2014 a year of growth for the beef industry

The combination of the recharge in feed grains and hay stocks, along with the prices that calves are bringing this year, is just the right set of scenarios to see a recovery in the beef industry.

“With this change in paradigm between feed costs and positive closeouts in the fed cattle markets, guys are starting to pay a bit more attention to their barns than their fields again, and it’s about time,” said Don Close, Senior Analyst with Rabo AgriFinance.

Close says he expects the Jan. 1 inventory report to have a small decline, but 2014 will clearly see some growth.

“If you take a look at the all-time record cattle numbers in 1973 and 1974 of 139 million head, we’ve steadily eroded to the 89 million head this past January,” Close said.… Continue reading

Read More »

Wrestling to reconcile reality in food production

While the application of science and innovation has made food safer, more affordable and more available than ever before, these same advancements now fuel a cultural tide of mistrusting “big food” and the science that comes with it. This mistrust was the topic of recent comments in Time magazine by writer Bryan Walsh (Reports Peg Lingering Problems with Meat Production in the U.S., October 25, 2013), regarding a new report by the Center for a Livable Future (CLF) on the state of industrial food animal production in the United States.

The report, intended to be a progress update on the Pew Commission’s 2008 Industrial Farm Animal Production study, sites concerns about “animal welfare, pollution from big CAFOs, and the growing economic concentration of the farming sector.” The report also underscores the lack of progress to date regarding federal legislation or regulations to improving the transparency and accessibility to sustainable food across the country.… Continue reading

Read More »

Antibiotic resistance complex and misunderstood

The sharing of science-based antibiotic use and resistance information continued among experts and leaders from the animal, human and public health communities during the “Bridging the Gap Between Animal Health and Human Health” symposium sponsored by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture and conducted Nov. 12-14, in Kansas City, Mo. Adding to the symposium’s insightful, transparent discussions were presentations by media and consumer advocacy group representatives as well as questions generated by symposium attendees.

“Antibiotic resistance has been called the single most complex problem in public health, and this symposium provided respective health communities and disciplines a platform where they shared their latest research findings,” said Nevil Speer, co-chair of the symposium and a professor at Western Kentucky University. “This year’s antibiotic use and resistance symposium not only shed additional light on this often polarized topic but we identified common ground so a collective path forward that serves the best interests of all parties can be forged.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Take time to winterize cattle operations

Now is a good time for beef producers to assess their pastures and facilities and take care of some routine tasks to prepare their cattle operations for winter, a Purdue Extension beef specialist said.

Cattle are healthier, have more successful pregnancies and have better rates of gain when they have access to quality nutrition and facilities during the cold winter months.

One of the first recommendations from Ron Lemenager is to assess pastures and hay fields and have forages analyzed as soon as possible. Once producers know what they have in terms of forage, they can start to plan their supplemental feeding strategies based on animal protein and energy needs.

Common supplements include corn and grain byproducts, such as soybean hulls, corn gluten feed and distiller’s grains.

“The market’s somewhat lower now, and it’s a good time to start checking supplement prices,” Lemenager said.

While corn might be an economical energy supplement this year, Lemenager said producers need to compare prices and evaluate energy requirements for their herds before deciding.… Continue reading

Read More »

Simple steps to up your cow herd’s profitability

Each fall, cattle veterinarians from North America and beyond gather for the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) annual conference. As always, there were many excellent talks at this year’s meeting in Milwaukee to help herd health DVMs stay current on cattle health and production.

One particularly useful talk was a small-group discussion in which 20 of us discussed how we, as herd health DVMs, can help our clients improve herd profitability. The goal of the session was to learn from the collective wisdom of the group, and that mission was accomplished.

A recent National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) report indicated that cows are checked for pregnancy in only 20% of all U.S. beef herds each year. However, NAHMS says 71.7% of large herds (those over 200 cows) undergo preg checks annually. Thus, this means that about 60% of all beef cows in the U.S. are preg-checked each year.

Our AABP discussion group was in agreement that this number is still too low.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female sale

The 2013 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female sale is coming up on Friday, November 29, at 7:00 p.m. The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock Auction Company located at 944 Malinda St., Zanesville, OH 43701. Producers from around the state have stepped up to consign 88 bred heifers for the sale.

