Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 356 | Steer-ing Towards Kindness at the Ohio State Fair

This week’s Ohio Ag Net podcast features the members of the Partners for Ohio Agriculture team that is gearing up for 2024 Dean’s Charity Steer Show on Tuesday, July 30 at the Ohio State Fair. The team includes the Jennings family from Clermont County, with exhibitor Kaylee Jennings showcasing her Chianina heifer, Becky. Dan Wagner, President and CEO of Farm Credit Mid-America, is the celebrity exhibitor handling Becky during the event under the tutelage of Jennings. Joining them is Matt Reese of Ohio’s Country Journal and the Ohio Ag Net Podcast. Get the inside scoop of preparations as the team has hopes of bringing home some of the top awards at the event, and, more importantly, maximizing the funds raised for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. Donate to support RMHC through Partners for Ohio Agriculture at: //

This week’s featured audio includes:

  • Matt talking to Katy Boots with Nutrien Ag Solutions about the 4Rs of nutrient management
  • Dale Minyo speaking with Charlie Booker with Agri Spray Drones concerning FAA compliance rules for drone spray applications.
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Ohio Pork Council Pork Act Notification

Public Notice by the Ohio Pork Council and the National Pork Board: the election of pork producer delegate candidates for the 2025 National Pork Producers (Pork Act) Delegate Body will take place at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2024, in conjunction with a Board of Directors meeting of the Ohio Pork Council at Deer Creek Lodge & Conference Center, Mt. Sterling. All Ohio pork producers are invited to attend.

Any producer, age 18 or older, who is a resident of the state and has paid all assessments due may be considered as a delegate candidate and/or participate in the election. All eligible producers are encouraged to bring with them a sales receipt proving that hogs were sold in their name and the checkoff deducted. For more information, contact the Ohio Pork Council Office, 9798 Karmar Ct. Suite A, New Albany, OH 43054, 614-882-5887.… Continue reading

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USDA proposes fix to Packers and Stockyards Act

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced newly proposed rule to support the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan for the meat and poultry supply chain.

USDA’s Fair and Competitive Livestock and Poultry Markets proposed rule addresses challenges around interpretations of unfairness and competitive injury for the livestock, meat, and poultry sectors. The measure is designed to support farmers and lower food costs for consumers.

Secretary Vilsack made the announcement during an event at the Center for American Progress showcasing the Administration’s agenda to create more affordable and competitive agricultural markets. The event highlighted USDA’s wide-ranging progress to enhance the Department’s ability to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act, including previous rulemaking and an enforcement partnership with the Department of Justice. USDA also released a fact sheet highlighting its actions under the Biden-Harris Administration to spur competition in the agriculture sector.

“Entrenched market power and the abuses that flow from it remain an obstacle to achieving lower prices for consumers and fairer practices for producers,” Vilsack said.… Continue reading

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New Ohio livestock exhibition rule addresses drug tolerance levels

By Matt Reese

Livestock exhibitors at Ohio’s fairs have long been held to a higher standard than the rest of the livestock industry when it comes to acceptable tolerance levels of approved drugs in the animals’ systems.

“For years, it’s been zero tolerance of approved drugs that’ve been found in the livestock exhibition animals and those kids are penalized for that. So, we really looked at this as an opportunity for us to really get our exhibitions on the same guidelines as the rest of the livestock industry rather than heavy penalties because we were still at that zero-tolerance level,” said Roger High, Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Livestock Policy. “I was appointed to a subcommittee, which really went through the rules to make sure that they were good and sound, not only in science, but also to benefit livestock exhibitors as well as our member across the state.”

With recommendations from the subcommittee, changes were made to sections of the Ohio Revised Code, implemented in May, to address these concerns raised by livestock exhibitors and Ohio Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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Manure Science Review Aug. 6

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) will host the 24th annual Manure Science Review on Aug. 6, 2024 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London. 

