Early season pasture management

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

Most pastures are looking lush and green again. Thanks to some perfect temperature days, our cool-season pasture grasses are growing well. Grazing animals seem pleased to have some fresh greens and managers certainly are relieved to see the landscape change from dreary to dreamy again.

With the good that the spring flush of growth brings, there are also some concerns that we shouldn’t forget in the midst of the joy. Now is the time that grass tetany may become a problem and bloat can be an issue too in some circumstances. We also need to continue to consider the health of our forage and soils.


  • Actively growing pastures still need rest between grazing cycles. Allowing pastures to rest can help decrease damage to the plant roots from over grazing and reduce pugging of the field due to heavy animal traffic when the ground is still soft.
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Beekman named CFO of Ohio Farm Bureau

Jodi Beekman of Centerburg has been named chief financial officer for Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

In her role, Beekman will be responsible for coordinating the accounting and finance of the organization, subsidiary companies and management contracts. She will provide oversight for the organization as it relates to tax filing on federal, state and local levels and oversee the financial resources of the organization as it relates to investments and daily cash management. 

Beekman will work with the organization’s current CFO Irene Messmer for a period of time before taking sole responsibility for her new position. Messmer plans to retire at the end of May 2024.

Prior to joining Farm Bureau, Beekman spent the previous two years as senior vice president finance and operations at Children’s Hunger Alliance and 13 years as vice president of finance and administration at Experience Columbus. 

Beekman received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and is a certified public accountant.… Continue reading

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Pork industry economic update

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) released its second quarter pork industry economic update that provides a snapshot of top pork industry issues, current trends, and market conditions impacting pig farmers. 
2023 Q2 key takeaways include:

  • Pork production increased 2.3% through the first quarter, with the USDA now projecting a 1.4% annual increase in pork production in 2023.
  • Retail, wholesale, and farm level prices show year-over-year decline.
  • Pork and variety meat exports gained momentum in Q1.
  • From September 2021 to 2022, the total value of wages paid to workers on U.S. pig farms increased 12.1%, while the number of workers declined by 0.4%.
  • Pork producer returns for the remainder of 2023 will be influenced by various factors, including domestic and export pork demand and input prices.

“The United States is a worldwide leader in pork production and a significant contributor to the U.S. economy,” said Duane Stateler, NPPC vice president and pork producer from Ohio.… Continue reading

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Nominations open for American Egg Board

The Ohio Poultry Association (OPA) is accepting suggestions for nominations to serve on the 2024-2025 American Egg Board (AEB), which is U.S. egg farmer’s link to consumers in communicating the value of the incredible egg. AEB is seeking an ethnically diverse group of candidates. Appointed members will serve a two-year term. 

“It is a prestigious honor to serve as a board member on the national level to help guide the egg farming community and further our commitment to provide a safe, wholesome egg supply,” said Jim Chakeres, OPA executive vice president. “These individuals will work directly with AEB and U.S. egg farmers to increase the demand for eggs and to provide eggs to not only Ohioans, but also those across the country.” 

To be eligible for nomination, individuals must be producers or representatives of producers and they must own 75,000 or more laying hens. Producers who own less than 75,000 hens are eligible provided they have not applied for exemption and are paying assessments to AEB. … Continue reading

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Cooper Farms celebrates history, emphasizes animal care

By Matt Reese

In 1938, Cooper Farms started with 300 turkeys in Oakwood, Ohio when Virgil Cooper took over the farm after his mother’s passing. By 1948, a hatchery had been built where the Cooper Farms Corporate Office now resides. Over 85 years, Cooper Farms has evolved into a diversified, vertically integrated turkey, hog and egg company that has stood the test of time in an ever-changing industry. 

Cooper Farms prides itself on forming lasting customer relationships and producing high quality meat and egg products for private label retail and foodservice companies.  

“Our company was founded on a handshake mentality, with a focus on doing the right thing all the time,” said Jim Cooper, CEO. “It’s humbling to see the growth of Cooper Farms and all that we’ve accomplished, with the help of great partners, leaders and team members. I am pleased to see these next generations, both Cooper family and team members, stepping up to leadership roles and seeing us through these next phases of growth.” … Continue reading

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Can I start grazing?

By Victor Shelton, retired NRCS agronomist/grazing specialist

I have already heard the question, “When can we start grazing?” That question came up a bit earlier this year than normal because we had enough warm days in between the cold ones to provide the energy to really see some early green up.

I’ve seen a lot of livestock already out grazing fields. That is OK if they are still grazing stockpiled forages left from last year’s growth, but if they are consuming only new growth and chasing after each new green blade of grass like a chicken after a bug, then you’re usually doing more harm than good.

