A 4-R program for summer grazing

With the arrival of summer we can generally expect warm to hot temperatures and less frequent rainfall. The vast majority of pastures managed for grazing in our area are composed of cool season grass species that grow best when temperatures are cool to warm and moisture is plentiful. Thus, we have the summer slump in pasture productivity.

Although summer weather conditions are not conducive to high yields with cool season grasses, there are some grazing management practices that can help to increase summertime productivity. These practices can be summarized as the four “Rs.”

The first “R” is remove seed heads. Clipping off seed heads in late June will return grass plants to vegetative growth and improve the quality of the forage that is grazed.

The second “R” is right starting height. Do not let livestock into a pasture paddock where grass height is too short because this is almost certain to lead to overgrazing.… Continue reading

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Poultry changes at the Ohio State Fair

The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced in June that, due to the spread of avian influenza across the United States, all live bird exhibitions for 2015 in Ohio would be cancelled. This includes all shows and sales at county fairs in the state and also the Ohio State Fair.

“It’s going to be a big change for us. In discussing this year, we’re not aware of a similar situation happening in history where all the poultry shows have been cancelled here at the Fair so it’s a little bit unprecedented for us. But, that being said, we do have some time to get things in order and that’s been really beneficial for us,” said Alicia Shoults, Ohio Expo Center and State Fair Director of Marketing and Public Relations. “We’ve been working really closely with Ohio 4-H along with FFA and the Ohio Poultry Association to try to come up with ways that youth, 4-H, and FFA exhibitors can still be a part of the Ohio State Fair with their poultry exhibitions even without live birds, and as well as ways to educate the public.”… Continue reading

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Pork Checkoff announces #RealPigFarming student social forces team

The Pork Checkoff has selected 12 college students from around the country to be a part of the #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces team this year. Participants were selected based on their involvement in the pork industry and their strong communication skills. The team will be active through the end of the year.

Included in the group is Karli Lane, from Castalia, Ohio, who is studying animal sciences with a specialization in biosciences at The Ohio State University.

“Social media is ingrained in young people’s daily lives,” said Claire Masker, public relations manager for the Pork Checkoff. “It’s easy for them to share their thoughts about an industry that they are proud to be a part of.”

Consumers continue to have questions about how pigs are raised, and no one knows the answers better than pork producers. The Pork Checkoff’s social media outreach program is helping real farmers share real stories with consumers through #RealPigFarming.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Ambassador applications now being accepted

The Ohio Pork Council is excited to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2015-16 Ohio Pork Ambassador Team program.
The Ohio Pork Ambassador Team program (OPAT) serves as an opportunity for qualified youth to act as a voice for the Ohio Pork Industry.  It is the goal of the program to educate ambassadors about the pork industry so that they may better share their own agricultural-based story, including their background and experiences.  Team members will be involved in communicating with consumers on topics such as food safety, nutrition, and animal care practices of the pork industry.  Promotion of Ohio’s pork industry shall be carried out through the development of skills in self-confidence, communication, leadership, and teamwork.
The deadline for submitting an OPAT application is July 6, 2015.
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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference and Tour

Every summer, young cattlemen meet in Central Ohio for an unforgettable three-day event. The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) Young Cattlemen’s Conference and Tour (YCC) features many exciting and educational opportunities for beef industry leaders and cattle producers alike. The event offers industry insight and enhanced networking for attendees to take home and use their own operations to keep them progressive and profitable.

YCC will be held Aug. 13 to 15, 2015, in Columbus and the central Ohio areas. The Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation and OCA coordinate the Ohio YCC Tour.

Participants will be challenged to think outside the box, as they practice their public relations skills and learn the best ways to present their operations and the beef industry as a whole to consumers. They will have the chance to visit the Ohio Statehouse and discuss current issues with elected officials, as well as, learn more about the product they produce by participating in a mini Beef 509 at the Ohio State University Animal Sciences Department.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Council announces recipients of 2015 scholarships

OPC awarded 15 scholarships for a total of $8,500.

