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.










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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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KSU study finds antibiotic use overestimated

A study conducted by Kansas State University shows that opponents of antibiotics use in livestock production wildly overestimate the amount given to food animals.

Using data from a 2006 U.S. Department of Agriculture swine survey and a 2009 survey of swine veterinarians, KSU found that annually about 1.6 million pounds of antibiotics are used in pork production for growth promotion/nutritional efficiency and disease prevention. A 2001 report, “Hogging It,” from the Union of Concerned Scientists claimed that 10.3 million pounds a year are used.

“The UCS report should have been titled ‘Fabricating It,’” said National Pork Producers Council President R.C. Hunt, a pork producer from Wilson, N.C. “Pork producers do not overuse antibiotics. We work with veterinarians to carefully consider if antibiotics are necessary and which ones to use.”

The KSU study, which was published in the March issue of Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, found that 2.8 million pounds of antibiotics were used for growth promotion/nutritional efficiency, disease prevention and disease treatment.… Continue reading

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Beef industry concerned with FDA measures for antibiotics

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its intent to publish in the Federal Register on Fri., April 13, 2012, its final Guidance 209 and a draft proposed rule on veterinary feed directives. Tom Talbot, a California beef producer, large animal veterinarian and current chairman of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) Cattle Health and Well-Being Committee, issued the following statement.

“Raising healthy cattle is the top priority for cattle farmers and ranchers. They work with veterinarians and animal health experts to implement comprehensive herd-health plans, which include the judicious use of antibiotics to prevent, control and treat any cattle health issues. NCBA is pleased that FDA has resisted unscientific calls to completely ban the use of antibiotics and antimicrobials in cattle and other livestock species. However, we remain concerned with regulatory actions that are not based on peer-reviewed science or that set the precedent to take animal care and health decisions out of the hands of veterinarians.… Continue reading

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NASS discontinues Dairy Products Prices Report

Effective this month, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is no longer releasing its weekly Dairy Products Prices report. Going forward, these data will be collected and published by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) as outlined in the amended Dairy Product Mandatory Reporting Program, required by the Mandatory Price Reporting Act of 2010.… Continue reading

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Forage growth is exploding

By Victor Shelton, NRCS Grazing Specialist

Forage growth, soil temperatures and even mushrooms are all early this year. The warm weather and soil have many producers scratching their head trying to figure out what is best to do. Weather patterns are certainly a lot different than they were last year and at least for the moment, it is a dry spring.

Forage growth is just exploding. It is at least three weeks early in most of the state and pushing us in making decisions about getting livestock grazing earlier than ever on new growth. Forages seem to be denser than normal. Most of region did not have the normal freezing depths this winter and I’m not sure that some areas ever did freeze up completely; that is most likely having an impact on the growth also.

Most pasture fields that had good residual left over winter and sufficient fertility have rebounded extremely well and are ready for some early grazing.Continue reading

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2012 Spring Dairy Expo

Dairy cattle breeders and exhibitors from across the state and around the country gathered at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus March 28-April 1 for the 2012 Spring Dairy Expo. Beautiful spring weather marked this year’s event, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s for much of the weekend, which is usually more known for snow than sunshine.

A total of 530 entries from each of the seven dairy breeds crossed the shavings over the duration of the show, up slightly from 508 animals last year. Judges Alta Mae Core of Salvisa, Ken., and Denny Patrick of Woodbine, Md., evaluated this year’s entries.

Core, a Jersey breeder who owns and operates Keightley & Core Jerseys in central Kentucky, judged the Guernsey, Brown Swiss, Jersey and Milking Shorthorn Shows, while Patrick, owner and operator of Maple Dell Farm, an Ayrshire and Holstein farm in eastern Maryland, sorted the Ayrshire, Holstein and Red and White cattle.… Continue reading

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Seedstock Improvement Bull Sale

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association is hosting a Seedstock Improvement Bull Sale scheduled for Saturday, April 14 at the Union Stock Yards Company in Hillsboro. The sale starts at Noon. This sale offers an affordable way to buy bulls from multiple breeds in one location and on one day. Buyers have the assurance of buying bulls with known genetics, a completed vaccination protocol and a breeding soundness exam. This year there are 51 bulls consigned to the sale at the Union Stock Yards.

Catalogs are now available for the sale at The bulls in the sale range in age from one to two years and are all registered and 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, milk, marbling, and rib eye area. Breeds represented are Angus, Charolais, Limousin, Simmental, and Sim-Angus.Continue reading

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Timely engagement important to good neighbor relations

By Dave White, with the Ohio Livestock Coalition

A recent, real-life Facebook conversation began with a post by a woman whose home butts up against a farm field near a medium-sized town in the Midwest. The early spring weather had farmers in the field sooner than usual and likewise, rural residents were happy to be able to open their windows to enjoy the fresh country air:

“Last night the person who farms the 10 to 20 acres behind us sprayed an ammonia substance that left us running to the windows to close them as quickly as possible. For hours my eyes were burning, my throat was sore, and every joint in my body ached. The kids were so miserable that we left for several hours.”

