Livestock

November pork export value highest in 30 months

Fueled by record performances in Mexico, Central America and Colombia, November exports of U.S. pork reached the highest value since mid-2021, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). U.S. beef exports slowed in November, recording the third lowest value of 2023. November lamb exports also trended lower.

With a month to spare, pork exports set numerous annual records in 2023. November pork exports totaled 258,601 metric tons (mt), up 5% from a year ago and the highest in six months. Export value was up 2% to $737.4 million, the highest since May 2021 and the seventh highest on record. November volume and value to Central America were record-large, while export value reached new heights in Mexico and Colombia. November exports also increased significantly to South Korea and Oceania.

For January through November, pork exports totaled 2.64 million mt, up 8% from a year ago, valued at $7.39 billion (up 5%).… Continue reading

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The year of protein

By Gregg Doud, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation

Within dairy and throughout agriculture, the refrain that will be often repeated is that this will be the year of protein. In fact, it may be the first of many: If you look out over the next decade, the supply of animal protein in the world — that’s beef, pork, poultry, and dairy — comes nowhere near meeting the demand.

That means U.S. dairy’s emphasis on exports and our international competitiveness will certainly be an area of focus. Dairy farmers and their cooperatives are extremely well positioned to do this: We’re efficient, we can get high-quality products overseas competitively, and our processing capacity is expanding. Our innovation and technology in the dairy industry to expand international markets is second to none. NMPF can support these efforts by continuing our excellent partnership with the U.S. Dairy Export Council and by seeking sound policy that promotes the powerhouse potential of U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association celebrates success at Annual Meeting

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) held its Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Jan. 13, 2024, at the Hilton Polaris Hotel, Columbus, Ohio. Cattlemen and women from across the state gathered to engage in important association business, hear updates from many industry partners and recognize the recipients of several prestigious industry awards.

The day was made possible by the following sponsoring partners: Ag Credit, Corteva Agriscience, Heartland Feed Services, Ohio Association of Meat Processors, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and PBS Animal Health.

Todd Wilkinson, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), joined members to present an industry update on policy issues. In addition, Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Brian Baldridge spoke briefly about the current programs and new construction underway at the department.

OCA President Mark Goecke of Allen County led the OCA Annual Meeting. The first order of business was awarding the association’s Top Hand members.… Continue reading

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2024 Beef Expo March 14-17

Ohio’s premier beef industry event, the Ohio Beef Expo is scheduled for March 14-17, 2024 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. The event will provide cattle enthusiasts from across Ohio and surrounding states with a unique experience that brings education, breed sales, youth shows, industry retail opportunities, and more together all in one place.

This year’s schedule will be similar to the 2023 event. The Coliseum will be used for all junior show activities. The Junior Show will continue with the Market Animal Show on Saturday and the Heifer Show on Sunday. All Junior Show stalling will take place online and viaducts will reserved for OCA BEST sponsors. Remaining viaduct bays, premium stalling, and horse stall purchases will be made in an online auction on Feb. 21.

New this year, the Hereford breed will be kicking off the Saturday sale schedule. The newest addition to the Ohio Beef Expo breeds line-up, the Aberdeen Angus breed, will be one of the 10 breeds hosting sales during the Expo on Friday and Saturday.… Continue reading

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Registration open for Pork Congress

The Ohio Pork Congress continues its annual tradition of delivering timely, relevant, and useful information for pork producers and everyone working in today’s pork industry when it takes place on Feb. 6-7, 2024, at the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center in Lima, Ohio.

“I strongly encourage anyone involved in the pork industry to attend Ohio Pork Congress,” said Nick Seger, Ohio Pork Council president and producer from Shelby County. “It’s truly the best opportunity to learn what’s going on in our industry from top experts, to network with fellow producers, and to see what’s new on the trade show floor.”

