Lepley Farms finds balance in growing herd and compliance with new barn

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

For a few years now, Dave Lepley has been contemplating expanding his Huron County cattle herd. He knew he wanted to grow the number of head on his farm, but if he was going to take a big step in that direction, he wanted to do it the right way.

“We had a bed-pack dry lot with about 300 head and as we did research for expansion we came across the idea for this new cattle barn,” Lepley said. “We wanted to comply with a lot of different things. We had to have cattle comfort, we had to have compliance with EPA rules because of our proximity to Lake Erie so we wanted to be sure that as we built our herd size we could house them all in one facility.”

The result is a 101-foot by 321-foot by16-foot indoor feedlot facility in Bellevue permitted to hold 1,000 head of cattle.Continue reading

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Beef Industry Update Meeting to be held in Williams County

A Beef Industry Update meeting hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will take place in Williams County. Beef producers from Williams and surrounding counties are encouraged to attend. The meeting will be held Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Williams County Fairgrounds — 619 E. Main Street, Montpelier, OH 43543.

At the meeting, OCA staff will discuss OCA events and policy updates. A complimentary dinner will be sponsored by OCA Allied Industry Council (AIC) members Farm Credit Mid-America and Kalmbach Feeds, Inc. and door prizes will be provided. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from Farm Credit Mid-America and Kalmbach Feeds, Inc. representatives on keeping their cattle in production and profitable.

The 2018 Beef Industry Update producer education partner is the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Corn Growers Association.

Contact the OCA office at 614-873-6736 or email for more information about the beef industry update meetings.… Continue reading

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Livestock groups petition Department of Transportation for Hours of Service flexibility

Organizations representing livestock, bee, and fish haulers across the country recently submitted a petition to the Department of Transportation (DOT) requesting additional flexibility on Hours of Service (HOS) requirements. The petition asks for a five-year exemption from certain HOS requirements for livestock haulers and encourages DOT to work with the livestock industry to implement additional fatigue-management practices.

Current rules limit drive time to 11 hours and limit on-duty hours to 14. Instead, the organizations request that livestock haulers be granted approval to drive up to 15 hours with a 16-hour on-duty period, following a 10-hour consecutive rest period. Any livestock hauler wishing to operate under the extended drive time would be required to complete pre-trip planning and increased fatigue-management training.

“We are concerned that the 11- and 14-hour rules were not drafted with livestock haulers in mind and thus do not accommodate the unique character of their loads and nature of their trips,” the organizations wrote.… Continue reading

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It’s time to grow forage, take inventory, and use it efficiently

By Victor Shelton, NRCS state agronomist/grazing specialist

Fall is here and it means that our perennial forages are starting to think about taking a siesta. You will want to do three things this time of year: grow as much forage as you can prior to plants going dormant, be as efficient as you can with what you have to graze, and take inventory on how much winter feed you have on hand.

There are still plenty of good growing days left this fall and they need to be taken advantage of. One of the first things to do to make sure you obtain as much growth as possible, especially with perennial forages, is to stop grazing forages that can and will continue to grow for a while, especially forages that will stockpile like tall fescue.

Tall fescue stockpiles better than almost any other forage in the midwest. I would rather that not be old Kentucky 31 endophyte-infected fescue, but even KY 31 makes some really good feed in the winter time, especially after going through a few hard freezes.… Continue reading

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Livestock diseases a global threat worth monitoring

By Don “Doc” Sanders

This month’s column is more serious than most. If you’re looking for entertainment and my usual wild stories, you may want to skip this one. But this column is a must-read, if you raise livestock and/or care about the American food supply (and if you’re like me, you like to eat). Livestock disease outbreaks are occurring every day somewhere in the world. These diseases, if not contained, could threaten our food supply and lifestyle in a way that most Americans are too naïve to fathom.

It will pay you to be aware of this situation, so you can be prepared. For starters, here are a few facts that escape most Americans.

