Livestock



Watch out for the pitfalls of meat processing at home

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

National headlines have repeatedly announced that COVID-19 has caused a disruption in the commercial meat system. The growing number of sick employees at major meat packers has caused a slowdown in the processing lines and even shutdown some entire facilities.

Over the years, the United States has created a highly efficient food supply, to the extent that the meat supply chain has become a “just-in-time” system. In the pork industry, efficiency is calculated down to the day. It takes 11 months (roughly 335 days) from the time a mother pig (sow) is bred, and then farrows (has the baby pigs), then those pigs are raised, and then butchered and delivered to the grocery store meat case. The entire system is dependent on every step of the process occurring on time and at the right time.… Continue reading

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The show must go on for Ohio’s livestock exhibition industry

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

Like the rest of the world, show pig and lamb breeders and exhibitors had to do some adjusting this spring after the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation some of the biggest livestock shows and sales, including the biggest show of the year, the Ohio State Fair.

The word “adjusting” suits the show pig and show lamb industry well at this point. Some in the two industries feared they’d see a lower volume in sales this spring, but instead saw sales similar, or even higher than in the past. Allen Johnson said web-based sales helped him make the adjustment to have a successful sale season for his business, Johnson Show Lambs.

“Our live sales were cancelled all together. As a result, we scrambled around and got pictures up on our webpage and fixed up a web-based sale through ShowStockPlanet and that was the platform we used to sell all of our wethers,” Johnson said.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 159 | Beef Gives Back

The Quarantine Chronicles continue, and we miss our office more and more. Kolt, Matt and Dusty host this week from their homes. Interviews include two Between the Rows interviews featuring Charlie Kail and Wille Murphy. Matt interviewed Jamie Graham from the Ohio Beef Council. And Bart interviewed Shane Kellogg from the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms.… Continue reading

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Prop 12 challenged by farm groups

The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation jointly filed an appeal, challenging California’s Proposition 12, which imposes arbitrary animal housing standards that reach outside of California’s borders to farms across the United States. By attempting to regulate businesses outside of its borders, California’s Proposition 12 violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The appeals challenge, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asks the court to strike Proposition 12 as invalid. It is unconstitutional and seeks to allow a single state without any commercial hog production to regulate how farmers across the country operate, imposing prohibitive costs with no benefits.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Proposition 12 prohibits the sale of pork not produced according to California’s highly prescriptive production standards. The proposition applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether raised there or outside its borders. Currently, less than one percent of U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio beef farmers stepping up to help those in need

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities across the state, the Ohio Beef Council (OBC) has established the Beef Families Care Fund (BFCF), a matching program to assist non-profit agricultural groups that are working to provide beef meals and nutrition education to Ohioans in need and encourage beef consumption in communities across the state.

“Ohio beef farmers are proud to help feed their local communities,” said Jamie Graham, chairman of the OBC Operating Committee. “We are firmly committed to caring for and supporting Ohioans struggling with food insecurity.”

BFCF is made possible through the Ohio Beef Checkoff Program and will continue through the remainder of 2020. This one-time program is a direct result of several pandemic-related event cancelations, including the 2020 Ohio State Fair.

“The goal of the checkoff is to promote Ohio beef and it has been very challenging with a lot of the face-to-face communication and the promotions we try to do with things being canceled,” Graham said.… Continue reading

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Good planning extends the grazing season and protects resources

By John Kellis, Ohio Department of Agriculture grazing management specialist

Most southern Ohio pastures are located squarely in the “tall fescue belt.” As these grasses go dormant in the fall, they become a very palatable to cattle and can be intensively grazed. Often producers will strip graze these grasses beginning in December, moving portable fence back 50 feet at a time across the field. Cattle will struggle to get to the next available strip of brown fescue rather than eat hay that may be set behind the cattle. After dormancy, the fescue can be eaten down lower to the ground than you would typically leave after fall grazing where you need to leave at least 4 to 6 inches of growth. This “stockpiling” of forage is a good alternative for late fall and winter grazing. This practice further reduces the need for hay and can provide grazable acres into January or February.… Continue reading

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April meat exports held strong for beef and pork

April proved to be a solid month for U.S. beef and pork exports despite COVID-19 related interruptions in production and declining purchasing power of some key trading partners, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports were below last April’s large totals but still topped $600 million in value. Pork exports remained well above year-ago levels but slowed from the record pace established in the first quarter.

“Considering all the challenges the U.S. red meat industry faced in April, export results were encouraging,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO. “Exporters lost several days of slaughter and processing due to COVID-19, and shipments to Mexico and some other Latin American markets declined due to slumping currencies and the imposition of stay-at-home orders. But despite these significant headwinds, global demand for U.S. beef and pork remained strong.”

