USDA opens 2022 signup for Dairy Margin Coverage

As part of ongoing efforts to support dairy farmers and rural communities, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) opened signup for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program and expanded the program to allow dairy producers to better protect their operations by enrolling supplemental production. This signup period — which runs from Dec. 13, 2021 to Feb. 18, 2022 — enables producers to get coverage through this important safety-net program for another year as well as get additional assistance through the new Supplemental DMC.

Supplemental DMC will provide $580 million to better help small- and mid-sized dairy operations that have increased production over the years but were not able to enroll the additional production. Now, they will be able to retroactively receive payments for that supplemental production. Additionally, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) updated how feed costs are calculated, which will make the program more reflective of actual dairy producer expenses.  

“Dairy Margin Coverage is a critical safety-net for producers, and catastrophic coverage is free.… Continue reading

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Beef export value shatters annual record

October was another strong month for U.S. red meat exports as beef export value continued to soar, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). October pork exports were below last year’s large total but year-to-date shipments remained slightly above the record pace of 2020.

“USMEF has always prioritized market diversification, and this is more critical than ever now that the red meat industry faces unprecedented transportation challenges and rising input costs,” said Dan Halstrom, president and CEO. “Exports will likely reach about $18 billion in 2021, which is a remarkable achievement. While global demand is tremendous and we are cautiously optimistic about further growth in 2022, supply chain pressures are not easy to overcome and are a growing concern for exporters and their international customers.”

Broad-based growth puts beef exports on $10 billion pace

Beef exports reached 115,709 metric tons (mt) in October, up 7.5% from a year ago, while export value climbed 48% to $956.9 million — the second-highest total on record, behind August 2021.… Continue reading

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Dairy defined: Tough times arrive in fake-food land

By The National Milk Producers Federation

The hype couldn’t last forever. 

No matter how many celebrity funders are brought on board or “next best thing” pitches are made to launch a product, eventually, over-the-top marketing comes back to bite, and that’s what’s been happening in the world of fake food. Here are a couple recent examples.

Oatly, the darling of the plant-based beverage set, lost one-fifth of its trading value in one day last month after warning it wouldn’t meet revenue expectations. As is the fashion of the day, Oatly blamed the pandemic and supply chains, but the simple truth is, consumer demand isn’t what it was earlier hyped up to be. Third-quarter sales in the Americas, expected at 40 million liters a month, fell short by 3 million. 

The company is facing quality control issues as well, with a recall in its native Sweden for potential loose metal in its products.… Continue reading

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Stories from the Steak Barn

By Matt Reese

Ribeye sandwich with extra onions? Cheeseburger? Chopped steak sandwich? Malt vinegar on those fries? Regardless of personal preferences, most everyone acquainted with Ohio’s beef industry and the Ohio State Fair has some experience with the offerings of the Steak Barn.  

The tradition of serving up delicious ribeye sandwiches at the Ohio State Fair has brought nourishment, camaraderie and a connection with Ohio’s cattle industry to many diners since 1984. The Steak Barn — a State Fair staple located between the Voinovich Livestock Arena and the Butter Cow Display — got its start as a unique fundraiser.

In 1981, the Margaretta Junior High cheerleaders wanted to improve their skills by going to a cheer camp, but they needed to find a way to pay for it. They settled on the idea of setting up a concession stand to raise the needed funds. Bob Wright from Clyde, the father of one of those cheerleaders, went to work in his WR Farms shop crafting a vision into what would become the Steak Barn.… Continue reading

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Managing fertilizer costs on dairy operations

By Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Tuscarawas County; and Greg LaBarge, Field Specialist, Nutrient Management, Ohio State University Extension

Fertilizer prices have been increasing rapidly. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has tracked bi-weekly fertilizer prices in Illinois since 2008. Prices of anhydrous ammonia, urea, and 28% are all up. The average price of anhydrous ammonia was $1,135 per ton, up by $278 per ton from the price reported Oct. 7, 2021. 

The University of Illinois Farmdoc Daily, in their October 26 Weekly Farm Economicsnewsletter ( identified the following reasons for increasing nitrogen fertilizer prices:

  • Hurricane Ida’s landfall in September closed anhydrous ammonia plants in Louisiana, leading to supply disruptions.
  • Natural gas prices, a significant cost of producing nitrogen fertilizers, have been increasing in recent months. Natural gas and anhydrous ammonia prices are correlated.
  • Corn prices have been rising. Fertilizer prices are positively correlated with corn prices, particularly since the rise in corn use for ethanol.
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Pork producers lobby lawmakers

Preventing foreign animal diseases, addressing a shortage of agricultural workers and reauthorizing a livestock price reporting law are the primary issues pork producers will lobby their congressional lawmakers over the next two days, during the fall Capitol Hill fly-in of the National Pork Producers Council. More than 100 producers from across the country are expected to participate virtually in NPPC’s Legislative Action Conference.

