As many of you already know, I was in Seattle, WA last week for the 91st Annual American Farm Bureau Meeting, where I had the opportunity to listen to a wide array of speakers discussing important issues facing our industry today. One of the topics covered at the event was a panel sessions with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), recapping their efforts to pass the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board when the Humane Society of the U.S. came to their state. OFBF Senior Director of Legislative Policy Adam Sharp, explained to attendees that Ohio consumers weren’t too keen on “out-of-state activists (HSUS) coming into the state and trying to tell Ohioans what to do.” So, they worked hard to show HSUS how they felt. Continue reading for a glimpse at their efforts.
The campaign slogan for many of the television commercials advocating a yes vote on Issue 2 in Ohio to pass a Livestock Care Standards Board was, "We are urban and rural, Republicans and Democrats. Join me in voting yes for safe and locally grown food. Yes on 2." Read on for some quotes about the campaign from Adam Sharp.
Share your story...
"Every time there is an event to be to, every time it rains and snows, every time a family day is planned, the livestock need attention. It's never convenient to be in the livestock industry, but it's always our first priority. Our consumers don't know that about us. Through this initiative, we encouraged producers to tell their story. Real farmers and ranchers were the stars of our commercials."
The ugly truth about HSUS...
"HSUS uses emotion to get money from well-meaning folks and push their agendas forward. They want to put farmers and ranchers out of business. They want to eliminate meat, dairy and eggs from the American diet. HSUS CEO says it best when he said, 'Winning Proposition 2 in California was like a first down in a football game.' Really, they are just getting started."
A proactive approach...
"Our campaign is a long-term one. We know HSUS will come back. Our campaign promote safe, quality and locally grown food, while ensuring excellent livestock care. This helps to reinforce consumer confidence in our food supply. We had to step out of our comfort zones to get endorsements from folks outside of agriculture. We worked really hard to have all of our ducks in a row, making 50,000 signs, hosting 12 state and regional rallies and even having farmers walk the streets of urban cities."
A call to action:
"Don't wait until HSUS comes knocking on your door; get started now in developing your own campaigns. Own your animal welfare message. It's our individual and collective challenge to join together. Their success comes from our division. We must unite in this effort."
Listen to a brief explanation by Adam Sharp of why Ohio put millions of dollars to establish this board and take action against HSUS.
BEEF Daily Quick Fact: The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board passed  64% to 34%. This effort won 87 of 88 counties, including all major urban counties. The OFBF encourages all states to stand up and take action, following the example set by this state.