The primary purposes of the Replacement Female Sale are to: 1. Provide Ohio cow-calf producers with a viable source of quality replacement breeding stock; 2. Encourage beef cattle operations to consider the purchase of replacement breeding stock as a viable alternative to keeping small numbers of replacement females and hopefully reduce management and production difficulties; 3. Offer a marketing option to producers as a membership benefit to OCA members; and 4. Demonstrate that the principles of beef herd female replacement which have been taught in recent years via Ohio State University Extension and the OSU Beef Team are cost effective and viable alternatives for Ohio’s cattlemen.Continue reading

Read More »

Food trust must be earned

This year’s consumer trust survey from the Center for Food Integrity evaluated the attitudes and opinions of consumers towards the use of antibiotics in food production, concerns about life and current events, identifying issues with high impact and high concern, what leads to social outrage and the impact of perceptions of good actors and bad actors.

Half of CFI’s 2013 consumer trust survey respondents believe antibiotics are less effective in humans because they have been over-prescribed by physicians, and among those highly concerned, nearly half of them say it has impacted their decision to seek a prescription. One-third believes antibiotics are less effective in humans because of their use in livestock.

When it came to trepidation about the use of antibiotics in dairy, meat and egg production, high concerns were at a similar level for all three (just over half) with about one out of three respondents believing antibiotics are less effective because of their use in cows, hogs and layers.… Continue reading

Read More »

Turkey gamble pays off for stay-at-home mom

In college, Kelly Hahn needed another couple of credits to graduate and the poultry science class sounded interesting, so she signed up. Years later, when she wanted to stay home with her children, she remembered that class, and thought that the things she learned could translate into a way for her to generate some income while being a full time mom.

Kelly and her husband, Evan, lived in Indiana and started raising few chickens for their own food. They butchered them on the back of a pickup truck. When they moved back to Ohio in Ashland County and started a family, the few chickens they were raising turned into a bigger endeavor — Acorn Ridge Poultry Farm, LLC.

“We started raising chickens again when we came back to Ohio and friends asked us if we could raise a few more for them. Then more people started asking,” Kelly said. “Four years ago we started raising chickens in a larger volume on pasture, we did 800 in the first year of the larger scale.… Continue reading

Read More »

Sow packers to require premises ID tags in 2015

In an effort to improve pre-harvest traceability and improve national disease surveillance in the pork industry, many major U.S. packers and processors will require a USDA-approved, official premises identification number (PIN) swine tag as a condition of sale for breeding stock beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

“This is a positive step for our industry as we continue to create a more robust surveillance and traceability system that can help protect our animals, our livelihoods and our customers,” said National Pork Board President, Karen Richter, a producer from Montgomery, Minn. “That’s why I encourage producers who may not already be using official PIN tags to register their premises and begin using the tags now.”

According to Dr. Patrick Webb, Pork Checkoff’s director of swine health, the USDA-approved, official PIN tags for breeding swine are customizable with or without a management number and can be purchased in multiple colors.

“This allows producers to use the official tag in any color as a management tag or wait to apply the tag to sows and boars before leaving the production site to enter harvest channels,” Webb said.… Continue reading

Read More »

U.S. Appeals Court halts horse slaughter again

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver issued a temporary injunction barring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from providing horse meat inspection services to Roswell, New Mexico-based Valley Meat Co., Responsible Transportation in Iowa, and Rains Natural Meats in Missouri.

The order comes after a U.S. District Judge in New Mexico on Friday threw out a lawsuit, which the Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection groups had filed in July that sought to permanently halt the slaughter of horses.

The suit alleged that USDA failed to carry out environmental reviews before it gave approval to the three companies to slaughter horses for human consumption.

The district judge had found that the grants of inspection were properly issued and dismissed the lawsuit, clearing the way for the processing.

However, in an emergency request to the 10th Circuit on Monday, the animal activist groups argued that an emergency injunction was necessary to prevent environmental harm and the violation of federal environmental laws while their appeal is pending.… Continue reading

Read More »

OCA office raises flag to honor past president

The next time you drive by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s main office on Route 42 in Marysville you may notice a new addition to the landscape. In early November, the location’s first flag pole was put in place to honor the association’s past President Bert Skinn (1976-77).

“OCA built this building and moved its office here in 1997, and we have always wanted a flag pole and flag,” said current OCA President Sam Sutherly. “Thanks to the Huron County Cattlemen’s Association and their desire to recognize one of their local cattleman, a partnership effort between Huron County and OCA made the flag pole a reality.”

