USMEF welcomes Ohio corn checkoff as Million Dollar Club member

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is recognizing the Ohio Corn Checkoff as the newest member of the USMEF Million Dollar Club — a group of agricultural organizations that have invested more than $1 million in the promotion of U.S. beef, pork in lamb in international markets. 

Ohio Corn’s first investment in USMEF programs came in 1990. An award honoring Ohio corn producers for more than 30 years of steadfast and consistent support of USMEF will be presented Nov. 11 at the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference in Carlsbad, Calif.

“The U.S. livestock sector is the Ohio corn industry’s largest customer, so supporting meat production and exports is a very important part of what we do,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director for Ohio Corn. “We feel that red meat exports are an extremely efficient way for Ohio corn producers to capitalize on international growth opportunities, so we have always viewed our longtime partnership with USMEF as a very wise investment of corn checkoff funds.” … Continue reading

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Warm season grass challenges and benefits to grazing

By Matt Reese

Those who graze livestock all understand the “summer slump” where Ohio’s cool season pastures decrease in productivity in the often hot, dry days of July and August. This slump has significant implications when maximizing pasture through management.

Nathan Rice raises grain and cattle on his Clinton County farm and knows the summer slump all too well on the 14 acres of pasture for his small cow/calf freezer beef operation. He also works for the Nnatural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and has learned the benefits of alternative grazing options. To help address the significant costs he has seen associated with the summer slump for his cool season pastures, Rice has been working to establish some native warm season grasses, including species like big bluestem, little bluestem and Indiangrass. 

“I was interested in using native warm season grasses after learning about them through my work with NRCS. They really have a good ability to fit in a grazing system by addressing the summer slump.… Continue reading

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Continue to “stage” pasture into fall

By Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

My wife has been splitting open persimmon seeds. For those who don’t know what this is supposed to mean — it is an old wives’ tale method of predicting the upcoming winter weather. For clarity, I’m not saying my wife is old, but she does like to read persimmon seeds! Traditionally, you split the persimmon seed open to reveal the whitish sprout inside. It may require a bit of imagination, but they are supposed to resemble a spoon, a fork or a knife. The spoon is said to predict lots of heavy, wet snow. A fork means you should expect a mild winter. A knife indicates an icy, windy and bitter cold winter. Surprisingly or luckily, it is often correct. She split open several seeds this year — all were spoons.

Now, I would not bank on that information, but it is a reminder that we need to be prepared ahead of time for whatever the weather decides to throw at us.… Continue reading

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Ohio egg industry update

By Matt Reese

The egg industry in general is divided into multiple segments: graded shell eggs for retail in grocery stores; food service graded (different packaging); farm pack (nest run) eggs that are not graded and go to processers; liquid whole egg, yolks or egg whites for food processors; and liquid egg products for the food service industry. Each industry segment in Ohio faced unique challenges in the last 18 months.

Jeff Cutler with Cooper Farms talked about the challenges across the diverse markets for Ohio’s egg producers as the industry navigated the challenges of the pandemic. 

“Recently we have seen some improvement in demand both in food service as well as food manufacturing on the ingredient side, so we’re glad for that. We are coming out of a normal summer cycle where retail demand for shell eggs is not usually the strongest period anyway, but we have seen some steady demand for retail too,” Cutler said.… Continue reading

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Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium coming in December

The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association is pleased welcome Etienne and Isabel Richards as speakers to the 2021 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium in Wooster as part of the Dec. 3 and 4 event at the OARDC Shisler Conference Center. This year’s symposium theme is genetics and reproduction and will feature a wide variety of speakers and gathering opportunities.

On Friday  from 2-5 p.m. attendees will enjoy an afternoon of discussion on genetic appraisal, reproductive strategies, and record keeping from all aspects of the sheep industry. On Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be a collection of sessions including the annual OSIA business meeting, educational presentations and an awards ceremony. Throughout the day attendees will hear insights on recent changes in the sheep industry and discussion on strategic management of genetics and reproduction. As a whole, the symposium will be an opportunity for shepherds to engage with one another for the betterment their home flocks and the American sheep industry.… Continue reading

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Animal disease surveillance

National Pork Producers Council submitted comments on a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposal to use $300 million to improve surveillance of zoonotic diseases, including influenza strains in swine. 