“These are critical but by no means the only issues of concern to U.S. pork producers,” said Jen Sorenson,NPPC President and communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa. “Failure to address even one of these matters could make it very difficult for hog farmers to continue producing safe, nutritious pork for consumers around the globe. Our fly-in is an opportunity for producers to urge Congress to take action on important issues.”

Producers will ask their members of Congress to support funding for efforts to prepare for and prevent foreign animal diseases, particularly African swine fever (ASF), which recently was detected in the Western Hemisphere for the first time in more than 40 years.… Continue reading

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2021 OCA Replacement Female Sale results

By Garth Ruff, OCA Replacement Female Sale Manager

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) held their ninth annual Replacement Female Sale on Nov. 26 at the Muskingum Livestock Auction Company in Zanesville. A large crowd was on hand to bid on 80 high quality females in the sale. The sale represented an excellent opportunity for cow-calf producers to add quality females with documented breeding and health records to their herds.

Buyers evaluated 80 lots of bred heifers and bred cows at the auction. The sale included 56 lots of bred heifers that averaged $1,701, and 24 lots of bred cows that averaged $2,155. The 80 total lots grossed $152,875 for an overall average of $1,910. The females sold to buyers from Ohio and West Virginia. Col. Ron Kreis served as the auctioneer.

Sales prices for quality females were slightly higher year over year, as the 2021 sale represented a $66 per head price increase over the2020 sale.… Continue reading

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Antibiotic stewardship in calves: Knowing the signs

By Haley Zynda, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Wayne County, Ohio State University Extension

Fun fact, a “disease symptom” is something you are personally feeling, while a “disease sign” is something you observe in someone else or in animals. In order to better score potential disease, it is necessary to understand what a healthy calf looks like, so a sick calf stands out and is appropriately treated. So, what factors need to be observed? 

Calves are naturally playful; sometimes I see them referred to as “grass puppies” on social media because of their bouncy and curious personalities. Healthy calves also have bright eyes and alert ears, paying attention to the world around them. They will typically stretch upon rising. On the flip side, sick calves may seem lethargic or disinterested in their surroundings. Dull eyes or mucus coming from the eyes and nose is a clear sign of illness.… Continue reading

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Valuing bedded-pack manure

By Glen Arnold, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Due to the increase in fertilizer prices, there is renewed interest in the nutrient value of manure, including bedded-pack manures that involve straw, sawdust, or wood chips to absorb moisture. The nutrients and organic matter in pen-pack manure are an excellent addition to farm fields.

The most common types of bedded manure are beef, dairy, and sheep or goats. Small ruminant bedded pack manure contains the most nutrients per ton followed by beef manure and dairy manure. 

Pen-pack manure contains the macro nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash along with a host of micronutrients. The nutrient content can vary depending on species, feed products fed, and the amounts of straw or sawdust used for bedding. The farm’s manure handling and storage practices also impact the nutrient content of manure. Manure stored under roof will usually maintain a higher nutrient value than manure exposed to rainfall.… Continue reading

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Waiver from trucking federal rule extended

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended a waiver for commercial truckers from the federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulation to Feb. 28, 2022.

The HOS rule limits truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period and requires prescribed rest periods. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and prompted by efforts from national livestock organizations to ensure producers could continue transporting animals, the FMCSA included livestock haulers in an initial emergency declaration that provided an exemption from the HOS regulation for commercial truckers hauling essential supplies, including livestock. The waiver subsequently was expanded to cover the delivery of livestock feed. 

“We’re pleased the FMCSA recognized the challenges COVID still presents and the problems it has created, including supply chain issues, for the livestock industry and acted accordingly,” said Jen Sorenson, National Pork Producers Council president.… Continue reading

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Falling leaves poison with ease

By Haley Zynda, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Wayne County

Even though we’re only a couple weeks away from the true start of winter (hard to believe, I know), some trees are still clutching onto their leaves as if the dying foliage will be enough to fortify their soon-to-be bare branches against the frigid temperatures. It’s important to take note of the trees that have leaves yet to fall, especially if you house livestock outside in pastures or sacrifice lots. I’m sure most have heard of the dangers of black/wild cherry limbs and leaves for cattle, but there are several other trees and shrubs that can cause negative impacts on cattle, horses, sheep, and goats.