Aimed at farmers, crop consultants, soil conservation workers and others, the Manure Science Review will feature speakers and field demonstrations from Ohio State and other qualified companies and institutions.

The mornings speakers will begin with representatives from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), presenting H2Ohio updates as well as best practices for manure application by Frances Springer. Will Osterholz from the Natural Resources Conservation Service will then discuss the effects of manure placement on subsurface drainage, followed by a panel discussion about the 360 Rain Unit for liquid manure application, featuring Justin Koch of 360 Yield Center, Taylor Pulver from Rooted Agri Services, Andrew Klopfenstein from the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE), and Ryan Schmitmeyer of Owl Creek Dairy. … Continue reading

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Spring meat exports strong

April exports of U.S. pork reached the highest volume and value since May 2021, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). It was also a robust month for U.S. beef exports, which were the largest in 10 months and valued at just under $900 million.

Record shipments to Mexico bolster April pork exports

Fueled by a record performance in leading market Mexico and broad-based growth in several other regions, pork exports totaled 277,910 metric tons (mt) in April, up 14% from a year ago and the fifth largest on record. Export value climbed 18% to $778.8 million, the third highest on record. For January through April, exports increased 8% to 1.04 million mt, valued at $2.89 billion – up 10% from last year’s record pace. 

“While Mexico was definitely the pacesetter in a tremendous month for pork exports, it was only part of the story,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO.… Continue reading

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Greater Cleveland Food Bank receives pork donation from OPC

In northeast Ohio, one in seven people is food insecure — a challenge the Greater Cleveland Food Bank is working to solve in the communities they serve. Getting nutritious, high-quality protein is a particular concern for those in need, which is why the annual assistance from Ohio’s pig farmers through their Pork Power program is especially beneficial.

This year, the Ohio Pork Council (OPC) is providing the Greater Cleveland Food Bank with $3,000 of funds to aid the nonprofit in fighting food insecurity by purchasing sustainably raised and nutrient-rich pork protein.

“I can’t stress enough how important these donations are to make sure that we’re getting the food out to the people who need it the most,” Karen Pozna, Director of Communications and Events said, “The need is still greater than ever.”

Over 400,000 people and nearly 52 million pounds of food were served in 2023 alone, covering Ashland, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Richland counties.… Continue reading

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Cutest sheep in the world (and Ohio)

By Matt Reese

A quick Google search for the “cutest sheep in the world” yields consistent results: the Valais blacknose.

With wavy wool, curly horns and charming black noses, the breed is garnering increasing attention in the United States. There are just a handful of pricy full-blood Valais blacknose in Ohio, including those residing at Valais Blacknose of Lovers Lane — the farm of Fred and Cheryl Hayes in Portage County.

“In Ohio there are probably less than 10 people who have them and those people only have one or two full-bloods,” said Fred Hayes. “Right now, there’s probably only about 400 in the country. Last year I had nine rams and three ewes and I sold eight rams and I sold one ewe. The rams range from $10,000 to $20,000 and ewes range from $20,000 to 25,000.”

Through his own 4-H experiences and the 4-H club he and a friend started for their children in the 90s, Hayes gained an interest in livestock breeding.… Continue reading

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Register for Young Cattlemen’s Conference by July 1

Every summer, young cattlemen meet in Central Ohio for a three-day event like no other. YCC features numerous engaging educational opportunities designed to inform both beef industry leaders and cattle producers alike. The event, Aug. 8-10, offers industry insight and enhanced networking for attendees to take home and use to keep their own operations progressive and profitable, or to become better representatives of the industry.

