Meat exports slow in February

February exports of U.S. pork and beef were roughly steady with last year’s volumes but export value moved lower as prices continued to decline from the 2014 highs, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). The price reductions reflect more abundant red meat supplies and a fiercely competitive international marketplace.

Pork export volume was 171,413 metric tons (mt) in February, down 1% from a year ago, while value fell 12% to $414.3 million. For the first two months of the year, pork export volume remained 1% ahead of last year’s pace at 338,423 mt, but value was down 12% to $819.1 million.

February beef exports totaled 83,203 mt, up slightly from last year, while value dropped 18% to $437 million. January-February exports were up 2% in volume (165,504 mt) from a year ago but fell 16% in value ($875.1 million).

USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng said the February results fell short of expectations.… Continue reading

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ODGA recognizes youth and leaders

On April 2 at Plumb Hall on Ohio State University campus, the Ohio Dairy Goat Association held their spring conference for all Ohio dairy goat youth.

To receive these awards the youth have to take part in many activities throughout the year. They must show in affiliate club goat shows, including the Ohio State Fair and national dairy goat shows and participate in the skillathon. They must give demonstrations to other 4-H members and work at affiliate club dairy goat clinics as well. These youth are the outstanding youth from all age groups. Premiere youth winners were:

11 – 12 years: Arika Zeiter, Fulton County

13 – 14 years: Heather Cade, Delaware County

15 – 16 years: Alexandria Stewart, Ross County

8 – 10 years: Hunter Dye, Delaware County

17 – 18 years: BreAnn McFarland, Guernsey County.

The overall winner was Alexandria Stewart.

In addition, the Ohio Dairy Goat Association 2016 youth Ambassadors were selected.… Continue reading

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Soil testing first step in pasture improvement

Producers thinking about pasture improvement should start by testing the soil, said Jim Camberato, Purdue Extension soil fertility specialist.

“Establishing proper pH and adequate nutrient levels in the root zone is important for the health and productivity of the plants growing there,” he said.

The first step in soil testing is collecting samples. Camberato recommends that farmers use a soil probe to take 15-20 core specimens from a sampling area encompassing no more than 15-20 acres. Each sampling area should be determined on the basis of common characteristics – including soil type, location and management history.

Don’t skimp on samples

“Soil analysis and lime and fertilizer recommendations are only as good as the samples,” Camberato said. “Do not skimp on the number of cores or increase the size of the sample area represented.”

Soil core samples should measure 1 inch in diameter and 4 inches deep in established pastures and 8 inches deep for soils that are to be planted.… Continue reading

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Spring Dairy Expo highlights

Even though prices are down, attendance and exhibitor numbers were up at the 2016 Ohio Spring Dairy Expo that wrapped up yesterday.

“It went wonderfully. We had approximately 550 head shown and that is in addition to the sale cattle. We had Brown Swiss, Milking Shorthorn, Ayrshire, Guernsey, and Jerseys all in the sale this year,” said Angie Kaverman, 2016 Spring Dairy Expo Show manager/co-chair. “Prices are down but our numbers were up with more people showing. We were up on the number of head in the show and also up on out of state exhibitors, which was a really great thing to see. This show does serve as a national show for a lot of our breeds. They earn more credit as far as their All American nominations down the line and it really is an attraction for a lot of people.”

AUDIO: Dale Minyo visited with Allison Mangun about the involvment of the Buckeye Dairy Club at Spring Dairy Expo.Continue reading

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2016 ASI spring legislative trip

It was mid- March, the buds were just starting out of the trees, and the ASI Spring Legislative Trip was being held to Washington D.C. In 2015, the time was moved from early May to mid-March by the American Sheep Industry (ASI) in hopes of being able to catch more legislators in their offices.

Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) was able to take two young progressive sheep industry leaders on this lobbying trip to show our legislators that there is a bright future to the sheep industry, and that they want to be involved.