While May export results will likely reflect similar obstacles, Halstrom noted that red meat production continues to recover, setting the stage for a strong second half of 2020.… Continue reading

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USDA clarifies CFAP provisions for livestock

USDA issued a Federal Register notice clarifying a handful of provisions in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to farmers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and was issued last month.

Among the changes, USDA clarified CFAP payment calculations for livestock, including the calculations based on unpriced livestock sales from Jan. 15 to April 15, 2020, and those based on livestock inventory owned between April 16 to May 14, 2020. Under the change, the swine provisions now read as: “Payments for hogs and pigs will be equal to the sum of the results of the following two calculations: (1) Unpriced hogs and pigs sold between Jan. 15-April 15, 2020, multiplied by the CARES Act payment rate in paragraph (h) of this section; and (2) Hog and pig inventory owned between April 16-May 14, 2020, multiplied by the CCC payment rate in paragraph (h) of this section.”

Read the Federal Register notice here.… Continue reading

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American Lamb Resource Center website

The American Lamb Resource Center website (www.LambResourceCenter.com) is officially relaunched. This is an industry website that is a great place for sheep producers, feeders, direct marketers, educators and processors to start their search for information. It pulls together a variety of resources from American Lamb organizations, USDA and more.

The site is a service of the American Lamb Board (ALB), your checkoff organization. With a totally new design, updated content and simplified navigation, we hope you find this site even more useful. The Home page features current news and resources of particular interest. The most popular section is likely to be Resources, which has access to everything from publications, funding opportunities from a variety of sources, the American Lamb Summit, pricing calculator (also known as the Direct Marketing Lamb Business Management Tool), to market reports courtesy of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI).

The Lamb Board section explains what the mandatory checkoff program does, how it works, and how to pay.… Continue reading

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USDA updates ASF response plan

In late May, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) updated its African swine fever (ASF) strategic plan and expanded it into a full response as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen response capabilities in the event of an outbreak. The USDA APHIS USDA Response Plan: The Red Book May 2020 elevates preparedness activities in the United States should ASF enter the country. ASF is an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks. Among provisions, the response plan provides: a comprehensive feral swine response, an outline of USDA authorities and APHIS guidance specific to an ASF response, specific response actions that will be taken if ASF is detected, updated USDA APHIS National Stop Movement Guidance, and changes to surveillance guidance.

To view the Red Book, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/fadprep. The agency anticipates there will be updates to the ASF Response Plan as new capabilities and processes become available.… Continue reading

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Pastures already short? Then stocking rate is too high!

By Victor Shelton, Natural Resource Conservation Service State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Generally, by the first of June, most cool-season forages have peaked their growth and quite often have reached about two thirds of their production for the year. Clippings taken support that theory. Unfortunately, there just haven’t been enough warm sunny days for this to occur this spring until just recently.

With this being a major pivoting point for the growing season, it is usually a decent gage of stocking rate and grazing efficiency. If you are short of forage at this time of year, then the stocking rate is too high, unless you happen to be in a drought area. I don’t know of anywhere where that is an issue right now.

Think about this for a moment. If you are short on forages at the peak of the cool-season forage season, then where will you be when it turns hot and dry?… Continue reading

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Meat processing laws in Ohio and the U.S.

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Meat sales have been subject to serious supply chain issues wrought by COVID-19, raising many questions here in Ohio about who can process meat and where meat can be sold. In my opinion, explaining meat processing laws is nearly as difficult as summarizing the Internal Revenue Code. But one easy answer to the meat processing questions we’ve been receiving relates to Ohio’s participation in the Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Program established by the 2008 Farm Bill. Ohio was the first state to participate in CIS and is the largest of the seven approved state CIS programs. CIS participation means that a small Ohio processor can apply to operate as a “federally inspected” plant and sell meat across state lines, including through online sales.

To become a “CIS establishment,” the processor must have fewer than 25 full-time employees and meet specific food safety and sanitation standards that are verified through an inspection and assessment process.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 157 | Send your county fair updates in

The Quarantine Chronicles go on another day. Kolt, Dale, and Dusty host the podcast this week and discuss a few topics as plant 2020 begins to come to a close. Matt features interviews with Tracy Dendinger with the Ohio Youth Livestock Expo, David Wilson from Bane Welker, and Patty Mann from Shelby County.… Continue reading

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There is still time to make up for lost hay

By Chris Penrose, Extension Educator, Ag and Natural Resources, Morgan County

Some suggest hay yields are half of normal. Is that the result of late freezes, or more timely harvest this year?

I hope you are not having the hay season I am having. While the quality of my hay is good, my yields are extremely disappointing. With over half of my fields made, I am around 50% of a normal crop. The two late freezes killed back growing grass last month, and honestly, I am mowing hay earlier than most years. I am also doing it much faster with my youngest son not working this summer at the Wilmington College farm due to the virus and helping on the farm. Another thing I have noticed over the past few years is that some hay fields have less fescue and orchard grass, and more poor quality forages like cheat grass reducing quality and yields.… Continue reading

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Ohio Youth Livestock Expo moves forward with plans for 2020 junior shows

By Matt Reese

Many livestock shows have been canceled in 2020, including junior shows at the Ohio State Fair. In an effort to provide some opportunities for youth exhibitors to show their livestock in 2020, a group of volunteers teamed up to form the Ohio Youth Livestock Expo (OYLE).