Participants are challenged to think outside the box as they practice their public relations skills and learn beneficial ways to present their operations and the beef industry to consumers. Attendees will have the chance to visit the Ohio Statehouse and discuss current issues with elected officials, as well as learn more about the product they produce through participation in a mini Beef 509 at The Ohio State University’s Department of Animal Sciences. To top it all off, attendees will be able to take a behind-the-scenes tour of The Ohio State University’s football practice facility and enjoy opportunities to network with other industry leaders.   … Continue reading

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Ohio feral swine legislation moving forward

After many months of providing key facts and answering questions with legislative officials, the efforts of the Ohio Pork Council have passed a milestone with June passage by the Ohio House of H.B. 503 by a vote of 89-0. Introduced earlier this year, the bill which now must pass the Senate would prohibit the importation and hunting of feral swine in the state and ends the practice of garbage feeding, both of which pose serious disease risks to the state’s swine herd, including the possibility of introducing African swine fever.

“We’re celebrating today’s vote in the House, and we remain very optimistic that this bill will see bipartisan passage in the Senate soon to pave the way of giving our state’s largest industry — agriculture — the added protection from the risk of foreign animal diseases that we’re seeking,” said Cheryl Day, executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council.

Beyond the reduced risk of animal disease, Day points to the immense damage that non-native feral swine bring to Ohio’s land, crops, soil, and water each year, which she says alone justifies the complete passage of H.B.… Continue reading

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Tilapia offer challenges and rewards at Freedom Fish Farms

By Matt Reese

With the whooshing of water and the whirring of pumps, upon entering Curtis Gram’s barn it is immediately apparent that the livestock he is raising diverges from traditional farm animals. At any given time, Gram’s Freedom Fish Farms in Muskingum County is home to 30,000 to 40,000 tilapia fish of different genetic backgrounds for the food market and for re-stocking private ponds.

Gram first had an interest in fish production after learning about an aquaculture operation in northeast Ohio.

“It just kind of got me thinking about it and life went on. It was 2016 when we bought the farm and we got started here at this property in 2018. The opportunity came back up to dive back into it learn about aquaculture. We felt it was a direction our family was heading to do something like this,” Gram said. “Ohio State University Extension got a grant opportunity to start what they call a ‘boot camp’ program.… Continue reading

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Manure in a changing world

By Mary Wicks

It used to be that manure management technologies were a shovel, pitchfork, and wagon. And application was on the fields closest to the barn. But as the value of its nutrients and organic matter has become better understood, the focus has been on applying manure to best meet crop needs and capture more of the manure nutrients. Development of solid and liquid manure application equipment has allowed more even distribution, while toolbars that can inject manure minimize nitrogen loss from volatilization and protect the environment by reducing risks of nutrient runoff. The use of dragline hose systems that pump liquid manure from storage ponds or semi-trucks reduces manure tanker traffic on roads and in fields.

Recent technological advances in precision agriculture, which have focused on optimizing fertilizer use, are being applied to manure application. Grid mapping of soil test data, in conjunction with GPS and variable rate technology, allows manure to be applied at different rates across a field depending on soil characteristics, planned yields, and other factors.… Continue reading

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Pork donation to help fill Toledo area protein gap

When it comes to providing no- or low-cost meals to those in need in northwest Ohio, sourcing high-quality protein is an ongoing struggle as people there are facing food insecurity rates close to 16% — far above the national 13.5% rate. However, thanks to Ohio’s pig farmers annual Pork Power program, hundreds of patrons at Toledo’s SAME Café and the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank will have nutrient-dense, sustainably raised pork available to them.

On behalf of the state’s pork producers, the Ohio Pork Council (OPC) is once again partnering with Toledo’s SAME Café and the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank, community-based nonprofits, to bring high-quality protein to those in need. For 2024, this means OPC has provided $3,000 worth of fresh pork or equivalent funds to each venue.

“A meat donation like this is beyond words,” said Courtney Schmidtke, Head Chef of SAME Café. “It is vital for our guests to have high-quality meat to give them the protein, iron, and vitamin B vitamins that they need to stay healthy and happy.… Continue reading

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HPAI webinar for backyard poultry

Penn State Extension’s poultry team will host a webinar to provide updates and biosecurity strategies related to highly pathogenic avian influenza — or HPAI — for owners of small poultry flocks.

