Cattlemen’s Academy to be held in Allen County

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will be hosting cattlemen from across the state to provide education on how to market their cattle and learn about incorporating implant technology. This event will be useful to those who own and operate feedlots, backgrounders, and freezer beef operations. 

The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner being served first. Special thanks to Farm Credit Mid-America for sponsoring this educational program. The date, location and special guests for the clinic are as follows:

Date: September 26, 2023 @5:30 p.m.
Location: Allen County Fairgrounds

Address: 2750 Harding Hwy, Lima, OH 45804 

OCA Update: OCA Staff 

Marketing Your Cattle: Pat Lampert, Director of Livestock, Nexus Marketing and National Farmers Organization and Jeff Rose, Operations Manager, Nexus Marketing

Implanting: Seth Clark, Ohio Territory Manager, Merck Animal Health

Dinner Sponsor: Farm Credit Mid-America

Register here for Allen County:

Cattlemen’s Academy events are free for OCA members.… Continue reading

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Dairy farmers struggle as prices drop and costs climb

By Ching Lee, assistant editor of “Ag Alert,” a publication of California Farm Bureau

After earning record-high milk prices in 2022, dairy farmers have seen their earnings plummet in recent months, with more operations struggling to stay in business and some closing their doors for good.

Their plight has prompted comparisons to the 2009 economic crisis that forced droves of dairies into bankruptcy. Some say it may be worse this time around due to additional inflationary pressures and higher interest rates that make it more costly for businesses to borrow money.

“This is a real downturn,” said Jack Hamm, a dairy farmer in San Joaquin County, California. “These last two months have been every bit as bad as 2009. There’s dairies for sale every week.”

In 2009, dairy farmers faced an unprecedented financial catastrophe as the global recession took hold. With an abrupt decline in export market demand and an oversupply of milk in the world market, milk prices tanked.… Continue reading

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Impressive silage harvest at MVP Dairy | 2023 Cab Cam | Luke VanTilburg, Mercer County

In this non-traditional Cab Cam, Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood steps outside the cab with Luke VanTilburg of MVP Dairy in Mercer County to discuss the impressive silage harvest currently in progress and the logistics behind its success. The undertaking to build up 18 months of silage stocks for the 4,500-cow farm means a team of about 30 individuals are hard at work from the field to the bunk and everywhere in between. The two discuss the logistics behind the feat, this year’s silage quality, leaf diseases, and much more.

The 2023 Cab Cam series is sponsored by Precision Agri Services Inc. More at

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Securing agriculture

By Greg Doering, Kansas Farm Bureau

The official dedication and ribbon cutting for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas, earlier this year is very welcome news. It also makes me feel old since the process to get here has taken nearly the entirety of my adult life.

Also known as NBAF, the facility is a state-of-the-art lab that will research animal diseases that can also infect humans and develop vaccines and anti-virals for some very nasty bugs. The facility is the replacement of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center off the coast of New York, which is more than six decades old. NBAF will investigate diseases like African Swine Fever, Nipah Virus, and foot and mouth disease, among others.

FMD is among the most contagious infectious diseases in the world, and an outbreak in the U.S. would cost billions of dollars to the livestock industry alone. Vaccines exist for individual strains, but there’s so many different varieties it’s impossible to fully protect against.… Continue reading

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Great rations make great beef

By Matt Reese

Feedlot cattle need a carefully formulated diet to perform well and consistently, so Mark Goecke puts extensive thought and effort into the right rations.

“We’re from Allen County. We raise corn, soybeans and wheat. We also finish out cattle. We market about 3,000 a year, so we feed a lot of feed every day and we combine our ingredients ourselves and make a complete ration,” Goecke said. “The cattle are mostly Holsteins and we’re getting a lot of the Angus-Holstein cross in right now. All of our animals are in confinement and we feed a ration where the base of it is corn silage for our finishing animals. We like to see a 25% corn silage ration and we add about 57% of the whole corn and then we’re feeding the rest of our protein sources whether it comes from the soybean meal or the distiller’s grain. We get our premix in Lima from Purina that contains soy meal.”… Continue reading

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Is livestock risk protection right for you?

By Michael Sweeney, vice president, Bickle Farm Solutions

Michael Sweeney

If you have been following the cattle market the past 12 months, you know that it has been quite a ride. It seems like almost weekly we see a new record high in feeders or live cattle, and it does not appear that there is an end in sight to it right now. The hog market has been no slouch either. Everyone selling loves record setting prices, but those prices are only as good as the plan you have in place to capitalize on them.

