Today, Ohio Agriculture Director James Zehringer signed the final administrative order to put into effect Ohio’s comprehensive livestock care standards. It was only the 17th amendment to Ohio’s constitution since 1803.
“This is pretty historic,” Zehringer said. “I think we’ve given the farmers of the state of Ohio a good roadmap to follow. It will improve production practices, create consumer confidence and strengthen the foundation of our industry.”
Creating and implementing the livestock care standards is a constitutional requirement following the 2009 passage of Issue 2.
“I’m proud to be here to sign these standards that will give livestock producers clear vision and allow them to thrive and grow,” Zehringer said.
The 13-member Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (OLCSB) spent 18 months and 70 meetings obtaining industry and public input while developing livestock rules for alpacas, beef, dairy, goats, horses, llamas, pork, poultry, sheep and veal. The standards are the first of their kind in the nation.
“States from around the country are now looking toward Ohio’s leadership in developing these new standards,” Zehringer said.
Zehringer praised OLCSB Director Mike Bailey for his work keeping the Board on task, and former Ohio Agriculture Director Bob Boggs for getting the ball rolling. He also commented former Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) state veterinarian David Glauer for his tireless work as technical advisor to the Board.
“He lived and breathed this document for the past 18 months,” Zehringer said.
Jeff Wuebker, a pork producer from Versailles and OLCSB member, said the Board worked very hard on the standards.
“It’s a monumental day for Ohio agriculture,” Wuebker said. “Ohio farmers know the direction they can take their farms over the next two, five or 15 years.”
As part of ODA’s education efforts for the new rules, a series of species-specific guides are available to producers, and Glauer has held a series of information sessions around the state.
While Ohio farmers may have to make some adjustments to meet the standards, most of the standards are commonsense practices that Ohio’s livestock producers already followed, Zehringer said.
“A lot of these things aren’t new, and that’s because the farmers in the state of Ohio are great at animal husbandry,” he said. “A lot of times the animals are fed before the kids are.”
As part of the amendment, the Board will continue to meet and look at things three times a year. If any adjustments are needed, they will be made then, Zehringer said.
Here are printable guides on the species-specific standards:
Ty Higgins spoke with Ohio Director of Agriculture Jim Zehringer moments after he signed the amendment.