Fields that were grazed hard last fall, especially prior to dormancy, and fields that were grazed early this year because the cows needed someplace to go, could absolutely use a longer deferment prior to grazing again this spring. Those fields will need to first try to grow or regrow their new solar panel off the reserves that are left, and then spend valuable time rebuilding roots and root reserves before allocating energy and resources on growing forage.… Continue reading

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Farmers seeking reform to milk pricing

The American Farm Bureau Federation told USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack that requests to increase make allowances — which are used in part to calculate how much a processor pays for milk — fall short of fairly supporting dairy farmers.

According to 2021 USDA milk cost of production estimates, dairy farmers on average, lose $6.72 per hundredweight of milk produced. The loss for dairy farms with less than 50 cows was even greater at $21.58 per hundredweight.

Two dairy processor associations requested a federal milk marketing order hearing to increase make allowances. While AFBF is not opposed to updating make allowances, the proposals to USDA do not address the wider need for changes to milk pricing regulations. For example, the requests call for the continued use of voluntary data to set make allowances. In a letter to Secretary Vilsack, AFBF President Zippy Duvall argued for mandatory reporting. The letter states, “Large efficient processors may decline to participate [if data is voluntarily collected], which would skew the cost survey results upward.… Continue reading

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Xylazine classified as a Schedule III controlled substance

In March, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order directing the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy to immediately classify xylazine as a Schedule III controlled substance. The move makes Ohio one of the first states in the nation to schedule xylazine as a controlled substance drug.

Xylazine is a widely used sedative in veterinary medicine, particularly with cattle. It has been increasingly discovered in combination with illicit drug use in Ohio. Prior to the governor’s executive order, Ohio Farm Bureau, along with the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Ohio Dairy Producers Association worked with the DeWine administration on the situation. In addition, Farm Bureau has also been working with the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association and American Veterinary Medical Association to help the Food and Drug Administration and Congress find pathways to reduce the illicit use of xylazine while also ensuring accessibility in veterinary medicine.

With the new order, veterinary practices must obtain an Ohio Board of Pharmacy Category 3 Terminal Distributor of Dangerous Drugs license by June 30, 2023. … Continue reading

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Ohio Beef Expo celebrates 35 years

By Joel Penhorwood and Matt Reese

In the 35 years since its first installment, Ohio Beef Expo has made a place for itself on the national stage. The 2023 event had a packed trade show, full parking lots and broken attendance records with cattlemen of all ages coming to Columbus for the premier event for beef producers in the Midwest, and among the top in the country.

“It’s the 35th anniversary. It’s really hard to believe, but it is so gratifying to see how far it’s come in those 35 years,” said Elizabeth Harsh, executive director of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association which coordinates the Ohio Beef Expo. “The Beef Expo does not have one big event, but we have multiple really great events and there’s no doubt about it that our trade show has become the envy of any Beef Expo anywhere. We really appreciate all those folks who think that it’s the most productive use of their time and their business of any trade show they go to, but it’s also the breed sales and all those breeding cattle.… Continue reading

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Beef Expo breed sales

The 35th Ohio Beef Expo held March 16-19 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio hosted nine successful breed sales. This year’s event was hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA). 

This year’s cattle sales flourished with 331 live lots sold at an average price of $3,739 with a live gross of $1,237,600. 

For more on the Ohio Beef Expo, click here.Continue reading

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Carbon, pastures and forests

By Matt Reese

There is plenty of discussion about row crops and their ability to sequester carbon in the Corn Belt, but often overlooked in these conversations are the forests and pastures of rural southeastern Ohio. These land uses could be real winners in terms of payments derived from carbon sequestration.

“When it comes to carbon sequestration, you know trees are still it. They’re long lived, they’re permanent and they can sequester a lot of carbon,” said Mike Estadt, Pickaway County educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources with Ohio State University Extension. “And then I would rank grasslands and pastures right in there too for the same reason. Perennial grasses can sequester a lot of carbon if they’re managed properly.”

Estadt pointed out that scientists estimate grasslands contain 10% to 30% of the world’s organic carbon with the potential to store more with improved grazing practices sequestering carbon and reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) nitrous oxide, (NO3) and methane (CH4).… Continue reading

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Beef producers must share their stories of environmental stewardship

By John Ferry, Corinne, Utah, national winner of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Environmental Stewardship Award 

My family has been farming and ranching outside of Corinne, Utah since 1900 — that’s 123 years, when you do the math. Today, JY Ferry & Son, Inc. is a farming, feeding, ranching, and wetlands/wildlife operation. My brother Ben, my son Joel and I jointly manage our land resources with a cooperative and sustainable approach. 