It has been awfully hard to miss in the cattle market in the last year. Feeder cattle have been moderately priced while fats continued to soar higher. But here recently that gap has narrowed quite a bit, causing a tighter margin and more opportunity for a cattle producer to make a mistake. Forward contracting your fat cattle is always a good way to lock in some margin.… Continue reading

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Howard Wyman Leadership School securing a strong future for sheep

By Jake Zajkowski, OCJ field reporter

The Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School has been bringing together sheep producers from around the country for over 50 years. This year the five-day experience included meat processing workshops, feedlot tours, and conversations among sheep producers from the nation’s diverse operations.

The school is organized by the National Lamb Feeders Association and moves to different locations around the country. This year was the third time the program has been held in Ohio.

“This is a big deal for the lamb feeder industry,” said Karen Mineotis, executive director of the National Lamb Feeders Association. “This is their primary way to get young people involved in the industry so we can teach them how to focus on getting better in their production. Producers should know what our feeders want so they can be profitable, and so can the meat packer. We need to keep a consistent quality product here in the United States and that’s what we’re striving for here.”… Continue reading

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Sheep shearing school

By Brady Campbell, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University Small Ruminant Extension Specialist

A few seats still remain for the Statewide Sheep Shearing School. The Ohio State University departments of Animal Sciences and Extension are pleased to announce the dates of the 2023 Fall Statewide Ohio Sheep Shearing School to be held on Sept. 22-23, 2023 from 9:00 am – 4:00 p.m. at the Dave Cable Farm in Hebron, Ohio (10491 Canal Rd., Hebron, OH 43025).

During this two day schooling event, attendees will be given the opportunity to learn how to properly shear a sheep using the Australian shearing method. Those in attendance will be taught by veteran shearers as they walk through each step and demonstrate how to properly position the sheep and shearing hand piece in the correct location. Attendees will also learn to appreciate fleece quality by ensuring that their work station is clear of debris and how to keep the animals fleece all in one piece.… Continue reading

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Pricing profitably: Direct-to-consumer meat sales have the potential to increase farm revenue

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

The input costs to farm have been continually rising for many years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) February 2023 Farm Sector Income forecast projected total farm production expenses in 2023 at nearly $500 billion, up 4% from the prior year, but up $87 billion, or more than 28%, from 2020. For those raising livestock, looking outside of the typical commodity markets and focusing on direct-to-consumer meat sales may be an opportunity to increase revenue.

Garth Ruff, Ohio State Extension Beef Cattle Field Specialist, noticed the trend of direct-to-consumer sales increase in the wake of COVID in 2020. Many people turned to their local livestock producers for protein, instead of going to the grocery store.

“During COVID, we had quite a few calls and a high amount of people interested in selling directly to consumers. It’s leveled out since then. That’s been our big question the last few years, how many of these direct-to-consumer sales will be maintained?”… Continue reading

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Cattle price update

By Bernt Nelson, economist, American Farm Bureau

Cattle prices have come a long way in the first half of 2023. In fact, the weighted average market price for a steer this July is 27% higher than it was in July 2022. Drought and high input costs have driven many producers to market animals that would have been held back to grow their herds, and the resulting tighter cattle supplies are pushing retail beef prices to new highs.

Supply — July 1 Cattle Inventory

The semiannual cattle inventory report is a record of all cattle and calves, number of operations, and size group estimates categorized by class, state and the country as a whole. The report is released in January and July. The July inventory uses information from the responses of 10,000 surveyed cattle operations. The more robust January survey is based on the responses of 50,000 operations. 

In the July report, USDA estimated all cattle and calves in the United States on July 1, 2023, were 95.9 million head, down 3% compared to last year’s report.… Continue reading

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Select Sires to combine with STgen

Select Sires Inc. and Inguran LLC (dba STgen) have signed a letter of intent to combine Select Sires Inc.’s and STgen’s production, research and development functions into a new company.

The six U.S. farmer-owned cooperatives that provide exceptional sales, service, and support for the Select Sires family of products will remain independent and continue to operate just as they do today. The STgen sales and service network will likewise operate independently and continue to provide the outstanding sales, service, and support for the STgen brands of products that their customers have come to expect. Additionally, global distributors and business units of STgen and Select Sires, including World Wide Sires, will continue to operate in their respective geographies, representing their current brands.