OSIA members Katherine Wenner (Delaware County), Brady Campbell (Washington County) and ASI Region 3 Director Susan Shultz (Logan County) joined OSIA Executive Director Roger High for another enlightening lobbying trip. Along with representatives from many other states, the Ohio delegation worked to promote the interests of the sheep industry through educating our government leaders about its industry issues.… Continue reading

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Fewer hogs and higher prices

The nation’s pork producers have indicated to USDA that they are not expanding the breeding herd and, in fact, intend to reduce farrowings this spring and summer. This means pork supplies will be somewhat less than had been anticipated and that hog prices will be somewhat higher.

For the USDA’s March Hogs and Pigs report, pork producers’ indicated that the size of the nation’s breeding herd was unchanged from the same date one-year earlier. The herd had been in an expansion phase from the last half of 2014 through 2015. That expansion was largely because of record high profits due to baby pig losses from PED. That expansion phase seemingly has now ended.

There is some unevenness in the change in breeding herd numbers over the past year. One constant is that the Southern Plains states have been the most aggressive in adding breeding herd numbers over recent years. For the 16 states that USDA surveys for the March report, the breeding herd is up nine percent in Oklahoma and 10 percent in Texas.… Continue reading

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ODPA Spring Meeting April 11

Dairy farmers from across the state are invited to attend the ODPA Spring Meeting to hear from Domino’s Chief Marketing Offi­cer Joe Jordan about their success in partnering with your dairy promotion program, how dairy and pizza are intertwined, and how we have and must continue working together to grow dairy sales.

Why? We know that consumers today are further removed from agriculture, more interested in where their food comes from, and more confused than ever given the often conflicting information with which they are bombarded.

Click here to register by April 4, 2016 for a program you won’t want to miss!

  • Get updates from OARDC, ATI and the ODPA Dairy Research Fund
  • Hear a legislative update from Scott Higgins, ODPA, and have a chance to provide your input on issues like GMOs, manure management and water quality
  • Enjoy lunch catered by Des Dutch Essenhaus, compliments of our sponsors
  • Discover what is being done to address consumer confidence in dairy and the role dairy farmers play in its success
  • Learn more about the National Dairy FARM Program from Katy Proudfoot, Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Get practical ideas from Dr.
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Grazing workshops March 29, April 5 and April 12

Livestock producers looking to improve the forage quality of their pastures, grow healthier forage plants and improve plant persistence should consider rotational grazing, says an agriculture and natural resources expert with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Not only does rotational grazing promote timely utilization, it also allows producers to conserve surplus and reduce inputs, said Mark Landefeld, an Ohio State University Extension educator in Monroe County. In addition, it has a positive impact on the environment.

“Rotational grazing is really about better management of grazing for livestock producers,” he said. “Rotational grazing reduces the size of the paddock and allows grass to have a rest period and for roots to have a better chance to regrow and replenish the root stocks to improve both the quality and quantity of forages.”

To provide more information on grazing management, Landefeld and co-workers are organizing a series of workshops for livestock producers March 29, April 5 and April 12.… Continue reading

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Lessons learned from the 2014 and 2015 cattle markets

The last couple of years have been nothing short of a roller coaster ride for beef cattle producers. We saw prices rise to record levels and then fall as sharply as we have ever seen. A combination of factors such as cattle inventory, production of competing meats, increasing slaughter weights, and international trade were all at play in the market. At the same time, producers were making management decisions in a rapidly changing environment. If the old adage is right and history repeats itself, it’s worth taking a look back to reflect on some things that can be learned.


1) If calf prices seem too good to be true, they probably are

There is a long time adage by agricultural economists that the cure to high prices is high prices. The implication is that producers respond to high prices by increasing production, which then brings down prices. As basic as this may seem, it is easy to get caught up in the euphoria of historically high calf prices and try to find reasons why it is different this time.… Continue reading

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Ohio Beef Expo posts new records

Beef industry enthusiasts gathered in Columbus, Ohio, March 18-20, for the 2016 Ohio Beef Expo. The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) hosted more than 30,000 participants and attendees at the Ohio Expo Center. The Expo provides an annual opportunity for those in the cattle industry in Ohio, and across the nation, to learn and enhance their operations through a tradeshow, cattle sales and educational events.

