Farmers provide pork to northern Ohio residents

As members of the Ohio Pork Council (OPC), Ohio pig farmers are pleased to support the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank in Toledo, Ohio, and their eight-county service area. The protein-packed donation from the Ohio Pork Council will provide over 17,500 wholesome meals to those in need.   

As part of OPC’s annual Pork Power program, Ohio pig farmers donated over 1,300 Daisyfield hams produced by J.H. Routh Packing Company in Sandusky. Hams donated to the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank will benefit residents from Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams and Wood counties.   

“Ohio’s pig farmers care about producing safe, wholesome pork, taking care of their animals and natural resources, and giving back to their communities. Through OPC’s Pork Power program, we’re able to give back to local food banks in Ohio,” said Rich Deaton, National Pork Board member and Ohio Pork Council director. 

In 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, pig farmers in Ohio provided over 86,600 pounds of pork to local food banks.… Continue reading

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Watch for problematic pasture plants this spring

By M. Luginbuhl, Extension Specialist in Goats and Forage Systems, North Carolina State University

As winter feed supplies run low and with producers eager to turn livestock out to pasture this spring, do yourself and your stock a favor by scouting for poisonous plants in your pasture this spring.

Factors contributing to plant poisoning are starvation, accidental eating, and browsing habits of animals. Starvation is the most common reason. Most woodland or swampy-ground pastures contain many species of poisonous plants. These are usually eaten only when animals have nothing else to eat.

Animals accidentally eat certain plants as they graze. A notable example of this is water hemlock. This plant emerges in wet areas, which are the first to become green in early spring. Animals eager to eat the fresh young grass may accidentally bite off the crown of this plant with fatal results. Another type of accidental poisoning occurs when large amounts of cockle are present in wheat, which is fed as grain.… Continue reading

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No breaks for dairy farms on Earth Day

By the National Milk Producers Federation

Earth Day is just a few days away. And while it’s nice to have a day set aside to remember how everyone needs to care for, protect and, in some cases, restore our planet, please forgive dairy farmers if you don’t see much of a pause. 

That’s in part because dairy never stops. Dairy farmers produce a perishable product harvested around the clock, every day of the year. It’s also because dairy’s leadership in sustainable agriculture also happens every day. Promoting soil health, optimizing water use, improving water quality, and more, ensures dairy farmers can keep farming for generations to come. 

Dairy farming is an inherently renewable cycle. Cows eat crops and byproducts that humans can’t digest. They produce milk that nourishes people. And their manure provides nutrients to grow crops, which starts the cycle again. Dairy-farm livelihoods depend on healthy, vibrant ecosystems – and well-operated dairies of any size, in any region, enhance the ecosystems that surround them.  … Continue reading

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Meat export outlook remains strong

February exports of U.S. beef and pork remained below the rapid pace established in early 2020, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). However, exports were consistent with USMEF’s February projections and the federation still expects 2021 beef exports to increase substantially year-over-year, while pork exports are projected to narrowly surpass the 2020 record. 

Beef exports totaled 103,493 metric tons (mt) in February, down 8% from a year ago, valued at $669.5 million (down 2%). This was due mainly to a decline in variety meat exports, as beef muscle cuts were steady with last year in value at $597.9 million on a volume of 82,530 mt (down 3%). Through February, beef exports were 5% below last year’s pace at 208,540 mt, valued at $1.32 billion (down 2%). Beef muscle cut exports were down 1% to 163,928 mt and steady in value at $1.18 billion.… Continue reading

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Prop 12 legal challenge moves forward

Last week, the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation gave oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asking the court to strike down California’s Proposition 12 as unconstitutional under the dormant commerce clause.

Proposition 12, set to begin implementation on Jan. 1, 2022, imposes arbitrary animal housing standards that reach far outside of California’s borders to farms across the country, and bans the sale of pork that does not meet those arbitrary standards. California, with nearly 40 million residents, represents approximately 15% of the U.S. pork market. The state has a majority Latino and Asian population, both of which have long-standing cultural preferences for pork. Proposition 12 will dramatically reduce the supply of pork for Californians, driving up prices for consumers and disproportionately affecting low-income households. As NPPC Assistant Vice President and General Counsel Michael Formica told DTN, Proposition 12 “is a clear regulatory overreach and a violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S.… Continue reading

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Modern-day cattle rustling

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

They call it “Cattlegate.” It’s a modern-day cattle rustling scheme. Let’s start at the beginning.