Select Sires Inc. and STgen believe that by integrating their production and development capabilities into a new company, farmers will benefit from a broader and more cost-efficient offering, higher quality products, and more advanced technologies and services.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 313 | Raising Beef, Cultivating Resilience: Insights from Charlie Reffitt at Hondros Farms

In this episode of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, hosts Matt Reese of Ohio’s Country Journal and Dusty Sonnenberg of Ohio Ag Net delve into the world of international trade and local agriculture. The main focus of the episode is a captivating conversation with Charlie Reffitt, president of Hondros Farms in Delaware County. Charlie shares insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by high-end beef production, including Wagyu, as well as the innovative approaches he has had to take as modern farm manager. He also discusses the challenges he has powered through after a hunting accident left him paralyzed.

Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association Colombia Trade Mission Recap: The podcast also features intriguing audio content from the recent Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association Trade Mission, hosting visitors from Colombia. Discover the insights gained from this international experience as Matt and Dusty speak with various experts:

  • Tyler Drewes, OCWGA Board Member: Tyler provides a firsthand account of the trade mission’s goals and accomplishments, shedding light on the importance of global agricultural connections.
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United Producers, Inc. announces comprehensive Vacc-60 Program

United Producers, Inc. (UPI), the Midwest’s largest livestock marketing cooperative, is excited to announce the launch of its Vacc-60 program. Vacc-60 is a comprehensive management program designed to increase the farm-gate value of weaned calves. In partnership with Tennessee Farmers Coop, the Vacc-60 program leverages the latest in animal care in order to produce healthy, more profitable cattle.

“We are excited to announce the launch of our Vacc-60 program,” said Bill Tom, Executive Vice President of Livestock Marketing. “Our vision for Vacc-60 is to not only help the grower produce healthy, more profitable cattle, but also develop a trusted program that will elevate the marketability of those cattle within the industry.”

The program includes management, animal health, nutrition, marketing, credit and risk management components designed to enhance the value of weaned calves, while offering multiple options to accommodate producer preferences. These cattle will be offered in a variety of options to the marketplace.… Continue reading

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Strong pork exports, beef exports below record pace of 2022

U.S. pork exports concluded an excellent first half with another strong performance in June, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). While well below the record pace established in 2022, June beef exports topped $900 million in value, pushing first-half export value to nearly $5 billion.

First-half pork exports achieve broad-based growth

June pork exports totaled 245,964 metric tons (mt), up 12% from a year ago, while export value climbed 6% to $691.4 million. Through the first half of 2023, exports were 14% above last year’s pace at 1.47 million mt, valued at $4.05 billion (up 12%). 

Pork exports to Mexico are on a record pace, with first-half value up 21% to more than $1 billion. First-half exports increased sharply year-over-year to the ASEAN region, Australia, Taiwan, the Dominican Republic and Chile, while also posting gains in China/Hong Kong, South Korea and Central America.… Continue reading

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Black Vulture Relief Act

Introduced by Rep. John Rose (R-TN) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), the Black Vulture Relief Act is bipartisan legislation that would allow livestock producers to take vultures without a permit, when there is an immediate need to protect their livestock from injury or death. Currently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues black vulture depredation permits to states and states issue sub-permits to producers, but these permits only allow for take of three individual animals per year. Given that black vultures can attack multiple times a month in flocks as large as 50, the current permits are completely insufficient to address the problem. Black vulture numbers are also on the rise, and they attack livestock in a particularly vicious way, usually targeting calves hours or even minutes after birth.

This summer, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association member and Missouri cattle producer Charlie Besher testified before the House Natural Resources Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee in support of the Black Vulture Relief Act.… Continue reading

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2023 Sale of Champions Highlights

Beckett Winegardner, Reserve Grand Champion Market Beef of Allen County, sets his steer up for buyers at the Ohio State Fair Sale of Champions.

The Reserve Grand Champion Market Beef was exhibited by Beckett Winegardner, Allen County, and purchased by The Kroger Company and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation for a bid of $37,500.

Holden LeVan, Grand Champion Market Beef of Champaign County, sets his steer up for buyers at the Ohio State Fair Sale of Champions.

The Grand Champion Market Beef was exhibited by Holden LeVan, Champaign County, and purchased by Mark and Megan Kvamme and Family for $80,000.

Logan Deel, Reserve Grand Champion Market Barrow of Gallia County, sets his barrow up for buyers at the Ohio State Fair Sale of Champions.

The Reserve Grand Champion Market Barrow was exhibited by Logan Deel of Gallia County and purchased by The Kroger Company, Bob Evans and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation with a bid of $35,000.Continue reading

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2023 Junior Market Barrow results

Grand Champion: Grand Champion: Oksana Gossard, Allen Co. (Dark cross champion)
Reserve Grand Champion: Logan Deel, Gallia Co. (Dark cross res. Champion)
Third overall: Oakley Engle, Highland Co. (Hampshire champion)
Fourth overall: Hayley Wells, Preble Co. (Champion light cross)
Fifth overall: Reserve Champion: Mason Hittle, Muskingum Co. (Res. Champion light cross)

Ava Genter, Fulton Co., had the champion Landrace.