Four $750 and eleven $500 scholarships were awarded. Recipients include: Daniella Straathof, Washington Court House, $750; Meghan Bruns, Fort Loramie, $750; Megan Harris, Yellow Springs, $750; Matt Shoup, Smithville, $750; Garrit Sproull, Uhrichsville, $500; Brooke Anderson, Xenia, $500; Kayle Ort, Bucyrus, $500; Macie Wippel, Orient, $500; Mallorie Wippel, Orient, $500; Katie Siegel, Marion, $500;David Seidel, Greenwich, $500; Nicole Straathof, Washington Court House, $500; Grant Price, Tiffin, $500; Ray Stahl, New Washington, $500; and Crystal Pennewitt, Wilmington, $500.

The Ohio Pork Council Women also awarded a $500 scholarship this year. The recipient is Kayle Ort, Bucyrus, $500. The Dick Isler Scholarship Fund awarded a $1,000 scholarship this year. The recipient is Larissa Stover, Prospect, $1,000.

 … Continue reading

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Poultry show ban can be handled in a variety of ways at fairs

In early June, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) had to make the really difficult decision to cancel all live bird shows in the state in order to protect Ohio’s $2.3 billion poultry industry from the recent avian influenza epidemic. No Ohio cases have been discovered so far.

In Paulding County, the home of the first Ohio county fair for the year, Fair Board members made a decision about the poultry show before the State did.

“We needed to set a plan in place if there was going to be a ban on poultry shows in Ohio. We have Cooper Farms in our area and they create a large percentage of jobs for our county. We decided we didn’t want a large number of birds together in one building to give the disease more of a chance to spread. We made the decision as a board to cancel two weeks before the fair instead of waiting for the State to make their decision.… Continue reading

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Deadlines fast-approaching, other updates on Ohio State Fair

The 2015 Ohio State Fair is fast approaching and for those exhibitors wanting to compete, time is running out to sign up for competition.

“We’re getting really close to the deadline to enter a lot of our competitions, specifically our livestock competitions. The deadline to enter those is June 20. What’s nice is over the past couple of years, we’ve done a lot of efforts to try to encourage people to enter online,” said Alicia Shoults, Ohio Expo Center and State Fair Director of Marketing and Public Relations. “So for a number of the species, you can actually go to our website and enter right there online, and for some of the species not quite capable of that yet, you can go ahead and print off a printer friendly entry form and mail it back to us.

Though many entries are due on the 20th, some are due at the beginning of July.… Continue reading

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Ohio beef and pork producers teaming up to reach consumer online

 It is no secret that, in today’s society, consumers have an interest in their food, where it comes from and what to do with it. In an effort to reach consumers where they spend their time and potentially seek information, the Ohio Beef and Pork Councils have turned to social media to engage in conversations and serve as a resource for positive useful information about food and farming. 
Ohio Beef and Pork invite consumers to participate in the #OHBaconBurger contest hosted on Instagram, an increasingly popular social media platform that allows more than 300 million registered users to “capture and share the world’s moments” via photo sharing. To participate in the contest, users must “follow” both the @OhioBeef and @OhioPork pages on Instagram and post a picture of a delicious bacon burger using the hashtag #OHBaconBurger. One contestant will be randomly selected to win $500 toward even more beef and pork.
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GPS fencing to be highlighted at Ohio Sheep Day

Farm dogs can be very important to livestock operations for the purposes of predator control, but they can also be a source of headaches and additional expense when fences fail to keep them contained.

A farm dog ending up in places other than where they are needed is an all-too-familiar problem that those in the livestock industry deal with. Finding a way to keep those farm protectors inside set boundaries, like an invisible fence, is often not economically feasible when those boundaries are measured in acres.

That may not be the case anymore, as now, the same technology that maps out travels plans and keeps farm equipment heading in a straight line is being used to keep a farm’s four-legged predator defense system from venturing off of the homestead.

This GPS containment system is one of the ideas that will be highlighted at the 2015 Ohio Sheep Day at Jim and Denise Percival’s Schoolhouse Shropshires farm in Xenia on July 11.… Continue reading

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OPA seeking nominations to serve on American Egg Board

The Ohio Poultry Association (OPA) is now accepting nominations to serve on the 2016-2017 American Egg Board (AEB), U.S. egg farmer’s link to consumers in communicating the value of the incredible egg. Members serve two-year terms on the national board.

