Stitzlein recognized with Ohio Pork Industry Excellence Award

By Matt Reese

Some people are people-people. 

Some people are livestock-people. 

Gary Stitzlein has proven to be both, which has served him well in his lifetime spent involved in and serving Ohio’s hog industry. It has also helped earn him the 2022 Ohio Pork Industry Excellence Award, which means he’s good-people, too.  

“Gary is very deserving of the award because he has been a leader in the industry and excels in many of the areas, whether it was working at the OSU swine barn, the outstanding job he did with judging, or his involvement with farmers across Ohio as he has worked for the Kalmbach organization,” said Dick Isler, former executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Producers Council. “He displays the leadership, personal qualities and traits of those who have received the award ahead of him.”

Stitzlein received a degree in agricultural education with a minor in animal science from The Ohio State University back in 1971.… Continue reading

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Changes in mandatory lamb checkoff collections at auction markets announced

While the American Lamb Checkoff rate is not changing, how the mandatory assessments are collected for animals sold through “market agencies” is changing. The change applies to animals sold through auctions, including sale barns, video/online sales, and sales at shows and fairs.

These auctions will now collect both live weight assessments and per head (first handler) assessments. The change was implemented in January, however the delayed enforcement date for submitting these assessments is March 22, 2022. This allows time for auctions to adjust their systems without a penalty for late payments. If a producer or feeder sells animals to a first handler and has already paid the checkoff at an auction, a refund will be issued. To receive a refund, documentation will be required from the time of sale.

The national lamb checkoff, directed by the American Lamb Board (ALB), is funded by mandatory assessments (checkoff) paid by all segments of the sheep industry.… Continue reading

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Cattle market outlook bright despite rising input costs

By Garth Ruff, Ohio State University Extension beef cattle field specialist

On Jan. 24, the OSU Beef Team was pleased to host a 2022 Beef Market Outlook meeting featuring Andrew Griffith, Associate Professor of Agriculture and Resource Economics at the University of Tennessee. He covered the usual supply, demand, and market projections as well as some insight to supply chain disruptions, input costs, and beef industry trends. This article will highlight some of the main points of Griffith’s talk which can be viewed in its entirety on the Beef Team YouTube channel at


Cow numbers are down, in large part due to long lasting drought that has gripped most of the country west of the Mississippi River. Heifer slaughter was up over 4% compared to 2020 and cull cow slaughter was up nearly 10% compared to the prior year. This reduction of the cow herd will allow for strong fed cattle and feeder prices “in 2022, 2023, and potentially in 2024 depending on heifer replacement rates,” Griffith said.… Continue reading

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Meatpacker investigation continues

The American Farm Bureau Federation sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, asking the Department of Justice to provide an update on its investigation into the meatpacking industry. The Department of Justice began an investigation after excessive volatility in the live and fed cattle markets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“With over 80% of the fed cattle market controlled by only four major packing companies, we are concerned about the control these firms have,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president. “We look forward to hearing from the Department of Justice regarding their investigation, so we can update Farm Bureau members and assure them that adequate government oversight is being conducted in the nation’s cattle markets, and that the markets remain fair for businesses, farmers and all American families.” 

Farm Bureau asked for a written update on the volatility in the live and fed cattle markets within 90 days.… Continue reading

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Cattlemen’s youth raise over $22,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) BEST Program for youth ages 8-21 years co-hosted the Celebrity Showdown at the Clark County Cattle Battle along with an online auction to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio (RMHC). The Clark County Cattle Producers sponsored the event. 

 The Celebrity Showdown was hosted at the Champions Center in Springfield, Ohio on Jan. 28, 2022. For this event, youth were responsible for raising a minimum of $100 for the opportunity to dress up their cattle and present them to the celebrity judge. This year’s judge was Shawn Flarida, owner of Shawn Flarida Reiners, from Springfield, Ohio. Through donations from family, friends, their local community and members of OCA, youth participating in the Celebrity Showdown raised $8,334 for the show. 

