2021 Ohio State Fair schedule

The 2021 Ohio State Fair livestock schedule has been announced and the event for livestock exhibitors and their families will run from July 19 to Aug. 8.

The breeding animal exhibitors and the market animal exhibitors will each have a “Grand Drive,” during their respective weeks of the fair. During this 3-hour event in Ag-Pro Companies Taft Coliseum, youth will have the opportunity to compete in the “Grand Drive” as the final event of the Ohio State Fair livestock competitions. The event raises awareness of the hard work and continued effort that each of these youth champions must do to be at the top of their respective projects.

Beef shows will be held July 25 through Aug. 8 starting with Session 1 check-in after 6 p.m. on July 25. Shows will be held in Cooper Arena. Dairy cattle events will be held from July 27 to July 31 and Aug. 2 through Aug.… Continue reading

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Cattlemen youth celebrate another successful BEST season

Awards and prizes filled the stage as families gathered to commemorate an unusual year at the annual Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) BEST (Beef Exhibitor Show Total) awards banquet held on May 1 at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus. Over 350 BEST exhibitors were awarded for their show success, cattle industry knowledge, photography skills, community service efforts and more.

This year’s BEST program featured seven weekends of sanctioned shows that wove their way across the state. Over 592 youth participants showed 850 head of market animals and heifers throughout the season.

The 2020—2021 sponsoring partners for the BEST program were Ag—Pro Companies and John Deere, Bob Evans Farms, Dickson Cattle Co., D&E Electric — The Young Family, M.H. EBY, Inc., Farm Credit Mid—America, Ohio Farm Bureau, The Folks Printing, Frazier Farms, Jones Show Cattle, R.D. Jones Excavating and Weaver Leather Livestock.

The banquet kicked off with the annual Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) donation.… Continue reading

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Prop 12 2022 pork deadline looming large

By Matt Reese

While California consumers have demonstrated a love of pork, they have created some real challenges for U.S. pork producers. Due to a number of restrictions in the state, nearly all of the hog producers moved out of California despite the high demand for pork products.

“California is by far the largest state in the country, representing 13% of the U.S. population and about 15% of the domestic pork market,” said Michael Formica, assistant vice president and general counsel for the National Pork Producers Council. “It takes 750,000 sows to supply the California market yet only 1,500 sows are housed in the state. Most of the pork consumed in California is produced in other states.” 

With the approval of Proposition 12 in November of 2018, California voters approved a ballot measure changing production standards again, this time not just for the few remaining sow operations in the state, but for pork sold in the state.… Continue reading

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The energy requirements for an Angus beef cow throughout her annual production cycle

By Kirsten Nickles, Graduate Research Associate and Anthony J. Parker, Associate Chair and Associate Professor. Department of Animal Sciences, Ohio State University

The nutritional requirements for beef cows change daily throughout their annual production cycle. The frequent change in requirements is caused by varying stages of production and environmental factors that affect the cow’s behavior and energy use. To give an example, a spring calving beef cow gestating throughout winter will have energy requirements for maintenance and gestation, and there may be further requirements for cold stress if winter climatic conditions place the cow outside her zone of thermal comfort. To appreciate how great the total net energy cost of a beef cow can be we have included the net energy requirements in Mcal/day throughout the annual production cycle of a mature 1,200-pound Angus cow with a peak milk yield (PMY) of 18 pounds. We included the requirements for maintenance, lactation, and gestation and assume this all occurs without any cold or heat stress on the cow.… Continue reading

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Small ruminant production and management position open at OSU

The Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University has launched a search for a nine-month, tenure-track faculty member at the assistant professor rank in Small Ruminant Production and Management to begin in the Autumn 2021 semester or when a suitable candidate is found. All application materials must be received before an application will be considered. The anticipated position split will be 80% Extension and 20% research.