“The Ohio Youth Livestock Expo was created to provide the show opportunity for Ohio’s junior livestock exhibitors during the timeframe when their intended show may have been canceled,” said Tracy Dendinger, livestock judge, breeder, agricultural educator, and OYLE volunteer. “It is not only the Ohio State Fair. There are other difficult decisions being made within our 88 counties in Ohio where shows may have canceled.”

With this in mind, OYLE is planning multiple shows later this summer.

“The OYLE is a lineup of junior market and breeding shows for beef cattle, sheep, Boer goats, and pigs,” Dendinger said. “We are looking for 4-H and FFA members who would be eligible for junior fair exhibition.… Continue reading

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OSIA LEAD Council update on sheep shows

For the 2020 show season, the OSIA LEAD Council is sponsoring two shows in order to bulk up the 2020 show season for our membership and Ohio 4-H and FFA members. In order for this to occur, sponsors are needed. Please go to this link to make a financial contribution via PayPal or print the donation form and send it to the OSIA office.  Thank you in advance.

Follow the OSIA LEAD Facebook page for the most updated OSIA LEAD Council Sanctioned Show Schedule. Currently these sanctioned shows are scheduled:

  • June 13, 2020 – Mid-Ohio Lamb Classic – Millersburg – Single Market Lamb Only Show
  • June 20, 2020 – OSIA LEAD Shows – Bucyrus –  Bratwurst Blowout/Crawford County Clash – Double Market Lamb/Single Breeding Sheep Show
  • June 27, 2020 – Buckeye Livestock Expo – Millersburg – Single Market Lamb Only
  • July 11, 2020 – OSIA LEAD Shows – Eaton – Border Bash – Market Lamb/Breeding Sheep

Those who plan to show at any of the OSIA LEAD Council Sanctioned shows should refer to the 2020 OSIA LEAD Council Exhibitor Rules.… Continue reading

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World Dairy Expo canceled

world-dairy-expo-show-ring

World Dairy Expo 2020 has been canceled.

Following a meeting between World Dairy Expo’s officers and general manager, Alliant Energy Center leadership, and officials from Public Health Madison & Dane County, it has been determined, based on the national CDC guidelines and Dane County restrictions related to COVID-19, which include the Alliant Energy Center, a county owned facility, holding World Dairy Expo in 2020 is not feasible.

World Dairy Expo is issuing full refunds for all payments made for the 2020 show. Complete details regarding refunds will be forthcoming.

Other options were explored and considered by the World Dairy Expo Executive Committee and staff, but no feasible other option was found.

“Whether you are one of our 1,600 dairy cattle exhibitors, an employee of one of our 850 companies participating in Expo, one of our 400 dedicated volunteers, one of our 7,000 youth participants, or one of the 62,000 dairy enthusiasts who join us in Madison each fall as an attendee, you are the most important piece and what makes World Dairy Expo so special.

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Livestock farms should note the possibility of increased activist activity

The Animal Agriculture Alliance has contacted the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to raise concerns about recent animal rights activist activity. The effort involves an interactive map pinpointing specific farms and meat processing plants across the U.S.

Activists are being encouraged to use the map to locate farms and processors in their area and create a “paper trail” for them with photos and videos collected by going to those farms. This is a good reminder for all livestock farmers to remain vigilant and be mindful of farm security at all times.

Tips to prevent unexpected visitors:

  • Do the right thing. Above all else, make sure your farm is exceeding all expectations for animal care, cleanliness and environmental responsibility whether there is a camera on you or not.
  • Post “no trespassing” signs. Make it clear that unexpected visitors are not allowed on the property. Signs should appear professionally made to convey the seriousness. 
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Creamery business booms during COVID-19

By Matt Reese

Luke Jackson just finished up his sophomore year of high school at home and did not get to spend much of his spring on the baseball diamond with his teammates like usual. Not much has been usual, after all, in the spring of 2020.

Luke loves sports of all kinds and has missed the athletic activity, but the coronavirus that kept him off the athletic fields also helped double the demand for his family’s Indian Creek Creamery in Logan County. As their new business boomed in recent weeks, Ray and Colleen Jackson were glad to have some extra help on the more than 70-head dairy farm from their two sons (Luke and Samuel, a student at Calvin University in Grand Rapids) who were both home from school due to the pandemic.

Ray has been involved in the dairy industry most of his life

and milking on the Logan County farm since 1991 and, in recent years, saw a need to respond to the increasingly challenging market conditions for milk.… Continue reading

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