OPC attendees will not want to miss the presentation by Steve Meyer, lead economist with Partners for Production Agriculture. He will offer his keen insights into what the rest of 2024 has in store in terms of cost of production, profitability, exports, and more. Adding even more context on what the coming year will bring will be the National Pork Board’s Neal Hull and Jose de Jesus as they explain what Checkoff-funded strategies are underway to boost domestic pork demand.… Continue reading

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No, not that kind of A.I.: Introducing the Select Sires Member Cooperative

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net

A company whose name is woven into the fabric of Ohio agriculture is getting an update. COBA/Select Sires recently merged with three similar organizations across the country in late 2023 to form a new, albeit familiar, cooperative.

Chris Sigurdson, CEO of the SSMC, was the previous general manager of COBA/Select Sires and Minnesota/Select Sires.

Though the newly formed Select Sires Member Cooperative (SSMC), is different in name, Ohio farmers will experience little change as the same Ohio headquarters, cooperative principles, and strong product lineup will remain in place.

The major change? Operational efficiencies, said Chris Sigurdson, CEO of the SSMC.

“Select Sires Member Cooperative, or SSMC as it’s quickly been known, is really a continuation of a rather significant position in the dairy and beef sectors here in the United States by member-owned, member-controlled cooperatives that have started in the early forties,” Sigurdson said.

Before being selected to helm the new organization, Sigurdson was the general manager of COBA/Select Sires and Minnesota/Select Sires.… Continue reading

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Making plans for cattle in 2024

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

Early 2023 will be remembered by cattlemen for the record cattle prices that have continued to soften since September. In early November in a typically benign WASDE report, USDA raised their beef production projection 2% for 2024.This increase sent some shock through the markets. This increase in projected beef production is likely due to higher feedlot placements this fall due to weather. Look for this to be somewhat short lived as the cattle supply continues to be tight. While cattle prices have been softer since mid-September, the long-term outlook is still rather favorable as the cow herd continues to shrink.

At this point, I am optimistic going forward. A strong Replacement Female sale on Black Friday was an indication that there is demand for quality cattle with known genetics and there is greater willingness to pay for quality cattle than one may have thought given the greater scope of the economy.… Continue reading

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Managing manure for bigger yields, less impact

A conversation with Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio’s Field Leader and Glen Arnold, CCA Field Specialist, Manure Nutrient Management, Ohio State University Extension

Dusty: How did the summer months and fall go with getting manure applications done?

Glen: It’s been a pretty good year in 2023 for manure application. We had a very dry April, so if people needed to get manure applied to fields in April, the opportunity was there. Then we got crops planted and we stayed pretty dry in June, so for those of us who do a lot of manure application on top of emerged corn or incorporate in between the rows, we were able to get a lot of that done. Then a drier than normal summer and fall has allowed us to get most of our manure application work done in the state. You see most of the dairies, when you look at their manure ponds, they’re pumped down nicely.… Continue reading

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McCarthys honored with top award from Ohio’s sheep industry

By Matt Reese and Joel Penhorwood 

One role of today’s leaders in Ohio’s sheep industry is setting up a bright future for the next generation of leaders. Farabee and Joy McCarthy of Wyandot County, the winners of the 2023 Charles Boyles Master Shepherd Award from the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and Ohio Sheep and Wool Program, have spent many years doing just that. 

Farabee and Joy McCarthy, Wyandot County, center, were recognized with the Charles Boyles Master Shepherd Award, the highest award presented for the Ohio Sheep Industry.

They were presented the surprise award at the 2023 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium in December held in Wooster. Farabee currently serves as the chair of the Animal Science and Pre- Veterinary studies at the University of Findlay.

“I’ve been here about 22 years. When I came, we were a relatively small department. We’ve grown since and now we have about 700 undergraduate students. In addition to cattle, we also have sheep, we have goats and farrow out a few sows every semester because of class needs.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet Jan. 13

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will be hosting their Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Jan. 13, 2024 in Columbus. OCA members are encouraged to attend and participate in discussions that will decide the association’s top priorities for the year.