Applicants should possess a sound basis in fundamental science, but preference will be given to applicants with interests in small ruminants including sheep and goats. Duties of the position include, but are not limited to, the following: developing educational materials and programs in conjunction with OSU Extension professionals for educating and training sheep and goat producers and conducting applied research on small ruminant production and management. In addition, the position will assist with youth livestock program areas as assigned in coordination with Animal Sciences faculty/staff members and OSU Extension professionals who provide leadership for 4-H programs; assists faculty and staff in undergraduate student recruitment as required; assists with departmental involvement in agricultural and animal industry events; partners with Extension specialists, Extension educators and program assistants, and other educational organizations, agencies, and volunteers in the state and region in programmatic endeavors.… Continue reading

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Farmers provide pork to northern Ohio residents

As members of the Ohio Pork Council (OPC), Ohio pig farmers are pleased to support the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank in Toledo, Ohio, and their eight-county service area. The protein-packed donation from the Ohio Pork Council will provide over 17,500 wholesome meals to those in need.   

As part of OPC’s annual Pork Power program, Ohio pig farmers donated over 1,300 Daisyfield hams produced by J.H. Routh Packing Company in Sandusky. Hams donated to the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank will benefit residents from Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams and Wood counties.   

“Ohio’s pig farmers care about producing safe, wholesome pork, taking care of their animals and natural resources, and giving back to their communities. Through OPC’s Pork Power program, we’re able to give back to local food banks in Ohio,” said Rich Deaton, National Pork Board member and Ohio Pork Council director. 

In 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, pig farmers in Ohio provided over 86,600 pounds of pork to local food banks.… Continue reading

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Watch for problematic pasture plants this spring

By M. Luginbuhl, Extension Specialist in Goats and Forage Systems, North Carolina State University

As winter feed supplies run low and with producers eager to turn livestock out to pasture this spring, do yourself and your stock a favor by scouting for poisonous plants in your pasture this spring.

Factors contributing to plant poisoning are starvation, accidental eating, and browsing habits of animals. Starvation is the most common reason. Most woodland or swampy-ground pastures contain many species of poisonous plants. These are usually eaten only when animals have nothing else to eat.

Animals accidentally eat certain plants as they graze. A notable example of this is water hemlock. This plant emerges in wet areas, which are the first to become green in early spring. Animals eager to eat the fresh young grass may accidentally bite off the crown of this plant with fatal results. Another type of accidental poisoning occurs when large amounts of cockle are present in wheat, which is fed as grain.… Continue reading

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No breaks for dairy farms on Earth Day

By the National Milk Producers Federation

Earth Day is just a few days away. And while it’s nice to have a day set aside to remember how everyone needs to care for, protect and, in some cases, restore our planet, please forgive dairy farmers if you don’t see much of a pause. 

That’s in part because dairy never stops. Dairy farmers produce a perishable product harvested around the clock, every day of the year. It’s also because dairy’s leadership in sustainable agriculture also happens every day. Promoting soil health, optimizing water use, improving water quality, and more, ensures dairy farmers can keep farming for generations to come. 

Dairy farming is an inherently renewable cycle. Cows eat crops and byproducts that humans can’t digest. They produce milk that nourishes people. And their manure provides nutrients to grow crops, which starts the cycle again. Dairy-farm livelihoods depend on healthy, vibrant ecosystems – and well-operated dairies of any size, in any region, enhance the ecosystems that surround them.  … Continue reading

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Meat export outlook remains strong

February exports of U.S. beef and pork remained below the rapid pace established in early 2020, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). However, exports were consistent with USMEF’s February projections and the federation still expects 2021 beef exports to increase substantially year-over-year, while pork exports are projected to narrowly surpass the 2020 record. 

Beef exports totaled 103,493 metric tons (mt) in February, down 8% from a year ago, valued at $669.5 million (down 2%). This was due mainly to a decline in variety meat exports, as beef muscle cuts were steady with last year in value at $597.9 million on a volume of 82,530 mt (down 3%). Through February, beef exports were 5% below last year’s pace at 208,540 mt, valued at $1.32 billion (down 2%). Beef muscle cut exports were down 1% to 163,928 mt and steady in value at $1.18 billion.… Continue reading

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Prop 12 legal challenge moves forward

Last week, the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation gave oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asking the court to strike down California’s Proposition 12 as unconstitutional under the dormant commerce clause.