Holistic synergy is what we seek on a daily basis. We’ve always believed that the land itself is the greatest resource any farming or ranching operation has. And as a member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) and co-chair of the Beef Checkoff’s Consumer Trust Committee, I know that consumers are very concerned with beef’s environmental impact. As a beef producer, I also know I must do my part to let those consumers know how much we care about our land, our animals and our environmental responsibility.… Continue reading

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NCBA stockman ship and stewardship event coming to Ohio this fall

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) in partnership with Merck Animal Health and the checkoff funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, are hosting four regional Stockmanship and Stewardship (S&S) events. These regional events are intended to bring together cattle producers from a large area for a two-day cattle handling and educational program. Events will highlight proper stockmanship techniques as well as local stewardship information.

We are pleased to announce that one of these events is being hosted in Caldwell, Ohio on September 29 and 30, 2023! This unique Stockmanship and Stewardship event is focused on live low-stress cattle handling demonstrations, Beef Quality Assurance training, and industry updates you won’t find anywhere else. Participants will gain an edge on learning about consumer concerns regarding beef sustainability and livestock welfare, how those concerns have impacted the industry, and the role that Beef Quality Assurance plays in the conversation. Producers who attend not only receive hands-on training in best management practices to help improve their operation, but also the chance to get BQA certified!… Continue reading

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You get what you pay for, until you don’t

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

Let’s talk about a topic that’s been on my mind and the minds of others recently given the economy and other issues: Value.

Meriam Webster defines Value in several different ways 1) the monetary worth of something: market price, 2) a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged, 3) relative worth, utility, or importance.

To determine Market Value, I subscribe that it’s up to a buyer and the seller/provider to determine value themselves for a good or service and it’s up to the buyer to know where their cost threshold is. I would also propose in many instances that you get what you pay for, until you don’t. Here are some examples.

A colleague of mine just sent me a screen shot of a fellow cattlemen advertising and selling beef on social media. If you’re on social media, these kinds of posts have been routine over the past couple of years.… Continue reading

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35 years of growth for the Ohio Beef Expo

The Ohio Beef Expo took time to celebrate its 35-year anniversary in 2023, bringing familiar faces that have been part of its storied past. The Expo is not only a highlight of agricultural events in Ohio, but has solidified its place amongst beef occasions nationally. Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood caught up with Elizabeth Harsh, executive director of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, to discuss the organization’s premier event. In this video, we also hear from Johnny Regula and Jim Rentz as they discuss the Expo’s evolution from a combined-breed sale to what it is today.… Continue reading

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Topdressing wheat with liquid swine manure

By Glen Arnold, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

With the month of March moving along, the topdressing of wheat fields with nitrogen fertilizer will soon start. Given the current fertilizer prices more livestock producers may be considering applying liquid swine manure as a top-dress for wheat

The key to applying the correct amount of manure to fertilize wheat is to know the manure’s nitrogen content. Most manure tests reveal total nitrogen, ammonia nitrogen and organic nitrogen amounts. The ammonia nitrogen portion is readily available for plant growth. The organic nitrogen portion takes considerably longer to mineralize and generally will not be available when wheat uptakes the majority of its nitrogen before mid-June.

Most deep-pit swine finishing manure will contain between 30 and 40 pounds of ammonia nitrogen per 1,000 gallons. Finishing buildings with bowl waters and other water conservation systems can result in nitrogen amounts towards the upper end of this range.… Continue reading

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Spring grazing is almost here

By Chris Penrose, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Morgan County

Spring is just around the corner and it will soon be time to graze our livestock. Think it is too soon? I might be cheating, but I will start grazing my spring calving cattle on stockpiled fescue in a couple weeks and if things go right, I will be done feeding hay to them. In reality, I plan on officially grazing new growth in late March (on some warmer springs, I have started around March 21). After teaching pasture and grazing programs for over 30 years and trying to “practice what I preach,” here is what I try to do.

First, we need to start off with healthy pastures, ones that can take an early grazing without hurting re-growth too much. Next, I try to estimate when the spring “flush” of new rapid growth will start. In most years, it is around April 10 in Southeast Ohio.… Continue reading

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Beagle Brigade Act of 2023 reintroduced

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) applauds the reintroduction of the Beagle Brigade Act of 2023. This legislation would provide congressional authority to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Detector Dog Training Center — a vital program in training agricultural canine teams that work daily to prevent foreign animal and plant diseases from entering the United States. 
“Safe and reliable food production is critical to the United States’ continued national and economic security,” said Terry Wolters, NPPC president and owner of Stoney Creek Farms in Pipestone, Minnesota. “As African swine fever continues to plague the Dominican Republic and Haiti, strengthening early detection capabilities at our U.S. borders is more important than ever.” 
The “Beagle Brigade” serves as the first line of defense for early detection at the nation’s ports of entry and is critical in keeping foreign animal diseases, like African swine fever, out of the United States.… Continue reading

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