The day will begin with lunch where guest speaker Todd Wilkinson, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), will give an update on important NCBA priorities and programs. Wilkinson is a co-owner and operator of a commercial cow-calf operation alongside his son, Nick, in De Smet, South Dakota. He is also a co-owner of Redstone Feeders, family-owned cattle feeding and finishing operation as well as owns his own law-firm, Wilkinson & Schumacher where he has practiced law for more than 40 years, specializing in estate planning and agricultural law.

The Annual Meeting will begin after lunch where OCA members are encouraged to take an active role in their organization as they will set policy priorities for 2024 and be involved in important industry updates. … Continue reading

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Line speed trial extended

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that it granted a 90-day extension for trials at six pork packing plants around the country with faster harvest line speeds. The harvest capacity facilitated by higher line speeds at the six trial plants represents over 3% of national capacity. Extending and making permanent this added capacity is a major priority for the National Pork Producers Council. 
In late 2019, a new USDA rule established for processing facilities the New Swine Inspection System (NSIS), which included a provision that allowed plants to determine their own line speeds based on their ability to maintain process control. In March 2021, a U.S. District Court vacated the provision, citing a lack of safety data. At NPPC’s urging, in November 2021, FSIS implemented a time-limited trial for six NSIS facilities to operate at increased slaughter line speeds for one year while collecting data to evaluate the impact of the faster speeds on worker safety.… Continue reading

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Sustaining optimal body condition from fall calving to breeding season

By Kate Hornyak, Ohio State University Extension program coordinator, Delaware County

Maintaining optimal body condition in cattle from fall calving through to the breeding season is pivotal for the success of any beef operation. In Ohio, with its unique climate and agricultural landscape, this task can present unique challenges and opportunities. There are comprehensive strategies tailored to Ohio’s environment, helping cattle producers ensure their herds are in peak condition, promoting reproductive success and overall herd vitality.

During the fall, fluctuating temperatures and early frosts can impact the availability and quality of pasture for grazing, necessitating the need for supplementary feeding. Farmers must be vigilant to ensure that cattle have access to adequate nutrition as natural forage sources diminish. Additionally, wet conditions and heavy rainfall can lead to muddy and unsanitary living conditions, increasing the risk of disease and foot problems in cattle.

As winter arrives, the challenges intensify with the onset of freezing temperatures, snow, and ice.… Continue reading

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OSU livestock judging team finishes strong in successful season

The Livestock Judging Team at the Ohio State University wrapped up its 2023 season at the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville. Seniors Ryan Michael, Morgan Price, Sarah Belmonte, Ellie Shaw, Dawson Osborn and Stephen Parthemore — all animal sciences majors — left NAILE as the 13th High Team in the senior college competition.

Other notable fall finishes for the team include second High Team overall (first in placings, second in reasons) at the Purdue Boilermaker Classic, third High Team (High Team in swine) at the Keystone International Livestock Exposition in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and 12th High Team overall at the American Royal in Kansas City.

Ryan Michael also placed in the top 20, earning the position of 19th High Individual overall with placings of 16th in cattle and 20th in swine.

Michael served as a key contributor to his team’s success throughout the season with multiple top 10 finishes, including third High Individual overall at the Purdue Boilermaker Classic and second High Individual overall at Keystone.… Continue reading

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BEEF 509 Feb. 23 and 24 in new format

The 2024 edition of BEEF 509 will be held on the campus of Ohio State University on Feb. 23 and 24 and will feature a new format with only one session. It is designed to teach cattle producers more about the food side of the beef business. The course includes carcass grading, evaluation and harvest demonstration.

BEEF 509 is an educational program sponsored by the beef checkoff and the Ohio Beef Council (OBC) in partnership with the Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences and OSU Extension. Registration is $175 per person with the beef council covering all additional program expenses. A maximum of 30 program spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The program will be held at the OSU Animal Sciences Building located at 2029 Fyffe Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210. The registration deadline is Jan. 3, 2024. For more information contact Luke McKee at lmckee@ohiobeef.org.… Continue reading

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HPAI hits Ohio’s poultry industry again

By Joel Penhorwood and Matt Reese

Over the past month, waterfowl migration in different parts of the country has led to a new spike in highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) cases and the depopulation of more than 7.6 million birds nationwide. In recent weeks there have been 94 confirmed cases of bird flu in 26 states, including Ohio, according to USDA. A Union County commercial layer facility and a Darke County commercial turkey facility with a combined nearly 1.4 million birds have been depopulated since Nov. 21, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. 