The team that took the lead with fundraising was HR Cattle Company with $2,025 total raised. The other teams/participants with the highest fundraising numbers were Austin Sutherly with $1500; Jordan Flax and Sophie Wilson with $1,300; Lara, Lexi and Rylan Rittenhouse with $830; Ella and Emma Grimwood with $759; and Cassidy Harris, Annabelle Harris, Eli Creech, Andrew Johnson, Annabelle Johnson, Annie Johnson and Harper Creech with $500. … Continue reading

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Ohio Sheep and Wool Program Proposal Funding Approved for Fiscal Year 2021-2022

By Roger A. High, executive director, Ohio Sheep and Wool Program

The Ohio Sheep and Wool Program (OSWP), Ohio’s sheep and wool check-off program, is investing over $60,000 in sheep and wool promotion, education, research, industry information, and producer and youth educational programs in fiscal year 2021-22. OSWP received 14 Requests for Proposals for fiscal year 2021-22, with seven of these proposals approved for full or partial funding by the board during its October meeting.

OSWP approved programs will benefit every segment of the Ohio sheep industry. Major educational programs funded include the Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium, Ohio Sheep Day, Young Shepherd’s Assembly, the Mid-Ohio Shepherd’s Group — Quarterly Mid-Ohio Shepherd’s Educational events, and other related programs and activities. 

Producer related programs include supporting a Young Entrepreneurs Educational Program, which includes funding for sheep producers to attend the Trailblazers Tour Industry Leadership School. The youth related program, the OSIA LEAD Council Buckeye Sheep Youth Expo, which is proposed as a major sheep industry youth educational activity in 2022.… Continue reading

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Muddy compacted pasture problems

By Erika Lyon, Ohio State University Extension, Jefferson and Harrison Counties

During the last couple of weeks in December and into early 2021, eastern Ohio saw warmer-than-usual temperatures and a lot of rain. What does this mean for our pastures and hay fields?

With rain comes the mud, and with mud often comes compaction. Compaction in forage crops often occurs withing the top 3-4 inches of soil, but it can also appear at deeper levels, forming “hard pans” that restrict the movement of water.

Compacted soils mean reduced pore space to house water and air — two important components of healthy soils. Nearly half of soils should consist of pore space, whether macro- or micro-pores to allow roots to develop deeper and water to better infiltrate downwards. Compaction can ultimately lead to increased drought and disease susceptibility of plants, even when it appears there is standing water in a field.… Continue reading

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2022 Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council Conference

The Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council Annual Conference will be held in-person on Feb. 18, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Beck’s Hybrids at 720 US 40 NE, London. The program theme is “Foraging for profit.” All Ohioans involved in forage production and feeding are invited to attend.

            The keynote speakers will be Greg Braun, Victor Shelton and Bob Hendershot. All three are retired NRCS Grassland Conservationists from Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio respectively. The program is being sponsored by the Logan County Land Trust with generous support from the James Forsythe Milroy Foundation. 

            Additional featured speakers include Marilia Chiavegato, assistant professor at Ohio State University and two of her students, Ricardo Ribeiro and Marina Miquilini, who will provide a University Forage Research Update. Several producer talks will also be presented including hay producer, Glen Courtright from South Charleston; dairy producer, Jason Hartschuh from Sycamore; and sheep and goat producer, Shawn Ray from Cumberland.… Continue reading

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Prop 12 delayed

Sacramento County Superior Court ruled to delay enforcement of Proposition 12 for pork retailers, including grocers.

With the approval of Proposition 12 in November of 2018, California voters approved a ballot measure changing production standards for meat, this time not just for the few remaining sow operations in the state, but for pork sold in the state. The proposition prohibits the sale of any uncooked pork in the state not meeting the new set of production standards spelled out in Proposition 12, whether raised there or outside its borders. The deadline was Jan. 1, 2022.

“AFBF is pleased the Sacramento County Superior Court recognized that the state of California has rushed implementation of Proposition 12 without clear rules on how it will be enforced. California voters were told the law would improve animal welfare and food safety, but it fails to accomplish either of those goals,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president.… Continue reading

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Farm Bureau seeks revision to Cattle Transparency Act

The American Farm Bureau Federation announced its support of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2021, with the exception of the bill’s establishment of mandatory minimums for negotiated purchases. 

AFBF delegates voted last week in Atlanta to revise 2022 Farm Bureau policy. While Farm Bureau supports robust negotiated sales, delegates voted to oppose government mandates that force livestock processing facilities to purchase a set percentage of their live animal supply via cash bids.

“AFBF appreciates the hard work that has been done on both sides of the issue to address the pressing needs facing America’s cattle industry,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president. “The Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act takes positive steps toward ensuring fairness for America’s farmers and ranchers as they work to feed this country’s families.

