number one outlet for grain. If unwarranted, swift changes forced livestock growers to go out of business or leave the state, our locally grown grain no longer has a market. Animal rights group-backed changes, like those enlisted in California and other states, have forced producers out of business. Some livestock farmers have moved to neighboring states taking with them jobs and dollars from the state's bottom line. This increases the distance our food has to travel and in turn increases our grocery bill. This issue is so much bigger than livestock farmers, it affects everyone who eats. It is important not to be so narrow in our focus that we totally overlook the potential consequences. Let the experts make the decisions regarding our food. Vote yes for Issue 2. Vote yes for agriculture and healthy livestock. Vote yes for safe, local, and affordable food.
Andrew Wilhelm

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