NCBA and the NRCS “water police”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council filed comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ “interpretive” rule. The rule will make the Natural Resource Conservation Service a regulatory compliance agency, resulting in cattle producers putting less conservation on the ground.

The interpretive rule was published in the Federal Register the same day as the agencies’ proposed rule to redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The rule’s intent is to interpret what Congress meant when it included a statutory exemption for “normal farming, silviculture and ranching activities” under the 404 Dredge and Fill Program.

“The EPA claims they have made right with the agricultural community by interpreting their exemption to only include the ‘normal’ 56 NRCS practice standards, excluding all other NRCS practice standards and all voluntary conservation activities,” said Ashley McDonald, NCBA environmental council.  “By defining these very specific 56 practices, the interpretive rule only narrows the scope of what is considered normal farming and ranching practices.… Continue reading

Read More »

Aquaculture offers significant potential for growth in Ohio

Current and future fish farmers who’ve attended aquaculture programing taught by researchers from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences say the techniques they learned not only increased their overall knowledge of the industry but also increased their confidence to work in this industry, according to a recent survey.

In fact, some participants said the training taught them important concepts such as how to operate a successful fish farm and helped them clarify potential obstacles to running a successful aquaponics business, said Estefania James, program coordinator for the Aquaculture Boot Camp. The program is offered by the Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development at the Ohio State University South Centers. The OSU South Centers are part of the college.

The survey is based on a two-day aquaponics program offered jointly last April by OSU South Centers and the College of Agriculture, Food Science and Sustainable Systems Aquaculture Research Center at Kentucky State University.… Continue reading

Read More »

Heat stress and beef cattle

High temperatures raise the concern of heat stress on cattle. Hot weather and high humidity can reduce breeding efficiency, milk production, feed intake, weight gains, and sometime cause death. Management can be used to reduce the problem when hot and humid weather is forecast.


Providing an adequate source of cool, clean drinking water is essential to help keep animals’ internal body temperature within normal limits. It is thought that water temperature affects rumen temperature and thus blood temperature which affects brain centers that control feed consumption. Above-ground water lines should be provided shade by having taller grass cover them. Run lines in fields or under fences that are not being currently grazed. You should at least check the water temperature in water troughs throughout the summer. Environmental temperature increases from 70 degrees F to 95 degrees F can increase total water requirements by about 2.5 times.

Grazing strategies

Producers using management intensive grazing might consider several options.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio cow’s breed record success comes from consistency

A mid-sized dairy in the hills of the southeast corner of Logan County is home to a cow that most producers only dream of having the privilege of owning. However, the renowned bovine that resides at the primarily Holstein operation of Henry farms is not black and white, but is instead a Brown Swiss.

Officially titled Glad Ray EJ Paris, but known as just “Paris,” the over 16-year-old cow is the current Lifetime Production Leader in milk, fat, and protein for the entire Brown Swiss breed, according to the Brown Swiss Association.

Mark Henry is the leader of the family dairy operation and is the cow’s primary owner.

“Paris is our oldest cow on the farm currently and has produced the most milk in her lifetime of any cow we’ve ever had,” he said. “She’s been here for over 12 years, she’s had eight lactations, and currently, her lifetime production numbers are 429,000 pounds of milk, 18,400 pounds of butterfat, and 14,300 pounds of protein.… Continue reading

Read More »

Beef and pork prices sky-high this summer

Retail pork prices will keep rising to record highs this summer as the number of hogs going to market over the next several months will be lower than expected because of the PED virus, smaller spring farrowings and growing foreign purchases of U.S. pork, Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt said.

But he also expects the price increases to level off in the fall and move somewhat lower into the winter as producers benefiting from higher profits increase production. Although producer profits were at a record high near $70 per head in the second quarter this year, he says the record will be surpassed this summer, with third-quarter profits expected to exceed $90 per head.