            In 1958, Ervin Easterday moved his family and farming operation from Nampo, Idaho to southeastern Wash., where he purchased 300 acres of undeveloped land in the new Columbia Basin Reclamation Irrigation project. With a meager annual rainfall of 7 inches per year, the new supply of water from Grand Coulee Dam changed this land forever. 

            As a young man, Ervin’s son, Gale, said he worked what seemed like endless hours on a Caterpillar leveling and clearing this new ground so water had access to run down furrows.

            By 1979, Gale and his wife, Karen, were the sole owners of Easterday Farms. They had five children who grew into the ever-expanding operations that included Easterday Ranches, Easterday Farms, multiple vegetable sheds, 2 restaurants, a construction company, a hay company, and a re-packing facility in Florida, south of Jacksonville.… Continue reading

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OSIA scholarships

The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association is sponsoring the Dr. Jack Judy, Ralph H. Grimshaw, and High Family Memorial Scholarships and OSIA LEAD Council Scholarships to support future sheep farmers through its scholarship program. OSIA is offering a minimum of $6,00.00 in scholarship awards, with the potential of more scholarship funds being rewarded.  Preference will be given to students pursuing a degree in agriculture based upon the particular requirements of each scholarship.

“The Ohio sheep industry depends on young people who are considering and pursuing a career that will be beneficial to the Ohio and United States sheep industry. The OSIA scholarship program is one way that we can help our young sheep producers reach their career goals,” said Roger A. High, OSIA executive director.

Applicants or their parents must be members in good standing of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and a 2021 graduating high school senior enrolled in, or a student currently attending a college or technical school.… Continue reading

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Ohio Sheep Improvement Association industry award nominations due June 1

Several years ago, the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) board of trustees initiated an award nomination program to recognize outstanding accomplishments made by sheep, lamb and wool farmers as well as people who are associated with the Ohio sheep industry. Nominations for these awards can only be submitted by OSIA members and must be received by June 1, 2021.

Award recipients will be honored at the 2021 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium. If you would like to nominate someone for any of these sheep, lamb and wool industry awards, please contact the OSIA office at 614-246-8299 or for an application. Award applications are also be posted on the website at:

Nominations are being accepted for the following categories. Information and requirements regarding these awards will be available with the award application:

  • Charles Boyles Master Shepherd Award
  • Friend of the Ohio Sheep Industry Award
  • Distinguished Service Award
  • Environmental Stewardship Award.
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Growing interest in expanding Ohio’s meat processing capacity

By Matt Reese

From the farmer to the consumer, the whole food chain saw the need for change in 2020 when processing capacity was reduced resulting in back-ups and shortages. This situation was partly due to a problem Ohio agriculture has been talking about for years — there is simply not enough local meat processing capacity.

“This is something we have been working on for several years in the state of Ohio. It is so important to our producers,” said Brandon Kern, senior director, state and national policy for Ohio Farm Bureau. “Even pre-pandemic, this had been an issue that was percolating. We have capacity needs, particularly when you are talking about small and medium-sized processors. Part of the issue is that most of the meat processing in this country is very concentrated amongst four very large meat packers and two of those are foreign owned. This presents some real food security issues.… Continue reading

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OSIA LEAD Council sponsorship opportunities

The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association LEAD Council would first like to express our appreciation for the journey that has occurred over the past 12 months. While it was an extremely difficult season for our organization, we are humbled and deeply proud of everyone who rallied and brought the LEAD programing to fruition in 2020. Despite disappointments, challenges and ever-changing hurdles along the way our organization was able to deliver an entire show season and a complete points program and that was once in danger of cancelation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 reminded us to take nothing for granted and nothing is guaranteed. Without the support of the LEAD program partners, show managers, breeders and friends who stood strong and remained committed partners, this would not have been possible. We look back on the past year with extreme gratitude and thankfulness for the supporters of the LEAD Council.

