Chick shipping catastrophe

By Matt Reese

Winter’s wrath is plaguing much of the country, causing shipping headaches nationwide and a first-ever challenge for Meyer Hatchery in Ashland County for delivering newborn chicks or “lives” throughout the country.

“Basically the U.S. Postal Service put an embargo on air shipments for ‘lives’ last week that basically made it so we couldn’t ship orders for this week. USPS is the only carrier for ‘lives’ and birds have to be shipped in 72 hours or they are not viable any more. The Postal Service ended up extending it to the end of next week, which makes 2 weeks in a row where we are unable to ship anything,” said Meghan Howard with Meyer Hatchery. “I understand why they did it this week. There were double-digit negative temperatures in a huge part of the country and we had hundreds of thousands of people without power. There was ice and devastation in Texas, so we understand.… Continue reading

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Resource kit available for those exploring meat processing business

A team of Ohio State business and meat science specialists have compiled a Meat Processing Business Tool Kit for people who are exploring the meat processing business. Designed as a decision-making aid for people exploring investing in or expanding a meat processing facility, this online tool kit can help entrepreneurs evaluate the business and navigate business planning. The Meat Processing Business Tool Kit is available in the Business section at the OSU South Centers webpage and at the OSU Extension Meat Science webpage. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers saw shortages of meat in large supermarkets caused by disruptions in large packing plant operations. 

“As a result, consumers started shopping at smaller, local meat shops, that didn’t have shortages of meat,” said Lynn Knipe, PhD, associate professor of food science and technology at Ohio State who worked with the team to develop the meat processing business tool kit. “This, in turn, increased business for the smaller meat processors to a point that people who were used to taking animals to their local slaughterhouse, had to schedule their animals much farther out than normal.” … Continue reading

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Providing extra energy in bad weather

By Dean Kreager, Ohio State University Extension Licking County Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator

Winter is here! As I write this, we have had some snow and freezing temperatures along with a healthy dose of mud, but the worst is yet to come. Some grazers may still be utilizing stockpiled forages but many of us have transitioned to feeding hay, baleage, or silage. Hopefully, we know the quality of our forage and the needs of the livestock that will be consuming it. Maybe we have even planned for supplemental energy sources when needed. This is all great until Mother Nature throws a monkey wrench into things. Rain, snow, wind, and mud can destroy our best laid plans.

There are charts that tell us the nutrient requirements of all types of livestock during different stages of their lives. These help us know which forages are best suited to which animals and when a supplement needs to be added to maintain performance and reach genetic potential.… Continue reading

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OPC recognizes 2021 award winners

Each year the Ohio Pork Council recognizes award winners at the Ohio Pork Congress. This year’s event was held both in person and with a virtual option. This year’s award winners are:

• Pork Industry Excellence Award — Duane Stateler

• Ohio Pork Council Service Award — Todd Price

• Ohio Pork Council Swine Manager of the Year — Travis Stahl (of Hord Family Farms)

• Ohio Pork Council Friend of Ohio Pork Industry Award — Ohio Dairy Producers Association

• Ohio Pork Council Pork Promoter of the Year Award — Lauren Schwab Eyre.

Here is more about each of the award winners.

Pork Industry Excellence Award: Duane Stateler

Duane Stateler has made many contributions to the pork industry — both at the state and national level. 

Stateler Family Farms spans six generations and agriculture has always been an integral part of Duane’s life as a fourth-generation pig farmer. Growing up on the family farm, Duane worked alongside his father to raise pigs farrow-to-finish and grow crops.… Continue reading

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Meat cutting workshops

Employees with meat cutting skills are in high demand due to the challenges of the 2020 pandemic. To help prepare those interested in food animal processing, Ohio State University Extension meat specialists are offering two-day 2021 Buckeye Fresh Mini Meat Cutting Workshops this spring.

The workshops will provide participants with an understanding of anatomy, muscle myology, cutting guidelines, food safety, meat quality, and the role of government regulated non-meat ingredients (salt, phosphates, nitrates, etc.). The workshops will include hands-on cutting tests to understand the impact of yields on profit margins. The workshops are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and open to those 18 years of age and older with an interest in working in the meat processing industry. 

Dates of the workshops are:

• March 26 and 27

• April 9 and 10

• April 23 and 24

• May 7 and 8

• May 21 and 22.… Continue reading

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A career of service built on a pig scramble

By Matt Reese

To the casual observer, a mud-spattered county fair pig scramble may not initially seem like a forum to set the stage for a distinguished career, though Todd Price, D.V.M. will say otherwise. 