“These extremely high profits are clear signals for producers to increase pork production,” said Hurt, who analyzed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Hogs and Pigs report, released June 27. “The report did reveal that producers have received this signal, and they intend to increase farrows by 4% this fall.”… Continue reading

Read More »

FSMA should not include milk

The National Milk Producers Federation has expressed concern with efforts to impose added regulations on dairy farms under the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The measures are not warranted because milk leaving farms for further processing is not a significant public health risk from intentional adulteration, the organization wrote in comments to the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA is reviewing comments about the FSMA law, which is the most significant change to food safety legislation in many years. Part of the scope of FSMA is to enhance the safety protocols around foods that may be subject to intentional adulteration, by terrorists looking to threaten or injure people, or cause economic harm to certain companies or industries.

“We disagree with the premise that on-farm milk destined for pasteurization is a high-risk food,” said Beth Briczinski, NMPF’s Vice President of Dairy Foods and Nutrition.

Raw fluid milk for pasteurization moves among various regions of the country and is in constant flux to meet specific processing demands.… Continue reading

Read More »

Coalition sends letter on WTO COOL case

In a letter sent to leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees, the COOL Reform Coalition, a group of 61 food and agricultural organizations, including the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), expressed its concern over the pending outcome of a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on the U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) in a case brought to the WTO court by Canada and Mexico. The decision by the WTO dispute settlement panel is expected to be delivered to the parties soon. The coalition fears that a final WTO determination that the COOL regulation violates U.S. international trade obligations likely will have a negative effect on the U.S. economy.

The letter explains that such a decision by the WTO would authorize Canada and Mexico to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, including agriculture products, restricting exports and ultimately killing U.S. jobs. Canada, the second largest export market for U.S.… Continue reading

Read More »

Burlington develops “Just US” worsted wool fabrics

Burlington, a division of International Textile Group, has developed a line of worsted wool fabrics woven and finished in the United States.

The “Just US” fabric collection, Burlington said, is intended for men’s trousers, suits, suit separates, blazers and sports coats. The fabric is designed to be used for made-to-measure, custom tailors and branded and better department stores and specialty shop brands.

“Burlington’s new collection of fine worsted fabrics opens up exciting opportunities for Made in America better apparel,” said Peter Baumann, senior vice president of merchandising for Burlington men’s wear. “Fine worsted fabrics are a pillar to creating contemporary classic styling, but more recently, these fabrics have not been produced in the United States. With our new ‘Just US’ worsteds, made in Cordova and Raeford, N.C., designers and brands can now reconnect the heritage of classic men’s dress with modern constructions and color ways for performance and year-round comfort.”

The “Just US” fabric collection is launching for autumn 2015, with samples currently available for viewing.… Continue reading

Read More »

2014 Ohio State Fair Ag Events List

The 2014 Ohio State Fair runs from July 23rd to August 3rd at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. As always, there is plenty to see and do for the entire family.

This is also a great time to check out great activities that involve Ohio’s #1 industry…Agriculture. Here is a complete list of Ag-based events and their locations at this year’s Ohio State Fair.

Wednesday, July 23rd

NATIONWIDE DONAHEY AG & HORT BUILDING pres. by Ohio Farm Bureau, garden displays and agriculture education, 9 am – 9 pm

9 am – 9 pm – Land & Living Exhibit

10 am – 6 pm – Farm Bureau Ag is Cool education station

10 am – 6 pm – Corn Ag is Cool education station

10 am – 6 pm – Soy Ag is Cool education station

1:15 pm – Container Grown Plants, Specimen Flowers / Foliage Judging

2 pm – The Nutty Professor’s Sustainable World, Land & Living Stage

5 pm – What is Gluten / Why be Gluten-free?,… Continue reading

Read More »

Policy update: Dairy producer margin protection program (DPMPP)

By now you are quite familiar with the broad outlines of the Dairy Producer Margin Protection Program (DPMPP). Participating producers will establish a base production history (bph) based on the highest annual production from the 2011, 2012 or 2013 calendar year. Once established a farm’s production base will be allowed to increase by the U.S. average production growth. There is no penalty for increasing production over this level other than the stipulation that extra production will not be eligible for the coverage under the DPMPP. Coverage rates will be 25% to 90% of the established production base.