  • Many diseases are zoonotic. This means they can spread from animals to humans, or vice versa.
  • An example is avian influenza, which can pass from birds to humans. Remember the avian flu outbreak a couple years ago?
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Asian trade mission offers pork market insights

A recent trade mission to Asia by the National Pork Board International Marketing Committee built lasting relationships with international customers and elevated U.S. pork as the global protein of choice. The Pork Checkoff team toured Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Macau, meeting with pork processors, distributors and retailers, importers and traders, as well as in-country staff responsible for promoting U.S. pork in the region.

“Pork is the No. 1 most-consumed protein in the world, and that was obvious on this mission,” said Bill Luckey, a pork producer from Columbus, Nebraska, and chair of the Pork Checkoff’s International Marketing Committee. “As the committee allocates Pork Checkoff dollars to international marketing, it is important to see how these dollars are working today and how we might better target producer resources in emerging markets in the future.”

With U.S. pork production again breaking records in 2018, the Pork Checkoff is committed to growing pork demand both domestically and in international markets.… Continue reading

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Calaway Classic beef show honors memories and creates new ones

By Kayla Hawthorne, OCJ field reporter

When the farming community loses one of their own, everyone comes together to remember the life that was lost.

On Sept. 30, the Meigs County Calaway Classic beef show was held in memory of Joann Calaway, who passed away unexpectedly in November of 2017. Calaway was a 4-H advisor in the county for 44 years known for her commitment to all of the youth.

“She ruled the barn with an iron fist and a soft heart,” wrote Anita Morrissey and Patty Aldridge, Calaway’s niece and sister.

Calaway enjoyed watching her sons Rob and Jeromee show cattle and then her granddaughter, Maddy. With several grand and reserve champions, the family has been successful with cattle from their family farm. Maddy competed in the Calaway Classic.

The Meigs County Beef Show was in conjunction with the Southern Ohio Showdown Circuit, which consists of 10 shows in different counties in southern Ohio.… Continue reading

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NCBA calls for flexibility on Hours of Service rules

At a public listening session hosted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today called for additional flexibility on Hours of Service rules for livestock haulers. NCBA President Kevin Kester and Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera delivered the group’s message at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s headquarters in Washington.

The comments emphasized the need for a regulatory framework that encourages drivers to rest when they are tired. Under the status quo, drivers are incentivized to “push through” fatigue due to overly-restrictive Hours of Service rules.

“The current Hours of Service framework is incompatible with the realities of livestock hauling,” Kester said. “Drivers of our livestock need to be alert and safe, while also cognizant of the welfare of the animals they are hauling. We want them to rest as needed, instead of racing against the clock.”

Current rules require a livestock hauler to rest for 10 consecutive hours once they reach their maximum on-duty drive time of 11 hours.… Continue reading

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Holding time for feedstuffs may reduce swine disease risk

The ongoing outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in China, Belgium and elsewhere, have crystallized the U.S. pork industry’s focus and collaboration on finding new ways to help protect the domestic herd from costly foreign animal diseases (FADs). One new practice designed to reduce disease transmission risk involves knowing exactly how long certain feed ingredients have been securely stored before allowing their use on pig farms.

As modeling in peer-reviewed research has made clear, it’s possible for swine disease viruses to survive in shipments of certain feed ingredients during transoceanic shipping to U.S. ports and even to inland points of feed manufacture. Based on this current research, a holding time of 78 days after the date of manufacture and bagging or sealing to prevent additional contamination (“born on date”) for amino acids, minerals or vitamins will degrade 99.99% of viral contamination. The holding time extends to 286 days for soybean meal to allow for similar viral degradation, once shipped to prevent additional contamination.… Continue reading

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August beef exports soar to new heights while pork exports still under pressure

U.S. beef exports set new records in August with export value topping $750 million for the first time, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). August pork exports were fairly steady with last year’s volume, but retaliatory duties in key markets continued to pressure pork export value.

August beef exports totaled 119,850 metric tons (mt), up 7% from a year ago, valued at $751.7 million — up 11% year-over-year and easily exceeding the previous record of $722.1 million reached in May 2018. For January through August, beef exports totaled 899,300 mt, up 9% from a year ago, while value climbed 18% to $5.51 billion.

For the third consecutive month, beef muscle cut exports set a new volume record in August at 95,181 mt (up 9% from a year ago), valued at $679.6 million (up 13%). Through August, muscle cut exports were 14% ahead of last year’s pace in volume (692,234 mt) and 21% higher in value ($4.93 billion).… Continue reading

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What path will you choose for this cattle cycle?

