NCBA supports new BSE rule

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published in the Federal Register a comprehensive rule for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) on March 16, 2012. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) voiced support for the rule in comments submitted late Tuesday. NCBA Vice President Bob McCan said the organization has been pushing for this rule since the first case of BSE was detected in the United States in December 2003.

“This has been a long time coming and we certainly welcome this rule. Quite simply, this proposed rule will show the United States is willing to talk the talk and walk the walk with regard to following international standards developed by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE),” said McCan. “We cannot demand our trading partners follow OIE standards when we are not here at home.”

As noted in the comments submitted by NCBA, the comprehensive BSE rule will solidify the United States’ commitment to basing trade relationships on internationally-recognized, science-based standards.… Continue reading

Read More »

Land O’Lakes Purina Feed Launches Feeding for 30TM Program

Industry-wide initiative highlights need for attention on sow nutrition and management in the U.S. swine sector.

This week, as part of an ongoing commitment to animal nutrition, Land O’Lakes Purina Feed, LLC launches an industry initiative – the Feeding for 30TM Program. This new program builds on the industry goal of achieving 30 pigs per sow per year and aims to promote proper sow management and nutrition practices to boost performance starting in the gestation and farrowing barns and continuing through all growing phases.

Through the Feeding for 30TM Program, Land O’Lakes Purina Feed and other industry experts are offering collaborative insights and management information to swine producers striving to achieve the industry goal of 30 pigs per sow per year. Researchers behind the program explain that meeting the benchmark of 30 pigs per sow per year has economic and herd health benefits. Sow nutrition is highlighted as a priority to meet the industry goal while maintaining longevity within herds.… Continue reading

Read More »

Study shows cows prefer grazing clean grass


GPS Collars Help Missouri Researcher Track Grazing Preferences.

A recent study by Kevin Bradley, University of Missouri Extension weed scientist, confirms that cattle prefer clean, weed-free grass when given the choice.
The study tracked grazing patterns across three continuously grazed locations in Missouri. A mix of broadleaf weeds or broadleaf weeds and woody brush infested each site, which ranged from 50 to 100 acres in size.

“We sprayed half of each pasture with herbicides and left the other half untreated,” Bradley says. Depending on the undesirable species present, the site received an application of GrazonNext herbicide or a tank mix of Grazon P+D plus Remedy Ultra herbicide. The herbicide treatment eliminated most of the clover.
A month before spraying, Bradley established the baseline. He fitted three cows at each site with GPS collars to track grazing habits. A special, up-down indicator on the collars documented when the cows were actively grazing.… Continue reading

Read More »

Are you smarter than a third grader?

By Dave White, the Ohio Livestock Coalition

Two third grade classes will be taking an all expenses paid field trip to livestock farms in Ohio this month, thanks to the efforts of a fellow classmate in being named a winner in the Ohio Livestock Coalition’s (OLC) “ForYourInFARMation” essay contest.

Emma Crusey, a student at North Union Elementary located near Richwood, and Naomi Miranda, a student at Buckeye Elementary in Medina, were selected as this year’s winners for their response to the question, “”How do Ohio farmers make sure we have good, safe food to eat?”

Students who entered the contest used educational materials provided by OLC and available at The materials explain livestock farming and provide industry related data. The essays reflected what students learned about food production, from the farm to the kitchen table.

The essay contest is part of OLC’s For Your InFARMation. The program includes free educational materials for teachers designed to teach Ohio third-graders about the origins of the food they eat every day and about the important role agriculture plays in Ohio’s economy.… Continue reading

Read More »

Red meat exports have mixed first quarter

According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, market access issues took a toll on U.S. beef exports to Taiwan (down 18% in volume to 5,554 metric tons and 11% in value to $35.1 million), where controversy over ractopamine residue testing has made for a very unsteady business climate. Drastically lower import quotas have lowered U.S. beef exports to Indonesia, where volume (601 metric tons) was down 86% and value ($2.4 million) was down more than 60%. (Though not reflected in these results, Indonesia also imposed new market access restrictions as a result of the BSE case announced April 24.) Year-over-year exports were also lower for Korea, but this was largely due to a surge in export activity in early 2011. First-quarter performance in Korea was fairly consistent with the second half of 2011. U.S. beef has also continued to gain market share in Korea this year, as Australia’s exports have declined by 37%.… Continue reading

Read More »

Beef video contest

This spring the Beef Checkoff launched a new video blog contest designed to engage youth in telling the beef story using the power of YouTube. Videos entries had to be two minutes or less and focus on one of eight beef related topics, including common beef misconceptions, cattle care, and beef’s nutritional value. Entries were judged on creativity, topic choice, content accuracy, and how beef was positioned.