“HPAI Updates and Biosecurity Strategies for Small Flock Poultry” is slated for 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. June 19.

Designed for small-flock owners and 4-H families who raise poultry, this webinar is aimed at helping participants safeguard their flocks against HPAI. Attendees will learn what avian influenza is, the latest on the current outbreak, clinical signs of the disease, steps to take if they have sick or dying birds, and practical biosecurity strategies.

Penn State Extension offers this event free of charge, but registration by 6 p.m. June 19 is required to access the webinar link. Registrants also will receive access to the webinar recording.

More information is available on the Penn State Extension website at… Continue reading

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Consumer trends and promotion of underutilized meat cuts

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is looking for ways to build demand in international markets for beef and pork cuts that have limited domestic use.

USMEF director of trade analysis Jessica Spreitzer recently moderated a panel of USMEF representatives working in Mexico, South America, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, who highlighted marketing efforts showcasing the attributes of underutilized U.S. cuts. Spreitzer discussed USMEF strategies to develop demand for cuts specifically from the pork loin and beef round primals, pointing to estimates that loin exports now account for about 20% of U.S. production, up from roughly 10% five years ago. On export demand for underutilized beef cuts, she noted that export markets account for 42% of the total U.S. production of the gooseneck round, 30% of the chuck shoulder clod and 18% of top inside round.

“The export side adds pricing competition, potential customers and ultimately brings added value to these underutilized cuts,” Spreitzer said.… Continue reading

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Soy meal is the right fit for hungry tilapia

By Matt Reese

Tilapia has become one of the most popular fish nationwide and there is a consistent and strong demand as a food source in Ohio, both from people and from other fish in farm ponds.

“They’re high demand in the food side, especially in Asian markets. They don’t want to be buying their tilapia from overseas. They want it as local and as fresh as possible, so that’s been very good, high demand,” said Curtis Gram, owner of Freedom Fish Farms in Muskingum County. “The other side is for pond stocking and tilapia have played a big role in Ohio where we can stock tilapia in residential waterways in Ohio. They eat a lot of algae and vegetation in people’s ponds and we stock males and females in the ponds. They breed about every 30 days so they produce a lot of foraging fish and a lot of new mouths to start eating all that algae and vegetation to keep up with that growth over the summer.… Continue reading

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New rules for electronic ear tags for cattle

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Producers shipping certain types of cattle and bison across state lines might have to use electronic identification (EID or RFID) tags if a final rule developed by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) becomes effective. Federal funding is available to help producers obtain the EID tags. But efforts are underway to stop the EID rule from taking effect. As we’ve seen in the past, disagreements continue over animal traceability and EID mandates. Here’s an update on the current events surrounding the EID issue.

The APHIS final rule

The final rule announced by APHIS on April 26, 2024 will amend the animal traceability rule enacted in 2013. That rule requires “official identification” on certain cattle and bison moved in interstate shipment for the purpose of animal disease traceability. Under the rule, “visual” ear tags are a form of official identification, in addition to certain pre-approved brands and tattoos and group lots.… Continue reading

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Ohio Beef Council Culinary Studio a sizzling success

By Briana Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

The Ohio Beef Council (OBC) recently invested in a new culinary studio that will surely have social media followers liking, sharing, and commenting. After reaching an agreement with  the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and the Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation, the existing kitchen in the building that houses the three entities was totally remodeled.

Recent studies conducted by the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Foundation have shown that 64% of Americans choose to cook their dinners at home to save money and make healthier eating choices. Additionally, they’re turning to social media to find recipe information and how-to cooking videos. More than half (54%) of consumers reported using TikTok and YouTube to learn a new recipe or cooking technique. 

Elizabeth Harsh, Executive Director of the Ohio Beef Council, said the Council recognized this shift as an opportunity to reach consumers where they are: watching videos and multimedia content online. … Continue reading

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