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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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FDA takes measures with antibiotic use in livestock

By Matt Reese

Every time anyone opens their mouth to take a bite food, they are taking a risk. But, as it turns out, not eating food is even riskier.

This game of risk is at play with the debate of antibiotic use and regulation in livestock and poultry. There is a current scientific debate about the ability of bacteria treated with antibiotics to develop resistance. Some of these “superbugs” that thwart treatment efforts have developed already and are a growing concern. In terms of livestock, preventive or “production” treatments are of particular concern because they are typically low doses that may more easily facilitate the development of resistance.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently working through the vast and complex science of this issue in determining the risk levels of antibiotic use in livestock. There is no concrete proof that there is a significant risk involved with antibiotic use in livestock, but there is no proof that there is not, either.… Continue reading

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New online tool for bulk feed customers

Over the last several years, feed ingredient markets have been extremely volatile, which has caused increases in price. Many producers have reassessed their options due to this volatility and, while they have been able to adapt for the most part, they have to adjust their management as well.

“Producers need to understand the differences and make apples to apples comparisons based on the nutrients in those feeding ingredients,” said Ryan Cooney, creator of “With all of the additional feed ingredients producers are looking at, it takes more time to manage those ingredients and to research what is available and what pricing is.”

That is where comes in to play. The site helps producers sort feed ingredients and gives them the information they need at their fingertips.

The website is designed to connect buyers and sellers of bulk feed ingredients — no bags of any kind. Cooney says there’s no cost to buy or sell.… Continue reading

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HSUS files complaint against NPPC with the FTC

The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, asserting that the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is engaging in deceptive advertising related to animal well-being in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

The complaint alleges that the pork industry’s public descriptions of its “We Care Initiative” and deceptively-titled “Pork Quality Assurance Plus” program are riddled with numerous false claims regarding the welfare of pigs, including the trade group’s patently false claim that its PQA Plus program helps to “ensure that all animals in the pork industry continue to receive humane care and handling.”

HSUS cites tail docking and the confinement of breeding sows as practices of concern. The complaint claims the abusive practices allowed by the We Care and PQA Plus programs are fundamentally inconsistent with the Pork Council’s public claims.

“The pork industry spends millions misleading the public about its animal welfare record, while allowing pigs to be crammed into tiny gestation crates where they can’t even turn around for months on end,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president for animal protection litigation at The HSUS.… Continue reading

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OCA’s Seedstock Improvement Sale posts strong averages

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association hosted their annual Seedstock Improvement Sale on April 14 at the Union Stock Yards sale facility in Hillsboro.  A total of 41 yearling and two-year-old and older bulls were sold for a total of $91,075 to average $2,221 per head. Gene Steiner served as the auctioneer for the sale.

The Seedstock Improvement Sales are open to consignments from all breeds of bulls. Consignors must be a current member of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association to participate. Bulls are required to be registered and to have expected progeny differences (EPDs). The bulls are placed in sale order based on a within breed evaluation star system using EPDs for birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, and milk. Bulls consigned to the sales can be from one to five years of age.

Top 3 high selling:

1. Lot 1: Kiata New Day 0713, an April 2010 son of B/R New Day 454

Consignor: Kiata Farms, Hamilton, Ohio

Price: $5,000

Buyer: Dave O’Banion, Waynesville, Ohio

Breed: Angus


2.… Continue reading

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Rising costs and consumer concerns plague beef

Although interest in beef production is high in part because of record-high prices producers have been fetching, some producers have concerns about rising prices for feedstuff and gasoline, which could make consumers less likely to buy pricey cuts, an Ohio State University Extension expert says.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm because of what animals are worth at the market, but input prices such as fuel, feed and fertilizer are still an issue,” said John Grimes, beef coordinator for OSU Extension.

Grimes spoke recently at the Ohio Beef Expo, sponsored by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association. The event, in its 25th year, is the single largest event in the state devoted to cattle producers.

He said the overall outlook for U.S. beef is good for the next few years, with trade with Canada, Mexico, Japan and South Korea remaining strong. In addition, the rise in the growth of upscale hamburger chains has led to increased demand for higher-quality beef.… Continue reading

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OPA honors industry standouts at annual banquet


The Ohio Poultry Association held its 27th Annual Celebration Banquet and highlighted the efforts of a number of industry leaders at the event.

The Hertzfeld family was honored with the Family Legacy Award for their long tradition of egg production. Currently, 15 Hertzfeld family members work to raise 1.3 million laying hens in their Grand Rapids Facility.










 … Continue reading

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First responders get animal handling tips

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Thursday, more than 150 first responders received training to understand how to handle livestock and wildlife during emergency situations during Ohio Farm Bureau’s Animal Agriculture 202: Farm Animal Handling for First Responders. Ohio State University Extension cooperated in offering the educational event, which was made possible with a grant from the Animals for Life Foundation.

Animal Agriculture 202 provided a basic understanding of farm animal behavior and handling for law enforcement officers, animal control officers, firefighters, response teams, vets, county emergency management officials and other first responders who may need to handle livestock during emergency situations.

“When you are in the face of an emergency, that is not the best time to be learning,” said Leah Dorman with the Ohio Farm Bureau Center for Food and Animal Issues. “This is really about how to keep the public and the animals safe and how to handle those animals to the best of our ability.”… Continue reading

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