Does the Monsanto-Bayer merger put farmers at risk?

The American Antitrust Institute (AAI), Food & Water Watch (FWW), and National Farmers Union (NFU) sent a joint letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on the proposed merger between agricultural input giants Bayer AG and Monsanto Co. The three groups offered their in-depth analysis of how the proposed deal would likely harm competition, farmers, and consumers. The letter notes that the merger would complete a sweeping restructuring of the agricultural biotechnology industry, creating the “Big 3” companies where just two years ago, there were six major rivals.

“The merger substantially eliminates competition across a number of important markets. It could squeeze out smaller rivals and saddle farmers and consumers with higher prices, reduced choice, and less innovation,” said AAI President Diana Moss.

Given the merger’s potential adverse effects, the letter encourages the DOJ to be skeptical of any claims that the companies need to be bigger to innovate or that planned cuts to fundamental research will benefit farmers and consumers.… Continue reading

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2017 Market Lamb Sale Results

All exhibitors in the 2017 Market Lamb Sale got at least $1,225 with contributions from the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and LEAD Council including Stitzlein Club Lambs, Amstutz Club Lambs, Kalmbach Feeds, Umbarger Feeds, Show Managers of the Mark Banbury Scholarship and Buckeye Blowout Show, Shroyer Show Stock, Ericka and Chris Haines (in memory of Susan Siefert), Elvin Elifritz Double E Dorsets, Devitt Club Lambs, Zimmerly Club Lambs, Howell Farms, Team Johnson Club Lambs, LuLaRoe with Jordan Butler, and Anonymous in honor of Ann Mumaw for dedication to agriculture.… Continue reading

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2017 Junior Market Lamb Show

Youth exhibitors entered 711 lambs in the 2017 Junior Market Lamb Show. Here are more results from the 2017 show:

Judge Miles Gibbs, Del Rio, Texas

Photos by Mindi Brookhart.



Champ: Carly Gump, Fletcher

Res. Champ: Bailee Amstutz, Richwood



Champ: Kayla Ritter, Montgomery County

Res. Champ: Sarah Young, Leesburg



Champion: Mylee Shatto, Ft Loramie

Res. Champion: Kole Justin, Richwood



Champion: Austin Hunker, Bellevue

Res. Champion: Elizabeth Shatto, Ft. Loramie



Champion: Jada Shroyer, DeGraff

Res. Champion: Jada Shroyer, DeGraff



Champion: Zane Melvin, Radnor

Res. Champion: Andrew Guthrie, Washington C.H.



Champion: Erin Dilger Lawrence, Hebron

Res. Champion: Elizabeth Shatto, Ft. Loramie



Champion: Andrew Guthrie, Washington C.H.

Res. Champion: McKala Grauel, Ridgeway



Champion: Chloe Gump, Fletcher

Res. Champion: Justin Howell, Danville


Natural Colored

Champion: Carly Gump, Fletcher

Res. Champion: Erin Dilger Lawrence, Hebron



Champ: Bailee Amstutz, Richwood

Res.… Continue reading

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Butter cow display highlights nutritious and delicious chocolate milk

The annual butter display, one of the best-kept secrets at the Ohio State Fair each year, has been unveiled. This year’s display is a salute to chocolate milk, the official beverage of Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA). Inside the dairy cooler, the traditional butter cow and calf is joined by a larger-than-life bottle of chocolate milk, along with four high school athletes.

“On behalf of Ohio’s dairy farmers, the American Dairy Association Mideast is proud to partner with OHSAA to help student athletes perform their best,” said Jenny Hubble, senior vice president of communications for ADA Mideast. “Chocolate milk is the ideal beverage for student athletes, as well as for their fans, because it contains nine essential nutrients to give them the fuel they need to stay at the top of their game.”

The six-foot bottle of chocolate milk featured in the butter display gets its creamy, chocolatey color from cocoa powder that’s mixed with the butter.… Continue reading

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Washing hands and hog show timelines important in avoiding swine influenza outbreaks

With the announcement of confirmed human cases of influenza following the Clinton County Fair H3N2 swine influenza discovery and H1N1 discovered in hogs at the Franklin County Fair, state leaders are reminding fairgoers and livestock exhibitors about commonsense ways to address and prevent the problem.