By John F. Grimes, Ohio State University Extension Beef Coordinator

Based on reports from USDA and industry analysts such as Cattle Fax, it appears that the aggressive expansion of the U.S. beef cowherd will peak in 2019 and level off in the early part of the next decade. From the time the most recent herd expansion began in 2014, producers will have added over 3 million beef cows to the nation’s herd. Our primary protein competitors, pork and poultry, have also been in expansion mode recently which adds more competition for the consumer’s food dollars.

For all of my adult life, I have heard agricultural economists talk about the “cattle cycle”. The cycle is often reported in approximately 10-year increments and a wide variety of economic, environmental, and political effects can greatly influence each cycle. Current and future cattle cycles will face increasingly varied and complex factors that affect the economic health of the beef industry.… Continue reading

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Tom Vilsack talks trade and dairy exports under USMCA


A conversation with…

Tom Vilsack — Former U.S. Ag Secretary and president, CEO of U.S. Dairy Export Council on USMCA

Interview with Joel Penhorwood


OCJ: What is your take on the new NAFTA, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)?

Tom: I think it’s good news from the perspective that we now know that there is likely to be a tri-lateral relationship between Mexico, Canada, and the United States. I think there was some uncertainty as to whether or not the U.S. would either leave NAFTA or whether they would simply provide an agreement with Mexico and leave Canada out. I think now we know that we’re going to have a trilateral agreement which should stabilize and strengthen our dairy markets. We now know we’re going to be able to preserve that Mexican market, which is incredibly important to the dairy industry — our No. 1 market — with potential opportunities for additional access to the Canadian market.… Continue reading

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Dairy farmers ask Trump Administration to provide needed compensation for lost trade

U.S. dairy farmers at their annual meeting here this week asked President Donald Trump to recognize the significant economic losses milk producers are suffering because of the administration’s implementation of Section 232 and 301 tariffs.

The duties have resulted in retaliatory tariffs against U.S. dairy exports, particularly in Mexico and China. They continue to cause severe economic harm to U.S. dairy farmers, according to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), as its board of directors adopted a resolution calling for aid commensurate to that damage.

“In light of the administration’s decision to establish a program to compensate farmers for the damage caused by these retaliatory tariffs, we call on the president to direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide assistance to dairy producers at a level that reflects the damage they have caused,” milk producers resolved at their meeting, held Oct. 28-31 in Phoenix. Farmer losses will exceed $1 billion this year, according to four separate estimates cited by NMPF.… Continue reading

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NCBA contest seeks singer for National Anthem at 2019 convention in New Orleans

If you’re a singer from the cattle industry who can perform the National Anthem with precision, and if you would like a free trip to the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2019, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association would like to hear from you. The organization is conducting its fifth annual National Anthem Contest, sponsored by Norbrook. Any member of NCBA, the American National CattleWomen, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, or their children are eligible to participate in the contest.

This year there is no age limit for entry. Contest winner will perform the Star Spangled Banner at the convention’s Opening General Session Jan. 30, as well as the Cowboy Concert Series Friday Night Event Feb. 1. They will receive round trip airfare for two to New Orleans for the convention, a hotel room for four nights, free convention registration for two, plus a pair of boots, pair of jeans and a shirt from Roper or Stetson.… Continue reading

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Manure spill prevention

By Rory Lewandowski, Extension educator, Wayne County, Ohio State University Extension

Typically, dairy farms have an opportunity after corn silage harvest to pump down lagoons and get manure hauled and applied. Hopefully, all goes well, without any accidents or manure spills, but hope is not a spill or accident prevention plan. Livestock operations that store, haul, and apply manure need to have an emergency response plan to handle manure spills and escapes. Preventing manure spills is one important component of that plan. A good start to preventing manure spills is to understand some common reasons manure spills occur, as well as where in the process from storage to application spills commonly occur.

