African Swine Fever brings destruction, possible market opportunity

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net

African Swine Fever is in the midst of causing global trouble and all signs point to it likely heading to the United States soon. The hog industry is keeping a close eye on the disease’s next move.

What exactly is African Swine Fever (AFS)? As defined in Hungerford’s ­Diseases of Livestock it is: “A highly contagious fatal disease of pigs with a great propensity for international spread (Geering and Forman, 1987). It is caused by a DNA virus which is very resistant, can survive in blood at 4 degrees C for 18 months, in frozen carcasses for several years, and in uncanned hams for up to six months. It affects all classes of pigs and warthogs.”

Though AFS does not affect humans, it poses considerable risk to the wellbeing of the swine industry with all hogs contracting the disease requiring termination.

“When it comes to global issues right now, that is something that could be very devastating in the pork industry in the United States.… Continue reading

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New owners for Hills Supply

Hills Supply, the well-known dairy supply company founded in 1979 has new owners. Partners Frank Burkett and Mick Heiby completed their purchase of the company on Nov. 1, 2018 and immediately announced the purchase to the Hills employees and more than 850 customers.

Frank Burkett is a fourth-generation dairyman and the managing partner of Clardale Farms in Stark County, Ohio where they currently milk 695 head of Holstein cattle, raise replacements, and manage 900 acres of land for crop production. He has served as chairman of the Hills Supply transition team since the tragic death of David Hill, and his wife, Shin in December of 2016. Burkett is also the current president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

“We see ourselves and our company as partners in production with our customers. Our experience in the industry gives us the unique understanding of the dairy business necessary to best serve dairy producers,” Burkett said.… Continue reading

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Farm worker drowns in manure pit

Late last week, the Ashland Source reported a tragedy north of Loudonville when a 22-year-old farm worker drowned after the skid steer he was driving went into a manure holding pit on a dairy farm.

The unfortunate incident in northeast Ohio serves as another grim reminder of the safety challenges in agriculture.

“Working around manure storage areas has so many potential hazards. There is a lot of emphasis on being aware of hazards involving manure gases, but you still have to be aware of equipment hazards and the dangers of operating equipment close to manure pits and lagoons,” said Kent McGuire, Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Safety and Health Coordinator. “Because of limited visibility and the density of manure in pits or lagoons, the chances of a rescue are usually very small. Unfortunately, it almost always ends up being a recovery of the victim.

“Tragedies like this show that we have more work to do to help farmers work safely with manure storage areas and train workers of the potential hazards.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s BEST Program set to begin 20th Year

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is pleased to announce the 2018-19 BEST (Beef Exhibitor Show Total) program sponsoring partners that include Bob Evans Farms; Farm Credit Mid-America; Frazier Farms; Garwood Cattle Company, LLC; Kalmbach Feeds – Formula of Champions; M.H. Eby, Inc.; John Deere, JD Equipment and Weaver Leather Livestock. BEST is a youth program of OCA that recognizes Ohio’s junior beef exhibitors for participation and placings through a series of sanctioned cattle shows that include showmanship competitions. Juniors who participate in these sanctioned shows earn points for their placings. Points are tabulated for cattle, showmanship, registered Bred & Owned animals and first or second year BEST participants in a separate Novice division for market animals, heifers and showmanship. The program promotes consistency for exhibitors at sanctioned shows hosted by county associations or agricultural groups and clubs. These points are tabulated and posted at

ALL cattle entering Ohio to show in a BEST sanctioned show MUST be tagged with an electronic identification (EID) ear tag prior to arriving at their first BEST show.… Continue reading

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Livestock legalities around the nation affecting producers

By Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Agricultural and Resource Law Program, Ohio State University

Every year, we hear fascinating legal updates at the American Agricultural Law Association’s annual conference. Thanks to presentations by Todd Janzen and Brianna Schroeder of Janzen Ag Law in Indianapolis, we were inspired to learn a little more about trends in meat law. For readers with a livestock operation, these legal issues can present great challenges, and keeping up to date on legal trends helps farmers stay prepared.