“We have had a few people get sick from the Clinton County Fair. Nobody was hospitalized, but there were certainly flu-like symptoms in about nine individuals that have been confirmed. It is something we need to take seriously and it can be prevented very easily with hand washing and moving our animals in and out in a three-day period. We just need to be proactive,” said Tony Forshey, Ohio’s State Veterinarian. “We are reiterating the importance of hand washing stations, signs and keeping food out of the barn — just common sense things that are good sanitation and good hygiene. This virus is pretty easily killed with heat and soap and water.… Continue reading

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Junior Goat Shows

Junior Market  Show results

Lightweight Champ: Ava Shroyer, DeGraff

Lightweight Res. Champ: Grace Day, Frankfort


Middleweight Champ: Paige Pence, New Carlisle

Middleweight Res. Champ: Katie Egbert, Botkins


Heavyweight Champ:Paige Pence, New Carlisle

Heavyweight Res. Champ: Ava Shroyer, DeGraff


Junior Dairy Goat Show results


Champ: Ashley Bailey, London

Res. Champ: Heather Cade, Galena


Alpine milkers

Champ: Hannah Depew, Chillecothe

Res. Champ: Jenna Bailey, London



Champ: Kolton Baer, Kinsman

Res. Champ: Kolton Baer, Kinsman


LaMancha milkers

Champ: Heather Cade, Galena

Res. Champ: Heather Cade, Galena



Champ: Allie Bohse, West Milton

Res. Champ: Jenna Johnson, Delaware


AOB milkers

Champ: Keeton Ables, Sullivan

Res. Champ: Gavin Manion, Ashland



Champ: Cole Spitler, West Manchester

Res. Champ: Courtney Hubbard, Cortland


Nubian milkers

Champ: Hunter Dye, Sunbury

Res. Champ: Cole Spitler, West Manchester


Recorded Grade

Champ: Kolton Baer, Kinsman

Res. Champ: Kolton Baer, Kinsman


Recorded Grade milkers

Champ: Heather Cade, Galena

Res.… Continue reading

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Livestock exhibitions showcase Ohio’s most valuable agricultural crop

Ohio State Fair visitors who stop to have a seat in the stands during one of the event’s many youth livestock exhibitions will have plenty to see. Sure, spectators will notice the livestock, but it is the dedicated youth in the livestock barns that are worth the time to watch. Any passerby will undoubtedly witness young people from around the state demonstrating a level of sportsmanship, hard work and camaraderie with their peers that are too-often absent in other parts of society.

These high quality young people are not there by accident or coincidence. The character of the young people in the show ring at the Ohio State Fair has been shaped over many months and years of work in the barn, wins and losses and countless livestock-related events and activities.

“Every time I finish judging a show, I always like to remind people that we are not here using kids to make better livestock, we are using livestock to make better kids.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Special Edition Podcast – Clinton County Fair Swine Flu

If you’ve been following social media and some non-ag news sites or had the chance to visit Wilmington last week, you’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of information, and some misinformation about what occurred at The Clinton County Fair. To get a balanced perspective, the Ohio Ag Net team talked to some people who are close to the situation from many different angles. Matt Reese traveled to the Ohio Department of Agriculture to visit with State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey about the difficult decisions he had to make after the H3N2 virus was detected in the hog barn of the Clinton County Fairgrounds. Ty Higgins called up longtime 4-H advisor Kayla Alexander and hog breeder Jamie May to get their thoughts on last week’s happenings as well. You can hear it all on this Ohio Ag Net Special Edition Podcast, brought to you by AgriGold.

Continue reading

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Pork elections July 20

The election of pork producer delegate candidates for the 2018 National Pork Producers (Pork Act) Delegate Body will take place at noon on Thursday, July 20th, 2017 in conjunction with a Board of Directors meeting of Ohio Pork Council at the Cincinnati Radisson, 668 W. 5th Street, Covington, Kentucky.

All Ohio pork producers are invited to attend. Any producer, age 18 or older, who is a resident of the state and has paid all assessments due may be considered as a delegate candidate and/or participate in the election. All eligible producers are encouraged to bring with them a sales receipt proving that hogs were sold in their name and the checkoff deducted.… Continue reading

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Livestock transportation policy

Livestock farmers, as well as those who provide transportation services to producers, have expressed concerns about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) “hours of service” rule. Under this rule, operators of commercial vehicles are limited to 11 hours of driving time and 14 hours of total time on duty, accounting for fuel stops, loading and unloading trucks, etc. When the limit is reached, drivers are required to pull over and take a 10-hour break. These requirements are not practical for the transportation of livestock, particularly over long distances.

In 2015, the Obama administration introduced a change to the hours of service rule, further rendering it impractical for producers and haulers of livestock. The rule mandated that commercial vehicle operators log driving time with automated electronic monitoring devices instead of manual record keeping. These devices, which require software subscriptions and are expensive to purchase and install, are not optimized for the particular requirements of livestock transportation.… Continue reading

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Clinton County Fair swine flu frustration, misinformation and lessons learned

After long hours of work and extensive investment in time and money to get to the show ring, emotions can run high, especially when things do not go as planned. That was certainly the case when, unfortunately, swine influenza was lab confirmed at the Clinton County Fair in July.

The Clinton County Fair Board worked closely with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Clinton County Agricultural Society and local and state health officials to stop further spread of this virus in the hog population by making it a terminal show. State Veterinarian Tony Forshey said it was a tough, but necessary, decision.

