Cattle to car parts: Beef byproducts use to make plastic

University of Alberta professor David Bressler has filed a patent on a new thermal process that can turn beef byproducts into plastics. By finding a way to convert these animal by-products into plastics for industrial use, Bressler and his team hope to divert protein waste from landfills across North America, shift to using renewable resources instead of petrochemicals to make plastics, and boost flagging profit levels in the cattle industry.

Using the throwaway parts of beef carcasses that were sidelined from the value-added production process after bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) devastated the industry in 2003, Bressler, an associate professor in the U of A’s Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, has collaborated with industry, government and other researchers to forge cattle proteins into heavy-duty plastics that could soon be used in everything from car parts to CD cases.

The University of Alberta is the only post-secondary facility to be approved by the Canada Food Inspection Agency to conduct research involving turning high-risk proteins into safe, sustainable materials.… Continue reading

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Livestock Care Standards Take Effect September 29

By Kyle Sharp

On Aug. 1, the Ohio Department of Agriculture resubmitted the veal standards of care as developed and passed by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (OLCSB) to Ohio’s Congressional Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR). Unlike a previous hearing on July 11, when intense questioning by members of JCARR prompted ODA to withdraw the standards for later re-filing, this time the standards were approved.
No changes were made to the standards, and they were submitted exactly the same as at the July hearing, said Andy Ware, an ODA spokesman. However, a more thorough job of presenting testimony on behalf of the standards was done, including testimony by Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Jack Fisher, Gaylord Barkman with Buckeye Veal Services, veal farmer Jason Warner and Dr. Brad Garrison with the Ohio Veterinarian Medical Association.
Ohio Agriculture Director James Zehringer announced on Aug. 11 that animal care rules developed by the Livestock Care Standards Board will become effective on September 29, 2011.… Continue reading

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USDA seeks comments on the proposed rule for animal disease traceability

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today issued a proposed rule to establish general regulations for improving the traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate when animal disease events take place.
“Through the past two years, I have listened carefully to stakeholders throughout the country about how to reach effective animal disease traceability in a transparent manner without additional burden,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We are proposing a flexible approach in which states and tribes can develop systems for tracing animals that work best for them and for producers in their jurisdiction. This approach offers great flexibility at the state and local level and addresses gaps in our disease response efforts.”
Under the proposed rule, unless specifically exempted, livestock moved interstate would have to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates.… Continue reading

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Direct marketing meat

Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Athens County and Buckeye Hills EERA

As the interest in locally produced and marketed food grows, livestock owners may find non-farm neighbors and friends asking if they can purchase meat products from them. Possibly livestock owners are wondering how they might add value to their livestock and market some of their livestock as meat to the public. Some basic factors that need to be considered include: regulations regarding meat processing and sales, finding a processor, pricing your product, risk management, and customer relations. In this article I will cover the regulations governing meat processing and sale to the public.

With regard to the regulations regarding meat processing and sale of meat to the public, there are two primary government agencies that are involved. These are the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the county Health Department. Meat sold into a public market must come from an approved source.… Continue reading

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Beef Grazing Tour

The Ohio Forage and Grassland Council (OFGC) in cooperation with Athens County Extension is sponsoring a Beef Grazing Tour on Wednesday, August 17 in Athens County. The tour will feature three host farms; Dave and Nancy Bircher located at 3253 Sargent Road in Lodi Township, Joe and Donna Marks located at 17222 Lawson Road in Lodi Township and Scott and Joanne Pfeiffer located at 4347 Marion Johnson Road in Alexander Township.

Each farm will highlight different management practices. The tour begins at the Bircher farm at 9:30 am. This stop will feature paddock development, water systems, lane access and pasture rotation management. The next stop is the Marks farm where the discussion will center on fall calving, stockpiling forage and pasture reseeding options. At the Marks farm a noon meal of grilled hamburgers and hotdogs will be served. Following the noon meal we will drive to the final stop of the tour, the Pfeiffer farm.… Continue reading

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Stockpile decisions

Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Athens County and Buckeye Hills EERA

It’s time for my annual reminder that early to mid-August is a good time to set aside some pasture paddocks to stockpile growth for winter grazing. On many farms the actual implementation of stockpiling can be traced back to management decisions in June and July as pasture paddock rotations were adjusted to set up this practice.