The grand prize winner is Jason Girouard, son of Rebecca and David Girouard of Brimfield, Massachusetts. The Tantasqua Regional High School student receives a $750 cash prize and a trip to an annual Cattle Industry Convention.

When asked why he entered the contest he said “This contest really stuck out to me because beef has been a huge part of my life. I’ve been really active lately with track and swimming at my school, and like I said in my video, eating right has been essential in my daily routine.Continue reading

Read More »

Pork exports strong in first quarter

U.S. pork exports finished the first quarter 8% higher in volume (598,058 metric tons) and 20% higher in value ($1.66 billion) than last year’s record pace, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

At the same time, the value of beef exports for the quarter rose 4% (to $1.25 billion) on 10% lower volumes (266,388 metric tons).

March pork export volume of 198,972 metric tons was 8% lower than a year ago, but up 6% from February 2012. Export value of $570.5 million was 3% higher than last year and up 8% from the previous month. These results were led by excellent growth in the China/Hong Kong region and by strong performance in Mexico, Japan and Canada.

Beef export volume in March of 89,803 metric tons was 23% lower than last year but up 3% from February. March export value of $438.5 million was down 8% year-over-year but was 7% higher than the previous month.… Continue reading

Read More »

Dairy Palooza

By Bonnie Ayars, OSU Dairy Program Specialist

Held on April 28th at the Wayne County Fairgrounds, nearly 275 attendees representing 30 Ohio counties traveled to Ohio’s Dairy Palooza hosted by a volunteer committee working with the 4-H dairy youth specialist, Bonnie Ayars. Although Mother Nature was having a mood swing outside with a variety of chilly weather, the atmosphere inside was filled with enthusiasm.

Dairy Palooza 2012 was a one-day educational program for dairy youth enthusiasts and leaders interested in learning more about dairy projects with hands on activities that related to current topics of concern. Printed resources and informational items were carefully bound in notebooks and distributed at the registration table. These were connected to each of the workshop sessions. There was a red bucket that became the tote for a rope halter, a feed scoop, the binder of resources, and all the items from the career fair.

The day included 4 separate sessions and within each of these, 4 workshops were offered with suggested level of experiences ranging from cloverbuds and beginners to intermediates and seniors.… Continue reading

Read More »

Beef lessons from 2012 (so far)

By John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

There is an increasingly tough public relations battle that the beef industry has fought with the media and the public. Since early March, the public relations road has been lined with more potholes than bumps. We first had to deal with issues surrounding lean, finely textured beef (LFTB) also distastefully referred to as “pink slime.” In late April, the fourth case of BSE, “mad cow disease”, was discovered in California. More recently, consumer activist groups have targeted an enzyme called transglutaminase, used for nearly two decades to bind meat cuts together. Not surprisingly, transglutaminase has been referred to as “meat glue” for shock value in the media.

The beef industry is not alone in fighting outside influences on their industry. The pork industry is currently dealing with outside pressure to accelerate the phase-out of the use of gestation-sow stalls. Companies such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Tim Horton’s, and more recently Safeway have all made announcements as to the intentions to buy pork from suppliers that do not use gestation-sow stalls.… Continue reading

Read More »

New coalition addresses widening consumer gap

By Matt Reese

The newly formed Coalition for Sustainable Animal Agriculture, coordinated by the Center for Food Integrity (CFI), combines forces of food processors, producer groups and other agricultural stakeholders to encourage a more holistic view of what it takes to be sustainable in agriculture.

Charlie Arnot, with CFI, led much of the discussion at the recent North American Strategy Conference on Animal Agriculture that outlined the need for the coalition.

