Livestock



Growing hope for dairy markets

robotic-milker-on-cow

By Alan Bjerga, National Milk Producers Federation

While no one can say with certainty that the slow re-openings across the U.S. mark the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s clear these attempts to return to a more normal existence mark the end of the beginning. The world is an experiment, both of science and of societies. Outcomes will remain uncertain for months.

But data can help draw a few conclusions. One from the consumer sector is that, in times of uncertainty, people turn to the bedrock items that they know will nourish themselves and their families. And dairy is an important choice.

Retail-sales as reported by consumer market researcher IRI over the past three months show that consumers have reacted to the coronavirus crisis first by stocking up on dairy, then by continuing to buy milk and other products at disproportionately high levels.

From March 8 to March 22, as stay-at-home orders and business closures proliferated nationwide, dairy products flew from store shelves.… Continue reading

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Share the love (and milk) in June Dairy Month

With schools closed and community meal services suspended amid the COVID-19 crisis, the need for reliable, nutritious food is even greater for thousands of families across the country.

In response, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) family farmer-owners have donated the equivalent of more than 625,000 gallons of milk to the many families faced with hunger who relied on these services over the past few months. Additionally, through the creation of the DFA Cares Farmers Feeding Families Fund, DFA and its farmer-owners are raising money to help provide essential support and deliver much-needed dairy products to community food banks across the country. To date, DFA has raised more than $500,000.

“With job losses, food insecurity and the need for additional supplies at food banks at an all-time high, we’re grateful for our family farmers, employees, industry partners and friends in the community for all they are doing in the midst of this pandemic to get dairy from the farm to the tables of those in need,” said Monica Massey, DFA executive vice president and chief of staff.… Continue reading

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March margin triggers Dairy Margin Coverage Program payment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that the March 2020 income over feed cost margin was $9.15 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the first payment of 2020 for dairy producers who purchased the appropriate level of coverage under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program. Current projections indicate that a DMC payment is likely to trigger every month for the remainder of 2020, a different expectation from last July when some market models had forecast no program payments for 18 months.

“This payment comes at a critical time for many dairy producers,” said Richard Fordyce, FSA Administrator. “It is the first triggered DMC payment for 2020, and the first payment to dairy producers in seven months.”

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.… Continue reading

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New alternatives for county fair auctions

Show and fair officials from across the country are looking at alternative options for their upcoming auctions amid uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

In response, Ohio – Breeders’ World Online Sales has introduced BW Final Drive Youth

Auctions as an alternative option to county fairs across the country to still hold auctions for their exhibitors. BW Final Drive Youth Auctions offers multiple options including premium sale online auctions, an “add on” option for buyers to add money to an exhibitor’s premium, and a terminal/market online auction.

“Being an auctioneer, 4-H advisor, county fair committee member and a 4-H parent, I am here to provide you with the best possible solutions for your auctions at a cost that reflects the youth are my top priority,” said Roger Hunker, owner of Breeders’ World Online Sales and BW Final Drive Youth Auctions.

BW Final Drive Youth Auctions works with each fair/show individually to meet their needs and guidelines.… Continue reading

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Gracee is my name

By Matt Reese

“So what’s your name? What county are you from?”

Gracee Workman, like anyone in a new role in agriculture, was asked these questions repeatedly during her first few days on the job selecting breeding gilts for Heimerl Farms and PIC.

“I got a lot of questions about my family’s name,” Gracee said. “They wanted to know where I came from and about my farm background. I didn’t have that.”

She did not have a family heritage in agriculture to share with those who asked. Her story had much different beginnings. Her parents divorced when she was very young and one of Gracee’s earliest memories was sleeping on the floor under a card table in her room surrounded by dog feces in a Columbus house that was mostly otherwise empty. Her mother had been selling everything she could find — rugs, furniture, appliances — to pay for her drug addiction.… Continue reading

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Food bloopers

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and nutritionist

bloop·er /ˈblo͞opər/ Noun; an embarrassing error.