Friend #1 replied:

“I feel for you. You … can be the manpower behind protecting your kids. Get a petition going at minimum. Either for organic farming or to set specific spraying times so everyone can be prepared.”… Continue reading

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The 2012 Ohio State Fair Junior Performance Barrow Division

The 2012 Ohio State Fair Junior Performance Barrow Division will allow exhibitors to showcase their junior barrows in a competition focused on growth rate, carcass composition and pork quality, along with the visual attributes that define a sound, functional market hog. In the Division, exhibitors both represent and are rewarded for exhibiting the “Best of Breed” in a breed or crossbred classes.

In additions, exhibitors can display their showmanship and pig handling skills in the showmanship competition and demonstrate their knowledge through the Skill-a-thon and Outstanding Market Hog Exhibitor Competitions. The competition come full circle with the chance to observe the pork produced and learn about pork carcasses and quality and finally, taste the resulting pork product.

To participate, exhibitors must complete the following:

  • Identify a purebred or crossbred pig from a herd or a pig provider.
  • Weigh and officially identify the pig at a nearby location between April 27 and April 30, 2012 or purchase a previously weighed and identified pig at a local sale or from a pig provider.
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Equine Affaire around the corner

Spring is right around the corner, and so is the 45th Equine Affaire. North America’s premiere equine exposition and equestrian gathering will return to the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus on April 12th through the 15th with a wealth of horses and horse-related opportunities for equestrians including the largest horse-related trade show in North America, an educational program that is second-to-none, Equine Affaire’s exciting Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, and the ever-popular Pfizer Fantasia. With a schedule of 230-plus educational sessions in eight venues, acres of exhibits to browse, and special events on Thursday through Saturday evenings, horse lovers will want to plan to arrive early and stay late each day.

Horsepeople of all levels of expertise from 4-H riders and those who are just getting started in the horse world to accomplished equestrians and equine professionals will be able to immerse themselves in “all things equine” for four full days at the 2012 Equine Affaire and soak up training and riding tips from a roster of Olympians and World and National Champions from disciplines as diverse as reining, dressage, barrel racing, eventing, jumping, driving, hunter under saddle, team penning and sorting, English pleasure, and gaited horse competition .… Continue reading

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First of its kind Ohio plant will turn manure into dry fertilizer

By Heather Hetterick, Ohio Ag Net

AG Conversions, LLC is building the first of its kind production plant that converts livestock manure into dry organic fertilizer in Mercer County.

The Ohio Grand Lake Watershed Facility will be located on St. Rt. 127 just north of St. Rt. 119. Amiran Technologies of Oak Creek, Wisconsin is the parent company of AG Conversions, LLC. The company specializes in taking physical and chemical waste that has no commercial value and breaking the bond at the fine partial level and separating it into usable products with no byproducts.

An aggressive timeline has been set for the construction project.

“We want to have fertilizer product available for row crop applications this fall. Our plan is to break ground in late April or early May and be producing product in August,“ said Paul Chadwick, Executive Vice President of Market Development for Amiran Technologies. “What that means as it relates to livestock manure is that for the first time ever, you can take raw animal manure and separate out the pathogens, e-coli, antibiotics and hormones, neutralize those, eliminate them and convert the manure into a high efficient organic fertilizer.”… Continue reading

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Beef supplies short in 2012

U.S. beef producers have started the early stages of herd expansion as beef supplies remain very short, says Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

Beef cow numbers have dropped by 9%, or 3 million head, since 2007. They dropped by 3% in 2011 alone, meaning a smaller calf crop in 2012 and lower slaughter numbers through 2014. But strong finished cattle prices and moderating feed costs have driven some producers to start the expansion.

Producers have reduced their herds in recent years primarily because of escalating feed costs since 2007 and a drought in the southern Plains that dried up pastures and forages.

According to a January U.S. Department of Agriculture cattle report, the most recent available, beef heifer retention has increased 1% — a sign that producers are starting to expand. If U.S. crop yields return closer to normal during the 2012 crop year, Hurt said feed prices could come down even more, which would encourage further herd expansion.… Continue reading

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New ODNR employees focus on grazing management activities

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Soil and Water Resources has secured funds to directly train agriculture professionals and assist landowners in southern and eastern Ohio for grazing management activities. Four individuals recently started in these new positions.

When implemented on farms, grazing management practices improve soil health, reduce soil erosion, improve infiltration and help meet local water quality goals. Grasslands and grazing operations are an important sector in Ohio’s economy. The number of pasture-based livestock operations represents the largest number of livestock operations in Ohio. Grazing livestock can be both sustainable and profitable to reduce overhead, operating and feed costs.