The premiums will follow a two-tier schedule. For a production base at four million pounds or less there is one schedule and for those farms with a production base over four million pounds another, more expensive schedule. Those producers whose annual production is at or below four million pounds the cost of coverage all the way up to $6.50 remains very reasonable, only become more expensive at the $7 to $8 levels.… Continue reading

Read More »

Fly control in cattle

Fly control in cattle is about reducing fly populations, not elimination. The goal is to limit the negative economic impact that flies can cause. There are three main fly species that can economically impact pastured cattle and those are the horn fly, the face fly and the stable fly. Horn flies are responsible for significant economic losses. According to Dave Boxler of the University of Nebraska, economic losses associated with the horn fly are estimated at more than 800 million per year in the U.S. Those losses are due to decreased grazing efficiency, blood loss, reduced weight gains, and declines in milk production. University of Nebraska studies have shown calf weaning weights to be 10 to 20 pounds heavier when horn flies were controlled on the mother cows. Horn flies are small, about half the size of a housefly and they are blood feeders. Each fly will bite the animal and feed on blood 20 to 30 times per day.… Continue reading

Read More »

4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl results

What is the major buffer for maintaining optimum rumen pH? A clever dairy quiz bowl participant presses the buzzer, is recognized by the moderator, and provides the answer: saliva. That is just how a small portion of the Ohio 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl event was played this year.

Coaches and team members traveled from all over the state to the Ohio and Nationwide 4-H Center to participate in this event earlier this month. It includes both a senior and a junior division. Some are new at the competition and others have been coming for many years. However, everyone is willing to share camaraderie and a competitive spirit with each other. After a light breakfast with milk, participants complete a test to determine brackets. It is double elimination so everyone has an opportunity to play the game and be matched up with their rivals in a dual that includes wisdom, quick recall, strategy, and some fun.… Continue reading

Read More »

June pasture management

June is often a transition time for pasture management. Generally in early June moisture and temperature are still favorable for good cool season grass growth. If seed heads have not been clipped off then grasses are in reproductive growth and rapidly maturing. As seed heads mature, forage quality declines. Clipping is used to set the plant back to vegetative growth and provide higher quality forage for livestock. If seed heads were clipped off earlier there can still be more seed head formation through the later part of June. The emphasis in pasture management systems at this time should be on quick rotations through pasture paddocks to try to keep up with grass growth and to try to keep seed heads grazed and/or clipped off. Another strategy may be to drop some paddocks out of the grazing rotation and use them for hay production.

As we get past mid-June and into later June our weather pattern often changes.… Continue reading

Read More »

Spaulding to serve as Sheep, Goat and Cattle Sales Representative for United Producers, Inc.

United Producers Inc. (UPI) announced effective June 1, Curtis Spaulding will assume the role as Sheep, Goat and Cattle Sales Representative at the United Producers facility in Mt. Vernon.

In his new role, Spaulding will assist Facility Manager Rick Reynolds in growing the sheep, goat and cattle business in this region. Spaulding will continue to be actively involved in the Monday auction at the UPI facility in Manchester, Mich.

“In his new responsibility, Curtis’ knowledge of the livestock industry and his work ethic will be great assets to producers in the region,” said Dennis Bolling, President and CEO, United Producers, Inc.

Spaulding started full-time employment with UPI in 2011 at the Manchester, Mich., facility as a Sheep and Goat Sales Representative and soon became an important part of the Manchester, Mich., sheep and goat operations.… Continue reading

Read More »

Should only white milk be allowed in schools?

A few years ago, many school districts contemplated, and in some instances banned, offering flavored milk in their school lunch programs. Perhaps the school district that garnered the most attention about making such a decision was the United School District of Los Angeles.

Flavored milk provides the same nine essential nutrients as unflavored milk, including three of the five nutrients identified as nutrients of concern for children — calcium, magnesium and potassium. As we all know, milk is the leading source for these three nutrients, as well as phosphorus.

