HOPEDALE - Jefferson and Harrison County Farm Bureau members gathered recently during a membership kickoff event held at Sacred Heart Church.
Michele Specht, Jefferson and Harrison country organizational director, spoke to members about the recent Ag Day at the State Capital event, at which Gov. Ted Strickland spoke.
Specht is a 280-acre dairy farmer in Tuscarawas County.
Jefferson and Harrison County Farm Bureau members who attended included Beverly Riddle, Jefferson County Farm Bureau president; Jayne Wallace, Harrison County president; Bob Morrison, past Jefferson County president; Harry Fair; Samantha Wallace; and Aaron Trushell
Specht also talked about an animal rights issue that is to appear on the November ballot.
The Humane Society of the United States is pushing a state issue to require the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, which was created by passage of Issue 2 last fall, to adopt certain minimum standards that will prevent the cruel and inhumane treatment of farm animals, enhance food safety, protect the environment and strengthen Ohio family farms.
Farm Bureau members oppose the issue.
"The Humane Society of the United States has had the ballot language approved for the animal rights issue to appear on the November ballot and now the hard work begins for us. State issue 2, won by an overwhelming margin in Ohio last year, where there is a great grassroots organization such as Farm Bureau, but now we have to step it up. We can get with it or we will sink," she said.
"The HSUS will be hitting the public with very random pictures of animal mistreatment, trying to get the public's sympathy. We are in the Midwest, where people still respect farming. We don't have Hollywood stars to influence people as in California," Specht said. "We need to keep stressing and projecting this," she said.
"It will take around $9 million to fund a stand against the HSUS. One suggestion is to add 5 cents per year per ton on the feed and seed purchased, to help with the cause," she said.
Bob Stewart of Harrison County, a Farm Bureau member, said farming is the No. 1 industry in Ohio. The state is No. 2 in poultry and No. 9 in dairy, it was noted.