“To serve as a member on a national level to help guide the egg community and further our commitment to provide a safe, wholesome egg supply to Ohioans and the world, is a prestigious honor,” said Jim Chakeres, OPA executive vice president. “I encourage Ohio egg farmers to consider nominating themselves or another producer to serve in the vital role in overseeing and carrying out AEB’s mission to increase demand for eggs and egg products on behalf of all U.S. egg farmers.”

To be eligible for nomination, persons 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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Ralph H. Grimshaw Memorial Scholarship Program

Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) is once again sponsoring the Ralph H. Grimshaw Memorial Scholarship to support future sheep farmers through its scholarship program. OSIA is offering a minimum of one $1,000 scholarship to deserving high school and college students pursuing college degrees.

“The sheep industry depends on young people who are currently considering and pursuing a career that will be beneficial to the sheep industry,” said Roger A. High, OSIA Executive Director.

Applicants or their families must be members of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and a 2015 graduating high school senior enrolled in, or a student currently attending, a college or technical school. Completed applications and essays must be postmarked by June 26, 2015.

Visit for more information and to download an application.… Continue reading

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Ohio beef farmers partner with Kroger to provide for local military families

Ohio beef farmers, through the Ohio Beef Council, in conjunction with Kroger, were able to donate 2,000 pounds of ground beef to the central and southern Ohio USO, all going to military famillies in need.

The six-day campaign was launched on May 26 via Facebook encouraging social media enthusiasts to “share” a post on Facebook, and “like” both Ohio Beef Council and Kroger Facebook pages. Each Facebook ‘share’ would result in another pound of beef being donated to the USO.

Beef farmers and Kroger respresentatives were overwhelmed with the amount of support they received. “This promotion is a great example of collaboration to achieve a common goal,” said Joe Grieshaber, President of Kroger’s Columbus Division. “Together, with our friends at the Ohio Beef Council, we were able to donate 2,000 pounds of ground beef to local military families. At Kroger, we are proud to support our troops and their families any way we can.”… Continue reading

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Researchers look at lower-cost alternative protein source for pig diets

Threonine is an indispensable amino acid, which is often provided in supplement form in swine diets. With U.S. production of crystalline amino acids increasing, more co-products from amino acid production are becoming available, and these co-products can also be fed to pigs. Researchers at the University of Illinois are investigating a co-product of synthetic threonine as a lower-cost alternative protein source to fish meal.

“To create synthetic threonine, you ferment a carbohydrate substrate using selected strains of bacteria, then extract the crystalline L-threonine from the fermentation product,” said Hans H. Stein, a professor of animal sciences at U of I. “The biomass that’s left over, even though most of the threonine has been extracted, is still rich in amino acids. If those amino acids are well digested by pigs, this could be a good source of protein.”

Stein and his fellow researchers conducted two experiments comparing threonine biomass with fish meal.… Continue reading

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Governor Kasich’s message to Ohio 4-H poultry exhibitors

In early June, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) had to make the really difficult decision to cancel all live bird shows in the state in order to protect Ohio’s $2.3 Billion poultry industry from the recent avian influenza epidemic.

“When ODA made me aware of this situation and was concerned that there may be some birds in Ohio that carried the disease, we knew we had to do something,” said Ohio Governor John Kasich.

For the chicken and turkey farms around Ohio, this may have seemed like a heads up move and the correct one for ODA to make. At the same time, it had many Ohio 4-H students, who were working hard on their poultry exhibits for county fair season, with their heads down in disbelieve that the efforts they put in thus far would not get to be displayed in the fair barn or the sale ring.… Continue reading

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Milk price outlook

Two key U.S. dairy commodity prices are showing signs of new life; cheese ($1.70+ per pound) and butter ($1.95+ per pound) are up from recent seasonal lows. Grade A nonfat dry milk continues to be weak (under $0.90 per pound). The export market remains tepid at best. The U.S. dollar, while retreating somewhat, remains historically high. Prices in the key grain and feed markets are at four year lows. Corn remains below $4 per bushel, soybean meal under $350 per ton, and alfalfa hay under $185 per ton. With this constellation of prices, it appears very likely that the USDA/FSA MPP program payments for May-June will be zero or only a few pennies. 

