Livestock



Meat exports see expanding access to China

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has updated its Export Library for China to reflect expanded access for U.S. beef and pork. These changes were among the provisions negotiated in the U.S.-China “Phase 1” trade agreement.

“This is an exciting day for the U.S. beef and pork industries, which have waited a long time to have more meaningful and reliable access to China, and USMEF thanks USTR and USDA for their tireless efforts to negotiate and implement the Phase One trade agreement,” said Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation president and CEO. “With much broader access for U.S. beef, the U.S. industry is well-positioned to expand its presence in the largest and fastest growing beef market in the world. And while unprecedented volumes of U.S. pork have been shipped to China in recent months, the U.S. pork industry has also faced significant barriers that have kept exports below their full potential.… Continue reading

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NMPF coronavirus for dairy production website expands

The National Milk Producers Federation’s coronavirus webpage is expanding further, adding a farmer handbook to address dairy production needs and launching a podcast series featuring experts discussing crucial issues faced by dairy farmers and the broader industry as they work to feed the U.S. and the world.

“Dairy farmers are working hard to provide consumers a safe and abundant supply of milk, and they critically need resources to help them manage in a fast-changing environment. To assist them, we’re working our hardest to keep up with those needs,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “This COVID-19 resource, www.nmpf.org/coronavirus, is a valuable tool both for farmers to manage their operations and for the broader industry and consumer community to understand what’s happening in dairy and respond appropriately.”

The handbook, drafted by members of the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) program, addresses topics from preventing coronavirus transmission in the workplace to proper workforce management in a pandemic.… Continue reading

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The art of the load

By Matt Reese

East of the Mississippi, the average farm cattle herd size is less than 20. The often-small number of cattle on Ohio farms creates an inherent marketing challenge: it can be tough to put together a good, consistent load of cattle larger operations need.

This, of course, is where stockyards come in to aggregate cattle from different farms. Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Young Cattleman of the Year, Luke Vollborn from Gallia County, recently started Next Generation Livestock Marketing (NGLM), LLC to provide farms with another option to enhance cattle profitability through the art of the load.

“A lot of farmers in Ohio do not keep big numbers and it is hard for them to put a good load together. NGLM is a service for farmers to get maximum dollar straight off the farm without having to run everything through a stockyard. I buy feeder cattle of any size or type and most kinds.… Continue reading

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Check with auction protocol/status before hauling or unloading livestock

Measures are being taken in Ohio and throughout the country to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and these measures will impact the state’s livestock auctions.

Effective immediately and until further notice, livestock auction facilities are limiting spectators at all auctions, per the CDC requirements regarding gatherings. At this point, livestock auctions across the state will continue to provide livestock marketing services during this time of uncertainty, but Farm Bureau is encouraging farmers to unload their livestock at the docks and then leave the auctions.

“We understand these auctions are often utilized as a social gathering, but during this time, we recommend only active buyers attend the auctions,” said Roger High, Ohio Farm Bureau director of livestock. “By implementing these changes, these auction facilities can still continue the livestock marketing processes while honoring the ‘social distancing’ mandates from public officials.”

These measures are being taken to protect farmers marketing livestock and their families, as well as the employees of the livestock auction facilities.… Continue reading

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Ohio pig farmer hosts Virtual Field Trip for Springfield Rotary Club

Darke County farmer Jeff Wuebker opened his pig farm up to members of the Springfield Rotary Club during a recent meeting for a live Virtual Field Trip and Q&A session. The Virtual Field Trip, hosted by the Ohio Pork Council (OPC), is part of Springfield-based Shiftology Communication’s Virtual Farm Trips program.

OPC began hosting Virtual Field Trips in 2014 with the mission to transparently educate students about modern animal agriculture. Through the Virtual Farm Trips program, OPC has hosted Virtual Field Trips for hundreds of classrooms and organizations — including the Springfield Rotary Club.

“Through our Virtual Field Trip program, our farmers enjoy sharing the story of Ohio agriculture with large groups of consumers — whether they’re students or members of an organization,” said Ohio Pork Council President Dave Shoup. “It was an honor to showcase our Virtual Field Trip program to the Springfield Rotary Club during their weekly meeting.”

During the meeting, the Rotarians received a behind-the-scenes look at Wuebker’s modern pig barn.… Continue reading

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2020 Ohio Beef Expo cancelled

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association announced that the 2020 Ohio Beef Expo will be cancelled.

“We understand the significance of this decision that impacts so many involved with the event,” OCA said in a Facebook post.

OCA also issued the following statement:

The safety and health of our producers, families, youth, and allied industry supporters is of great importance to our organization. Consistent with that commitment and in accordance with orders from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, the Ohio Beef Expo, which was scheduled for March 19-22, will be cancelled.

Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health have issued an order prohibiting any mass gatherings in the state as a preventative measure to address the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) In addition, as you know, our event is held at the Ohio Expo Center, which is a State Government location, so it is directly impacted by the order.