As we look toward the 2021 show season, we are eager to begin a new and fresh start.… Continue reading

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Morocco bound: Ohio cattle in Africa

By Matt Reese

On Feb. 10, 80 heifers with the quality dairy genetics of Andreas Farms in Tuscarawas County boarded a ship named the Holstein Express — yep, really, Holstein Express is painted right on the side of the ship — bound for Africa. The Andreas heifers were part of a larger group of 1,750 cattle headed to Morocco.  

After recently expanding and updating their operation, the challenges of 2020 encouraged the Andreas family to get out of the dairy industry and transition to other agricultural endeavors on the farm. The farm’s 1,200 cows were sold in September of 2020.

“We are phasing out and still breeding and raising heifers we have left,” said Matt Andreas, who managed the dairy with his father, Dan. “We felt it was either time to expand again or maybe change directions. We’re lucky from that standpoint that there are a lot of different options for us moving forward.”… Continue reading

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Biosecurity considerations when transitioning newly purchased cattle

By  Steve Boyles, Ohio State University Extension beef specialist

The objective is to avoid new diseases introduced through replacement stock and airborne diseases. Typically, new animals are quarantined for at least 30 days and more typically for 60 days before being introduced into the herd. If on-site, the isolation area should be of some distance and downwind from other animals. Practicing all-in, all-out procedures will make it easier to clean and reduce opportunities by personnel to introduce contaminants to the main herd. Minimize cross-contamination of feeding/watering equipment.  Here are some suggested procedures:

  • Have a set vaccination program as part of the acclimation of new animals.
  • Have a written strategic vaccination plan.
  • Know when and how to use the vaccines listed in the vaccination plan.
  • Discuss the vaccination history of all cattle purchased before cattle arrive.
  • All incoming animals are unloaded and visually inspected during daylight hours, when possible. Isolation is maintained until inspection is completed.
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Ventilation system maintenance is critical to keeping cows comfortable


By Jason Hartschuh, Extension Educator, Crawford County, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension

Spring is one of the most challenging seasons on the farm to keep barns properly ventilated. We often see temperatures in the teens and less than a week later see highs in the 70s. Our ventilation system recently roared to life as temperatures in the barn crossed 65 degrees F, reminding me that we still had not gotten around to winter fan maintenance as belts squealed and louvers hung half shut.

Fan maintenance is critical to keeping your cows cool and saving energy. Ventilation systems often consume between 20% to 25% of the total energy used on the farm. Lack of cleaning can reduce fan efficiency by as much as 40% — meaning that your electric bill stays the same, but there is less air is moving through the barn. Monthly maintenance through the summer is critical to keep fans clean.… Continue reading

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Picking the right forage

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

The spring seeding window for the most popular forages in our region is quickly approaching. Producers looking for guidance on how to choose the best forage for their system should always start with a soil test rather than a seed catalog. Whether you have farmed your site for decades or days, soil testing is essential for success.

Once you know the characteristics of your soil, you can formulate a timeline to adjust fertility if needed, sow your selected seed, and set realistic expectations for production. Soil testing should be conducted when site history is unknown, when converting from a different cropping system (row crops, woodlands, turfgrass, etc.), or on a three-year schedule for maintenance.

Additional factors worthy of consideration prior to purchasing seed include site drainage, sunlight exposure, weed competition, forage harvest method, and feed value for the end user.… Continue reading

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Beef Expo recap

The 33rd Ohio Beef Expo was held March 18-21 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio. This year’s event, hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), was a producer focused event to provide critical farm income for the cattle families and rural small businesses that participate in it. Despite this year’s challenges, the Expo successfully hosted breed shows and sales, a retail trade show and a youth cattle show. OCA followed an approved COVID plan for the Expo that required postponing many other traditional events and seminars. 

The Expo kicked off with the retail trade show featuring many eager exhibitors selling everything from cattle chutes to farm insurance. Sullivan Supply was selected as the premier large booth exhibitor, Honey Creek Western Wear was the premier small booth exhibitor and Umbarger Show Feeds was awarded the premier outdoor booth exhibitor. The premier Genetic Pathway exhibitor was Breeder’s World. 