IMG_5747 (640x417)Mr. Skinn passed away in August of this year and was a lifelong resident of Huron County. He was a very active member of the Norwalk community as well as the local and state cattlemen’s associations. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving with the 9th infantry Division in World War II and received 3 Purple Heart Medals.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA announces final BSE rule

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) commends the announcement by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), that it has completed its efforts to modernize import regulations for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). This final import regulation is based on internationally-accepted scientific literature and the standards set by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

“The basis of these import regulations, set on internationally-accepted science and the OIE guidelines, is critical in showing that the U.S. is committed to ensuring trade, unfettered by protectionist motivations, and sends a clear message to our trading partners of the value we place on fair trade,” said Scott George, NCBA president and Cody, Wyo. cattleman. “I am pleased that NCBA has been a leader on this issue since 2003 and that the USDA/APHIS incorporated the comments of cattle producers in finalizing these regulations. These regulations show that cattlemen and women not only talk about market access, but that we stand behind it.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Livestock profits looking up

The last couple of years have offered many challenges for the livestock industry with higher feed costs, though many have turned to alternative feed sources to weather the extended period of expensive feed.

“We use alternative products to feed. We used distillers, corn screenings, potato waste and increased our corn silage a little bit,” said Phil Watts, who raises cattle and is the president of Granville Milling Company in Licking County. “We did what we could do to bring that ration cost down. It has been challenging, — there is no doubt about it — and there are definitely not as many cattle being fed in the country as there used to be.”

With a business that is involved with both crop and livestock producers, Watts is looking for crop price levels that are acceptable for both sides of the equation.

“Even the crop guys were saying $7 corn was too high,” Watts said.… Continue reading

Read More »

Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium programming to concentrate on the future

The 2013 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium (BSS) will concentrate on, “Looking to the Future: Marketing, Nutrient Management, and Product Demand.” The event will be held Dec. 14 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) Shisler Conference Center, 1680 Madison Ave, Wooster.

We have put together a program with the future of all segments of the sheep and goat industries in mind. The symposium keynote speaker is Jack Fisher, Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president. He will discuss issues facing sheep and goat farmers as they relate to Ohio’s water resources and the issue of nutrient management on farms. In addition, several sheep, lamb, wool marketing and nutrient management experts will be on the program. Ohio State University Extension will play a major role in the program, concentrating on the nutrient management issue.

Prior to the symposium, the OSIA Annual Meeting will be held Dec. 14. At the annual meeting, the election of the OSIA officer team will be held, as well as other important items for members to discuss.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Cattlemen’s Association accepting Best of the Buckeye nominations

Ohio seedstock breeders are encouraged to take advantage of an enhanced marketing opportunity through the Best of the Buckeye program beginning in the 2014 show season, hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) in conjunction with the Ohio Beef Expo and the Ohio State Fair.

The Best of the Buckeye program will recognize top-placing Ohio bred, born and registered calves, along with the breeder and exhibitor, in each breed division at the two shows. Thanks to generous sponsors, $45,000 will be presented during 2014 in the form of premiums at the two shows, scholarships and awards. This year’s sponsors are Green Oak Farms, heifer division; Steve R. Rauch, steer division; and Franklin Equipment, scholarship division.

The program was formed to provide Ohio seedstock breeders an additional marketing opportunity, create a source for moderately priced show steers and heifers by providing a program with awards and prestige, and to attract new participants interested in showing at the Ohio Beef Expo and/or the Ohio State Fair.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio hog producers win national award while working to protect water quality

Krikke Pork, owned by Howard and Jane Krikke of Greenwich, Ohio, has been selected as a 2013 Pork Industry Environmental Stewards award winner, for their ongoing work to protect water quality and other natural resources on and near their farm.

“Being good stewards of the environment is a requirement for farming,” said Howard Krikke. “If we don’t take care of the land and the water it won’t take care of us.”

For the Krikke family, taking good care of the land and water is top priority. Since 2006, Krikke Pork has been home to two, state-of-the-art, 2,500-head wean-to-finish barns.

