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Maine Farm Bureau Horse Council news

Published: 4/8/2009
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The MFBHC trots along

By Maddy B. Gray

I met recently with Jon Olson, executive secretary of the Maine Farm Bureau. He brought me up to speed with the group’s Horse Council (MFBHC) activities.

The MFBHC was established more than 10 years ago and has nearly 400 members. Charter members include veterinarian Dave Jefferon and farrier John Trafton.

Over the years, it has worked on behalf of Maine horse owners, advocating for the abolishment of the “hay tax,” helping establish the Equine Limit to Liability Law, and, most recently helping defeat the effort to impose stable licensing laws.

This year, its offering a new program, Farmers Helping Farmers. The Horse Council has asked its members if they can spare hay, offer foster homes, help in trailering equines, and even mentor other horse owners.
It also states those staples and services may be provided by members to others in need.
The Bureau established a 501-c-3 non-profit entity after the 1998 ice storm and can draw from those funds to assist needy equines and their owners, Olson told me.
For more information on the Farmers Helping Farmers program contact or phone (800) 639-2126.

Introducing the Horse Farm of Merit program!
This program is another new MFBHC initiative. (In order to qualify, you must first be a Farm Bureau member.)

The program will recognize horse farms which meet high standards for overall horse health, farm management, and compliance with public safety.
Download Horse Farm of Merit form, Click Here.

Judging Criteria:
  • Horse Health Management (horse health) – possible 40 points
  • Farm Management – possible 50 points    Includes condition of farm and facilities, control of pests and vermin, condition of stalls, condition of turnouts, pastures, riding surfaces and fencing, tack, equipment, emergency removal, evacuation procedure, equine and human first aid, fire protection and prevention, manure management.
  • Business Practices – possible 10 points     Includes documents, liability insurance, waivers, equine limit to liability sign.

More tidbits from the Maine Farm Bureau:

On the policy side:
  • The group voted to oppose the bill to require licensing of equine boarding stables.
  • The MFBHC favors removing the phrase “at all times” in the animal welfare rules requiring a constructed shelter.
  • The group is opposed to any legislation to criminalize the sale and transportation of horses for the purpose of slaughter.
  •   They favor the establishment of humane equine slaughter facilities in the US.

Did You Know?

According to a 2006 economic impact study (partially funded by the MFB), there are roughly 35,000 horses in the state.
  • Their direct economic impact was $191 million and accounted for 3,650 jobs.
  • Their combined economic impact (direct and indirect) accounted for $364 million and 5,700 jobs. Wow.
  • Those horses and their owners made 87,500 trips to the state’s public lands.

View Reader Comments:

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4/9/2009 Robert Morin, Accredited Trainer & Instructor
As a Horse owner and a farmer of sorts most of my life I have to say it is great to read that the Maine Farm Bureau is so interested in the Equine. I am a member and I truly enjoy all the work M.F.B. is doing. Why more horse owners are not involved more is a great question ? You horse and back yard farmers really need to get involved. Keep up the great the great work Maine Farm Bureau

"While there are many things you can fake in life, pretending that you know horses when you don't isn't one of them" - Cooky McClung