“I grew up on a 90-acre grain and livestock farm Seneca County and worked for my uncle who owned a feed mill in Sycamore and had 300 sows. He raised pigs out in the woods and asked me to catch a piglet for him. He let me have it for my 4-H project to take to the fair when I was 10 or 11. At the fair I signed up for a pig scramble. I caught a gilt and she became my first sow and it all kind of went from there,” Price said. “By the time I was in high school I had 30 or 40 sows. That got it started. From there I went to Ohio State for undergrad in Animal Science and then vet school.”… Continue reading

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2020 pork exports shatter previous records, beef exports strong

U.S. pork exports reached nearly 3 million metric tons (mt) in 2020, topping the 2019 record by 11%, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork export value also climbed 11% to a record $7.71 billion. Exports set new annual records in China/Hong Kong, Central America, Vietnam and Chile, and achieved strong fourth quarter growth in Japan and Mexico. 

U.S. beef exports finished 2020 lower year-over-year, falling 5% in both volume (1.25 million mt) and value ($7.65 billion). But beef exports finished the year with very strong momentum, with fourth quarter volume up 4.5% from 2019 and posting one of the best months on record in December. Beef exports to China were record-large in 2020 and a new volume record was also achieved in Taiwan. 

“Obviously the surge in demand from China, especially in the first half of 2020, was a driving force behind the record performance for U.S.… Continue reading

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Great Lakes Fiber Show

The Great Lakes Fiber Show, an annual Memorial Day Weekend event, has long brought together the Midwest fiber family for two days of sales, competitions, classes and fun. Artists and enthusiasts, teachers and hobbyists, animal owners and vendors, adults and children — everyone has a great time at the Midwest’s premier fiber event. 

The 25th Great Lakes Fiber Show is being held May 29 and 30 2021 at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster featuring workshops, activities, equipment and fiber vendors, a community spin-in, sheep herding demonstrations, sheep breed displays, open competition for fleece, skeins and handmade garments, and food. Workshop registration opens March 1. There is a special discount for early registration. 

For more information visit  Follow the fiber fest on Facebook at Great Lakes Fiber Show.… Continue reading

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Ohio Beef Council sponsors NASCAR’s Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300

The Ohio Beef Council (OBC) as part of the Federation of State Beef Councils, on behalf of the Beef Checkoff, has partnered with the Daytona International Speedway to sponsor the 40th season-opening race for the NASCAR Xfinity Series – the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300. The event is set for a 5 p.m. ET start on Saturday, Feb. 13, the day before the 63rd Annual DAYTONA 500. Additional support from the OBC will extend consumer outreach at the Speedway on race day, enhance Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. signage on the track and make television advertising possible.

“Despite the extraordinary and challenging circumstances 2020 dealt cattle farmers and ranchers across the country, they persevered to keep the delicious beef Americans know and love on store shelves,” said Clay Burtrum, Federation Division Vice Chair for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. “This sponsorship celebrates all the industry has overcome in this historic year for beef, which demonstrated that Americans continue to choose beef as their preferred protein.”… Continue reading

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Cattlemen’s youth raise over $37,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) BEST Program for youth ages 8-21 years co-hosted the Celebrity Showdown at the Clark County Cattle Battle and an online auction to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio (RMHC). The Clark County Cattle Producers sponsored the event.

The Celebrity Showdown was hosted at the Champions Center in Springfield, Ohio on Jan. 29, 2021. For this event, youth were responsible for raising a minimum of $100 for the opportunity to dress up their cattle and present them to the celebrity judges. This year’s judges were Autumn Regula and her doctors, Dr. Lionel Chow of Dayton Children’s Hospital and Dr. Maryam Fouladi of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Through donations from family, friends, their local community and members of OCA, youth participating in the Celebrity Showdown raised $16,415.

The top 10 participants that raised the most money were Weston and Lawson Grauer, $3,700; Austin Sutherly, $1,100; Weston, Jordan, Avery and Reese Flax, $1,030; D’Lelah Laber, $1,000; Emma and Alayna Grafft, $940; Helsinger Cousins (Lindie, Emma, Rylie), $738; Tay Wadsworth, $620; Alli Milner, $550; Kynze Henry, $470 and Hailey Cornett, $425.… Continue reading

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Managing mud

By Matt Reese

While it is nice to envision Ohio’s rural winters with snow-covered fields and rolling hills gleaming white under the sun, the unfortunate reality for many livestock producers is much less glamorous. Unfortunately, winter typically means mud, and plenty of it.   

