Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) newly created Center for Food and Animal Issues received a significant boost this week thanks to a $100,000 donation approved by the Board of Directors for Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, a $15.5 billion agriculture lending cooperative serving over 85,500 farmers and rural residents. 

According to a press release from the OFBF, the Center was created in May to bring together diverse interests including farmers, consumers, zoos, hunters, researchers and pet owners to make sure all voices are heard as decisions about animals are considered. The Center will develop programs and partnerships that promote dialog among all stakeholders who benefit from animals in their lives.

“It seems logical that as an agricultural lender we would get behind the Farm Bureau’s initiative. Many of our board members are livestock farmers themselves and wholeheartedly support the objectives of the Center, feeling that changes or advancements in animal well-being guidelines should be based on expert analysis, economic feasibility and sound information,” said Donnie Winters, president and chief executive officer for FCS.

At least 50 percent of the pledged dollars will support the Center's establishment of an Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. This board will set standards for livestock and poultry care that take into account issues of food safety, local availability and affordability of food, and best farm management practices for animal well being. The 12-member board - made up of those involved in farming, food safety and education - will use their best knowledge in making decisions effecting animal agriculture. The measure to create an Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board will be placed on the November ballot and if approved by Ohio voters, will go into effect immediately.

The remaining contribution will support the Center's outreach and education efforts. Winters said the funding provided by Farm Credit will go a long way in helping the Center engage in public education and information about the importance of animals in our society.

“As a farmer, my objective is to provide safe, healthy and affordable food to Ohio’s consumers. It’s important that farmers show care and compassion for our livestock while following standards set out by experts in animal agriculture,” said Andrew Wilson, a member of the Farm Credit Services Board and a pork producer from Somerset, Ohio. “Livestock and poultry farmers recognize they must do more than what is expected and that customers deserve to be reassured that their food is produced responsibly and animals are well cared for,” Wilson added. 

Wilson mentioned that Farm Credit will feature several livestock customers in Farm Credit’s member publication – the Journal, which will be mailed to customers in mid-August. “As you read these stories, all of these customers expressed the same care and concern for the health and well being of their animals,” he said. “Farmers have the responsibility to connect with the public in a positive way. We’re excited about the creation of the Center for Food and Animal Issues. They will be proactive and positive in helping spread this message.”

Source: Farm Credit Services of Mid-America