When constructing the barns, the Krikkes installed a system that allows them to collect all of the rainwater run-off from the barn roofs. The rainwater is directed above ground through grassed waterways or below ground through tile to a natural water recharge facility. Under normal Ohio precipitation, Krikke Pork returns 160% of the water used in their barns back to the groundwater supply.… Continue reading

Read More »

2013 Ohio Hereford Futurity results

Hereford breeders and enthusiasts gathered Sunday afternoon October 6, 2013, at the Wayne Co. Fairgrounds in Wooster. The Buckeye Hereford Association hosted the annual event which showcases Ohio bred seedstock. Judge Aaron Arnett of Select Sires sorted the entries and noted the depth and quality of the cattle. Judge Arnett complimented the breeders on producing the right type of cattle needed to move the industry forward.

2013 Ohio Hereford Futurity champions

Grand Champion Bull: UHF 27P Xavier U16Z, February 2012 bull sired by UHF Mark Embracer U27 bred and owned by Ralph E. Ullman & Sons, Rinard Mills, Ohio.


Reserve Champion Bull: Pennells Exxon 1303 a March 2013 bull sired by H Excel 8051 ET, bred and owned  by Pennell Brothers, Navarre, Ohio.


Grand Champion Female: HH Sassie 373, a January 2013 heifer sired by H Excel 8051 ET, bred and owned  by Sara Beanblossom, Bradford, Ohio


Reserve Champion Female: Circle D Miss October an October 2012 heifer sired by UPS TCC Nitro 1 ET, bred and owned by Caitlin Decker, Vincent, Ohio


Grand Champion Prospect Steer: March 2013 steer sired by THM Brother 8699 ET,

bred  & owned by J&L Cattle Services, Jeromesville, Ohio.… Continue reading

Read More »

Funding available for water quality and nutrient management outreach

Funding assistance is still available for organizations interested in hosting meetings to educate farmers on two of the most pressing issues currently facing Ohio agriculture — water quality and nutrient management. The funding is available through the Ohio Livestock Coalition (OLC).

“Water quality and nutrient management issues are far-reaching and affect all farmers, farm managers and anyone who buys, sells or manages manure or uses fertilizer,” said David White, OLC executive director. White said that OLC created the funding mechanism as a way to provide financial assistance to organizations seeking to educate farmers on these topics. Organizations are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity while funds are available.

To apply for funding, an intent form must be submitted to OLC at least 30 days prior to the scheduled meeting date. Applicants’ intent forms must demonstrate how the meeting will educate attendees on water quality and nutrient management issues, including:

  • Promoting the 4Rs of nutrient management;
  • Impact of nutrients on water quality;
  • Promoting the use of best management practices (BMPs);
  • Availability of cost share programs to address this specific issue;
  • The benefits of using manure as a nutrient and its role in water quality;
  • Voluntary action vs.
Continue reading

Read More »

October is National Pork Month

With October being recognized as National Pork Month, the Ohio Pork Council has taken the opportunity to reach out to Ohio communities, promote pork and have conversations about pigs, pork and farming.

“Pork Month is a great time to extend efforts put forth by the Ohio Pork Council and highlight some of the promotions taking place in our state,” said Jim Heimerl, president of the Ohio Pork Council. “The Ohio Pork Council works on behalf of our farmer members to promote pork and the image of farmers. We continue to develop new programs and are proud of our on-going efforts.”

During Pork Month, the Ohio Pork Council has travelled the state, focused on encouraging conversations about pork and modern agriculture. OPC staff and member volunteers participated in two Taste of Home cooking schools (Columbus and Botkins), setting up displays in the events’ trade shows to sample boneless pork loin and discuss the versatility of pork and the importance of proper cooking temperature.… Continue reading

Read More »

Animal disease traceability meetings

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will host a series of meetings throughout the state in October and November regarding the new Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rule and how it relates to moving animals from one state to another.

The purpose of the Animal Disease Traceability rule is to protect American animal agriculture by providing producers and animal health officials with the infrastructure to improve efforts in current or emerging disease eradication and control; by providing proper traceback and traceforward capabilities for a timely response; and by addressing threats from deliberate disease introduction.

Those who transport livestock across state lines are strongly encouraged to attend. Veterinarians and their staff, OSU extension personnel, licensed livestock dealers, haulers or others interested in learning about the new Animal Disease Traceability rule are also invited.

The meetings will include officials from ODA and USDA APHIS.… Continue reading

Read More »