Wild cherry 

Poisonous to all classes of livestock, wilted cherry leaves and branches can cause prussic acid poisoning, the same poisoning as seen in frosted sorghum-sudangrass. It’s best to remove downed limbs and leaves from pastures to prevent incidental intake, or keep animals off the lot until the leaves have completely dried and become brittle.… Continue reading

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Showcase talents outside of the ring with the Stockmanship division of OCA’s BEST program

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Beef Exhibitor Show Total (BEST) program includes the Stockmanship Division to allow exhibitors with or without cattle to showcase their talent outside of the ring by expanding their knowledge of cattle and the industry. It is open to all Ohio youth regardless of if they show cattle during the BEST show season. This division is sponsored by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.
The Stockmanship contests for this year are as follows.

Prepared speaking at the Scarlet & Gray Midwest Showdown, Columbus — Saturday, Jan. 8 at 9 a.m.
The Prepared Speaking competition will give juniors an opportunity to perfect their speaking skills while promoting the importance of communication skills, poise and use-of-terms to present on a beef industry topic they are passionate about.

Salesmanship at the Weekend Spectacular, Marion — Saturday, Jan. 22 at 9 a.m.
Juniors will catch a glimpse at a real-life situation of selling cattle or an agriculture product while promoting the importance of personable communication skills and marketing techniques to display their understanding of performance, pedigree and market information.… Continue reading

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Doing better with pasture

By Matt Reese

After a successful career in marble, granite and tile work, Bill O’Neill III retired to rural Licking County north of Granville over 25 years ago. 

“We moved out here and I quickly figured out I needed to do something to keep me busy, or I’d just sit on the couch and watch Oprah and get fat,” O’Neill said. “We decided to get cattle and we went to the Beef Expo in Columbus. We got Longhorns because when I watched westerns as a kid, the cattle all had long horns. That is why we got them. I really like the way they look. They have more appeal to me than a pasture full of black cattle.” 

The novelty of the Longhorn breed, and the goal of having cattle on the pasture and beef in the freezer, led O’Neill to connect with one of the top Longhorn breeders in the country, Dickinson Cattle Co.… Continue reading

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Ohioans gain insights in lamb and wool production out West

By Matt Reese

In Ohio there are meat sheep, wool sheep, meat and wool sheep, hair sheep, agritourism sheep, show sheep, club lamb and purebred sheep for 4-H and FFA projects, sheep on pasture, sheep in feedlots, and probably several sheep designations with more breeds than can be quickly counted in the state’s very broad sheep, lamb and wool sector. In the Western U.S., the industry is much more focused on a handful of sheep breeds for high quality wool and meat production amid some very challenging conditions.

Roger High, executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, was recently on two trips further West to see the very different production methods with the same end goal as Ohio’s sheep producers — high quality end products.

The National Lamb Feeders Association hosted the Trail Blazers Tour in Texas this year.

“There were 26 of us who travelled to Austin, Texas and through the Hill Country to a lot of sheep production areas. The… Continue reading

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Vietnam confirms tariff cut on U.S. pork

Vietnam has confirmed it will lower its Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariff on imported frozen pork to 10% from 15%. The reduction is expected to be implemented on July 1, 2022. Getting better market access to Vietnam, a major pork-consuming country, has been a top trade priority for the National Pork Producers Council. 

Late last year, NPPC Assistant Vice President of International Affairs Maria Zieba testified on the importance to U.S. pork producers of the Vietnamese market and urged the Trump administration not to impose U.S. tariffs on goods from Vietnam over that country’s alleged currency manipulation. NPPC led recent efforts, including a letter from 70 members of Congress, asking U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to press Vietnam to eliminate tariffs on U.S. pork.

“We thank the lawmakers, led by Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), for their support in recognizing the importance of the Vietnamese market to U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s BEST program to kick-off new season in December

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Beef Exhibitor Show Total (BEST) Program is excited to kick-off a new season with this year’s theme “How the BEST was won,” alongside sponsoring partners: Ag-Pro & John Deere, Bane-Welker Equipment, Bob Evans Farms, Diamond T Land & Cattle Co., D&E Electric, M.H. EBY Inc., Farm Credit Mid-America, Weaver Leather Livestock, The Folks Printing, Dickson Cattle Co., Jones Show Cattle and RD Jones Excavating.

