Buckeye Shepherd Symposium notes positive year, exciting future

Ohio’s sheep industry convened in Wooster this past weekend for the annual Buckeye Shepherd Symposium. Education, awards, food, and fellowship all highlighted this year’s event.

“We have a lot of new people here today that we haven’t seen before and that is exciting for our industry,” said Roger High, executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association. “Programming was excellent. The food we had today was excellent for our participants and we just thought it was a great day with well over 200 people here in attendance.”

This year’s program revolved around three different specializations, including labor-saving technology, health and nutrition, and genetics.

“The awards program again went tremendous,” he said. “We recognized some of our youth winners here today. Our Lamb and Wool Queen Autumn Miller, some of our scholarship recipients — Nick Fowler who won the Dr. Jack Judy Scholarship and Delanie Wiseman who won the Ralph Grimshaw Scholarship.… Continue reading

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4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program announces statewide expansion

While Lake Erie has garnered much of the water quality attention in the state, more efforts are shifting to the state’s other bodies of fresh water, including the Ohio River, that are also experiencing issues with harmful algal blooms.

At an event last week, the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program announced the expansion of the voluntary retailer program to the full state of Ohio, allowing nutrient service providers across the state to participate in the efforts to reduce nutrient runoff into waterways.

The program encourages agricultural retailers, service providers and other certified professionals to adopt proven best practices through the 4Rs, using the Right Nutrient Source at the Right Rate and Right Time in the Right Place. The program is governed and guided by the Nutrient Stewardship Council (NSC), stakeholders from business, government, university and nongovernmental sectors with a common goal of maintaining agricultural productivity while reducing nutrient runoff that contributes to decreased water quality.… Continue reading

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Calling strikes on the diamond and hitting home runs in the sheep barn

In Ohio agriculture, the name Larry Shroyer is synonymous with club lambs and winning genetics in every show ring, from jackpot shows to county fairs and even the Ohio State Fair.

“Larry is probably most known for his club lamb work and his multi-generation Logan County farm,” said Roger A. High, Executive Director of The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and Ohio Sheep and Wool Program. “Over the years he has brought a lot of knowledge and leadership to our industry.”

Shroyer has earned the respect of his peers in the industry by raising sheep in the purebred business, but in the club lamb business in particular and having great success.

“The Shroyer family farm is top notch in everything they do,” High said. “The family uses the latest technology when it comes to artificial insemination and embryo transfer and they are considered one of the top club lamb producers in the state, not to mention how much they have helped young people get into the business, learn the business and become successful.”… Continue reading

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Antibiotic-resistant gene discovered in farrowing barn through OSU research

A recent research paper from the Ohio State University study detailed the discovery of an antibiotic-resistant gene in one farrowing barn.

“It is an extremely rare gene. How it got on this farm, we don’t know,” said Thomas Wittum, chair of the veterinary medicine team at The Ohio State University.

According to the National Pork Board, an important takeaway from the study is that the U.S. pork supply is safe. The bla IMP-27 gene identified in the study was not found in a market hog, and there was no threat to food safety. The gene allows bacteria to resist a class of antibiotics called carbapenems.

As experts in swine production, the Pork Checkoff is eager to analyze the initial findings, alongside its authors, and better understand results of this report from this farm. Specifically, resistant gene samples were found in one barn, on one site without any confirmed indication of how the resistant gene got there.… Continue reading

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Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) for 4-H youth livestock producers and families

What is a VFD?

A VFD is a written (nonverbal) statement issued by a licensed veterinarian that authorizes the use of an approved VFD drug or combination VFD drug in or on an animal feed. This written statement authorizes the client (owner of the animal) to obtain and use animal feed bearing or containing a VFD drug or combination VFD drug to treat the client’s animals only in accordance with the conditions for use approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The client (youth producer) must establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) to be able to get a VFD. This is true whether the 4-H member has one food-producing animal or several.


When must the VFD be implemented?

