Communicating food messages across four generations

By David White, Ohio Livestock Coalition

For the first time in history, four generations of grown consumers are working and communicating side-by-side — Traditionals, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y — and they all have different preferences when it comes to food and farming issues. Each group has their own set of values, expectations, perspectives and communication styles.

This presents a major challenge for Ohio agriculture. The first challenge is that we are facing an unprecedented number of individuals who are three to four generations removed from the farm and do not understand what farmers do and where their food comes from. The second challenge is that this is the first time we’ve had to develop and communicate our messages across such a wide generational gap to share our stories and educate them about farming. Acknowledging that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work, it is critical to understand who these generational groups are, what they value, and the best communication medium to reach them.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association youth raise $13,000 and counting to benefit Make-A-Wish

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association BEST Program for youth ages 8-21 years, along with generous donors, raised more than $13,000, surpassing the $8,000 goal, to benefit local youth through Make-A-Wish. Fifty youth led their decorated show calves before a panel of judges at the BEST Celebrity Showdown at the Clark County Cattle Battle on February 8, 2013, in Springfield.

The showdown kicked off with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Honorary Wish Child Alexis. Judging the show were NFL players and Ohio natives Justin Boren, offensive lineman for the Denver Broncos; Jim Cordle, offensive lineman for the New York Giants; and former OSU Buckeye linebacker, Zach Boren. Participants were encouraged to dress up their calves for the judges who had never attended a cattle show. The winner was awarded a special Seth Rogers Memorial Trophy, in memory of a local young man who was granted a wish and enjoyed working with cattle alongside his family.… Continue reading

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Grazing Improvement Act of 2013 introduced in Senate

The Public Lands Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) strongly support the Grazing Improvement Act of 2013, introduced in the U.S. Senate. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), along with cosponsors Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Jim Risch (R-Iadho), introduced the bill, which seeks to improve the livestock grazing permitting processes on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The bill was debated during the last session of Congress in both the Senate and House of Representatives; it passed the House with bipartisan support as part of the Conservation and Economic Growth Act (H.R. 2578).

PLC President Brice Lee, a Colorado rancher, asserted that the uncertainty surrounding grazing permit renewals is threatening ranchers’ ability to stay in business.

“Those of us who utilize grazing on public lands face grave threats to our way of life due to today’s cumbersome and inefficient permit renewal process.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Producers unveil new animated video

Today at the Ohio Pork Congress, the Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC) unveiled “Where’d you get that pork on your fork?” — a new promotional video.

“We wanted to try and tell the story from fork to farm. The approach is centered around the food purchaser, so we started with the fork,” said  Jennifer Keller, OPPC director of marketing and education. “We have had the idea for a year and we worked on developing the video since we applied for funding in July from the Iowa Pork Producers Association. We’re trying to address the various components of the food chain, which we understand is a very delicate topic. We want to be honest and respectful and we hope that this video helps accomplish those goals.”

It took a couple of weeks to do the rough cut of the song in the video and the animation took much longer. OPPC worked with AdFarm on the video who subcontracted with Bic Media based in Kansas City.… Continue reading

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For the love of pigs

By Matt Reese

At the Ohio Pork Congress there were a number of individuals recognized for their involvement with the swine industry in Ohio, including Blanche and Roger Lange from Seneca County. Anyone who has spent much time around Blanche and Roger knows that they love pigs, which is why the Ohio Pork Producers Council selected them as this year’s Pork Industry Excellence Award winners.

“You don’t get days off on the farm,” Blanche said. “You have to have a special place in your heart for animals when you’re dealing with livestock.”

The siblings grew up four years apart on their family’s farm that has been in the Lange family and a home to pigs for more than a century. Blanche and Roger gained their affinity for raising livestock through hours of laboring alongside their parents while growing up.

“Mom did the books and drove a tractor wearing a dress when she needed to,” Blanche said.… Continue reading

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Incoming NCBA president talks goals, challenges

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president-elect Scott George will soon take the reins of the organization. As President, George says he is looking forward to the opportunity to travel around the country and visit with cattle producers in their home states.

“We have such a diversity across this country of segments that people are involved in and also the terrain that they live in and the environment that they work in, and it is really educational to get a chance to look at operations of all types,” George said.

After all, he will represent cattle producers from coast to coast during his year as NCBA president. He says there are a number of issues of importance to the industry, including keeping an eye on the EPA.