Four breeds hosted shows on Friday to display cattle being sold in the sales.… Continue reading

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NMPF urges more balanced dairy purchases in USDA listening session

 National Milk Producers Federation Senior Vice President for Policy Strategy and International Trade Jaime Castaneda urged federal officials to effectively allocate dairy products as a source of high-quality, cost-effective nutrition in any successor to the Farmers to Families Food Box Program at a USDA listening session

“Dairy foods, including milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, and many other dairy products are staples of our diet. No single food contains as much nutritional bang for the buck as milk,” said Castaneda during the session, hosted by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. “Additional USDA purchases of milk and milk products, to then be donated to food banks and other charitable feeding organizations, would deliver a wide range of healthy nutrients to people at a relatively low federal cost. The cost-benefit equation for providing milk’s nutrition to the nutrient-insecure is enormous.”

USDA is soliciting feedback on how it should overhaul or restructure the Food Box program, implemented last year as part of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.… Continue reading

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Ohio Beef Expo worth the wait

By Matt Reese

Judges scrutinized, auctioneers sold, and ringmen bellowed out the bids. Fitters fitted and exhibitors showed their cattle with poise. By all accounts, the trade show was well attended and clearly attendees were happy to see each other and gather as an industry. The cattle, as always, were top notch. 

The cattle industry met in Columbus for the Ohio Beef Expo for the first time since March of 2019. The event has tremendous implications for the state’s cattle industry and was a welcome addition to the March 2021 schedule for attendees. Making the show a reality, though, took an extensive effort from the planners, including Pam Haley, co-chair of the event.  

“We usually, on a normal year, start everything in early fall to start piecing things together. This year it has been ongoing since we had to cancel last year. We had to wait on the state to open up.… Continue reading

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Grass tetany/ Hypomagnesemia — Start preventive measures now

By Michelle Arnold, Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Lab; A special thanks to Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler for his contributions to this article

What is “Grass Tetany” and when are cattle most likely to have it? Grass tetany, also known as spring tetany, grass staggers, wheat pasture poisoning, winter tetany or lactation tetany, is a condition resulting from a low level of magnesium (Mg) in the blood. Maintenance of blood magnesium depends on the amount obtained from the daily diet since the magnesium present in teeth and bones and is not easily mobilized in times of need. 

Magnesium is required for proper nerve and muscle function so low levels in the blood result in “tetanic spasms” where muscles contract uncontrollably. The disorder in an adult cow begins with separation from the herd and going off feed. The ears are often erect and twitching and the cow is alert, hyperexcitable and may be aggressive.… Continue reading

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Overcoming converging challenges for a better future

By Matt Reese

The last year saw a convergence of needs for local business, local consumers and a local farm in the Hillsboro community in Highland County. The response to the challenges of 2020 from Maplecrest Farms will hopefully help to meet those needs.  

Maplecrest Farms, founded by John and Joanie Grimes in 1990, has found solid footing as a seedstock operation providing high quality Angus and Simmental genetics for other cattle operations. The operation now has around 350 cows and sells cattle in numerous sales every year. These include a fall production sale every September, an annual bull sale in March, multiple online show heifer sales, as well as merchandising bulls through the Allied Producer Program with Gardiner Angus Ranch in Kansas. Maplecrest also sold a limited number of head as local freezer beef.

And, as the Grimes’ daughters (Lindsey and Lauren) and their husbands (Adam and Will) have phased into the operation, some expansion options had to be explored with new ways to add value to the cattle not being sold as seedstock.… Continue reading

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Beef Expo starts March 18

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) 2021 Ohio Beef Expo is finally here March 18-21 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.

Maintaining a safe environment while providing Expo participants with the critical necessity to continue essential farm income are the objectives driving all decisions for the event. Accomplishing these goals has required the Beef Expo to reformat several elements to comply with the current COVID related state health orders. The seven seedstock sales have been changed to reduce the number of buyers in one area and scheduled for one sale at a time utilizing only one sale ring in the Voinovich building.

The sales will start Friday afternoon March 19 and continue through Saturday, March 20. Most sales will also provide potential buyers with an optional online bidding opportunity. In addition, the Online Feeder Cattle Sale will continue at a new time on Friday morning.

Ohio Beef Expo Schedule of Events


8:00 a.m.Continue reading

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