OCA will be convening calls with Ohio Beef Expo sale managers to determine how to best assist them in marketing the cattle consigned to the seven Expo sales.Continue reading

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Labor concerns with COVID-19 could impact pork supply chain

The fallout from an ongoing labor shortage facing the U.S. pork industry and other agriculture sectors could significantly worsen due to the impact of COVID-19, the National Pork Producers Council said in a letter to U.S. government officials. NPPC’s concerns regarding COVID-19 are labor specific. There is no evidence that pigs can contract the virus.

In a letter to the president and other administration officials, members of Congress, and state governors, NPPC called for expedited solutions addressing the need for more workers on hog farms and in pork plants. It also called on federal, state and local governments to work together to develop a response to COVID-19 that protects public health and, whenever possible, supports animal care and minimizes disruptions to the U.S. pork production supply chain and consumers. NPPC also called on the administration to develop support plans for hog farmers if labor-related bottlenecks in the supply chain prevent hogs from being marketed.… Continue reading

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NPPC resolutions adopted

At the National Pork Producers Council’s (NPPC) National Pork Industry Forum delegates adopted several important resolutions. The resolutions include:

• Strengthen efforts to prevent African swine fever (ASF) —an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks—and other foreign animal diseases from entering the United States. Separate resolutions were adopted directing NPPC to encourage federal regulatory agencies to investigate the risks of imported pet food and pet products containing pork from foreign animal disease-positive countries; take a position on feeding hogs from plate waste; and support and advance responsible import policies to safely introduce essential feed ingredients from high-risk countries.
• Advocate for accurate and truthful labeling of plant-based and cell-cultured products, while supporting enforcement of fair labeling by the Food and Drug Administration and USDA. NPPC supports consumer choice and competitive markets. Plant-based and cell-cultured products designed to mimic real meat must face the same stringent regulatory requirements as livestock agriculture, including truthful labeling standards.… Continue reading

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Trump signs ag inspectors bill

President Trump legislation (S. 2107) that authorizing funding for 720 new agricultural inspectors at land, air and sea ports to prevent African swine fever (ASF) and other foreign animal diseases (FAD) from entering the United States. Providing additional agricultural inspectors represents a top priority for NPPC.

“Ensuring we have enough agricultural inspectors at our borders is critical to maintaining a healthy U.S. swine herd,” said David Herring, president of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). “The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have done much to mitigate the risk to animal disease. Bolstered by this legislation, even more resources will be available to strengthen biosecurity at our borders. This is a victory for farmers, consumers and the American economy.”

“NPPC thanks Congressional leadership, led by Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) and Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), for their strong leadership on this issue, and President Trump for signing this essential bill into law.… Continue reading

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Muddy issues: Mastitis and scours

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

We finally got some snow and freezing temperatures! At our house, we didn’t get snow a single day that our Christmas decorations were up, but snow on Valentine’s Day was appreciated. Fresh snow provides a refreshing look to the landscape when it covers up all the muck and brown underneath it. However, those cold temperatures are still not lasting long enough to firm up the ground and as soon as we track through that snow, our break from reality is over.

Mud creates challenges with mobility both for our animals and equipment. Aside from complicating the logistics of caring for the farm, mud increases our risks for herd health complications too. Many producers have babies on the farm right now. It is important to watch out for signs of mastitis with the mothers and scours with the young.… Continue reading

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U.S. pork industry requests additional ASF-prevention measures

Thanks to continued vigilance by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. pork industry, the United States has so far prevented an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF), an animal disease affecting only pigs with no human health or food safety risks. To ensure the U.S. swine herd remains free of the disease, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and 30 state pork producer associations asked Agriculture Secretary Perdue to take additional measures, including restricting imports of organic soy products for animal feeds from all ASF-positive countries.

The U.S. pork and feed industries have adopted holding times to allow for the natural degradation of any viruses, to ensure that most imported feed ingredients are safe to use. Research indicates, however, that organic soy products can maintain the virus for longer periods of time, making holding times impractical. While overall imports of feed ingredients are minimal, most soy products imported by the United States are organic.… Continue reading

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Congress prods FDA on dairy alternatives

robotic-milker-on-cow

Recently, 58 members of the House of Representatives who wrote FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, urging the agency to quickly finish and act upon its examination of how to enforce regulations defining what may be labeled a dairy product.

“The deception caused by mislabeling of imitation products is both unfair to our hardworking dairy farmers and problematic for consumers, making it harder for Americans to make educated decisions about what they feed themselves and their families,” wrote the lawmakers in the bipartisan letter, which was led by Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), and John Joyce (R-PA).

Citing public health concerns expressed by medical groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the members of Congress said they appreciated that Hahn saw the topic of fake dairy labeling as “a public health and nutrition matter” while calling action on it “long overdue.”… Continue reading

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Ohio pig farmers host chef competition at annual Taste of Elegance

Chef Kyle Bulfer of Faurecia INC, Columbus, Ind., earned top honors at the Ohio Pork Council’s Taste of Elegance Chef Competition and Legislative Reception, where he was awarded the coveted Chef Par Excellence award and the People’s Choice award. Bulfer served edamame fried rice with crispy fried ham, and honey sriracha glazed pork loin to the panel of judges and attendees. The event was held on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at the Capital Club in downtown Columbus.