Using the current (6/02/2015) futures market price data on milk and feed input prices, the USDA Farm Services Agency Decision tool for MPP ( shows an anticipated May-June margin of $8.30/cwt. Anticipated margins for the remaining three calculation periods are: July-August ($9.49 per hundredweight), September-October ($10.41 per hundredweight) and November-December ($10.45 per hundredweight).… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association to host beef industry update meetings

The planning for the new OCA Beef Industry Update Meeting series is well underway for the months of June through October. OCA Allied Industry Council member, Multimin USA, is the title sponsor of the meetings that will be hosted around the state. Their sponsorship will provide a steak dinner to all of the attendees at the meetings.

The program outline for each meeting will have a veterinarian discussion for the first half of the meeting followed by a complimentary beef dinner and concluding with an OCA membership, event and policy update.

Dates for upcoming meetings:

Tuesday, June 30 — Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties, American Legion in Leetonia, 540 Main Street, Leetonia, OH 44431 at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, August 19 — Shelby County

Thursday, August 20 — Athens, Meigs and Washington Counties

Tuesday, September 8 — Carroll County

Thursday, September 10 — Knox County

Monday, October 5 — Morgan County

Contact Stephanie Sindel at 614-873-6736 or email beef@ohiobeef.orgContinue reading

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Ohio cancels live bird shows due to avian flu risk

In an aggressive move designed to help protect Ohio’s $2.3 billion poultry industry from the avian flu that has so negatively impacted other poultry-producing states, today the Ohio Department of Agriculture canceled all live bird exhibitions this year. The ban includes county and independent fairs, the Ohio State Fair, and all other gatherings of birds for show or for sale, including auctions and swap meets. Similar bans have been enacted in other poultry states. So far, Ohio is virus-free and the move is intended to continue that status.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) — also called the avian flu — is an extremely contagious virus that primarily affects domestic poultry and is believed to be spread by wild, migrating birds. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) first confirmed the virus in the U.S. beginning in late 2014. Since that time more than 44 million birds at more than 197 locations have been affected.… Continue reading

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Bacon hackers thwarted

The Ohio Pork Council uses the Ohio Hog Farmers Facebook page to engage in conversations with consumers and serve as a resource for information regarding pigs, pork and farming. The page currently has an audience of more than 214,000 fans, and in the last 12 months has had a reach of more than 69.5 million people.

On Friday, May 29, the Ohio Hog Farmers Facebook page fell victim to hackers. The outside group gained control to the Facebook page and disabled OHF administrators from being able to access or control the page.

“It was quite the mess,” said Quinton Keeran, director of communications for the Ohio Pork Council. “OPC staff, with the help of additional Ag supporters involved in social media, quickly began posting to the page and letting OHF fans know that the page had been hacked.”

After contacting Facebook Customer Service, the page was returned to its original state and access was re-granted to OPC mid-afternoon on the same day.… Continue reading

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Ohio man indicted for cattle-rustling scheme

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that an Ohio man has been indicted for running a scheme in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia where he allegedly purchased over $30,000 worth of livestock and vehicles using fraudulent checks and falsified documents.

Brandon White, 28, of Lucasville, was arraigned May 29 after being indicted by a Hocking County grand jury on May 22. The indictment includes 15 counts:

  • Engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, first degree felony
  • Grand theft of a motor vehicle, fourth degree felony (two counts)
  • Theft of an elderly person, fourth degree felony
  • Theft of an elderly person, third degree felony
  • Theft by deception, fifth degree felony (five counts)
  • Money laundering, third degree felony (two counts)
  • Tampering with records, third degree felony (three counts).

White is accused of using fraudulent checks to purchase cattle from farmers who had advertised on Craigslist that they had cattle to sell. When he picked up the animals, he often used a false alias and paid the victim using a check drawn on an account that did not belong to him and had insufficient funds.… Continue reading

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