“It has been an easy year so far, but we don’t usually seem to get much frozen ground. We get 34 degrees and pouring down rain and, if your cows are not on a feeding pad or hard packed surface, you’re losing money. In those conditions, you can’t keep them dry and keep them from losing energy through the mud to maintain a cow, let alone a pregnancy that is inside of her,” said Jason Poorman, a Perry County cattle producer. “If it was 20 degrees and sunny every day, we would be able to go through winter no problem. Cold and rainy is miserable on livestock and expensive for feed and bedding.… Continue reading

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DMC margin falls in December

The monthly margin under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program dropped by $3.09 per cwt in November to $8.78 per cwt in December, mostly driven by lower milk prices, generating payments to producers under the USDA’s flagship risk-management program.

The all-milk price declined by $2.80 per cwt for the month, mostly because of a substantially lower December cheese price. The DMC margin was further lowered by a $0.29 per cwt boost in the feed cost added to it. On a per hundredweight of milk basis, the higher feed cost consisted of cost increases of 19 cents, 7 cents and 3 cents for corn, soybean meal, and alfalfa hay, respectively.

The December margin will generate a payment of $0.72 per cwt for $9.50 per cwt coverage that month; for the year, average DMC payments were $0.73 per cwt per month.

Current futures prices indicate that the monthly all-milk price in 2021 won’t rise above the December level until late summer, while corn and soybean meal prices will remain above December levels at least that long.… Continue reading

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Philippines may reduce pork tariffs

The Philippines’ government plans to hold a hearing to discuss a proposal to reduce its pork tariffs for in-quota and out-quota imports. Specifically, the country’s Department of Agriculture (DA) is recommending pork imports under the minimum access volume (MAV) have a 5% tariff for the next six months and a 10% tariff for the succeeding six months, compared to the current 30% tariff.

For pork imports outside the MAV, the DA proposes tariffs be reduced to 15% for the next six months and 20% in the succeeding six months, compared to the current 40%. The Philippine Tariff Commission plans to consider the DA proposal on Feb. 4. This proposal comes on the heels of NPPC’s meeting last week with U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Jose Manuel Romualdez.

The National Pork Producers Council has been working with the Philippines’ government for more than a year to negotiate lower pork import tariffs. NPPC welcomes the DA’s proposal, as the Philippines holds tremendous market opportunities for U.S.… Continue reading

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Beef cattle biosecurity plan for disease prevention

By Steve Boyles, Ohio State University Extension

In support of cattle producers across the country dedicated to preventing disease, improving animal welfare and reducing production losses, the Beef Checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program developed a Daily Biosecurity Plan for Disease Prevention template. The template, which helps cattle producers implement daily biosecurity measures on their operations, is available digitally as a PDF or can be printed for handwritten plans.

The template was specifically designed to be customizable, giving producers flexibility in determining management practices that work best for their cattle operation and covers everything from animal movement to worker training. The goal of this program is to provide beef producers with the information needed to implement biosecurity plans. It provides an opportunity for producers to have conversations with their veterinarians and extension agents.

“Biosecurity is a top priority for the beef industry,” said Kim Brackett, an Idaho cattle producer and chair of the BQA Advisory Group.… Continue reading

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Ohio harness racers adapted to the pandemic

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter 

             The last year certainly made life challenging for anyone trying to plan events, and, as a result, 2020 created coutless challenges for any industries that depend on those events for financial viability. The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association (OHHA) has around 35,000 members, with around 65 different venues for racing. The majority of those venues are county and independent fairs. So like many during the shutdown in March, the OHHA and horse breeders were left scrambling to find answers. 

            Steve Bateson, President of the OHHA said going into the pandemic felt like “stepping into the twilight zone” after going from a weekly racing schedule to a complete stop. 

            “For those that are involved in our industry, they are enthralled with it, it’s their livelihood,” Bateson said. “So when we were shut down, all of these farms that are in training continued to train and feed their horses and employ their people and they had no place to race.… Continue reading

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Ohio cattle industry award winners recognized

Although Ohio’s cattle industry was unable to celebrate in person at the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet, the 2021 award winners, scholarship recipients and Top Hand recruiters are still being celebrated for their achievements. 