The organization suggested APHIS establish a one-stop shop to share, investigate and integrate pathogen detection trends and sequence data and recommended it fund USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to develop an integrated system for all influenzas of animal origin and consider expanding it to other zoonotic pathogens. NPPC pointed out that the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) is central to the ability to detect, investigate and surveil for emerging and zoonotic diseases, but its capacity to take on additional testing for known pathogens, some of which may be zoonotic, must be expanded. It also recommended that APHIS increase within the National Veterinary Stockpile the equipment necessary to depopulate and dispose of animals in the event of a zoonotic disease outbreak.… Continue reading

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Precautions for feeding frosted forages

By Mark Sulc, Ohio State University Extension

One of these days soon we will have a frost. There is potential for some forage toxicities and other problems that can develop after a frost. Prussic acid poisoning and high nitrates are the main concern with a few specific annual forages and several weed species, but there is also an increased risk of bloat when grazing legumes after a frost. 

Nitrate accumulation in frosted forages 

Freezing damage slows down metabolism in all plants, and this might result in nitrate accumulation in plants that are still growing, especially grasses like oats and other small grains, millet, and sudangrass. This build-up usually is not hazardous to grazing animals, but greenchop or hay cut right after a freeze can be more dangerous. When in doubt, send in a sample to a forage testing lab and request a nitrate before grazing or feeding the forage after a frost.… Continue reading

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Biden Administration may allow for faster processing line speeds

The U.S. Department of Agriculture may allow faster line speeds at pork packing plants under a proposal now being considered by the White House. In July, packing plants operating under the New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) had to slow down pursuant to a March federal court ruling that struck down the system’s increased line speed provision. 

The National Pork Producers Council aggressively engaged for months on the matter, proposing a number of options to allow faster line speeds and pointing out, including in recent comments to USDA, that increasing line speeds to the safe operating levels at which many plants operated under a 20-year pilot program would expand pork packing capacity by about 2.5 percent. (The packing industry lost that much capacity when the federal court’s ruling on the NSIS line speed provision took effect July 1.) Lost harvest capacity took away economic leverage from hog farmers, NPPC pointed out.… Continue reading

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New nomination procedures for OCA’s Buckeye Breeders Series division of BEST

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is announcing a new nomination procedure for breeders who have cattle being nominated for the Buckeye Breeders Series (BBS), Ohio’s premier bred, born and raised division of the BEST (beef exhibitor show total) program.

For cattle to be eligible for BBS they must be registered and bred by an Ohio breeder. ET calves and calves out of purchased bred cows are eligible if they list an Ohioan as the breeder.

New for the 2021-2022 season, BBS cattle will incur a $25 per head nomination fee, that must be paid by the animal’s first BEST show, in addition to the $60 per head one-time BEST nomination fee. This $25 fee need only be paid one time by either the breeder or the BEST participant. Cattle may be nominated throughout the BEST season, but all BBS cattle that will be exhibited at the Ohio Beef Expo junior show must be nominated by March 1, 2022.… Continue reading

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Developing a winter feeding program

By Steve Boyles, Ohio State University Extension Beef Specialist

Winter feed costs are the largest single expense in most livestock grazing production systems. Extending the grazing to reduce the cost of feeding stored feed will greatly increase profits. Labor can be reduced 25% or more. Rotational grazing takes about three hours per acre per year as opposed to hay production, which takes seven hours per acre per year. The cost for grazing a cow per day is $.25 compared to $1 per day to feed hay to a cow.

The first step is to evaluate the potential, available, existing feed. Crop residue can be an abundant winter feed. Corn stalks can maintain a spring calving cow in good body condition for about 60 days after corn harvest. The feed value will decline quickly after the 60-day period. Cattle will select and eat grain, then husks and leaves, and last cobs and stalks.… Continue reading

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Massachusetts takes major step against pork sale restrictions

The Massachusetts House — by an overwhelming margin of 156-1 — voted to delay until Jan. 1, 2023, a provision of the Question 3 initiative that will prohibit the sale of pork that doesn’t meet the state’s production standards, a move championed by National Pork Producers Council, which aggressively has been seeking relief for pork producers and the pork supply chain.