The Expo kicked off with a trade show featuring 140 vendors from 15 states and a nutrition seminar sponsored by Purina Animal Nutrition and Zoetis. This year’s trade show broke the event’s record in number of exhibitors. Armstrong Ag was selected as the premier large booth exhibitor; and K Buildings was selected as the premier small booth exhibitor.

Four breed shows and one breed parade were featured Friday, as well as numerous breed displays representing the Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Hereford, Maine-Anjou, Miniature Hereford, Murray Grey, Simmental and Shorthorn breeds.… Continue reading

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USDA looking for Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine manufacturers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published a notice seeking sources for Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine as part of its FMD preparedness initiative. FMD, a foreign animal disease endemic in Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East, can affect all cloven-hoofed animals, including pigs, cattle and sheep. FMD rarely infects humans and isn’t a food safety issue, but an outbreak in North America, which currently is free of it, could negatively affect meat exports and domestic meat sales.

The National Pork Producers Council in February urged lawmakers and the Obama administration to make dealing with an outbreak a priority. “Improving preparedness for an FMD outbreak through development of an adequate vaccine bank must be a priority,” testified NPPC immediate past president Dr. Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Agriculture. According to USDA, the goal of the request for information is to identify vaccine manufacturers that can supply the types of FMD vaccine needed, in the amounts needed and in the appropriate timeframe.… Continue reading

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Dock workers and port organizations urged to begin labor talks

A number of trade associations (including the National Pork Producers Council) this week sent a letter to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), urging them to begin early discussions on a contract extension or a new contract covering operations at West Coast shipping ports. Those groups, which represent, respectively, dock workers and the companies that own West Coast port facilities, in 2014 and into early 2015 were involved in protracted labor talks and a work slowdown that negatively affected U.S. exporters.

The U.S. meat and poultry sectors lost an estimated $40 million a week during the slowdown. The two sides in early 2015 signed a new five-year contract (retroactive to July 1, 2014) that expires June 30, 2019. NPPC and the other organizations, representing manufacturers, farmers and agribusinesses, wholesalers, retailers, importers, exporters, distributors, transportation and logistics providers and other supply chain stakeholders, urged the ILWU and PMA to conclude negotiations before that date.… Continue reading

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Ohio Beef Expo highlights

The 2016 Ohio Beef Expo kicked off on Friday. It’s certainly one of the most popular events for Ohio cattlemen to attend. This event attracts over 30,000 participants from 25 states and Canada each year. The Expo included breed sales, shows and displays, educational events, a highly competitive junior show and a trade show with over 140 exhibitors.

On Friday, Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo spoke with Bruce Smith of COBA Select Sires. Listen to the interview here:

Bruce Smith Select Sires Beef interview with Dale Minyo 3-18-16

This annual event, coordinated by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, included breed sales, shows and displays, trade show and a highly competitive junior show. This year’s junior show was the largest ever with more than 850 junior heifers and steers and more than 450 exhibitors competing in showmanship.

In the Junior Show, the Grand Champion market animal was the champion crossbred exhibited by Kendra Gabriel from Pickaway County.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Council scholarship information now available

The Ohio Pork Council is currently offering scholarships, ranging from $500 to $1000 per individual. Students entering their freshman, sophomore, junior or senior year in college are encouraged to apply. Applicants, or their parents, must be actively involved in the pork industry. Children of pork industry employees, managers and contract growers are eligible.

In honor of 42 years of service to Ohio’s pork industry, as executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council, a scholarship fund recognizes Dick Isler and provides an annual scholarship of at $1,000 to college students pursuing a degree in agriculture.

The Ohio Pork Council Women will also be offering $500 scholarships to college students in their junior year or higher.

To obtain an application for these scholarships, please visit:

Applications for OPPC, OPCW and Dick Isler scholarships are due April 29.… Continue reading

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‘Pork: The Other White Meat’ goes to court

Few slogans are as well known as “Pork: The Other White Meat.” But those five simple words have found themselves at the center of a renewed legal controversy that has many leaders in the pork industry shaking their heads.