This funding is available through ODNR partnering with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to add Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) funds to help provide technical assistance in the development and implementation of grazing management plans. The overall effort will be coordinated with ODNR, NRCS, local soil and water conservation districts and other partners to further enhance education and outreach activities.… Continue reading

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Distiller's grain safe for pigs, even with sulfur content

University of Illinois research reports that swine producers can feed distiller’s dried grain with solubles (DDGS) to their pigs without concern for sulfur content.

“When you buy DDGS, you don’t have to be concerned about the level of sulfur it contains because there doesn’t appear to be any impact on pig performance,” said U of I animal sciences professor Hans Stein.

According to the researcher, DDGS, a co-product of the ethanol industry, is used as a feed ingredient in diets fed to swine.

To maintain a stable pH in fermentation vats, ethanol producers use sulfuric acid, which results in a sulfur content in the DDGS that varies according to how much sulfuric acid was used. Until now, the effect of low levels of sulfur in the diet on growth performance in pigs fed DDGS had not been determined, he said.

“Sulfur is toxic to cattle. If there is 0.4% sulfur in the diet, cattle start getting sick,” Stein said.… Continue reading

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Distiller’s grain safe for pigs, even with sulfur content

University of Illinois research reports that swine producers can feed distiller’s dried grain with solubles (DDGS) to their pigs without concern for sulfur content.

“When you buy DDGS, you don’t have to be concerned about the level of sulfur it contains because there doesn’t appear to be any impact on pig performance,” said U of I animal sciences professor Hans Stein.

According to the researcher, DDGS, a co-product of the ethanol industry, is used as a feed ingredient in diets fed to swine.

To maintain a stable pH in fermentation vats, ethanol producers use sulfuric acid, which results in a sulfur content in the DDGS that varies according to how much sulfuric acid was used. Until now, the effect of low levels of sulfur in the diet on growth performance in pigs fed DDGS had not been determined, he said.

“Sulfur is toxic to cattle. If there is 0.4% sulfur in the diet, cattle start getting sick,” Stein said.… Continue reading

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Groups want comprehensive U.S.-EU FTA

An ad hoc coalition of 40 food and agricultural organizations led by the National Pork Producers Council in a letter sent today to the Obama administration and Congress expressed concern that a proposed free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union might fall short of long-established U.S. objectives for trade pacts.

“Some non-agricultural members of the business community have suggested that a U.S.-EU FTA negotiation should not be pursued as a ‘single undertaking’ with success in one area dependent on success in all the others,” said NPPC President R.C. Hunt, a pork producer from Wilson, N.C. “The agriculture community, however, believes that, rather than creating a high-standard 21st century trade agreement that is central to the administration’s trade policy efforts, approaches other than a single undertaking would assure the perpetuation of trade barriers to many U.S. products and sectors, including agriculture.”

Had it embarked on any of its existing FTAs using the approach being suggested by some for an agreement with the EU, the United States would not have in place the comprehensive agreements it has today, according to the coalition letter, and the administration would not be pointing to the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks as the model for all future agreements.… Continue reading

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Ohio Livestock Care Board Meets; Goeglin named new director

The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board held their first meeting since November. It was also the first meeting under new Ohio Director of Agriculture, David Daniels.

The board spent time reviewing the standards they set last summer.

“We went through all the areas and suggested a few small changes, primarily in the euthanasia area,” Jeff Weubker, a farmer who sits on the board said. “We’re waiting on a report on euthanasia that is coming out in the next month or two from the American Veterinary Medical Association.”

After reviewing that report the board will see if they need to make any significant changes to euthanasia standards. The goal will be to submit any changes to the care standards to the J-Carr process in November.

Dr. Tony reported their have been 38 investigations and 18 violations.

“None of those have resulted in any fines. ODA has worked with those in violation and then come back to make sure that they have been corrected,” Wuebker said.… Continue reading

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Free lecture series for shepherds

The Spicy Lamb Farm, a Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) farm dedicated to educating the public on the critical need for local sustainable farming and environmental stewardship, is proud to announce a free spring lecture series.

These lectures will take place on Wednesday nights from April 25th to May 23rd at 7pm. Seating is limited to 56.  The Spicy Lamb Farm is located in Peninsula, Ohio just off the intersection of Route 8 near the Ohio Turnpike I-80 interchange. Take the Boston Mills exit from Route 8. The farm is at the dead end of Akron Peninsula Road off of Boston Mills Road. For more information go to

  • April 25 – Getting Started as a Shepherd: This presentation will provide an overview of what you need to start a flock and how to get advice about your sheep. Lessons learned will be shared.
  • May 9th –   Religious Care for the Environment: “Dominion” has been seen as a cause of the ecological crisis.
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