Veal, pork, and eggs: States battle each other on minimum confinement space regulations

California voters passed Proposition 12 in the November 2018 election, which will require producers to comply with minimum confinement space regulations in order to sell certain products in California. The Prevent Cruelty California Coalition placed the proposition on the ballot, expanding a previous regulation on in-state suppliers, but the new law would apply to any producer trying to sell veal, pork, or eggs in California.… Continue reading

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National Pork Board and U.S. Meat Export Federation to partner on Pork 2040

The National Pork Board, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that they will engage in a foresight-based marketing study called Pork 2040. The study will investigate changing consumer attitudes and trends in developed and emerging U.S. pork export markets in 17 defined countries.

“Previous international marketing studies centered only on quantitative statistics to define demand, production and market access,” said Bill Luckey, chair of the Checkoff’s International Marketing committee and a pork producer from Columbus, Nebraska. “This unique effort will be more comprehensive, investigating the relevant qualitative factors that shape consumer opinion and hence markets. The study will focus on forecasting the pork and pork-product demand landscape over the next several decades to help determine where best to invest our limited Checkoff resources.”

In addition to analyzing linear consumer trends, the Pork 2040 research will assess trends in the development of new production and marketing technologies, as well as in growing environmental concerns and in emerging legal, trade and regulatory regimes around the globe.… Continue reading

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26th Cattlemen’s College set to enhance management

Staying a step ahead in the cattle industry is no small challenge. Cattlemen and women looking to find that extra step will be attending the 2019 Cattlemen’s College in New Orleans, La., Jan. 29-30.

More than a thousand producers are expected to attend the event, sponsored by Zoetis and produced by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. It is being presented in conjunction with the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show.

A highlight of the event will be a Jan. 29 afternoon session that features Dr. Temple Grandin conducting a cattle handling and facility design presentation. A reception will follow that afternoon, with a full slate of concurrent educational sessions to follow the morning of Jan. 30.

Keynote speaker at the Cattlemen’s College Opening General Session Jan. 30 will be Bill Cordingley, managing director and head of the Chicago office of RaboBank Wholesale Banking North America. He will speak on “Greater Expectations, Bigger Opportunities,” touching on the different forces that work together to yield a complex demand story for beef.… Continue reading

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OCA members to offer nearly 115 consignments in Replacement Female Sale

Several members of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will sell nearly 115 consignments in the OCA Replacement Female Sale on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, at 6 p.m. at the Muskingum Livestock Auction Company facility in Zanesville, Ohio. Consignments include approximately 40 mature cows less than five years of age and cow/calf pairs and approximately 75 bred heifers.

Breeds represented will include Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Red Angus, Simmental, Simmental influenced and cross and commercial females. Service sire breeds represented include Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Hereford, Maine-Anjou, Red Angus, Shorthorn, Simmental, and Simmental influenced. All females selling will have a safe pregnancy status verified within sixty days of the sale and all lots will be eligible for interstate shipment.

“Now is a great opportunity for cattlemen to add numbers to their herd or get started in the beef business,” said John Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator. “This sale represents an excellent opportunity for cow-calf producers to add quality bred heifers and young cows to their herds.”… Continue reading

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California voters approve Prop 12

On Election Day California voters approved Proposition 12, an initiative that, starting in 2020, bans the sale of pork and veal from animals raised anywhere in the country in housing the state banned through a 2008 ballot initiative. (In 2010, the California Legislature banned the sale of eggs from hens housed in so-called battery cages regardless of where they are raised.)

Prop. 12 also requires egg-laying hens in the state to be cage free. National Pork Producers Council, which strongly opposed it, maintains that the initiative violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause and that it will be costly for farmers and consumers. The organization is supporting federal legislation that would prohibit states from regulating agricultural production practices outside their borders and is backing lawsuits — now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court — filed by attorneys general from nearly two dozen states against California’s egg sales ban and a 2016 Massachusetts ballot measure that banned the sale of eggs, pork and veal from animals raised in housing prohibited by the same measure.… Continue reading

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FAD transmission risk is greater with garbage feeding

Despite many advancements in the U.S. pork industry’s focus on disease risk mitigation, 28 states (along with Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) still allow some type of garbage feeding to swine. While deemed acceptable by the USDA’s Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) when strict protocols are followed, the potential risk of foreign animal disease (FAD) transmission remains with this practice.

According to Dave Pyburn, senior vice president of science and technology for the Pork Checkoff, the practice of garbage feeding to pigs in the United States is somewhat of a holdover from the past.