Unfortunately, Ohio already had some experience with the grim realities of poultry depopulation. Last winter, Dennis Summers, DVM, Ohio’s State Veterinarian, spoke at the Ohio Pork Congress and shared some lessons learned from the previous challenges with HPAI in Ohio. The depopulation process is emotionally, financially and physically challenging for everyone involved, but it is necessary to protect all the other livestock or poultry in the area.… Continue reading

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USMCA dispute panel limits Canadian market access

The recent ruling by a U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) dispute panel allowing Canada to restrict the dairy access that the United States negotiated for in the USMCA pact weakens the agreement’s value to the US dairy industry, according to the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

An earlier panel ruled in January 2022 that Canada had improperly restricted access to its market for U.S. dairy products. In response, Canada made insufficient changes to its dairy tariff rate quota (TRQ) system, resulting in an outcome that still fell far short of the market access the U.S. expected to receive under USMCA. To address that shortcoming, the U.S. brought a second case to challenge the changes that Canada instituted. The panel announced that Canada was not obligated to make further changes.

“It is profoundly disappointing that the dispute settlement panel has ruled in favor of obstruction of trade rather than trade facilitation,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.… Continue reading

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The manure balancing act

By Matt Reese


The investment is high, fickle weather determines the schedule and well, sometimes, the job just stinks, but Zach Parker, owner of Zippy’s Manure Service, enjoys finding the right balance with manure application and fulfilling a critical role in Ohio agriculture.


Parker provides a way for farmers in north-central Ohio to maximize manure’s benefits and minimize the challenges. Too much manure results in environmental issues and the loss of valuable nutrients; too little does not meet crop needs and is inefficient. Parker operates in a carefully balanced middle ground.


“I started my business back in 2017 and I do custom manure hauling. I’m based in Crawford County and my furthest client is about 32 miles away,” Parker said. “I do a number of hog facilities and a couple of dairies where we haul the manure from the barns to farmer’s fields. We apply the manure however they want it done.… Continue reading

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A look at bale grazing

By Christine Gelley, Ohio State University Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County

Extending the grazing season is one of the best ways to save money on feed and reduce labor on the farm. In order to add grazing days to the calendar, farm managers must approach grazing with a plan and the willingness to be flexible. Rotationally grazing, utilizing multiple forage species and growing seasons, being thoughtful about stocking rates, adding fertility when needed, and having plentiful fence and water will increase chances for success.

Whether you have the ability to graze for a couple extra weeks or a couple extra months, the benefits of preparation will show up in the money you save on harvesting or purchasing supplemental feed. Regardless of how diligent you are about your grazing plans, it is difficult to provide sufficient grazing for livestock 365 days a year in Ohio and eventually you’ll be relying on stored feeds to meet the needs of your livestock.… Continue reading

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Ohio National brought almost 11,000 birds to Columbus

By Matt Reese

California, Montana, Texas, Connecticut — vehicle license plates in the parking lot at the Ohio Expo Center were nearly as diverse as the poultry competing at Ohio National poultry show the second weekend of November. It was wall-to-wall feathers and a cacophony of bird calls in the Voinovich and O’Neill buildings at the nation’s largest poultry show.

“This is the Quarter Horse Congress of chicken shows. If you want to come to a good chicken show, then come to the Ohio National. There are almost 11,000 birds here and over 900 exhibitors from all over the country and Canada,” said Tim Johnson from Wood County, president of the Ohio Poultry Breeders Association (OPBA). “There are hundreds of breeds and varieties of chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys — if it’s got feathers and two legs, we’ve got it. And if you’re going to show something here, you’ve got to show something that’s good.”… Continue reading

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