Cornell University recently released a study it had completed that demonstrated that banning chocolate milk in school lunch programs backfired as milk sales dropped by 8%, 29% of white milk served was thrown out and 7% of school children stopped eating school lunch altogether. Obviously, this was not what parents of the school district that participated in the study wanted to see.… Continue reading

Read More »

New York hog housing legislation fails

The New York Pork Producers, the National Pork Producers Council and America’s hog farmers today hailed the New York Legislature for not taking up ill-advised legislation banning the use of individual maternity pens for pregnant sows. The pens are approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

If passed, the legislation would have had a devastating effect on local sustainable farming in New York by forcing farmers to abandon the humane animal housing practice. New York family farmers use individual maternity pens because they allow for personalized animal care and eliminate pregnancy aggression from other sows. Banning the practice could have resulted in financial damage and, potentially, destroyed a sustainable and affordable food source for New Yorkers.

“New York hog farmers are pleased the legislature realized there are far more critical issues to consider than attacking small family farms in rural New York,” said Ed Keller, president of the New York Pork Producers.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA’s AMS working with Serbian meat industry

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has the vital mission helping market American agricultural products competitively in the marketplace. One way AMS meets this mission is through our globally recognized meat standards. AMS has participated in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) for many years to help develop global agricultural quality standards that facilitate trade — essentially ensuring everyone speaks the same trade language.

Recently, AMS traveled to Serbia to provide technical assistance to the Serbian Government and meat industry. In cooperation with the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), AMS has worked with Serbia to help modernize their meat standards and specifications.

With Serbia’s new standards in place, the effort has shifted to focus more on engaging the meat industry stakeholders. AMS is helping Serbian stakeholders become familiar with the new specifications and how to implement the system across the country.

AMS participated in a series of meetings with Serbian meat industry stakeholders that represented the government, industry and academia.… Continue reading

Read More »

House examines TPP trade deal

The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade recently held a hearing titled “Advancing the U.S. trade agenda: Benefits of expanding U.S. agriculture trade and eliminating barriers to U.S. exports.” In his opening remarks, Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., voiced his concern that Japan was not being held to the standards that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-nation free trade agreement (FTA) of Pacific Rim countries, set out to meet.

“If any countries insist on retaining tariffs, then we must complete the negotiations without them and allow them to rejoin when they can commit to full tariff elimination,” Nunes said.

Japan continues to demand certain agricultural products, including pork and beef, be excluded from tariff elimination. In addition to being the largest value market for U.S. pork exports ($1.89 billion in 2013), Japan is the fourth largest market for the rest of U.S. agriculture, which shipped $12.1 billion of food and agricultural products to the island nation in 2013.… Continue reading

Read More »

Higher prices encouraging discussion on herd expansion

While the declining number of beef cattle nationwide has meant higher costs for consumers, the resulting higher prices that producers are fetching may likely encourage them to expand their herds, says a beef expert with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

According to the recently released 2012 Census of Agriculture, the nation’s beef cow herds have dropped to 28.9 million head, a decline of 3.8 million from 2007, said John Grimes, beef coordinator for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college.

The number of farms with beef cows has also declined to 727,906 with an average herd size of 39.8 cows, compared to 764,984 farms with an average herd size of 42.9 in 2007, according to census data, Grimes said.

The decline in beef cattle is thanks, in part, to severe to exceptional drought conditions in much of the Southeast, he said.… Continue reading

Read More »

APHIS licenses first PEDV vaccine

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) yesterday issued a conditional license to Harrisvaccines, Inc., of Ames for a vaccine that may aid in the control of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) in swine.

PEDV is a disease that causes significant sickness in swine, affecting their growth and health, and causes high mortality in piglets. It was first detected in the U.S. last spring and the industry estimates that PEDV has killed some eight million piglets and caused tremendous hardship for many American hog farmers. The disease is common in parts of Asia and Europe, but is not reportable to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

This is the first licensed vaccine for PEDV. It will be used to vaccinate sows with the intent that they build antibody, and transmit that antibody through their milk to newborn piglets. It is intended to protect the piglets against PEDV.… Continue reading

Read More »