“We support the majority of this legislation, but we cannot support mandatory cash sales. We are committed to working with the sponsors of the bill to make revisions to ensure it aligns with the priorities outlined by our membership.” … Continue reading

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Meat exports staying strong

U.S. beef export value reached another new high in November, topping $1 billion for the second time in 2021, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). November pork exports were lower than a year ago, but year-to-date export value maintained a record pace at more than $7.5 billion.

November beef exports totaled 123,641 metric tons (mt), up 7% from a year ago and the fourth largest monthly volume in the post-BSE era. Export value was a record $1.05 billion, up 49% year-over-year and exceeding the previous high set in August 2021. For January through November, beef exports were on a record volume pace at 1.32 million mt, up 16% from a year ago. Beef export value, which had already set a new annual record through October, increased more than $2.5 billion from a year ago, soaring 39% to $9.59 billion. Beef exports to South Korea, China/Hong Kong and Central America have already set new annual records for both volume and value, while exports to Taiwan and the Dominican Republic reached new value records.… Continue reading

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Learn about horse forage in a virtual course

Between January and March in 2022, Ohio State University Extension will be offering Forages for Horses as a virtual course. One live webinar will be offered per month along with “work at your own pace” materials that accompany each webinar. The Forages for Horses program is a collaboration between Ohio State University Extension, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council.

Each webinar will be offered live on Zoom at 7 p.m. and feature presentations in a 90-minute span. Attendees will be able to interact with the speakers and ask questions in real time. Once registered, attendees will be granted access to the full online course including the webinars and complementary resources. Participants that attend all three webinars will have the opportunity to earn a certificate of completion. Registered participants will also receive a USB drive of the full course manual (digital version) by mail.… Continue reading

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Nigeria opens market to some U.S. pork

The United States now can export sausage and similar products to Nigeria, which announced it is partially opening its market to U.S. pork. The National Pork Producers Council welcomed the move by the West African nation.

“Nigeria has the largest GDP of any African country, with a population of just over 211 million, we are excited to be the first U.S. protein to be allowed access to the Nigerian market,” said Jen Sorenson. NPPC president. “NPPC thanks the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for their efforts to reach an agreement that allows the U.S. pork industry to provide affordable, wholesome and nutritious products to Nigerian consumers.”

While other U.S. pork products — and beef and poultry — remain ineligible to be exported to Nigeria, NPPC is optimistic that the country’s partial opening will lead to more access for the U.S. pork industry.… Continue reading

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Will Prop 12 make it to the Supreme Court?

As the U.S. Supreme Court held a conference to decide which cases it will hear during the remainder of its current term, including the National Pork Producers Council-American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) challenge to California’s Proposition 12, Iowa Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst weighed in on so-called animal welfare initiative.

Prop. 12, which took effect Jan. 1, bans the sale in California of pork from hogs born to sows raised anywhere in the world in housing that does not meet the state’s arbitrary standards. Grassley penned an op-ed on the measure for the Des Moines Register, and Ernst issued a press release, decrying the “overreaching and unconstitutional” policy. Both urged the Supreme Court to take the NPPC-AFBF case and strike down Prop. 12. In August, the senators introduced the Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, which would prohibit state and local governments from creating laws affecting the production and manufacture of agricultural products from other states that exceed existing federal, state and local regulations.… Continue reading

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Cold weather and cattle

 By Steve Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Factors that create stress during the winter months are cold, wind, snow, rain and mud. The primary effect on animals is due to temperature. All these factors alter the maintenance energy requirement of livestock. Maintenance requirement can be defined, as the nutrients required for keeping an animal in a state of balance so that body substance is neither gained or lost. An interesting thing to note is that while energy requirements increase, protein requirements remain the same.

Some published sources contain nutrient requirements for beef cattle that include guidelines for adjusting rations during winter weather. Even without published sources, competent livestock producers realize the need for more feed during cold weather. Make sure that water is available. If water is not supplied, cattle will reduce feed intake.

Daily dry matter intake of beef cows with respect to lower temperatures

Temp, F< 55-2222-4159-77
Intake, % Change1.

The metabolic response to the stimulus of cold involves practically all the systems of the body.… Continue reading

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OCA BEST program’s Celebrity Showdown coming up later this month

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) Beef Exhibitor Show Total (BEST) program will co-host the annual Celebrity Showdown in conjunction with the Clark County Cattle Battle on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 at 6 p.m. at the Champion’s Center in Springfield, Ohio. The celebrity judge for 2022 is Shawn Flarida, owner of Shawn Flarida Reiners.   