Tall fescue is the forage of choice to stockpile for winter grazing. Compared to other cool season grass species tall fescue produces more fall growth and does the best job of maintaining forage quality throughout the winter period. Tall fescue also accumulates high levels of non-structural carbohydrates and has improved palatability when grown under cool as compared to warm or hot weather conditions. In addition, we have a high percentage of endophyte infected fescue in our area. The toxic alkaloids associated with infected fescue reduce forage palatability and depress animal performance over the summer months.… Continue reading

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Common sense management necessary to minimize heat stress on livestock

Both man and beast suffer the effects of high heat and humidity in the dog days of summer, so cattle and sheep producers need to adopt basic strategies to keep animals calm, cool and collected through the year’s hottest days.

“Actual temperatures are well into the nineties and heat indexes are very high,” said John Grimes, Ohio State University Extension beef coordinator. “Producers need to consider their daily management practices in order to minimize the stress resulting from current weather patterns to their beef herds.”

Coordinating animal movement and handling in the morning or evening hours is essential to minimizing heat stress for both livestock and human handlers. Working animals in the middle of the day, Grimes said, is a recipe for heat-related health issues.

Cattle aren’t the only animals affected by the summer sun. Sheep in Ohio also are raised predominantly outdoors in pasture-based production systems. Roger High, OSU Extension sheep coordinator, said farmers need to mind basic animal health principles to keep sheep comfortable.… Continue reading

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Animal rights activists target university researchers, students

Activists promoting an agenda of animal rights have long protested the use of animals by major research universities and institutions.

Earle Holland, Ohio State University’s assistant vice president for Research Communications, said those activists are increasingly targeting students pursuing degrees in fields known for relying on laboratory animals to conduct research.

“It is much bigger than ever before,” Holland said. “The FBI has designated some animal rights groups and even some environmental activists as domestic terrorists. Given the rise in violence and property destruction over the past decade or so, it is much more serious than it was in the past.”

Holland acknowledged that Ohio State is relatively fortunate, dealing with only a “handful” of serious threats of violence to university researchers in recent years. The national trend, on the other hand, concerns the university and the research community at large.

Major research institutions such as Ohio State rely on laboratory research animals for two key reasons: first, because the animals provide the best possible vehicle for conducting research in many fields of study.… Continue reading

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Beef shortage means hold on to the cows

The quantity of beef available to consumers in the United States has declined a startling amount in recent years, and that trend is going to continue. Unfortunately, even higher retail beef prices can be expected for consumers, said Chris Hurt, a Purdue University Extension economist.

“The declining supplies are related to continuing liquidation of the cow herd in the past few years due to high feed prices, a weak U.S. dollar that is spurring beef exports, and, of course, drought in the Southwest and Southeast. Declining supplies will support prices across the cattle complex at new record highs in 2011 and again in 2012,” he said.

The USDA estimate of the inventory of beef cows on July 1 showed a further decline of 1 percent in the past year. Since 2007, when feed prices were still moderate, beef cow numbers have dropped 5 percent. More alarming is the decline in beef available to U.S.… Continue reading

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Expanded Sale of Champions is generating excitement

By Matt Reese

This year’s Sale of Champions at the Ohio State Fair will have three new additions. Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler said a block of Swiss cheese along with the grand champion junior market goat and grand champion turkey have been added to the sale. The block of cheese will be capped at $3,000, the goat at $5,000 and turkey at $3,000. Anything above that will go to the Youth Reserve Program.

“The block of Swiss cheese will represent the youth exhibitors that win the six junior dairy breed champions,” Strickler said.

Strickler said these new additions help make the Sale of Champions a true reflection of Ohio Agriculture. Needless, to say, there is plenty of excitement for the exhibitors showing the new additions to this year’s Sale.

“There is the feeling that even though we’ve had this very successful Midwest Wether Goat Series and these jackpot shows for the past several years, that getting a goat into the Sale of Champions will open things up tremendously not only for the kids, but the breeders in and out of the state,” said Phil Myers, coordinator of the Midwest Wether Goat Series.… Continue reading

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Ohio Composting Tour Set for Aug. 11 in NE Ohio

Registration is open for Composting in Ohio 2011: A Tour of the Industry, set for Aug. 11 in northeast Ohio. The program is for anyone interested in large-scale composting, recycling and overall sustainable practices.

