Legislation defining the operational aspects of the new Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board has passed the Ohio General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Strickland on March 31. The proposal, House Bill 414, outlines in more detail the provisions approved last November by Ohio voters in establishing a Livestock Care Standards Board.
When passing HB 414, the legislature included an “emergency clause,” meaning it took effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature . The bill did encounter some difficulties relative to how it will be funded (no permanent funding mechanism is included), exemptions for organic farmers (a limited exclusion tied into federal organic standards is included) and the ability of agricultural inspection agents to enter a livestock operation (only upon the agreement of the owner otherwise a court order is required).
OVMA supported various provisions within HB 414 including language calling for the new Board to consider generally accepted medical practices as it adopts future rules. Concerns were expressed over the absence of an ongoing funding source and for ODA inspectors to be able to appropriately execute their duties when visiting operations.
Now that implementing legislation has occurred, appointments to the Livestock Care Standards Board are expected shortly. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has indicated a series of regional public hearings will be held before the Board begins to implement standards.