“We have dealt with influenza for several years at county fairs so that is nothing new. This was a unique case. In this case, this pig came in on a Saturday and became feverish on the following Wednesday. Then we had several others get sick on Thursday so we knew we had a fairly high viral load there.… Continue reading

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Swine flu found at Clinton Co. Fair

A case of H3N2 Swine Flu has been lab confirmed in one hog at the Clinton County Fair. There are no human cases at this time. The Clinton County Fair Board is working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Clinton County Agricultural Society along with local and state health officials to stop further spread of this virus in the animal population. By Friday morning, July 14, 2017, all swine will have been removed from the Clinton County Fairgrounds.

“July 12, a pig at the Clinton County fair tested positive for H3N2, a zoonotic disease that can be transferred between animals and humans,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Spokesman Mark Bruce. “July 13th, additional animals in the barn showed clinical signs of illness and out of an abundance of caution to the general public and Ohio’s livestock population, ODA placed a quarantine on the hog barn. Only exhibitors and their parents were allowed into the building.”… Continue reading

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Priming the calf immune system for the challenges ahead

Now that calving is completed, the days are longer, and the grass is growing (hopefully), it is time to start preparing for the weaning and eventual sale or feedlot finishing of your calf crop and development of your replacement females. Once the cow calf pairs have been kicked out to pasture in the spring, there is a tendency to put off or ignore the steps needed not only to set the feedlot calf up for success, but also to lay the groundwork for proper health for your new heifers.

Management techniques such as castration and dehorning should take place as soon as possible. Waiting too long to remove the testicles, either by banding or cutting, increases the risk of bleeding and infection, and knocks the calf off feed for an extended period of time. The smaller the calf, the less attached they are to their testicles. Removal of horns, if present, can be done at birth or shortly thereafter using caustic dehorning paste on the horn buds.… Continue reading

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Cow size: Increasing mature body weight of the United States cow herd

There has been a 30% increase in cow mature size over the last 30 years. From 1975 to 2015, cow numbers have decreased by 35%, but beef production has been maintained at a level similar to 1975. In response to the low cow numbers, carcass weights have increased. These relationships suggest that the progeny of small cows, similar to the weights observed in the 1950s and 1960s, would not have the potential to produce the carcasses necessary to maintain beef production at the current level with the number of cows currently in the national beef cow herd, unless they take part in a postweaning growing period.

This phenomenon is explained by the increased productivity per calf in the progeny of the United States cow herd. The average hot carcass weight in 2014 was 38% greater than 1975, averaging 870 pounds in 2014 compared with an average hot carcass weight in 1975 of 630 pounds.… Continue reading

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Manure and more at the Manure Science Review

If so, you know that it’s a valuable but sometimes challenging material. Livestock manure provides nutrients, which can significantly offset fertilizer costs, and it improves the organic content of soil. But, it smells and can affect your health and water quality. Fortunately, knowledge and planning can ensure that the benefits outweigh the challenges.

Understanding the effects of manure application timing and methods can help improve crop yields and your bottom line. Knowing about safe manure handling and current regulations on manure nutrients can protect you and the environment. Taking the time to learn more is a smart investment.


Manure and more at the Manure Science Review

On Aug. 2, livestock and crop farmers, consultants, and others will gather at the Stoller Brothers & Sons farm in Paulding for the annual Manure Science Review (MSR). It’s a chance to learn from the experts, including livestock farmers, consultants and researchers, about manure management issues and practices.… Continue reading

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Hay and straw barn fires are a real danger

We’ve heard of one recent barn fire here in Ohio and a lot of hay has been put up last ahead of the recent rain. Much of the hay was wetter than it should have been for safe dry hay storage. Watch those moist bales very carefully for the next two to three weeks. Use a hay temperature probe and monitor the internal temperature of the hay during these first three weeks after baling.

Usually, we think of water and moisture as a way to put a fire out, but the opposite is true with hay and straw, which when too wet can heat and spontaneously combust. This is more common with hay than straw because there is more plant cell respiration in hay. When baled at moistures over 20% mesophilic bacteria release heat-causing temperatures to rise between 130 degrees F and 140 degrees F. If bacteria die and bales cool, you are in the clear but if thermophilic bacteria take over temperatures can raise to over 175 degrees F.… Continue reading

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USDA halts import of fresh Brazilian beef

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue last week announced the suspension of all imports of fresh beef from Brazil because of recurring concerns about the safety of the products intended for the American market. The suspension of shipments will remain in place until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action which the USDA finds satisfactory.

Since March, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been inspecting 100% of all meat products arriving in the United States from Brazil.  FSIS has refused entry to 11% of Brazilian fresh beef products. That figure is substantially higher than the rejection rate of one percent of shipments from the rest of the world.  Since implementation of the increased inspection, FSIS has refused entry to 106 lots (approximately 1.9 million pounds) of Brazilian beef products due to public health concerns, sanitary conditions, and animal health issues. It is important to note that none of the rejected lots made it into the U.S.… Continue reading

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