“We used to feed many more hogs this way than we do now,” he said. “But the important thing is that if a producer does decide to do this type of feeding where it’s allowed, he or she must do so by strictly adhering to the APHIS guidelines.”

The Swine Health Protection Act (SHPA) regulates food waste containing any meat products fed to swine.… Continue reading

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Livestock building rental considerations

By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Wayne County

Recently I have gotten some questions about rental of livestock buildings, specifically dairy facilities. Typically, callers want to know a charge per square foot or a rental rate based on a per head basis or, for a dairy facility, based on number of free stalls. The reality is that there is no one right or correct answer.

Several methods or approaches generate a dollar figure for rental. However, view that number as a starting point in a rental negotiation. There are additional factors that affect the final rental rate. Those factors include the age and condition of the building, location of the building, the functionality or obsolescence of the building, the demand for rental of this type of building and the character and personality of the parties involved in the rental agreement.

The simplest and most direct way of calculating a building rental rate is to use a commercial rate, a known market.… Continue reading

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Sheep industry diversity to highlight 2018 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium program

By Roger A. High, OSIA/OSWP Executive Director

The 2018 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium (BSS) will once again concentrate on a diversity of topics related to the success of the sheep operation both now and in the future.

This event is Nov. 30 through Dec. 1 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), Shisler Conference Center, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691.

This year’s two-day program topics include: improving profitability through grazing and forage production principles, sheep nutrition including topics on vitamins and minerals, artificial rearing of lambs, early weaning and technology tips, expanding on OSU/OARDC sheep research, nutrient and manure management, and wool marketing. The popular Friday program Shepherd’s College will concentrate on several facets of production to help sheep farmers improve their profitability, including Management intensive grazing 101, using graziers tools, and producer study groups.

The featured speaker is Woody Lane, a nationally-known livestock nutritionist from Roseburg, Oregon. Lane owns and operates an independent consulting firm “Lane Livestock Services,” teaches courses in forages and livestock nutrition to ranchers in the area, facilitates three forage discussion groups for farmers, and writes the popular monthly column “From the Feed Trough…” for The Shepherd magazine.… Continue reading

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U.S. beef exports remain solid while pork exports still face challenges

U.S. beef exports remained very strong in September while pork exports continued to be impacted by retaliatory duties in China and Mexico, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports cooled from the record results posted in August, but were still significantly higher year-over-year. Pork muscle cut exports improved over last September’s volume, but were offset by sharply lower shipments of pork variety meat.

September beef exports totaled 110,160 metric tons (mt), up 6% from a year ago, valued at $687.1 million — up 11%. For January through September, beef exports were just over 1 million mt, up 9% from a year ago, while value surged 18% to $6.2 billion. For beef muscle cuts only, the year-over-year increases were even more impressive, jumping 13% in volume (777,740 mt) and 20% in value ($5.54 billion).

Exports accounted for 13.7% of total beef production in September and 11.4% for muscle cuts only, up from 12.5% and 10.4%, respectively, a year ago.… Continue reading

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Gag order lifted in North Carolina nuisance lawsuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth District in late October struck down a gag order related to North Carolina hog farm nuisance lawsuits brought against Murphy-Brown, the hog production subsidiary of Smithfield Foods. The court said the gag order, which prohibited lawyers or anyone with knowledge of conditions of North Carolina hog operations from sharing information, violated the First Amendment.

Judge Earl Britt, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, in late June imposed the gag order on the parties, lawyers and potential witnesses in the lawsuits. Britt said a “significant increase in trial publicity” and the “volume and scope of prejudicial publicity” about the first two cases — one decided in early May and the other two days after the gag order was implemented — could taint future jurors. (More than a dozen nuisance suits were filed.) The National Pork Producers Council and the North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC) in August filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of lifting the gag order.… Continue reading

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Certified Angus Beef celebrates 40 years with 40 barn paintings, keeping Ohio at its heart

By Joel Penhorwood

The Ohio-based Certified Angus Beef brand known around the world has spent the past year celebrating 40 years of existence by painting their famous logo on 40 barns across the country.

“We feel extremely fortunate to be able to celebrate 40 years. That’s a real milestone for this brand and production agriculture as well, and definitely the Angus breed,” said John Stika, president of Certified Angus Beef. “It means 40 years of providing consumers with the high quality product, both here in Ohio as well as around the world. And we’re here today on the exact date 40 years later that the brand sold its first pound as Renzetti’s IGA in Columbus, Ohio.”