Thursday mornings at my church, a class of primarily Japanese women meet to learn English. They are sponges for American culture, food and words. Classes are filled with laughter as words get mixed up, Americanisms are learned, and bonds are created. I had been planning a class about All-American foods when the pandemic hit. To get my mind off the germs, I took matters in my own hands and decided to make Tasty Tuesday All-American Favorites. Tasty Tuesday would feature a how-to video of a recipe. First up: Easy Crockpot Roast Beef (a.k.a. Pot Roast). I made cue cards of vocabulary words such as ground beef, ground sirloin, ground round and ground chuck. My husband Paul filmed as I began talking about cuts of beef using the great interactive resources on www.brobbq.com. First, the round and then “moving on to the chicken, I mean chuck!”… Continue reading

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Set yourself up for grazing success

By Rory Lewandowski, Ohio State University Extension Educator Wayne County

Like any resource, pastures respond to management. Grazing offers economic benefits as compared to producing and feeding stored forages as livestock harvest the forage directly. Capture the benefits of grazing and set yourself up for success by using the 4-Rs to manage pastures. We typically hear of the 4-Rs in relationship to water quality and fertilizer management, but pasture management has its own set of 4-Rs. Those 4-Rs stand for the grazing principles of Right beginning grazing height, Remove/Reduce seed heads, Residual leaf area and Rest period.

During the spring flush, the goal is to remove only the top couple of inches of the plant, and then quickly move on. Do not begin to graze pastures too soon. There is a positive correlation between pasture plant height, density, and livestock intake. Animal intake is directly correlated with animal performance. The goal is to make sure that grazing livestock get a full mouthful of forage with every bite they take.… Continue reading

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Europe rebuked for unfair dairy trade practices

The U.S. dairy industry applauds the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for firmly rebuking the European Union (EU)’s protectionist dairy trade policies in its annual U.S. Special 301 Report.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) endorse USTR’s findings that the EU has erected a complex regime of trade barriers that harm opportunities for U.S. exports to Europe. In addition, the EU has aggressively sought to restrict U.S. exports in global markets by weaponizing geographical indications (GIs) protections and blocking the ability of U.S. suppliers to use common names to market cheeses such as fontina, gorgonzola, asiago and feta.

“USTR has rightly taken Europe to task for their destructive and unfair campaign against American-made dairy exports, and in particular the high-quality cheeses produced by the dedicated men and women of the U.S. dairy industry,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “I commend USTR for its recent actions to defend U.S.… Continue reading

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Tyson to re-open Indiana plant

Following a plant tour with local health and government officials, a union representative, and medical professionals, Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc. has announced its plans to resume limited production at its Logansport, Indiana, facility this week.

“We’ve taken additional precautions to reassure team members that they are returning to a safe work environment and have made additional changes to continue supporting them during this global health crisis,” said Todd Neff, senior vice president of pork at Tyson.… Continue reading

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Direct marketing of meat

By Rob Leeds, Garth Ruff, Peggy Hall, Jacci Smith, and Tony Nye, Ohio State University Extension

Producers who are seeking to increase income are looking for different ways to market their livestock. Direct to consumer marketing of livestock products is one way producers are seeking to increase profits in their livestock sales. When exploring direct market possibilities there are several factors farmers must consider: regulations, consumer preference, marketing strategies and pricing.

 

Regulation

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the local Health Department are the two agencies that are responsible for regulating sales of meat in Ohio. ODA oversees the processing plants and sets the food safety regulations for the state. The local health department enforces the food safety regulations at the local level.

Producers can slaughter and sell their own chickens (up to 1,000 birds), rabbits, or non-amenable meats directly at the farm without a license if that’s the only food they’re selling, or with a farm market registration if selling non-amenable meats along with other low risk foods.… Continue reading

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Foodbanks still in need and being supplied by Ohio farms

As so many face unforeseen challenges across America, Cooper Farms is working to provide food and resources to their fellow Ohioans. The farm and food company, located in western Ohio, has made several donations over the past month, providing over 21,000 protein-rich meals, and so much more.