Proposition 12, set to begin implementation on Jan. 1, 2022, imposes arbitrary animal housing standards that reach far outside of California’s borders to farms across the country, and bans the sale of pork that does not meet those arbitrary standards. California, with nearly 40 million residents, represents approximately 15% of the U.S. pork market. The state has a majority Latino and Asian population, both of which have long-standing cultural preferences for pork. Proposition 12 will dramatically reduce the supply of pork for Californians, driving up prices for consumers and disproportionately affecting low-income households. As NPPC Assistant Vice President and General Counsel Michael Formica told DTN, Proposition 12 “is a clear regulatory overreach and a violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S.… Continue reading

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Modern-day cattle rustling

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

They call it “Cattlegate.” It’s a modern-day cattle rustling scheme. Let’s start at the beginning.

            In 1958, Ervin Easterday moved his family and farming operation from Nampo, Idaho to southeastern Wash., where he purchased 300 acres of undeveloped land in the new Columbia Basin Reclamation Irrigation project. With a meager annual rainfall of 7 inches per year, the new supply of water from Grand Coulee Dam changed this land forever. 

            As a young man, Ervin’s son, Gale, said he worked what seemed like endless hours on a Caterpillar leveling and clearing this new ground so water had access to run down furrows.

            By 1979, Gale and his wife, Karen, were the sole owners of Easterday Farms. They had five children who grew into the ever-expanding operations that included Easterday Ranches, Easterday Farms, multiple vegetable sheds, 2 restaurants, a construction company, a hay company, and a re-packing facility in Florida, south of Jacksonville.… Continue reading

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OSIA scholarships

The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association is sponsoring the Dr. Jack Judy, Ralph H. Grimshaw, and High Family Memorial Scholarships and OSIA LEAD Council Scholarships to support future sheep farmers through its scholarship program. OSIA is offering a minimum of $6,00.00 in scholarship awards, with the potential of more scholarship funds being rewarded.  Preference will be given to students pursuing a degree in agriculture based upon the particular requirements of each scholarship.

“The Ohio sheep industry depends on young people who are considering and pursuing a career that will be beneficial to the Ohio and United States sheep industry. The OSIA scholarship program is one way that we can help our young sheep producers reach their career goals,” said Roger A. High, OSIA executive director.

Applicants or their parents must be members in good standing of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and a 2021 graduating high school senior enrolled in, or a student currently attending a college or technical school.… Continue reading

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Ohio Sheep Improvement Association industry award nominations due June 1

Several years ago, the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) board of trustees initiated an award nomination program to recognize outstanding accomplishments made by sheep, lamb and wool farmers as well as people who are associated with the Ohio sheep industry. Nominations for these awards can only be submitted by OSIA members and must be received by June 1, 2021.

Award recipients will be honored at the 2021 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium. If you would like to nominate someone for any of these sheep, lamb and wool industry awards, please contact the OSIA office at 614-246-8299 or for an application. Award applications are also be posted on the website at:

Nominations are being accepted for the following categories. Information and requirements regarding these awards will be available with the award application:

  • Charles Boyles Master Shepherd Award
  • Friend of the Ohio Sheep Industry Award
  • Distinguished Service Award
  • Environmental Stewardship Award.
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Growing interest in expanding Ohio’s meat processing capacity

By Matt Reese

From the farmer to the consumer, the whole food chain saw the need for change in 2020 when processing capacity was reduced resulting in back-ups and shortages. This situation was partly due to a problem Ohio agriculture has been talking about for years — there is simply not enough local meat processing capacity.

“This is something we have been working on for several years in the state of Ohio. It is so important to our producers,” said Brandon Kern, senior director, state and national policy for Ohio Farm Bureau. “Even pre-pandemic, this had been an issue that was percolating. We have capacity needs, particularly when you are talking about small and medium-sized processors. Part of the issue is that most of the meat processing in this country is very concentrated amongst four very large meat packers and two of those are foreign owned. This presents some real food security issues.… Continue reading

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OSIA LEAD Council sponsorship opportunities

The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association LEAD Council would first like to express our appreciation for the journey that has occurred over the past 12 months. While it was an extremely difficult season for our organization, we are humbled and deeply proud of everyone who rallied and brought the LEAD programing to fruition in 2020. Despite disappointments, challenges and ever-changing hurdles along the way our organization was able to deliver an entire show season and a complete points program and that was once in danger of cancelation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 reminded us to take nothing for granted and nothing is guaranteed. Without the support of the LEAD program partners, show managers, breeders and friends who stood strong and remained committed partners, this would not have been possible. We look back on the past year with extreme gratitude and thankfulness for the supporters of the LEAD Council.