January 1, 2017. Starting January 1, 2017, you can no longer stop by a feed store and buy a bag of medicated feed containing certain types of antibiotics that were previously classified as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.… Continue reading

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The 2016 Ohio Dairy Challenge

The 2016 Ohio Dairy Challenge was held Oct. 21 and 22 and was sponsored by Cargill Animal Nutrition, Elanco, Purina Animal Nutrition, Renaissance Nutrition, Sexing Technologies, and VitaPlus. Dairy Challenge provides the opportunity for students at Ohio State University to experience the process of evaluating management practices on a dairy farm and to interact with representatives in the dairy industry.

The program is held in a contest format for undergraduate students whereby they are grouped into teams of three to four individuals. Veterinary and graduate students are invited to attend the farm visit and participate in a meeting later in the evening with the contest judges to discuss observations on the farm. The farm selected for the contest this year was the Three Flags Dairy in Forest owned by Geert and Wiesje Kruiter. The Kruiter family started milking at the facility in 2010, and there are about 715 cows in the operation.… Continue reading

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Reunion in China helps highlight little known Ohio agricultural training efforts

Here’s one of Ohio’s best kept secrets: For the past 20 years, Dr. Mike Chrisman of The Ohio State University and his Chinese-American colleague, Zhang Yining, have managed an advanced agricultural training program in the U.S. for students from around the world. So far, more than 12,000 have completed this internship experience.

Even some of the “big dogs” at OSU were clueless about it. At least until November when the Ohio State agricultural training program held a reunion for past interns in Beijing, China. The reunion was held in Beijing, I believe, because more interns have come from China than nearly any other country.

Along with the reunion, Chrisman and Yining organized a two-day continuing education event. I was invited (along with four others) to speak on the latest developments in the dairy industry.

I found the reunion to be informative and emotional. The former interns described their training and experience in the U.S.,… Continue reading

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The Pork Checkoff is encouraging pig farmers to pay-it-forward with a new holiday campaign called #HamsAcrossAmerica. This first-annual event encourages farmers and others involved in the pork industry to show their appreciation for friends, family and neighbors through the gift of ham —  in the form of gifts or donations of ham or ham-based products.

“For pig farmers, volunteering at community events and participating in local fundraisers, has always been a part of what makes us who we are,” said Brad Greenway, 2016 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year, from Mitchell, South Dakota. “Hams Across America allows farmers to not only live the We Care ethical principles, but also share their love of the product that they produce.”

Pig farmers are encouraged to extend Giving Tuesday through Dec. 23 with Hams Across America by simply purchasing a gift of ham and paying-it-forward. Participants are also encouraged to share their pay-it-forward stories on social media using #RealPigFarming and #HamsAcrossAmerica.… Continue reading

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Large pork supply being addressed by checkoff efforts

America’s pig farmers will produce a record-breaking number of market hogs this year, resulting in ample supplies of pork hitting grocery stores and restaurants. It is anticipated that this high level of production will continue well into 2017.

“The U.S. economy is growing, and that is good for meat demand,” said Len Steiner, a pork industry economist. “Some key indicators of growth include the stock market recently hitting all-time record highs, increasing consumer confidence and an unemployment rate now at 4.9%, demonstrating the U.S. economy is at or near full employment.”

Steiner added that total meat production continues to increase, moving from 90.9 billion pounds in 2014 with expectations for meat output to exceed 101 billion pounds this year. Not since the mid-1990s has meat production increased so quickly.

“We estimate that 2016 U.S. pork production will set an all-time record just shy of 25 billion pounds, with even more pork expected to be produced in 2017,” Steiner said.… Continue reading

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Milk and nutrition

The erosion of milk’s reputation as a healthy food choice is the biggest issue facing the nation’s dairy industry, said the new dairy chair for The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

“We could survive longer on milk without food, without water, without pizza, than you can survive on anything else,” said Rafael Jimenez-Flores, who joined the college as the J.T. “Stubby” Parker Endowed Chair in Dairy Foods earlier this year.

Jimenez-Flores has made it his mission to demonstrate scientifically the nutritional benefits of milk in the face of “fear mongering” that may have led to some public misconceptions that it is not good for you. “It is unethical to use fear for profit when we are trying to feed the world,” he said.

Calling milk “the only food that has evolved with us,” Jimenez-Flores points out that the lactose in milk favors positive gut bacteria, which aid digestion.… Continue reading

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Holidays are a busy time for turkey farmers

The holiday season ensures a busy time of year for turkey farmers and 2016 has been no exception. Bowman and Landes Turkeys of New Carlisle  have been specializing in free-range gourmet turkeys since 1948 and the tradition continues today.