Flarida was inducted into the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Hall of Fame in 2011 and set a record as the first rider ever to reach $6 Million in earnings. He credits many of his accomplishments to his parents, his family and to the talented horses and their owners. Most recently, Flarida was Reserve Champion in the Run for a Million, hosted by Taylor Sheridan. Taylor is also the executive producer of the hit show Yellowstone and The Last Cowboy. Flarida and his family were featured on the last few episodes of The Last Cowboy.    

BEST exhibitors will have the opportunity to dress up their cattle and exhibit them in front of Flarida by raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of central Ohio.… Continue reading

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India to open market for U.S. pork

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) applauded the U.S. and Indian government’s announcement to allow imports of U.S. pork and pork products into India, the world’s second-most populous nation.

“After decades of work, a market that had been closed to U.S. pork is being opened,” said Jen Sorenson, NPPC president. “NPPC thanks the Biden administration for reaching an agreement with India on market access for our products. We look forward to the new access, which will allow us to provide affordable, wholesome and nutritious U.S. pork products to consumers in India.”

India, which had a de facto ban on U.S. pork, has a population of 1.26 billion, meaning the potential market opportunity is significant. The agreement with the United States sets the stage for larger trade discussions.

In June 2019, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative terminated India’s participation in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which provides developing countries beneficial access to the U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Congress moves to Lima for 2022

Ohio Pork Congress offers fresh, new vibes in 2022 at a new location. The event will take place Feb. 8 and 9, 2022, at the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center in Lima. The Ohio Pork Council invites all producers and members of the pork industry to attend. 

Steve Lerch, former Google executive, will provide the keynote address and share his insight into the topics of digital issues, consumer behavior, and innovation. In addition, Ohio Pork Congress includes educational seminars, the largest pork-specific tradeshow in the Mid-East, and recognition of industry leaders as well as opportunity to support the Friend of Pork PAC. Registration information is available here: 

“I encourage all pork producers and allied industry members to attend Ohio Pork Congress,” said Ryan McClure, Ohio Pork Council president and producer from Paulding County. “I am eager to see friends new and old to reconnect. So much is happening in our industry, the educational seminars and our keynote speaker will provide valuable guidance to producers who continue to navigate some choppy waters.” … Continue reading

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OCA celebrates award winners

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) held their Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Jan. 8, 2022 at the Hilton Columbus/Polaris. Cattlemen and women from across the state gathered to engage in important association business, hear updates from many industry affiliates and celebrate those excelling throughout the industry.

The day was made possible by the following sponsoring partners: Ag Credit, Alltech, COBA/Select Sires, Heartland Feed Services, Nutrena, Ohio Angus Association and Olde Wood Ltd.

Following lunch was OCA’s Annual Meeting where board president, Tom Karr of Meigs County, lead his first meeting as president of the association.

The first order of business was awarding the association’s Top Hand members. The OCA Top Hands are awarded for recruiting five or more members throughout the year. This year’s awards were sponsored by Purina and Quality Liquid Feeds. The following were the Top Hands for 2021:

Frank Phelps was the top recruiter with 15 memberships, John Ferguson followed with 11 memberships, Pam Haley, and Sarah Ison with 10 memberships, Lindsey Hall, six memberships, and Glen Feichtner, Jim Jepsen, Linde Sutherly, Becky Vincent, Kelvin Egner, Luke Vollborn, Tom Karr, Aaron Arnett, Kim Herman, Sasha Rittenhouse and Stan Smith all with five memberships.… Continue reading

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A legislative update for OCA

By Dale Minyo and Matt Reese

President Joe Biden’s recent announcement and discussion regarding his Administration’s work to boost competition and reduce prices in the meat-processing industry was top of mind for many at the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet this weekend. 

At the Awards Banquet, attendees heard from Ethan Lane, the Vice President of Government Affairs at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association who talked about some of the key recent developments for the beef industry at the federal level, including work from the Biden Administration.

“There is a lot to like here, but a lot of what we just heard from the Administration was not new. They have restated this stuff several times over the course of the year. The “Product of the USA” labeling items they’ve been working on, we petitioned them last year to do that. They took action on it over the summer. They have been moving forward on that.… Continue reading

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