Nearly 6,000 pounds of turkey as well as two truckloads of eggs, about 27,000 dozen eggs, were donated to the Ohio Association of Foodbanks in a series of deliveries from the turkey, pork and egg company. An additional 1,100 pounds of turkey burgers were donated to area groups providing socially distanced serving of hot lunches for children and meals after virtual church services.

“Egg and turkey farmers have always been and remain committed to supporting their neighbors in need and ensuring that all families have access to wholesome, affordable foods,” said Jim Chakeres, executive vice president of the Ohio Poultry Association. “Eggs and turkey are high-protein foods that provide nutritional benefits to people of all ages and play an important role in a healthy diet.”… Continue reading

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Challenges continue for pork producers in wake of Trump executive order

By Matt Reese

President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to extend federal support to the U.S. meat production and production systems. By triggering the DPA, the federal government will prioritize the continuity of meat processing plant operations.

The nation’s pork industry has been hit particularly hard with processing back-ups in recent weeks, said Cheryl Day, executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council.

“The executive order is taking real time action to ensure the safety of those workers in the plant but also to make sure our food supply chain for meat and poultry will continue,” Day said. “It declares that processing plants are critical infrastructure and seeks to safely keep those processing plants open so farmers can keep delivering hogs at some level and there will be pork delivered to the consumer. While this won’t financially fix what is going on in the industry at the farm level, it definitely will help them continue to deliver hogs and it is the right move in the right direction.”… Continue reading

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APHIS announces support for handling pigs unable to move to market

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the establishment of a National Incident Coordination Center to provide direct support to producers with animals that cannot be moved to market as a result of processing plant closures.

APHIS is also mobilizing the National Veterinary Stockpile and will deploy assets as needed and secure the services of contractors that can supply additional equipment, personnel and services.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide state-level technical assistance to producers and will provide cost-share assistance under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in line with program guidelines for disposal.

Additional details are available on the USDA website.… Continue reading

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Indiana Tyson plant to close for COVID-19 testing

By Dave Russell, Ohio Ag Net

Tyson Fresh Meats, a subsidiary of food giant Tyson Foods Inc. has agreed to voluntarily close the Logansport, Ind. plant while the more than 2,200 workers there are tested for COVID-19.

The pork processing facility produces 3 million pounds of pork daily from 250 independent family farmers from 9 states. The company says it suspended production at the facility on Monday for additional deep cleaning and sanitizing but had been running and limited production since then. All production is expected to stop on or before Saturday.

Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats, said in a news release that while they understand the necessity of keeping our facilities operational so that they can continue to feed the nation, the safety of team members remains their top priority. Tyson says all employees at the facility will continue to be paid while the plant is closed.… Continue reading

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Why didn’t my vaccine work this year?

By Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, Ohio State University Sheep Team

I’m sure that many of you are familiar with the old adage of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” In general, this piece of advice can be misleading as change is needed and certainly essential when trying to improve the efficiency of your operation. However, when it comes to vaccination programs on your farm, this piece of advice fits perfectly. Vaccines are administered as a means to control an underlying issue within your flock or herd. It is recommended to not vaccinate for a specific disease unless you currently have issues or suspect you will.

This is in part due to the nature of the vaccines. Vaccines contain the organism in which create disease. This organism is modified so that the host is able to mount an effective immune response without becoming ill from the disease. As a result, producers willingly give their flock or herd a specific disease; but if your operation does not have issues with it, it is not recommended that you give the vaccine if it is not needed.… Continue reading

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NCBA pivots to address new reality for beef markets

Promotion programs being managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff have shifted and grown in response to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. These efforts reflect a consumer population that is concerned for their day-to-day health and the availability of delicious, safe and wholesome food products, like beef.