“In our business, we have a lot of focus on the whole turkey market for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is definitely what we would consider our busy season. We hire a bunch of additional employees to help us get through it,” said Drew Bowman, part of the third generation involved in the business. “We have a large focus on providing whole turkeys, breasts, and roasts for the grocers of the world. But we also work with the food service side — restaurants, colleges, catering — so we have a year-round business as well.”

With catering to such a niche sector of the market, Bowman commented on the state of their business.

“It’s been going well for us,” he said.… Continue reading

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Beef Industry Update meeting Dec. 1

A Beef Industry Update meeting provided by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will take place in Leetonia. Beef producers from Columbia, Mahoning, Trumbull and surrounding counties are encouraged to attend.  The meeting will be held Thursday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. at the American Legion – 540 Main Street – Leetonia, OH 44431.

A complimentary dinner will be hosted by OCA Allied Industry Council (AIC) members Animal Profiling International and Multimin USA and door prizes will be provided. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from Pete Hausser, Animal Profiling International and Multimin USA’s Midwestern representative, on keeping their cow herd profitable. OCA Staff will be in attendance to discuss OCA events and policy updates.

Contact the OCA office at 614-873-6736 or email for more information about the industry update meetings. More information can also be found at

The Beef Industry Updates are sponsored by the Animal Profiling International and Multimin USA.… Continue reading

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A loss for agriculture on Election Day

When an election season includes a vote for President, the issues that are further down the ballot rarely get any attention. That is the case for a ballot initiative, “Question 3”, proposed in Massachusetts that will make it illegal to sell veal, pork or eggs from animals that have been confined to crates or cages of a certain size. The recent passage of that initiative is a blow to not only agriculture in that state, but around the country.

“The legislation not only banned those practices in Massachusetts, but it also bans any products from being sold in the state that came from operations that used those housing methods,” said Hannah Thomson-Weeman, communications director for the Animal Agriculture Alliance. “Massachusetts is not a big ag state and it only has one farm that has cages for their laying hens, which is why activists groups chose to put this type of legislation on the ballot there.”… Continue reading

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Black vulture causing more problems in Ohio

The turkey vulture has long been a common (if not always pleasant) sight throughout Ohio’s rural landscape, but in more recent years its nastier, more brazen cousin has been showing up in the state.

Black vultures — like turkey vultures — are scavengers that feast on carrion, providing a valuable service. Black vultures, though, are known to take things one-step further by facilitating the animal’s death when it suits their purposes.

“Over the better part of at least the past 15 years, Ohio livestock producers have increasingly experienced problems with black vultures. Unlike its red-headed cousin the turkey vulture that feeds only on the carcasses of dead animals, black vultures are an aggressive bird that will, on occasion, kill other animals for food,” said Stan Smith, program assistant in Ag and Natural Resources for Fairfield County Extension. “It’s not an uncommon occurrence for a black vulture to attack a cow in the pasture while in labor in an effort to prey on the newly-born calf even while still in the birth canal.”… Continue reading

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OCA members to offer over 100 consignments in Replacement Female Sale

Several members of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will sell over 100 consignments in the OCA Replacement Female Sale on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, at 6 p.m. at the Muskingum Livestock Auction Company facility in Zanesville, Ohio. Consignments include approximately 20 mature cows, less than five years of age, and approximately 90 bred heifers.

Breeds represented will include Angus, Charolais, Maine-Anjou cross and commercial females. Service sire breeds represented include Angus, Charolais, Maine-Anjou, Red Angus, Shorthorn, Simmental, and hybrid composites of theses breeds. All of the females selling will have a safe pregnancy status verified within 60 days of the sale and all lots will be eligible for interstate shipment.