In September of 2012, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a well-known animal rights advocate group that has little to do with local pet shelters, sued the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The suit claimed the National Pork Board, a quasi-governmental entity funded by checkoff dollars, purchased the rights to the “Pork: The Other White Meat” and other slogans from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) for what HSUS held was an undue amount of money.

“At the time of the split between the National Pork Board and the NPPC when NPPC gave up its general contractor rule, the National Pork Board actually leased ‘Pork: The Other White Meat’ and the pork mark from NPPC.… Continue reading

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OSIA/OSWP award nominations due June 1

In 2010, the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) Board of Trustees initiated an award nomination program to recognize outstanding accomplishments made by sheep 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, 2016.

Award recipients will be honored at the 2016 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium. If you would like to nominate someone for any of these awards, please contact the OSIA Office at 614-246-8299 or for an application. Award applications will also be posted at after April 1, 2016.

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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Sheep industry scholarship opportunities

Dr. Jack Judy Memorial Scholarship Fund

Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) and the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation in coordination with the Dr. Jack Judy Family has created the Dr. Jack Judy Memorial Scholarship Fund to support future sheep farmers through a memorial scholarship program. The Dr. Jack Judy Memorial Scholarship Fund is offering a minimum of one $1,500 scholarship to a deserving young person who is at least a second year undergraduate student pursuing an agricultural degree.

“We want to thank Dr. Jack Judy’s family for making a major contribution to this scholarship fund, it is a tremendous tribute to the family’s interest in the sheep industry and the family is very hopeful that this scholarship program will make a contribution to the sheep industry in Ohio” said Roger A. High, OSIA Executive Director.

To assist the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association in “growing” this Dr. Jack Judy Memorial Scholarship program, please send memorial contributions in the name of Dr.… Continue reading

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Transition from row crops to pasture leads to profitability

Pete Conkle loves to stand in the rolling pastures of his family’s Columbiana County farm and just listen to the sound of his hungry cattle biting, tearing and chewing into a fresh new paddock of grass.

“I love that sound,” he said. “It is therapeutic for me.”

That sound gives Conkle plenty to ruminate about as it represents many things to him —profitability, success, animal husbandry, and hard-earned harmony between land, farmer and livestock. It all started when Conkle, this year’s Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Environmental Stewardship Award winner, returned home shortly after college and began to transition a few outlying grain fields to grass in order to supply feed for his commercial cow-calf operation.

“We’d always had some calves but when I finished at Ohio State and came home, a good friend was looking for a place for a couple bred cows and so I bought them to eat the grass in the front.… Continue reading

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Pork exports struggled in 2015 but finished strong

Despite struggling for most of 2015, U.S. pork exports posted a strong finish during December, ending a tough year on a high note. December export volume was up 3% from 2014. For the year, U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports totaled 4.7 billion pounds in volume and $5.58 billion in value, down 2% and 16%, respectively from 2014.

“Without a doubt, 2015 was a difficult year for U.S. pork exports,” said Becca Nepple, vice president of international marketing for the Pork Checkoff. “The West Coast port slowdown, market-access challenges, the strong U.S. dollar and strong competition led to last year’s decrease in exports.”

However, pork exports accounted for 24% of total 2015 pork and pork variety meat production. Export value per head averaged $48.31, down 23% from 2014.

“With projections for increased pork production this year, the Checkoff is committed to strengthening its partnership with our international customers,” Nepple said.… Continue reading

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Sheep industry leadership school returns to Ohio

Participants 20 years of age or older who are interested in all aspects of sheep production and marketing have until May 1, to register for the July 10-14, 2016, Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School being held at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. This intense four-day program will incorporate site tours of exceptional Ohio sheep operations with the Lamb 509 short course taught by Roger High and Dr. Henry Zerby of OSU.

In addition to the site tours, participants will spend one full day in the OSU Meat Lab learning about carcass grading, performing hands-on fabrication of carcasses and processing meat products.

Interested individuals must complete an application form. Applications will be reviewed and 32 participants will be selected to attend the 2016 school. Though there is no fee to apply, a registration fee of $200 is required if accepted. The National Lamb Feeders Association will provide meals, lodging and tour-related expenses.… Continue reading

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