Each year OCA awards seven distinguished individuals and organizations for their achievements and leadership within Ohio’s cattle industry. Those awards and their respective recipients are as follows

Commercial Cattleman of the Year — Shugert Farms, St. Clairsville

The Commercial Cattleman of the Year Award is presented to Ohio farms who have demonstrated success through their commercial cattle operations. These farms utilize performance information and the latest technologies available to increase the predictability of the cattle they raise, in addition to maintaining a continued focus on meeting and exceeding the expectations of beef consumers. 
Bob Shugert operates Shugert farms alongside his brother Dwight Shugert and partners Steve and Stephanie Harris. Over the years the farm has grown and today spreads over two states and several counties where they run 2,500 head of cattle. … Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association moves forward with 2021 Ohio Beef Expo

Planning is underway for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) 2021 Ohio Beef Expo scheduled for March 18 to 21 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. Maintaining a safe environment while providing Expo participants with the critical necessity to continue essential farm income are the objectives driving all decisions for the event.

Accomplishing these goals has required the Beef Expo to reformat several elements to comply with the current COVID related state health orders. The seven seedstock sales have been changed to reduce the number of buyers in one area and scheduled for one sale at a time utilizing only one sale ring in the Voinovich building.

The sales will start Friday afternoon March 19 and continue through Saturday, March 20. Most sales will also provide potential buyers with an optional online bidding opportunity. In addition, the Online Feeder Cattle Sale will continue at a new time on Friday morning.

Ohio Beef Expo Schedule of Events (tentative)

Thursday, March 18

3:00 – 7:00 Trade Show open

Friday, March 19

8:00 – Miniature Hereford Show

8:30 – 7:00 Trade Show open

8:00 – Shorthorn Show

10:00 – Online Feeder Cattle Sale

10:00 – Hereford Show

1:00 – Murray Grey Show

1:00 – Junior Show Showmanship

2:00 – Mini Hereford Sale

4:00 – Red Angus Sale

5:00 – Angus Sale

Saturday, March 20

8:00 – Junior Show Market Animals

8:30 – 7:00 Trade Show open

10:00 – Hereford Sale

11:30 – Shorthorn Sale

1:00 – Simmental Sale

3:00 – Maine Anjou Sale

Sunday, March 21

8:00 – Junior Show Heifers

8:30 – 2:00 Trade Show open

The Beef Expo’s trade show is being planned and exhibitor information will be available at the Expo’s website or by contacting OCA staff contact Bailey Eberhart at beberhart@ohiocattle.orgContinue reading

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Beef and pork exports up

U.S. beef exports posted one of the best months on record in November, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). November was also a strong month for pork exports, which already surpassed the full-year volume and value records set in 2019.

“Demand for U.S. beef in the global retail sector has been outstanding and we expect this to continue in 2021,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “Unfortunately, foodservice continues to face COVID-related challenges. We expect a broader foodservice recovery this year, especially from mid-2021, but will likely still see interruptions in some markets. For U.S. pork, it’s great to set new records with an entire month to spare, but especially gratifying to see a diverse range of markets contributing to U.S. export growth. USMEF still expects strong pork demand from China in 2021, but we’re seeing a much-needed rebound in other regions, especially in Western Hemisphere markets.”… Continue reading

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Online equine classes offered by Ohio State ATI

Two equine online courses planned for spring semester are horse health and disease, and horse breeding and selection through online equine courses at Ohio State ATI in Wooster. Horse health and disease is a study of equine disease, lameness, and emergency first aid with emphasis on preventative health care and the manager’s role with the veterinary professional.

Horse breeding and selection teaches the principles of equine breeding management with emphasis on applied equine reproductive physiology, breeding methods, breeding stock management, and basic genetics and selection. Both courses include a hands-on lab that will meet every other week in Wooster; however, students have the option of enrolling as a continuing education student (a student who is not pursuing a degree) and taking part in the online portion only. 

Classes begin Jan. 11, 2021, and there is still time to enroll. For more information about these and other spring semester courses, contact ATI’s Office of Business Training and Educational Services at 330-287-7511 or visit reading

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Temple Grandin offers alternatives to livestock farmers

By Mike Estadt, Ohio State University Extension Educator

Temple Grandin, Professor at Colorado State University and world renown animal welfare specialist and contributor to Forbes Magazine recently authored an article “Alternative business models that farmers should consider.”  The full article can be found at:

First and foremost, small processing plants will never, let me repeat that, never compete with the large plants on cost efficiency. But a series of smaller plants will be less susceptible to the disruptions that happened in the spring of 2020. Grandin offers the following points that have been synthesized into a few sentences.

Use the craft beer industry as a model: Go niche

During the restrictions placed upon restaurants and bars, craft brewers innovated and moved their dining outside so they could still sell their draft beers. More importantly craft brewers have been able to coexist with the Anheuser-Busch InBevs because they offer beers that the large brewers do not. That… Continue reading

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