Chef Nathan Endres of Scott’s Miracle-Gro was named Superior Chef, while Chef Austin Smith, Hilton Columbus, was selected as Premier Chef. During the competition, each of the three chefs prepared a gourmet appetizer and entrée that emphasized the versatility and palatability of pork. Judging this year’s event were Kathy Heimerl and son Brad Heimerl, both of Heimerl Farms in Johnstown, Ohio, and Jordan Hoewischer of Ohio Farm Bureau.

Taste of Elegance provides a unique opportunity for Ohio farmers to mingle with chefs about how to properly prepare pork and speak with legislators interested in learning more about the key issues facing Ohio’s pig farming community.… Continue reading

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Ohio shines in National Make It Yourself With Wool contest

By Melinda Stevens, Ohio Make It With Wool director

The National Make It Yourself With Wool competition was recently held in Scottsdale, Arizona. Forty-six contestants from across the country showcased their one-of-a-kind wool creations to a packed house during the grand finale banquet on Saturday, Jan. 25. The Junior category is for contestants up to the age of 17 and the Senior category covers up to age 25. Contestants must win their home state contest in order to proceed to the national level.

Ohio has long been the state to beat. In the past 5 years, Ohio contestants have been awarded multiple national placings and overall national ambassador awards. This year we are once again proud to announce that our Ohio representatives have been recognized with numerous awards.

Ohio Junior representative, Michaela Hahn, had her first experience on the national circuit. She placed fifth overall nationally as well as receiving second in handwork and second in machine embroidery.… Continue reading

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Getting involved to share the story of agriculture

By Matt Reese

With fewer voices than ever before, trade wars, plant based meats, terrifying disease outbreaks, escalating animal rights concerns, and fickle consumer demands are just a few items on an increasingly lengthy list of challenges facing animal agriculture. The obstacles can seem overwhelming, but the 2020 Ohio Pork Industry Excellence award winner has some advice about how those in agriculture can address the challenges facing farms.

“You have to be involved,” said Jim Heimerl of Licking County who was recognized at the Ohio Pork Congress this week. “There are fewer people in our industry and we have to speak up. There are so many people out there trying to run our industry into the ground and we have to focus on our grassroots efforts and speak louder. The consumers trust us and they want to hear from us, but for our voices to be heard you have to be involved.”… Continue reading

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Pork Congress highlights

By Matt Reese

This week’s Ohio Pork Congress offered the opportunity to reflect on accomplishments, review lessons learned in the past year, and look to the future for opportunities to enhance Ohio’s pork industry. Important pork industry topics covered at the event ranged from watershed-local to international in scale, said Dave Shoup, Ohio Pork Council president.

“The governor’s H2Ohio plan has allocated money to farmers to allow them to adopt different practices to clean up the water in Lake Erie through the Maumee Watershed. We also talked about the Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative, a voluntary program where environmental groups and farmers came together and are working on a plan on how to implement that money in the best possible way. We are trying to understand the practices farmers are using through an app that is being developed so that at the end of the next 2 or 3 years we can see what advancements have been made,” Shoup said.… Continue reading

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FDA stall tactics hurting U.S. agriculture on gene editing research

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) misrepresentation of a gene edited livestock research project is its latest stall tactic designed to rationalize a regulatory grasp on an emerging technology that must be regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) if the United States is to maintain its global leadership position in agriculture.

“While countries like China, Canada, Brazil and Argentina are moving quickly on this advancement to gain competitive advantage, the United States is falling far behind because of the FDA’s precautionary regulatory approach,” said David Herring, National Pork Producers Council president. “Under FDA regulation, gene editing faces an impractical, lengthy and expensive approval process. Unless we move oversight to the USDA, we are ceding a technology that promises significant animal health benefits, including immunity to disease and reduction in the need for antibiotic use, to other countries and jeopardizing hundreds of thousands of American jobs.”

A published FDA analysis of the research project involving two gene edited calves omitted important information, including the following:

  • As noted in the FDA analysis, unintended alterations materialized in the gene edited calves.
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China announces cuts to U.S. tariffs

China announced in early February it would cut tariffs in half on $75 billion of U.S. imports. Beginning Feb. 14, the country plans to drop tariffs on some U.S. goods from 5% to 10%, while levies on some other items will be reduced to 2.5% from 5%. Punitive tariffs on U.S pork will be reduced by 5%, leaving the total duty at 63%.

The National Pork Producers Council continues to urge China to remove all punitive tariffs on U.S. pork to get to a level playing with international competitors that are at 8%. If all restrictions on exports to China were removed, in 10 years, U.S. pork would double sales, create 184,000 new American jobs and reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China by nearly 6%.

 … Continue reading

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