The House also transferred jurisdiction for drafting regulations from the state’s Attorney General to the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture. The measure is expected to easily pass the state Senate next week before heading to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker for signing. Originally set to take effect Jan. 1, 2022, the voter-approved 2016 ballot initiative — similar to California’s Proposition 12 — bans the sale of pork from hogs born to sows housed in pens that don’t comply with Massachusetts’ new standards. It applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether it’s produced there or outside its borders.… Continue reading

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Lamb quality video series

The American Lamb Board (ALB) and Premier 1 Supplies are co-sponsoring a new American Lamb Quality Video Series. North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension Service is producing the 5-part series. 

Using the theme of “Beginning with the End in Mind,” the purpose of the series is to help the U.S. lamb industry provide a consistently high-quality product to consumers, taking into account the wide variety of production systems. 

Travis Hoffman, Ph.D., NDSU and University of Minnesota Extension Sheep Specialist, is spearheading the project. The first video, Lamb Carcass Characteristics is now available at and Additional videos such as USDA Yield Grades and USDA Quality Grades, Live Animal Evaluation and Retail Meat Yield & Value will be announced in the coming months via ALB’s enewsletter. Q & A webinars are also planned.

“Using lamb carcasses to demonstrate quality attributes and techniques used for standardized analysis make the videos very relevant and useful for today’s U.S.… Continue reading

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Recognizing the risks of broadleaf weeds in pasture

By Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension

It is often said that, “Any plant in the wrong place is a weed.”

Well, in a pasture situation, there tend to be quite a few plants that weren’t intentionally planted there but thrive there regardless. It can be challenging to determine if these weeds are threatening or adding beneficial diversity to our pasture sward. Broadleaf weeds tend to be easier to identify and control than grassy weeds in a pasture setting, but can still be puzzling depending on lifecycle, growth stage, flower arrangement, and growth habit.

One that commonly confuses land managers in Southeast Ohio is spotted knapweed. Spotted knapweed is a detrimental weed that shares similarities to many less threatening pasture plants. The color of the flower is similar to that of red clover, the growth habit is similar to chicory, and the flower shape is similar to Canada thistle and ironweed.… Continue reading

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Record value for July beef exports

U.S. beef exports set another new value record in July, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). July export value climbed 45% from a year ago to $939.1 million, while volume was the third largest of the post-BSE era at 122,743 metric tons (mt), up 14% year-over-year. 

July beef exports to the mainstay Asian markets of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were relatively steady with last year, but at significantly higher value. Export volume growth was driven by record-large shipments to China and a strong rebound in Western Hemisphere markets compared to year-ago totals. For January through July, U.S. beef exports increased 18% from a year ago to 822,830 mt, with value up 30% to $5.58 billion. Compared to the pace established in 2018, the record year for U.S. beef exports, shipments were up 6% in volume and 17% in value. 

Pork exports in July were steady with last year at 221,809 mt, but export value jumped 20% to $657.3 million.… Continue reading

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OCA honored with 70th anniversary proclamation from Ohio House of Representatives

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) recently received a 70th anniversary proclamation on behalf of the members of the House of Representatives of the 134th General Assembly of Ohio. This recognition was sponsored by Rep. Tracy Richardson of House District 86.

The proclamation recognizes and awards OCA’s meaningful involvement in the growth and profitability of Ohio’s beef industry through legislative advocacy, research and education over the last seven decades. Rep. Richardson joined OCA board members during their September meeting to present the proclamation and personally give her appreciation for the work they are doing on behalf of Ohio’s beef industry. 

 “It is truly an honor to be recognized by the state of Ohio for the work we are doing in our association. All of those involved, both past and present, have worked tirelessly to ensure the quality of our state’s beef production and we will continue to do so for years to come,” said Aaron Arnett, OCA president.… Continue reading

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Market beef budgets updated

During the past 18 months, for many, finishing and marketing fed cattle has been a roller coaster ride. Considerable commodity market disruptions have caused wide swings in not only the value of cattle, but also the cost of feed and related feeding and marketing expenses.