“Now is a great opportunity for cattlemen to add numbers to their herd or get started in the beef business. With cattle prices seeing a bearish market after coming off of a record-high for the past couple of years, we’ll undoubtedly see increased herd expansion,” says John Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinatior.… Continue reading

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September results show strong third quarter for red meat exports

September was another solid month for U.S. red meat exports, with pork, beef and lamb totals well above year-ago levels, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

September beef export volume was 101,224 metric tons (mt) — down slightly from August, but 27% above last September. Third-quarter volume was 307,383 mt, the largest since the fourth quarter of 2014. For January through September, export volume was 8% above last year’s pace at 848,930 mt. September export value was up 17% from a year ago to $533.3 million. For the first three quarters of 2016, export value was $4.54 billion, down 5% from a year ago.

Beef exports accounted for 13.5% of total beef production in September and 10% for muscle cuts only. January-September ratios were also 13.5% and 10%, up slightly from a year ago. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $256.98 in September, the first year-over-year increase (up 10%) of 2016.… Continue reading

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Are you prepared for the new regulations governing the use of antibiotics in feed?

Beginning January 1, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations Guidance 209 will be effective. Pork producers of all sizes will face major changes regarding access to feed and water medications. The Ohio State University, Ohio Veterinary Medical Association and Ohio Department of Agriculture are hosting informational sessions. The scheduled sessions are:

  • November 10th at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Reynoldsburg, at 10am. To register:
  • November 14th at the Morrow County Extension Office, Mt. Gilead. 7 p.m. Call 419-947-1070 to register.
  • November 17th at the Williams County Extension Office, Bryan. Call  419-636-5608 for details and to register.
  • November 22nd at the Putnam County Extension Office, Ottawa. 6:30 p.m. Call 419-523-6294 to register.
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NAILE website livestreams select 2016 livestock events

Coverage of select North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) events will be livestreamed through the show’s website at no cost. Footage will be broadcast from four locations and include both judged competitions and sales.

Last year more than 60,000 people from 21 countries and six continents watched NAILE’s livestream coverage of beef and dairy cattle, sheep and swine shows. Each day followers logged on via desktops, laptops, phones, tablets and other mobile devices to view new coverage as events continued to unfold.

The broadcast schedule and livestream coverage will be posted on the NAILE website at All footage is archived and available on the website.

For more information, and official results and photos for all 10 NAILE livestock divisions, visit www.livestock.expo.… Continue reading

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Commercial Pen of Five sheep contest results

The 2016 Ohio State Fair Commercial Pen of Five contest consisted of 50 head of lambs from all across Ohio. The lambs brought $1.65 per pound and were marketed through the Ohio Kroger store chain.

Live evaluation judge Rick Reynolds of United Producers, Inc. was very appreciative of the depth and quality of lambs entered.

“Though a smaller group of lambs as compared to previous years, this group would work for any market on any given day,” Reynolds said.
The top 5 live placing were as follows:

  1. Dennis Clark, Troy
  2. David Burkhart/Nancy Wilcox, Alger
  3. Campbell Brothers – Waterford
  4. The Ohio State University Beef & Sheep Center, Columbus
  5. Maggie and Eme Van Nostran, Athens
    The Top 5 Carcass placing were as follows:
    1. Dennis Clark, Troy
    2. Campbell Brothers, Waterford
    3. David Burkhart/Nancy Wilcox, Alger
    4. Maggie and Eme Van Nostran, Athens (Tie)
    5. David Burkhart/Nancy Wilcox, Alger (Tie)

A special thanks to the Kroger Company for the purchase of the lambs, Rick Reynolds for the live placing and evaluation and to Steve Moeller, Garth Ruff, James Maynard, Ron Cramer, and the staff of the OSU Meat laboratory for their data entry and collection.… Continue reading

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The livestock barn of the future

Almost every portrait, painting or portrayal of a farm over the last 100 years has included a big red barn as part of the landscape, but the reality is that those old bank barns are more nostalgic than they are useful in today’s livestock industry and even the barn door could soon be a thing of the past.

“Monoslopes are the barn of the future,” said Francis L. Fluharty, research professor in The Ohio State University’s Department of Animal Sciences. “The design has the high side of the barn facing south or southeast, which allows the sun to reach almost all the way through the barn in the winter, having a warming effect on the cattle and keeping the bedding pack drier.”

Then, in the summer, most of the barn is under shade and the slope to the roof creates constant airflow through the building to reduce heat stress.

“From an animal health standpoint, there is no way for gas to be trapped like it can be on hot humid days in normal barns,” Fluharty said.… Continue reading

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