“How do we help those in the food system evaluate the potential tradeoffs when considering food safety, animal health and well-being, worker health and well-being, environmental impacts and food affordability? We think things have fundamentally shifted in the last 90 days when you look at what happened with lean finely textured beef and the current pressure of Kashi to eliminate GM soy. We’re seeing the mobilization of the online communities around specific food concerns that almost erupt like a wildfire.… Continue reading

Read More »

BEST Program banquet

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) invites you to support youth in the BEST Program as the 2011-2012 year wraps up with the annual Awards Banquet held at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. Several representatives from program sponsors Bob Evans Farms, Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, Green Oak Farms, M.H. Eby, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Burroughs Frazier Farms will be attending to present awards totaling more than $35,000 in belt buckles, furniture, jackets, show materials and other awards.

The evening will feature the accomplishments of more than 315 youth participants who nominated more than 415 head of market animals and heifers into the program. Each participant in the program will receive a participant ward courtesy of the program’s sponsors. Additionally, 180 total individual awards will be presented which includes 42 champion and reserve awards, top 10 crossbred steers, 10 bred-and-owned winners, top 10 novice market animal and heifer exhibitors and 48 showmanship winners.… Continue reading

Read More »

Grazing management reminders

By Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator Wayne County, Crossroads EERA


Timely and ample precipitation and favorable temperatures is a combination for rapid grass growth. May is generally the month when graziers struggle to manage the spring flush and stay ahead of the growth and seed head development. Here are some management reminders and thoughts related to this early season period.

• Manage beginning and ending grass height. In beginning level grazing schools we say to start grazing when plants are around 8 inches in height. Follow the take half, leave half principle and remove livestock from a pasture paddock when grass height is about 4 inches.

• When grass is growing fast, rotate fast. Under the good growing conditions experienced in the spring of the year, a healthy grass plant will begin to re-grow within a couple of days of being grazed or cut off. This new growth should not be grazed again until the plant has recovered back to the target beginning grazing height.… Continue reading

Read More »

Legislation by intimidation

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Several years ago the United Egg Producers (UEP) assembled some of this country’s top animal welfare experts to develop criteria for poultry welfare standards. Those guidelines were accepted by UEP members and have gradually been implemented by most poultry operations in the U.S. Today, over 85% of U.S. egg producers follow the standards.

As most readers may be aware, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) masterfully ramrodded tougher poultry welfare standards into place in California through the Proposition 2 ballot initiative. It is apparent that HSUS isn’t about to stop with California. Their goal is to legislate similar rules across the U.S., one state at a time.

Proposition 2 was extremely expensive for all parties involved, and the UEP pragmatically realized that fighting this battle in every state would exhaust its resources, energy and patience. Plus, the HSUS, with its alleged $40 million budget, could outspend all of the other parties to promote its animal rights agenda.… Continue reading

Read More »

Farm Bill proposal includes positive steps for dairy

Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee approved a farm bill proposal that contains critically-needed improvements in dairy programs, according to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). The bill passed by a vote of 16 to 5, and now will proceed to the full Senate for consideration.

The Senate legislation includes a new, voluntary margin protection program, endorsed by NMPF, to better safeguard farmers against disastrously low margins, such as those generated by the low milk prices and high feed costs that cost dairy farmers $20 billion in net worth between 2007 and 2009.

“The Senate has taken a huge step in the right direction by including the dairy reforms modeled after NMPF’s Foundation for the Future program,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. “We commend Senators Stabenow and Roberts for their leadership and diligence in shepherding the farm bill past this point.”

Kozak said the dairy title contains a better safety net for farmers in the form of the Dairy Production Margin Protection Program, which offers them a basic level of coverage against low margins, as well as a supplemental insurance plan offering higher levels of protection jointly funded by government and farmers.… Continue reading

Read More »

Beef market rebounding from BSE

On uncertainty over just what the information would be and concern of potential loss in consumer confidence in beef, futures prices fell by the one-day limit of $3 per hundredweight by closing bell on the day of the USDA’s BSE announcement. But by the close of trading two days later, the futures markets had recovered about 25% to 50% on nearby contracts, said Chris Hurt, a Purdue University economist.

“USDA has generally tried not to supply new information when the futures market is trading, but rather supply that before the day’s opening or after the day’s close,” Hurt said.

