From the Ohio Equine Industry Coalition
The Ohio horse industry has officially launched the Ohio Equine Industry Coalition, which is designed to find solutions to what it calls an “economic crisis” for the industry.
The organization, which will include all equine breeds and disciplines, was formed by a steering committee made up of representatives from the Ohio Quarter Horse Association, the Ohio Horsemen’s Council, the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association, the Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners, the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, and a representative from the draft horse community.
The equine industry has an economic impact of more than $1.4 billion in goods and services, officials said.
“In today’s Ohio, more kids are growing up on concrete than on dirt, and kids are more likely to learn about computer programming than animal sciences,” said acting steering committee chairman Dr. John Mossbarger, a Standarbred breeder. “The OEIC is a critical step for the horse industry to tell its story to a wide audience.”
“I think this is a critical step for an industry that is really struggling right now,” Ohio Farm Bureau director of commodity relations Sandy Kuhn said. “Most other agricultural interests in the state have commodity groups or associations looking out for the best interest of their part of the entire industry (or best interests of their commodity). The Ohio equine industry has a long history of excellence and is a vital piece of this state’s agricultural framework.”
Issues such as increased environmental regulations, sale prices bottoming-out, a lack of large-animal and equine veterinary practitioners, and development encroaching on riding trails have made it necessary for the equine industry to present a united front, officials said.
“This is a model that has worked successfully at a national level with the American Horse Council and regionally with the Kentucky Equine Education Project in Kentucky,” Mossbarger said. “Bringing together an industry this large and diverse…there’s no limit to the positive effect it can have.”
The OEIC already is involved in Ohio policy with a potential revival of an equine marketing program introduced in prior legislative sessions by Republican Sen. Tim Grendell. For more information on the OEIC, including membership and affiliate sponsorship, visit the organization's Web site.