At the 2018 Manure Science Review in late July in Hardin County, Glen Arnold, OSU Extension Manure Management Specialist, gave a presentation on manure spills and escapes. During his presentation, Arnold said that manure spills/escapes occur at three different locations and/or phases of manure management.… Continue reading

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Rabbit hemorrhagic disease found in Ohio

On Sept. 19, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHD2) was detected in a domestic rabbit in Medina County. This is the first confirmed case of RHD2 in the United States. It’s important to remember RHD2 does not pose a threat to humans or other animals, but is highly fatal in rabbits.

The rabbits at this location were housed in horse stalls and ran free in those stalls. They have been on site for several years and there has been no movement of rabbits on or off the premises recently. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) will work with state and federal partners to conduct surveillance of wild rabbits near the location.

RHD is a viral disease that causes sudden death in rabbits. It can be spread through contact with infected rabbits, as well as by materials having contact with infected animals. Again, this disease does not affect people or other animals.… Continue reading

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KORUS trade deal update

KORUS trade deal updatePresident Trump announced that the United States and South Korea signed the revised free trade agreement between the countries. The United States-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS)agreement, which was finalized earlier this year, was signed during the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, or KORUS, was one of several trade agreements scrutinized by the president during his 2016 election campaign. The National Pork Producers Council was pleased with the outcome of the renegotiations, with the new deal having little impact on agriculture. Most U.S. pork will continue to flow to South Korea with no tariff. (Prior to KORUS, Korean duties on U.S. chilled and frozen pork were 22.5% and 25%, respectively.) Last year, the United States shipped $475 million of pork to South Korea — a 30% increase over 2016 — making it the No. 5 U.S. pork export market.

“We are entering into a new KORUS agreement that is a better deal for the entire United States economy, including the agricultural sector.… Continue reading

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Autumn grazing tips for extending the growing season

By Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

The older I get, the more I tend to philosophize about things. I’ve been asked a few times why I am such an advocate for sound grazing practices. Best management grazing practices, just like conservation practices for reducing or preventing soil erosion on cropland, help preserve and or regenerate resources not only for present generation, but also for future generations. Keeping a field in forages will save more soil and conserve more water than almost all other erosion control practices. As the world population continues to increase and the acres of viable land that we can grow food on continues to decrease, we have to be more efficient and more productive with what remains while also maintaining and improving water quality. Food quality and nutrient density need to also improve.

We are on a count down to the first frost. I’m thankful for timely rains and that most of our cool-season grasses will continue to grow even after that first frost, as long as there is moisture working with the declining light hours.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association celebrates Best of the Buckeye breeders

The Best of the Buckeye Program, hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) in conjunction with the Ohio Beef Expo and the Ohio State Fair, successfully concluded its fifth season. The program rounded out the year with 269 head of cattle nominated by 146 breeders.

The Best of the Buckeye program recognizes top-placing Ohio bred, born and registered calves, along with the breeder and exhibitor, in each breed division at the two shows. This year a new event was created for breeder recognition sponsored by Sullivan Supply and Stock Show University. Thanks to these generous sponsors, over $10,000 was awarded in prizes to breeders in late August at the first annual Breeder Reception. Nominating breeders gathered in late August for an ice cream social, program and prize drawing. All attending breeders at the reception received a coupon for half off the price of a purchase of an e-blast to OCA’s membership to market their Best of the Buckeye cattle for the 2019 season.… Continue reading

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Talking the divide between U.S., Canada dairy supply systems

By Joel Penhorwood

The trip to Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show by several Ohio dairy farmers, thanks to the efforts of Hill’s Supply, put on display not only the latest in robotic milking technology, but also the relationship between Canadian and American dairy farmers in what has been a contentious time with regard to trade.

Ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations have highlighted the differences between the two countries on milk production.

“The dairy industry is challenging right now. As you look across Ohio and the nation, our nation’s dairy farmers are facing an economic downturn that’s rivaling the downturn that many of us remember in 2009,” said Frank Burkett III. Burkett, a dairy farmer and current president of the Ohio Farm Bureau, has signed a letter of intent on buying Hill’s Supply in the near future. “We look through Hill’s for ways to partner with dairymen to get through this cycle and move onto another cycle that hopefully delivers a little bit better economics and maybe a littler prosperity into dairy farmers.”… Continue reading

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