Farm Bureau's Center for Food and Animal Issues backed by Farm Credit

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Ohio Farm Bureau Federation's (OFBF) newly created Center for Food and Animal Issues received a significant boost today thanks to a $100,000 donation approved by the Board of Directors for Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, a $15.5 billion agriculture lending cooperative serving over 85,500 farmers and rural residents.

Livestock and poultry farmers recognize they must do more than what is expected and that customers deserve to be reassured that their food is produced responsibly and animals are well cared for

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation's (OFBF) newly created Center for Food and Animal Issues received a significant boost today thanks to a $100,000 donation approved by the Board of Directors for Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, a $15.5 billion agriculture lending cooperative serving over 85,500 farmers and rural residents.

According to a press release from the OFBF, the Center was created in May to bring together diverse interests including farmers, consumers, zoos, hunters, researchers and pet owners to make sure all voices are heard as decisions about animals are considered. The Center will develop programs and partnerships that promote dialog among all stakeholders who benefit from animals in their lives.

"It seems logical that as an agricultural lender, we would get behind the Farm Bureau's initiative. Many of our board members are livestock farmers themselves and wholeheartedly support the objectives of the Center, feeling that changes or advancements in animal well-being guidelines should be based on expert analysis, economic feasibility and sound information," said Donnie Winters, president and chief executive officer for FCS.

Fifty percent of the pledged dollars will support the Center's recommendation to establish an Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. This board will set standards for livestock and poultry care that take into account issues of food safety, local availability and affordability of food, and best farm management practices for animal well being. The 12-member board - made up of those involved in farming, food safety and education - will use their best knowledge in making decisions effecting animal agriculture. The measure to create an Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board will be placed on the November ballot and if approved by Ohio voters, will go into effect immediately.

The remaining contribution will support the Center's outreach and education efforts. Winters said the funding provided by Farm Credit will go a long way in helping the Center engage in public education as well as provide information about the importance of animals in our society.

"As a farmer, my objective is to provide safe, healthy and affordable food to Ohio's consumers. It's important that farmers show care and compassion for livestock while following standards set out by experts in animal agriculture," said Andrew Wilson, a member of the Farm Credit Services Board and a pork producer from Somerset, Ohio. "Livestock and poultry farmers recognize they must do more than what is expected and that customers deserve to be reassured that their food is produced responsibly and animals are well cared for," Wilson added.

Wilson mentioned that Farm Credit features several livestock customers in Farm Credit's member publication - the Journal, which will be mailed to customers in mid-August. "As you read these stories, all of these customers expressed the same care and concern for the health and well being of their animals," he said. "Farmers have the responsibility to connect with the public in a positive way. We're excited about the creation of the Center for Food and Animal Issues. They will be proactive and positive in helping spread this message."

About Farm Credit Services

Farm Credit Services of Mid-America is a $15.5 billion financial services cooperative serving almost 85,500 farmers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee. The association provides loans for all farm and rural living purposes including real estate, operating, equipment and housing and related services such as crop and life insurance and vehicle, equipment and building leases. For more information about Farm Credit, call 1-800-444-FARM or go online at http://www.e-farmcredit.com.

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Randy Barbee

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