“We are really concerned about the agency’s attempt to take over the waters of the United States,” said George, who also said trade opportunities as a hot topic.… Continue reading

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BEST Celebrity Showdown at the Clark County Cattle Battle

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association BEST Program for youth ages 8-21 years will host the BEST Celebrity Showdown at the Clark County Cattle Battle to benefit Make-A-Wish.

The event will be held today at the Champions Center Expo.

The showdown will kickoff with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Honorary Wish Child Alexis. More than 75 children are registered to participate in this year’s battle.

A panel of celebrity judges will determine the winners. Judges include NFL players and Ohio natives Justin Boren, offensive lineman for the Denver Broncos and Jim Cordle. 

Through donations from family, friends, the community and members of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, youth participating in the Celebrity Showdown hope to raise $8,000 to help grant the wishes of local children battling life-threatening medical conditions.

“We are excited to partner with the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and are honored to be chosen as the charitable recipient this year for the BEST program,” said Development Officer Cathy DeLuca.… Continue reading

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Beef sustainability assessed

Participants at the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention gathered today to hear the results of the first-ever Beef Industry Sustainability Assessment. The assessment, which was funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, marks the first time any industry has ever measured the sustainability of its entire supply chain. This important work positions the beef industry to lead the conversations about industry sustainability.

“Sustainability is, in fact, a journey. This particular journey started two years ago when the Beef Promotion Operating Committee decided to fund the sustainability assessment project,” said Oklahoma cattleman and vice-chair of the checkoff’s Producer Communications Working Group, Richard Gebhart. “Raising cattle in a sustainable way has been important to the cattle industry for a long time, but this is the first opportunity we have had to use science to tell that story.”

The Beef Sustainability Assessment was conducted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.… Continue reading

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Top 2013 opportunities for U.S. meat exports

By Philip Seng, President and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF)

There are a multitude of factors that go into an annual export projection. Here are what I would consider the top five markets of opportunity for this year.

No. 1: Increased beef access to Japan

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor & Welfare (MHLW) has finally approved expanded access for U.S. beef — from the current 20-month cutoff to 30 months. While the specific logistical details on resolving access issues must be addressed, this single change, expected to be finalized in the first half of 2013, will provide a major boost to U.S. beef exports.

In 2000, U.S. exports to Japan reached 524,224 metric tons (1.16 billion pounds) valued at $1.77 billion — accounting for 43% by volume and 50% of the value of all U.S. beef exports that year. At the same time, the U.S. was supplying 53% of Japan’s beef imports.… Continue reading

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MILC payments announced

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently announced that beginning Feb. 5, USDA will issue payments to dairy farmers enrolled in the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program for the September 2012 marketings. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the authorization of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill) through 2013 for many programs administered by FSA, including MILC. The 2008 Farm Bill extension provides for a continuation of the MILC program through Sept. 30, 2013.

MILC payments are triggered when the Boston Class I milk price falls below $16.94 per hundredweight, after adjustment for the cost of dairy feed rations. MILC payments are calculated each month using the latest milk price and feed cost.

All dairy producers’ MILC contracts are automatically extended to Sept. 30, 2013. Eligible producers therefore do not need to re-enroll in MILC. MILC operations with approved contracts will continue to receive monthly payments, if available.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association celebrates an outstanding year

More than 250 producers and leaders in the beef industry assembled at the Columbus Marriott Northwest in Dublin, Ohio on Jan. 26, 2013 for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) annual meeting and awards banquet. The event featured policy development sessions, OCA’s annual meeting and the OCA’s award banquet. Annual meeting and banquet sponsors who contributed to the success of the event include COBA/Select Sires, CompManagement, Inc., Farm Credit Mid-America, United Producers, Inc., Stark County Cattlemen’s Association and Steve R. Rauch.

During the annual meeting, Ohio cattlemen welcomed Kent Bacus, Associate Director of Legislative Affairs in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Washington, DC office, who gave an update on NCBA activities and discussed many of the issues NCBA is working on for the beef industry. Bacus shared with Ohio’s cattlemen the status of trade agreements with Japan, the outlook on Congress following the election and the current tax situation.

Bruce McPheron, Dean and Vice President for Agricultural Administration in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, discussed the importance of new livestock facilities to student success and the university.… Continue reading

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American Sheep Industry Environmental Stewardship Award presented to Steffee Farms

At the 2013 American Sheep Industry Convention held in San Antonio, TX, Steffee Farms from Muskingum County was presented with the ASI Environmental Stewardship Award.