Aug. 4 and 5, 2023

Judges: Jeremy Cantrell, OK and Blaine Olson, IL.


Grand Champion: Zander Ivey, Fayette Co.

Reserve Champion: Mason Elchinger, Henry Co. 

Chester White

Grand Champion: Owen Bradshaw, Clinton Co.

Reserve Champion: Cade Sponcil, Highland Co.


Grand Champion: Megan Smith-McCarley, Pickaway Co.

Reserve Champion: Rayne Kinsman, Fulton Co.


Grand Champion: Kaidyn McWhorter, Ross Co.

Reserve Champion: Wade Smith, Clinton Co.


Grand Champion: Oakley Engle, Highland Co.

Reserve Champion: Kinsley Dinovo, Logan Co. 


Grand Champion: Ava Genter, Fulton Co.

Reserve Champion: Josey Schiff, Butler Co.… Continue reading

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Some notable firsts in the O’Neill Swine Building

A couple of traditions may have gotten started over in the O’Neill Swine Building. Making its debut at the 2023 Ohio State Fair, the “Breaking Boundaries” Pig Show featured participants between 9 and 22 years old with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Along with the assistance of 25 youth mentors from the Ohio Pork Council’s OH-PIGS program, the participants experienced their first-ever “center-ring” opportunity to care for and show pigs in front of a state fair audience complete with judges. 

“We know the real-world life lessons that are gained in the show ring for so many youths around Ohio and the nation and we wanted to create that type of opportunity for this special group of young people, too,” said Kelly Morgan, OH-PIGS manager, and Ohio State Fair assistant swine superintendent. “While the experience may have only been for one evening at the State Fair, we hope that for the young people and their families that this inaugural show created a lifelong memory that creates good emotions.”… Continue reading

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2023 Junior Market Poultry Show results

Meat Chickens

Grand Champion Meat Chickens: Lilly Conrad, Hancock Co.

Reserve Grand Champion Meat Chickens:: Natalie Fitzgerald, Cuyahoga Co.

Third overall Meat Chickens:: Kasen Cole, Preble Co.

Fourth overall Meat Chickens:: Blake Noel, Seneca Co.

Fifth overall Meat Chickens:: Parker Reese, Geauga Co.


Grand Champion Turkey: Maria Henderson, Logan Co. 

Reserve Grand Champion Turkey: Ty Woodward, Coshocton Co.

Third overall turkey: Blake Addis, Darke Co.

Fourth overall turkey: Alexandra Kinney, Logan Co.

Fifth overall turkey: Jonathan Woodward, Coshocton Co.

Mariann Woodruff, Hardin County, held her turkey for the judge.

Junior Market Poultry Show results

Aug. 3, 2023

Judge: David Adkins, Lucasville, Ohio


Class 1

  1. Blake Addis, Darke Co.
  2. Larissa Coleman, Morrow Co.

Class 2

  1. Maria Henderson, Logan Co. 
  2. Garrett Newman, Muskingum Co.

Class 3

  1. Alexandra Kinney, Logan Co.
  2. Jonathan Woodward, Coshocton Co.

Class 4

  1. Ty Woodward, Coshocton Co.
  2. Jack Patterson, Geauga Co. 


Class 1

1. Kasen Cole, Preble Co.… Continue reading

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Ohio Holstein Association Summer Breeder Tour

By Barb Lumley

The Ohio Holstein Association will hold a Summer Breeder Tour on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023 at Kiko Farms, Jim Jr., Evan and Harrison Kiko and Families, 813 Fox Avenue SE, Paris, Ohio. The events will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the cattle and facilities open for viewing. Lunch will be held at 12:00 p.m. RSVPs are strongly recommended by Monday, Aug. 7 and can be made by calling Paul Haskins at 419-618-4028 or Evan Kiko at 330-205-9354. At 1 p.m. Katie Esselburn, Lely Farm Management Support Advisor, will be the speaker. At 2 p.m. the cattle and facilities will be available for viewing.

Kiko Farms milk 170 Holsteins and recently completed some major facility updates. They include a new pack barn for special needs cows in 2021. In 2022 they installed 3 A5 Lely Robots. They have Robotic manure removal. Combined with a Lely Juno feed pusher already in place, there is a lot of new technology to check out.… Continue reading

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