Jack Fisher, executive director of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, made himself available for an in depth interview this week following his participation in the crafting of a compromise agreement with the Humane Society of the United States on the issue of farm animal care in Ohio. Fisher has been taking shots from his membership since he joined Wayne Pacelle, president of the HSUS, and Gov. Ted Strickland to announce the agreement two weeks ago.
“It has probably been one of the more interesting parts of my career,” he said with laugh. “I should have known this, but we fuss about how passionate and committed the animal rights people are and how it’s all emotionally driven, and they don’t listen to any of the facts. Well I’m finding out they don’t hold a candle to farmers. Come to find out we have a lot of passion and emotion and commitment ourselves. And that’s all right. I knew that.
“For several months I have been pounding on our representatives and politicians about how they don’t listen and talk these things out and come to find out we are not so different ourselves. But fact is we are Americans and we have a lot of freedoms. And that’s good.”
Fisher maintains he would not change the way things worked out. “If I had to do over next week I would probably do it again. You learn everyday of your life about continuing education. But in terms of trying to get where we are at, I think 20 years from now when have enough facts to determine whether this a good agreement of or a bad agreement, I like the odds that this is going to be a good agreement.”
Still the Farm Bureau faithful have been calling and emailing their disagreement with the pact. “We are trying to work through these things,” Fishers says. "We are a painfully democratic organization. That’s how we do business and it took the board hours of discussion to reach a decision.”
Is he worried about losing his job?
“I think I am fine, but if not that’s the way it is. I had the job to exercise leadership I thought was best with the information I had. And I did.”
You can read the complete interview in the August issue of Ohio Farmer.