Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We clean with it, we paint with it, we eat with it, we drive with it, and we even shower with it. Our homes are filled with it and our kids play with it. We love petroleum.
Petroleum is used in the production of plastics, cleaners, soaps, lubricants, paint and countless other things we never think about – things we use every day.
When you stop and consider the source of that petroleum and our unbelievable dependence upon it, it is rather unsettling. Combine this with the potential harshness of all of those synthetically produced chemicals in nearly every corner of our lives and you have plenty of incentive for consumers to start looking for some alternatives.
A recent survey conducted for the Ohio Soybean Council showed that nearly 88 percent of Ohio consumers would purchase a bioproduct as long as it performed as well or better than a standard-equivalent product and 60 percent said they would purchase bio-based products even if they cost up to 10 percent more. Fortunately for these consumers, there are more options than ever before in terms of bioproduct alternatives that are safer to work with, kinder to the environment and produced from readily available biomass such as corn and soybeans. Plus, many soy-based products perform as well or better than their petroleum-based counterparts at a comparable price.
To help consumers find and buy the wide array of bioproducts available, the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) created a new Web site -- Soyinside.org. This is an easy-to-use, interactive online resource that assists consumers in finding out where to purchase these green products and just about everything they need to know about them, from how they are made to what they contain.
"As more types of bioproducts become available and as consumers continue to make the right choices, bio-based solutions have the potential to replace petroleum-based materials with renewable, environmentally friendly products and resources," said Kirk Merritt, OSC executive director. "Thanks to soyinside.org, consumers now have the information they need to purchase environmentally friendly products."
The site features a picture of a house with handy icons located throughout that describe the bioproducts including: soy foam used in La-Z-Boy recliners and furniture, environmentally friendly and biodegradable disposable paper cups and packaging, soy-based paints and stains from Sherwin-Williams, personal-care items, carpets, cleaners and other industrial products. The site also highlights bioproducts that are produced or offered by Ohio companies and a list of federally recommended bioproducts.
To provide another boost to bioproducts, Governor Ted Strickland recently signed Senate Bill 131 (sponsored by State Senator Karen Gillmor), which will establish a bioproducts preferred purchasing program in Ohio. SB 131 requires state agencies and state-supported colleges and universities to give purchasing preference to bio-based products, particularly those made in Ohio. The bill allows for an exemption if the bio-product is not available within a reasonable period of time, fails to meet performance standards, or is too costly.
The goal of SB 131 is to harness the considerable purchasing power of the state to support the growth of existing bioproducts and expand the market for other innovative products made from Ohio crops, helping to stimulate investment and jobs, enhance research opportunities at Ohio universities and support Ohio farmers. 

“Thanks to recent advances in research and technology, acres of soybeans, corn, and other agriculture resources growing across Ohio have the tremendous potential to transform our state into a center for bioproducts development in this country, breathe much-needed life into our economy, and create a market for good-paying jobs in our local communities,” Gillmor said. “This legislation will help further the development of the bioproducts industry in Ohio by directing money the state is already spending to support companies that are manufacturing bio-based materials in our state and promoting the growth of other bioproducts businesses.”
Both at the state level and in our homes, the use of bioproducts offers an environmentally beneficial and user-friendly alternative. So, in the next few days, take some time to think about what you shower, clean, eat, drive and paint with. Think about what your kids are playing with. Then, maybe you will agree that it’s time to think about bioproducts.
For more information and to find bioproducts that meet your needs, visit www.soyinside.org.

Matt Reese writes for Ohio’s Country Journal and lives in Baltimore, Ohio. For questions or comments, please contact him at mkcreese@yahoo.com. For more columns, visit freshcountryair.blogspot.com. This column was brought to you by Ohio’s agricultural organizations.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stories about the famous wolf in sheep’s clothing have been around since before the days of Christ, originally coined by Aesop in ancient Greece. The familiar tale is old, but is as relevant today as it was many centuries ago.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) brings this fable full circle in their battle currently being waged against animal agriculture in the U.S. While disguised as a gentle lamb seeking to improve care for animals, the group is actually a vegan version of Aesop’s carnivore much more interested in eliminating meat production in this country and forcing meatless diets upon Americans.

In the New Testament, Jesus later alluded to Aesop’s fable, talking about false profits in Matthew 7: 15-16, and how “They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them."

If a skeptic takes the time to study HSUS, the fruit of their efforts tells a tale very different than the animal welfare image they portray. A recent advertisement placed in the USA Today by the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) points out that HSUS shares less than one-half of 1 percent of the donations it receives with local pet shelters. Instead, the massive HSUS budget goes to pushing legislation and ballot initiatives to implement laws that hinder meat production and forward their goal of a vegetarian society.

"HSUS is a humane society in name only,” said David Martosko, CCF Director of Research. "The Humane Society of the United States raises tens of millions of dollars annually from Americans who believe their donations filter down to local pet shelters, directly improving the lives of dogs and cats. But instead, their donations support a huge staff of lawyers and lobbyists, bloated executive pension plans, exorbitant fundraising expenses, and PETA-style propaganda campaigns. Animal lovers should start holding the group to a higher standard.”

The “fruit” of HSUS is so rotten in so many ways that Martosko has dedicated a blog and Web site at HumaneWatch.org to point out the deception of HSUS. Through its effective tactics, HSUS has already imposed its agriculturally crippling measures in several states, including Michigan and California. This fall, HSUS is setting its sites on Ohio (now in the disguise of the group Ohioans for Humane Farms) by attempting to get an issue on the ballot that would set the rules for the recently passed Issue 2 Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.

“While Ohioans overwhelming supported Issue 2 --The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board -- in November, HSUS is trying to overturn the will of the people,” wrote John Torres, the Farm Bureau organization director in Ross, Pickaway, Hocking and Fairfield Counties, in a recent editorial. “Rather, the referendum by the people was designed to establish a board of Ohio experts in food safety, animal welfare, veterinary medicine, academia and farming to properly research and establish high standards for Ohio's livestock farmers to abide by in an open and transparent process. It's clear HSUS will not be happy until they can force their extreme animal rights views on Ohioans. While they claim that they are asking for ‘modest’ reform, don't be fooled. They want to dismantle the breadbasket of America by chipping away at it one ballot initiative, one bill and one lawsuit at a time.”

In contrast to the strong-arm tactics of HSUS, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland recently signed into law the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. The Board consists of 13 appointed members including include three family farmers, two veterinarians (one of whom is the state veterinarian), a food safety expert, a representative of a local humane society, two members from statewide farm organizations, the dean of an Ohio agriculture college and two members representing Ohio consumers. The 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 wellbeing.

“HSUS wants to dictate the rules before those 13 Ohio experts have had a chance to review for themselves what needs to be done to improve livestock farming in Ohio in an open and transparent process,” Torres wrote.

So please, be on the watch for HSUS and the Ohioans for Humane Farms and expose this animal welfare lamb for the vegan wolf that it really is.

For more information visit HumaneWatch.org.

Matt Reese writes for Ohio’s Country Journal and lives in Baltimore, Ohio. For questions or comments, please contact him at mkcreese@yahoo.com.