As we look toward the 2021 show season, we are eager to begin a new and fresh start.… Continue reading

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Morocco bound: Ohio cattle in Africa

By Matt Reese

On Feb. 10, 80 heifers with the quality dairy genetics of Andreas Farms in Tuscarawas County boarded a ship named the Holstein Express — yep, really, Holstein Express is painted right on the side of the ship — bound for Africa. The Andreas heifers were part of a larger group of 1,750 cattle headed to Morocco.  

After recently expanding and updating their operation, the challenges of 2020 encouraged the Andreas family to get out of the dairy industry and transition to other agricultural endeavors on the farm. The farm’s 1,200 cows were sold in September of 2020.

“We are phasing out and still breeding and raising heifers we have left,” said Matt Andreas, who managed the dairy with his father, Dan. “We felt it was either time to expand again or maybe change directions. We’re lucky from that standpoint that there are a lot of different options for us moving forward.”… Continue reading

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Biosecurity considerations when transitioning newly purchased cattle

By  Steve Boyles, Ohio State University Extension beef specialist

The objective is to avoid new diseases introduced through replacement stock and airborne diseases. Typically, new animals are quarantined for at least 30 days and more typically for 60 days before being introduced into the herd. If on-site, the isolation area should be of some distance and downwind from other animals. Practicing all-in, all-out procedures will make it easier to clean and reduce opportunities by personnel to introduce contaminants to the main herd. Minimize cross-contamination of feeding/watering equipment.  Here are some suggested procedures:

  • Have a set vaccination program as part of the acclimation of new animals.
  • Have a written strategic vaccination plan.
  • Know when and how to use the vaccines listed in the vaccination plan.
  • Discuss the vaccination history of all cattle purchased before cattle arrive.
  • All incoming animals are unloaded and visually inspected during daylight hours, when possible. Isolation is maintained until inspection is completed.
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Ventilation system maintenance is critical to keeping cows comfortable


By Jason Hartschuh, Extension Educator, Crawford County, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension

Spring is one of the most challenging seasons on the farm to keep barns properly ventilated. We often see temperatures in the teens and less than a week later see highs in the 70s. Our ventilation system recently roared to life as temperatures in the barn crossed 65 degrees F, reminding me that we still had not gotten around to winter fan maintenance as belts squealed and louvers hung half shut.

Fan maintenance is critical to keeping your cows cool and saving energy. Ventilation systems often consume between 20% to 25% of the total energy used on the farm. Lack of cleaning can reduce fan efficiency by as much as 40% — meaning that your electric bill stays the same, but there is less air is moving through the barn. Monthly maintenance through the summer is critical to keep fans clean.… Continue reading

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Picking the right forage

 By Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County

The spring seeding window for the most popular forages in our region is quickly approaching. Producers looking for guidance on how to choose the best forage for their system should always start with a soil test rather than a seed catalog. Whether you have farmed your site for decades or days, soil testing is essential for success.

Once you know the characteristics of your soil, you can formulate a timeline to adjust fertility if needed, sow your selected seed, and set realistic expectations for production. Soil testing should be conducted when site history is unknown, when converting from a different cropping system (row crops, woodlands, turfgrass, etc.), or on a three-year schedule for maintenance.

Additional factors worthy of consideration prior to purchasing seed include site drainage, sunlight exposure, weed competition, forage harvest method, and feed value for the end user.… Continue reading

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Beef Expo recap

The 33rd Ohio Beef Expo was held March 18-21 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio. This year’s event, hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), was a producer focused event to provide critical farm income for the cattle families and rural small businesses that participate in it. Despite this year’s challenges, the Expo successfully hosted breed shows and sales, a retail trade show and a youth cattle show. OCA followed an approved COVID plan for the Expo that required postponing many other traditional events and seminars. 

The Expo kicked off with the retail trade show featuring many eager exhibitors selling everything from cattle chutes to farm insurance. Sullivan Supply was selected as the premier large booth exhibitor, Honey Creek Western Wear was the premier small booth exhibitor and Umbarger Show Feeds was awarded the premier outdoor booth exhibitor. The premier Genetic Pathway exhibitor was Breeder’s World. 

Four breeds hosted shows on Friday to display cattle being sold in the sales.… Continue reading

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