That policy allows USDA officials to make sure they have all of the necessary information before making an official announcement to the public. When the market got wind that an announcement was coming, however, traders made decisions based on worst-case scenarios.

But not only does Hurt expect little decline in domestic beef demand.… Continue reading

Read More »

BSE bump in the road?

By Matt Reese

What has been the cause for great worldwide alarm in the past, has thus far been little more than an unsettling bump in the road for cattle producers and consumers when the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the nation’s fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. It was the first such finding since 2006 in the U.S.

According to the USDA, the animal in question was 10 years and 7 months old and came from a dairy farm in Tulare County, Calif. The animal was humanely euthanized after it developed lameness and became recumbent. The animal’s carcass will be destroyed. USDA is continuing its epidemiological investigation and will provide additional information as it is available.

The positive animal was tested as part of targeted BSE surveillance at rendering facilities. Samples were sent to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory for testing and forwarded to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) on April 20th for confirmatory testing.… Continue reading

Read More »

Burger King to support cage-free systems

Burger King is the latest fast food giant to announce that it is responding to pressure from animal rights extremists by supporting only cage free facilities.

By the year 2017, Burger King will get all of its eggs and pork from cage-free chickens and pigs. The Humane Society of the United States has been pushing U.S. food corporations to consider animal welfare in purchasing policies. HSUS President Wayne Pacelle says the Burger King announcement is significant because the food chain is such a big purchaser of these products. Burger King uses hundreds of millions of eggs and tens of millions of pounds of pork each year.

The National Pork Producers Council claims that it seems Burger King was bullied by an animal rights group whose ultimate goal is the elimination of food-animal production. NPPC says HSUS has no concern for the hog farmers who care for their pigs every day, for families struggling to purchase food or for the hog farms that likely will go out of business due to its campaign against America’s farmers and ranchers.… Continue reading

Read More »

The science and ethics of antibiotics

By Matt Reese

While the changes from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may not make sense to many in agriculture in terms of the risk/reward equation supported by science, but the reality is that consumers are demanding change.

“Quite frankly, I think we’re to the point where we won’t have a choice but to make some changes. People are scared. That is frustrating because they really don’t understand what is going on,” said Dr. Leah Dorman, of the Ohio Farm Bureau’s Center for Food and Animal Issues. “When we talk about antibiotics given to food animals, some people believe that they are actually eating the antibiotic in their food. They don’t understand that there is something called a withdrawal time that requires farmers to keep the animal out of the food supply until the drug is out of the animal’s system. Part of the testing process for the drug is the safety for the animal, but also how long the drug takes to clear the system so the meat is safe for human consumption.… Continue reading

Read More »

Detection of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in CA

USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford today released the following statement on the detection of BSE in the United States:

“As part of our targeted surveillance system, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the nation’s fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a dairy cow from central California. The carcass of the animal is being held under State authority at a rendering facility in California and will be destroyed. It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health. Additionally, milk does not transmit BSE.

“The United States has had longstanding interlocking safeguards to protect human and animal health against BSE. For public health, these measures include the USDA ban on specified risk materials, or SRMs, from the food supply. SRMs are parts of the animal that are most likely to contain the BSE agent if it is present in an animal.… Continue reading

Read More »

Cattle: Strategic deworming

Planning ahead can have a positive impact on cow/calf health and productivity

By: Jon Seeger, DVM, Veterinary Operations, Pfizer Animal Health

Strategic deworming success is the result of precise timing. Once perfected, cow/calf producers can expect to see many benefits to their operations — not only in their wallets but in the health and productivity of their cattle as well.

One key to successfully managing herd health is the ability to plan ahead and control parasites year-round. Timing, in relation to seasonal challenges, geographic areas, pasture types and overall management goals for the operation all play a large role in the success of specific protocols. Changing a product class or adjusting the time of application also can have a direct effect on parasite control in the herd.

Incorporating spring administration into a strategic deworming protocol can pay off for producers who normally only deworm in the fall months. In the spring, producers should develop a plan for the entire year — according to grazing activity and prevalence of specific parasites in the area — that can help keep cattle in the best health possible and reduce pasture contamination.… Continue reading

Read More »