“It was only two months ago that Beef Checkoff committees got together in San Antonio at the Cattle Industry Convention to work collectively to develop plans to improve beef demand,” said Buck Wehrbein, a feedlot manager from Nebraska and chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils. “In a few short weeks our entire world and the way we engage with each other and our communities have changed, and our response through the Beef Checkoff has had to change with it.”

Wehrbein notes that many events and conferences the Beef Checkoff had a role in have been canceled and some research projects have paused.… Continue reading

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The front lines of animal health during COVID-19

By Matt Reese

There is legitimate concern out there for those on the front lines of human health during this pandemic, but those on the front lines of animal health are also of great importance to Ohio’s livestock farms and agricultural community.

“Being a veterinarian is always complicated, but right now during the COVID-19 situation, we are challenged to balance the needs of our patients — the pets or livestock and their health —the client health and financial well being, and of

course our employee health and financial well being,” said Dr. Mark Hardesty, with the Maria Stein Animal Clinic. “Way more than half of our business is with cattle, primarily dairy cattle, and of course they are essential for food production. That work has not changed much. There is some consulting where we would normally sit in a room with several decision makers and go through records and discuss parameters and objectives, some of those have been cancelled.”… Continue reading

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Beef supply chain issues courtesy of COVID-19 creating financial uncertainty

By Dusty Sonnenberg

According to the USDA’s National Daily Cattle and Beef Summary for Tuesday, April 14, 2020, an estimated 99,000 head of beef cattle were slaughtered that day. That number is down 7,000 head from the same day a week ago, and 24,000 head from just one year ago. That number, while dramatic, is not surprising given the news that two of America’s largest beef packers have closed two plants due to labor issues resulting from COVID-19. JBS USA has closed its Greeley, Colorado facility through April 24, and National Beef Packing Company has closed its Tama, Iowa facility through April 20. Combined, the two facilities slaughter approximately 6,500 head of beef cattle every day. This comes just a matter of days after JBS USA had to close its Souderton, Pennsylvania beef facility for the same reasons.

The loss of packer processing capacity will have ripple effects through the entire industry.… Continue reading

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Beef industry looking at massive financial losses

A recent study estimates cattle industry losses as a result of the cornonavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will reach $13.6 billion. The study was commissioned by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and its state affiliated and conducted by a team of industry-leading agricultural economists led by Derrell Peel, Professor of Agribusiness and Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist at Oklahoma State University, to assist the United States Department of Agriculture in determining how best to allocate relief funds to cattle producers.

The study shows cow-calf producers will see the largest impact, with COVID-19-related losses totaling an estimated $3.7 billion, or $111.91 per head for each mature breeding animal in the United States. Without offsetting relief payments, those losses could increase by $135.24 per mature breeding animal, for an additional impact totaling $4.45 billion in the coming years.

Stocker/backgrounder segment losses were estimated at $159.98 per head, for a total economic impact of $2.5 billion in 2020, while feeding sector losses were estimated at $3 billion or $205.96 per head.… Continue reading

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Hog farmers face COVID-19 financial crisis

The impact of COVID-19 has caused hog values to plummet, creating a financial disaster for pork producers nationwide who face a collective $5 billion loss for the remainder of the year. At a press briefing today, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) outlined the crisis as described by producers and the immediate relief they are requesting from the administration and Congress.

“We remain committed to supplying Americans with high-quality U.S. pork, but face a dire situation that threatens the livelihoods of thousands of farm families,” said Howard “A.V.” Roth, NPPC president, a pork producer from Wisconsin. “We are taking on water fast. Immediate action is imperative, or a lot of hog farms will go under.”

The suspension of pork packing plant operations and rising employee absenteeism due to COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing harvest facility capacity challenge due to a labor shortage in rural America. With limited harvest capacity, a surplus of pigs exists, causing hog values to plunge.… Continue reading

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