Ohio agricultural leaders and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have reached a pact whereby HSUS agrees to drop its ballot initiative for 2010 and commits to no further initiatives for at least 10 years, says Gov. Ted Strickland.

“We have an agreement that I think without question will allow the pork industry to remain viable in the state of Ohio,” says Dick Isler, Ohio Pork Producers Council executive vice president. “Given that animal agriculture is constantly changing, we will always find new and better ways to do things and I think that’s also true with animal housing.”

Under the agreement, pork producers can continue use of individual sow housing or gestation stalls for the next 15 years, through Jan. 1, 2026. The agreement also allows use of individual sow housing until sows are confirmed pregnant. But no new facilities that use gestation stalls can be built as of Dec. 31, 2010.

“This agreement is the best compromise ever reached between agriculture and HSUS across the nation,” Isler says. “HSUS has agreed to support the mission and purpose of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, which they have previously opposed.”

As a result of this accord, HSUS will not pursue a ballot initiative on animal care and will also join Ohio agricultural groups in funding research on science-based animal care standards.

“This is something that our members can live with and can therefore go on with their normal business and continue to support more than 10,000 Ohio jobs and the state’s economy,” Isler states.

The compromise was reached from the unity shown by Ohio dairy, beef, poultry, pork, soybean and corn associations, along with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation on behalf of Ohio agriculture.

“As we move forward, consumers can continue to rest assured that no one has a higher level of standards and commitment toward providing a safe, affordable food supply, and maintaining the best animal care than Ohio farmers,” Isler says.