Featured will be:

• The Medina County Municipal Solid Waste Processing Complex, the only Class I composting site in Ohio, which means it can take in a wide range of solid waste – mixed, from food, from yards, from industry.

Baldwin-Wallace College’s industrial-scale Earth Tub food-waste composter in Berea, part of the school’s move toward greater sustainability; and

Rosby Resource Recycling in Brooklyn Heights, which not only composts food and yard waste (a Class II facility) but processes and recycles construction and demolition debris.

Hours are 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. starting at the Medina County facility at 8700 Lake Rd. in Seville. Also available is a van pool leaving at 7:30 a.m. from the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, 1680 Madison Ave.,… Continue reading

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Ohio Sheep Day focused on expanding the flock

By Kyle Sharp

The U.S. sheep industry is experiencing a historic time. Lamb prices are at an all-time high, the wool market and wool pelt prices are setting historical records, and the cull ewe market is strong. That reality made for a happy gathering of roughly 130 sheep enthusiasts from across the state and beyond at the 2011 Ohio Sheep Day, held July 16 on a hot, clear day on the rolling hills of Blue Heron Farm in Columbiana County.

Yet despite the current prosperity within the U.S. sheep industry, there is concern that the U.S. sheep flock is not large enough to keep up with the demand for lamb and wool production.

Nationally, the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has started a campaign to encourage shepherds to expand their flocks, with information available at And Ohio Sheep Day carried out that trend, with a number of the day’s sessions focusing on ways to increase sheep production, either through new farms or expanded flocks.… Continue reading

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The dog days of summer

By John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

So just what are the “Dog Days” of summer? According to Wikipedia, the “Dog Days” are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. Based on our latitude in the northern hemisphere, these days usually fall between early July and early September. The name comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, in close proximity to the sun was responsible for the hot weather. I wasn’t sure of the actual definition of the term “Dog Days of Summer” so now we can all consider ourselves more informed!

All jokes aside, the weather that we are experiencing in Ohio this week truly qualifies as the “Dog Days of Summer.” Actual temperatures are well into the nineties and heat indexes are very high. The current weather conditions can provide high levels to humans, crops, and cattle alike. Producers need to consider their daily management practices in order to minimize the stress resulting from current weather patterns to their beef herd.… Continue reading

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ODA Announces Five Livestock Care Sessions

Farmers, veterinarians and livestock haulers are encouraged to attend one of five informational sessions to be held in August and September by the Ohio Department of Agriculture which will provide an overview of the state’s new livestock care standards. The two-hour sessions will be held in Allen, Highland, Mercer, Muskingum, and Wayne counties.

The meetings are open to the public and will feature a presentation on the new livestock care standards as well as an opportunity to ask ODA staff questions about the new rules.
Date and locations for the information sessions are:

Wednesday, August 24    6:00 – 8:00    Hillsboro
Southern State Community College (Auditorium), 100 Hobart Drive

Wednesday, August 31    6:00 – 8:00    Wooster
Ohio State University OARDC (Shisler Center Ballroom), 1680 Madison Avenue

Wednesday, September 14    6:00 – 8:00    Lima
Independence Elementary School, 615 Tremont Avenue

Tuesday, September 27    6:00 – 8:00    Zanesville
Ohio University – Zanesville Campus (The Campus Center T430 & 431), 1425 Newark Road

Thursday, September 29    6:00 – 8:00    Fort Recovery
American Legion, 2490 State Route 49 N.… Continue reading

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Care Board veal standards put on hold, for now

By Kyle Sharp

Standards of care for veal production approved by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (OLCSB) in April have been put on hold, at least temporarily, after intense questioning by members of Ohio’s Congressional Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) during a hearing on Monday, July 11. At the meeting, OLCSB and Ohio Department of Agriculture officials decided to pull the veal rules and re-file them at a later JCARR hearing after gathering and providing more supporting material.

“We have the chance to collect more information for the committee members, and our intent is to do that in the next couple of weeks and re-file at the Aug. 1 JCARR hearing,” said ODA spokesman Andy Ware. “The rules will be re-filed as submitted, and we are confident the committee will approve what we have submitted.”

Bob Cochrell, a Wayne County veal farmer and member of the OLCSB veal subcommittee, presented comments and information against the proposed standards at the hearing and does not believe JCARR will be so easily swayed.… Continue reading

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