Steffee Farms has been an innovator in the area of environmental stewardship. The farm has been awarded the Muskingum County Resources Conservation award and the Steffee’s have been recognized for their work by the Ohio Livestock Coalition and the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association. They have been able to successfully integrate many practices on their farm to help protect the soil, water, and air.

In addition, Charles Parker was presented with the ASI Camptender Award for his extensive work with the U.S. Sheep Industry. Parker has worked as an educator, scientist, industry leader, promoter, and visionary for the past 50 years. Parker focused his research at the Ohio Ag Research Station in intensive management systems and genetic selection for reproductive growth efficiencies, his work then continued as the director of research at the U.S.… Continue reading

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USMEF praises expanded access for beef in Japan

A new agreement that will expand access for U.S. beef to Japan is being hailed by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) as a positive step for the American beef industry as well as the Japanese trade and consumers.

The change, which takes effect Feb. 1, will allow the United States to export beef from animals under 30 months of age to Japan with the exception of ground beef, which will be phased in after a surveillance period to ensure that the new export protocol is proceeding smoothly. In the aftermath of the discovery of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in the U.S. in December 2003, only beef from animals 20 months of age or younger has been eligible for export to Japan.

“This is an extremely positive development that successfully addresses one of the longest standing issues between our two governments,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “The U.S. beef industry – from farmers and ranchers to exporters – will benefit from increased exports to this premium market.… Continue reading

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Dairy turbulence could settle in 2013

Turbulence that has shaken the dairy industry the past few years could subside in the second half of this year if feed prices fall or at least stabilize, a Purdue Extension dairy specialist says.

Although the first part of 2013 likely will be stressful for producers, Mike Schutz said those who hold on should benefit from a relatively neutral economic outlook for the remainder of the year.

“The dairy industry is highly dependent on what happens with feed prices,” he said. “We’re hopeful that feed prices will be reduced or stabilize with the planting of the 2013 crop, which will also hopefully help producers get back to approaching at least break-even or somewhat profitable prices.”

The 2012 drought hit the dairy industry hard by decreasing availability of feed while also increasing feed prices. Most dairy producers grow their own forages, but with drought-induced short supplies, many had to buy expensive forage from other growers.… Continue reading

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Agreement further opens Japan’s market to U.S. beef

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the United States and Japan have agreed on new terms and conditions which pave the way for expanded exports of U.S. beef and beef products to Japan. Under these new terms, which enter into effect on Feb. 1, 2013, Japan will now permit the import of beef from cattle less than 30 months of age, compared to the previous limit of 20 months, among other steps.

It is estimated that these important changes will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in exports of U.S. beef to Japan in the coming years. This agreement also goes a long way toward normalizing trade with Japan by addressing long-standing restrictions that Japan introduced in response to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

“This is great news for American ranchers and beef companies, who can now — as a result of this agreement — increase their exports of U.S.… Continue reading

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Farm-raised common sense important for Forshey

By Matt Reese

In our own fine state of Ohio, it is illegal to drive Power Wheels cars down the street in Canton and, if someone loses their pet tiger, they are legally required to notify the authorities within an hour. In Cleveland, a hunting license is required for catching mice. A policeman is permitted to bite a dog to quiet the animal in the town of Paulding and, those who are planning on throwing a snake at someone should steer clear of Toledo where regulations prohibit such actions.

A quick Internet search can turn up some laws on the books in Ohio that seem pretty silly, but the reality is that common sense and regulations all too often seem to be mutually exclusive. In his role as the state veterinarian, Dr. Tony Forshey is working to develop and revamp regulation in a way that combines good sense and the need to protect the animals and agriculture of Ohio.… Continue reading

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Antibiotics in livestock farming — Telling the right story

By David White, executive director, Ohio Livestock Coalition

Trend watchers and agriculture experts alike agree on one thing: the use of antibiotics in livestock farming is likely the next big issue. What does “big” mean?  By some accounts, the antibiotics issue could be BIG — think lean finely textured beef (or “pink slime”) big  — or as big as the issue of housing pregnant sows.

It’s important to remember that we have a good story to tell on how antibiotics are used on farms. We are doing the right thing for our animals, for food safety and for our farms. Unfortunately, that’s a story we’ve not always told in the best manner.

The farm community is good at leading with science and data. When discussing antibiotics, we make this argument:  “Science tells us we can.”  “The animals are my livelihood.” “FDA/USDA says what we do on our farms with antibiotics is okay.”… Continue reading

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