To provide tools that allow cattlemen to quickly compare and speculate on potential cattle feeding margins, Ohio State University’s Market Beef Budgets have recently been updated. They may be downloaded in spreadsheet form from the OSU Extension Farm Office website at:

To provide a view of differences found in efficiencies when self-feeding versus bunk feeding, two different budgets are offered. Each spreadsheet is designed similarly and allows the user to override any of the default numbers found in the sheets.

Once downloaded, users are encouraged to begin by plugging their own numbers based on previous experience and current or speculated future market conditions into the yellow cells.… Continue reading

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Use care when marketing local beef

By Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, Ohio State University Extension

I am a big supporter of local food production and direct marketing. When done properly in some production systems there are opportunities to capitalize on demand for locally produced food, serve as a direct link for consumer education, enhance economic sustainability of the farm enterprise, among other benefits.

I have taught dozens of programs on local foods and direct marketing in the last five or so years. In each of those programs I remind participants of these two things with regards to labeling and direct marketing;

  1. Do not misrepresent your product and
  2. Do not misrepresent or make false statements about the product of other producers.

Recently several friends of mine have shared with me several instances of both of the above scenarios. In one such instance a freezer beef producer’s (who shall not be named) attack on beef produced by other producers and the beef industry was egregious enough to get me wound up; and I try not to get too wound up about things seen on social media.… Continue reading

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Replacement Female Sale consignment deadline Oct. 1

The 2021 date for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) ninth annual Replacement Female Sale will be Friday evening, Nov. 26. The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock Auction Co. in Zanesville, Ohio and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The middle of the 2021 breeding season is an excellent time to evaluate your herd and consider marketing decisions for the fall. Young, high quality cattle backed by solid genetics are in demand with potential buyers. Yearling heifers bred artificially to proven calving ease sires are very marketable. A shorter breeding season that results in a tighter calving window has also proven to be popular with potential buyers. As we think about that tight breeding season, consider those January to early May calving females as potential consignments and breeding pieces that will fit calving windows for many Ohio producers.

It is also a great time to evaluate the body condition of potential sale animals and make nutritional adjustments to the animal’s diet in anticipation of a late November sale date.… Continue reading

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USDA extends deadline to apply for pandemic assistance to livestock producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing additional time for livestock and poultry producers to apply for the Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program (PLIP). Producers who suffered losses during the pandemic due to insufficient access to processing may now apply for assistance for those losses and the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animals through Oct. 12, 2021, rather than the original deadline of Sept. 17, 2021. PLIP is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.

“Livestock and poultry producers were among the hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Zach Ducheneaux, Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator. “We want to ensure that all eligible producers have the opportunity to apply for this critical assistance. The Oct. 12 deadline also aligns with the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 deadline.” 

PLIP provides payments to producers for losses of livestock or poultry depopulated from March 1, 2020 through Dec. 26, 2020, due to insufficient processing access as a result of the pandemic. Payments are based on 80% of the fair market value of the livestock and poultry and for the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animal.… Continue reading

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OPA recognizes award winners

The Ohio Poultry Association recognized some important industry leaders with awards at the Annual Banquet held last weekend in Columbus.

Lisa Timmerman (center) was recognized for her service to Ohio’s poultry industry.

Lisa Timmerman, with Hendrix-ISA, was recognized with the Meritorious Service Award. Timmerman, of Ft. Recovery, has over 30 years of poultry experience. She has served as president of the OPA board and on the United Egg Producer Board (UEP) and American Egg Board (AEB). She has also worked for Cooper Farms.

Carl Link with Cooper Farms was presented the Golden Egg Award.

Carl Link received the Golden Egg Award. Link has been with Cooper Farms for an amazing 50+ years, beginning his career at St. Clair Mills before it became Cooper Farms in 1976. Before recently retiring, his role was Production Manager. He continues to work for Cooper Farm one day a week on special projects.… Continue reading

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