On Issue 2, a "Yes" vote is recommended and supported by a host of farm and other organizations across the state of Ohio.
As has been stated many times, this issue will establish standards for livestock care and well being in Ohio. It will also maintain food safety, protect Ohio farms and encourage local food production.
Here is why you should vote yes on Issue 2:
Any taxpayer costs will be small because it is expected that Livestock Care Board members generally would only be paid expenses. Some, such as the State Veterinarian and Director of the Department of Agriculture, are already on the state payroll.
There is nothing to indicate that these board positions will become a political "plum." Given the nature of Ohio farmers, in the past they have been willing to serve as volunteers and will encourage other appointees and the Ohio legislature to help hold down costs.
Yes, recommendations made by the Livestock Care Standards Board will be subject to approval by the Ohio General Assembly. Historically this body has been willing to listen to recommendations made by agricultural and consumer interests in the state. To go against their recommendations could spell political suicide for members of our state assembly.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is largely an enforcement department and also have a responsibility for promoting Ohio agriculture. Since they are already have an enforcement role, any added regulations from the Livestock Care Standards board should add little to their expenses. They currently have a substantial number of inspectors out in the state.
To be honest, there are a number of reason why it is entirely appropriate to put the creation of the Ohio Livestock Care Standard Board in the Ohio Constitution. First, there are already a number of similar boards in our Constitution. Some of these include the tuition trust fund, the coal development board, the third frontier board and the lottery commission.
Second, putting it in the Constitution is a way of ensuring that the issue remains of high public importance. We all like an abundant supply of quality food which would be an objective this board. Third, since it involves our food supply, it makes sense to put this board in the Constitution rather that in an Ohio Statute.
A "Yes" vote on Issue 2 deserves the support of all of us, including consumers and farmers.
Parker is an independent agricultural writer for the Tribune.