Stika made the comments after he put the finishing touches on the final mural of the 40-barn campaign in which artist Troy Freeman crisscrossed the country to paint a diverse range of buildings from brand new metal structures to old wooden barns.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s dairy industry creates $23.44 billion economic impact

Ohio’s dairy farmers do more than just produce milk — they create jobs, contribute to their communities and help drive Ohio’s economy. The total economic impact of dairy products produced and sold in Ohio is $23.44 billion.

Food and agriculture is the number one contributor to Ohio’s economy, and farming provides one out of every eight jobs in Ohio, according to the Ohio Livestock Coalition.

In Ohio, dairy farming families milk more than 261,000 dairy cows on about 2,200 dairy farms. As milk makes its journey from farm to table, it employs farm workers, trucker drivers, construction workers, factory workers, retailers and more.

Ohio’s dairy industry provides 114,053 jobs for Ohioans, based on a 2018 report by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). Nationally, said IDFA research, the dairy industry creates nearly 3 million U.S. jobs and has an overall economic impact of more than $628 billion.… Continue reading

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EPA rule exempts farms from emissions reporting

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule exempting livestock farmers from reporting to state and local authorities the routine emissions from their farms.

“The rule announced today is the final piece in the implementation of the FARM Act, which passed Congress earlier this year and which eliminated the need for livestock farmers to estimate and report to the federal government emissions from the natural breakdown of manure,” said Jim Heimerl, president of the National Pork Producers Council, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “That bipartisan measure was approved because it was unnecessary and impractical for farmers to waste their time and resources alerting government agencies that there are livestock on farms.”

The Fair Agricultural Reporting Method, or FARM, Act fixed a problem created last April when a U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a 2008 EPA rule that exempted farmers from reporting routine farm emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).… Continue reading

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Dairy aid helps, but not enough

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) needs to better reflect the dairy-farm incomes lost to tariff retaliation when it calculates its next round of trade mitigation payments, the said today.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, National Milk Producers Federation Chairman and dairy farmer Randy Mooney cited four studies illustrating that milk producers have experienced more than $1 billion in lost income since May, when the retaliatory tariffs were first placed on dairy goods in response to U.S. levies on foreign products. In contrast, the first round of USDA trade mitigation payments, announced in August, allocated only $127 million to dairy farmers.

“We are ever-grateful for your advocacy on agricultural trade, which is crucial to the economic health of our industry,” wrote Mooney, who operates Mooney Dairy in Rogersville, Missouri, with his wife, Jan. “However, our members are greatly concerned about the level of aid that was provided in the initial effort.”… Continue reading

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Key facts about African swine fever

Despite the Chinese government’s control efforts, the spread of African swine fever (ASF) continues in China. The official reports from the World Health Organization (OIE) now say there have been more than 40 cases confirmed in 11 provinces, including one in the far south of the country. Despite this geographic advance, some pig movement has been allowed to help with China’s domestic demand for pork.

And, according to a recent Global Disease Monitoring Report by the Swine Health Information Center, Brazil has reported a case of classical swine fever (CSF) in their country. The Brazilian case, which was reported earlier this month, was in the country’s far north, which is not in a major pig-producing area. This part of Brazil was already not considered to be free of CSF.

U.S. pork is not affected by the ASF outbreaks in other countries and is safe to eat.

  • ASF does not affect humans and therefore is not a public health threat.
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Ag applauds work to deepen Philippine trade relations

The U.S. Trade Representative announced progress in talks with the Philippines under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). U.S. dairy producers and processors appreciate the Administration’s work to preserve and deepen market access ties with a country that purchased $243 million in U.S. dairy products last year.

In a joint statement released about the recent achievements in resolving trade issues under the TIFA, both governments agreed that they should work together to benefit agriculture. This is viewed as a promising development given Southeast Asia’s growing market for dairy products.

U.S. officials noted that the Philippines has been handling geographical indications (GIs) in a fair manner that preserves the use of common names and welcomed their commitment to “discuss ways to ensure that Philippine laws, regulations, and policies do not restrict or prohibit entry of U.S. products in the Philippine market.”

To further that goal, the Philippines confirmed that “it will not provide automatic GI protection, including to terms exchanged as part of a trade agreement.”… Continue reading

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