BEST is a youth development program of OCA that recognizes Ohio’s junior beef exhibitors for participation and placings through a series of sanctioned cattle shows that include showmanship competitions, educational contests, leadership opportunities and community service. Juniors earn points for participation in each sanctioned show which they are rewarded for at the end-of-season banquet.

The schedule for this year’s season is as follows:

  • AGR Holiday Classic, Circleville — Dec. 10-12
  • Scarlet & Gray Midwest Showdown, Columbus — Jan. 7-9
  • The Weekend Spectacular, Marion — Jan.
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Red meat exports remain on record pace

Both U.S. beef and U.S. pork exports were on a record pace through September, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports posted one of the best months on record in September, with value climbing nearly 60% above last year. Pork export volume was slightly below last September, but value still increased 8%. 

“Facing significant logistical headwinds and higher costs, these outstanding results are really a testament to the loyalty and strong demand from our international customers and to the innovation and determination of the U.S. industry,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO.


Beef exports continued to soar in September at 123,628 metric tons (mt), up 20% from a year ago and the fourth largest volume of the post-BSE era. Export value jumped 59% to $954.1 million — the second highest month on record, trailing only August of 2021. For the first three quarters of 2021, beef exports increased 18% from a year ago to 1.08 million mt, valued at $7.58 billion – up more than $2 billion (36%) from the same period last year.… Continue reading

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Water effects on livestock performance

By Mark Landefeld, Ohio State University Extension Educator ANR, Monroe County and Jeff Bettinger, Lead District Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Limitation of water intake reduces animal performance quicker and more dramatically than any other nutrient deficiency. Water constitutes approximately 60% to 70% of an animal’s live weight and consuming water is more important than consuming food. Domesticated animals can live about 60 days without food but only about 7 days without water. Livestock should be given all the water they can drink because animals that do not drink enough water may suffer stress or dehydration.

Signs of dehydration or lack of water are tightening of the skin, loss of weight and drying of mucous membranes and eyes. Stress accompanying lack of water intake may need special considerations. Newly arrived animals may refuse water at first due to differences in palatability. One should allow them to become accustomed to a new water supply by mixing water from old and new sources.… Continue reading

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Ohio Hereford Futurity highlights Ohio genetics

In October, Ohio Hereford breeders gathered at the Morrow County Fairgrounds in Mount Gilead. The Buckeye Hereford Association hosted the annual event which showcases Ohio bred seedstock. Judge Tom Modro of Hillsboro evaluated 54 head of the finest Hereford stock from across the state.

2021 Ohio Hereford Futurity Champions

Grand Champion Female: HFJ Mia Paige H312, a March 2020 heifer sired UPS Sensation 2296 ET. Bred by Jacob Wiechart, Fort Jennings and owned by Ephraim Fowler, Salesville.

Reserve Champion Female KT Olivia 206J, an April 2021 heifer calf sired by THM Durango 4037. Bred and owned by Cramer Cattle, Ada.

Grand Champion Cow/Calf Pair: Wilson 25Z Andrea 103C, sired by Wilson 44U Deacon 25Z, with an April heifer calf by Boyd 31Z Blueprint 6153. Pair bred and owned by Wilson Stock Farm, Kensington. 

Reserve Champion Cow/Calf Pair: Wilson 5051 Amelia 138G, sired by KT Small Town Kid 5051, with a March bull calf by TH 22R 16S Lambeau 17Y.… Continue reading

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USMEF welcomes Ohio corn checkoff as Million Dollar Club member

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is recognizing the Ohio Corn Checkoff as the newest member of the USMEF Million Dollar Club — a group of agricultural organizations that have invested more than $1 million in the promotion of U.S. beef, pork in lamb in international markets. 

Ohio Corn’s first investment in USMEF programs came in 1990. An award honoring Ohio corn producers for more than 30 years of steadfast and consistent support of USMEF will be presented Nov. 11 at the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference in Carlsbad, Calif.

“The U.S. livestock sector is the Ohio corn industry’s largest customer, so supporting meat production and exports is a very important part of what we do,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director for Ohio Corn. “We feel that red meat exports are an extremely efficient way for Ohio corn producers to capitalize on international growth opportunities, so we have always viewed our longtime partnership with USMEF as a very wise investment of corn checkoff funds.” … Continue reading

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