Waiver from trucking federal rule extended

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended a waiver for commercial truckers from the federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulation to Feb. 28, 2022.

The HOS rule limits truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period and requires prescribed rest periods. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and prompted by efforts from national livestock organizations to ensure producers could continue transporting animals, the FMCSA included livestock haulers in an initial emergency declaration that provided an exemption from the HOS regulation for commercial truckers hauling essential supplies, including livestock. The waiver subsequently was expanded to cover the delivery of livestock feed. 

“We’re pleased the FMCSA recognized the challenges COVID still presents and the problems it has created, including supply chain issues, for the livestock industry and acted accordingly,” said Jen Sorenson, National Pork Producers Council president.… Continue reading

Read More »

Falling leaves poison with ease

By Haley Zynda, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Wayne County

Even though we’re only a couple weeks away from the true start of winter (hard to believe, I know), some trees are still clutching onto their leaves as if the dying foliage will be enough to fortify their soon-to-be bare branches against the frigid temperatures. It’s important to take note of the trees that have leaves yet to fall, especially if you house livestock outside in pastures or sacrifice lots. I’m sure most have heard of the dangers of black/wild cherry limbs and leaves for cattle, but there are several other trees and shrubs that can cause negative impacts on cattle, horses, sheep, and goats.

Wild cherry 

Poisonous to all classes of livestock, wilted cherry leaves and branches can cause prussic acid poisoning, the same poisoning as seen in frosted sorghum-sudangrass. It’s best to remove downed limbs and leaves from pastures to prevent incidental intake, or keep animals off the lot until the leaves have completely dried and become brittle.… Continue reading

Read More »

Showcase talents outside of the ring with the Stockmanship division of OCA’s BEST program

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Beef Exhibitor Show Total (BEST) program includes the Stockmanship Division to allow exhibitors with or without cattle to showcase their talent outside of the ring by expanding their knowledge of cattle and the industry. It is open to all Ohio youth regardless of if they show cattle during the BEST show season. This division is sponsored by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.
The Stockmanship contests for this year are as follows.

Prepared speaking at the Scarlet & Gray Midwest Showdown, Columbus — Saturday, Jan. 8 at 9 a.m.
The Prepared Speaking competition will give juniors an opportunity to perfect their speaking skills while promoting the importance of communication skills, poise and use-of-terms to present on a beef industry topic they are passionate about.

Salesmanship at the Weekend Spectacular, Marion — Saturday, Jan. 22 at 9 a.m.
Juniors will catch a glimpse at a real-life situation of selling cattle or an agriculture product while promoting the importance of personable communication skills and marketing techniques to display their understanding of performance, pedigree and market information.… Continue reading

Read More »

Doing better with pasture

By Matt Reese

After a successful career in marble, granite and tile work, Bill O’Neill III retired to rural Licking County north of Granville over 25 years ago. 

“We moved out here and I quickly figured out I needed to do something to keep me busy, or I’d just sit on the couch and watch Oprah and get fat,” O’Neill said. “We decided to get cattle and we went to the Beef Expo in Columbus. We got Longhorns because when I watched westerns as a kid, the cattle all had long horns. That is why we got them. I really like the way they look. They have more appeal to me than a pasture full of black cattle.” 

The novelty of the Longhorn breed, and the goal of having cattle on the pasture and beef in the freezer, led O’Neill to connect with one of the top Longhorn breeders in the country, Dickinson Cattle Co.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohioans gain insights in lamb and wool production out West

By Matt Reese

In Ohio there are meat sheep, wool sheep, meat and wool sheep, hair sheep, agritourism sheep, show sheep, club lamb and purebred sheep for 4-H and FFA projects, sheep on pasture, sheep in feedlots, and probably several sheep designations with more breeds than can be quickly counted in the state’s very broad sheep, lamb and wool sector. In the Western U.S., the industry is much more focused on a handful of sheep breeds for high quality wool and meat production amid some very challenging conditions.

Roger High, executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, was recently on two trips further West to see the very different production methods with the same end goal as Ohio’s sheep producers — high quality end products.

The National Lamb Feeders Association hosted the Trail Blazers Tour in Texas this year.

“There were 26 of us who travelled to Austin, Texas and through the Hill Country to a lot of sheep production areas. The… Continue reading

Read More »

Vietnam confirms tariff cut on U.S. pork

Vietnam has confirmed it will lower its Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariff on imported frozen pork to 10% from 15%. The reduction is expected to be implemented on July 1, 2022. Getting better market access to Vietnam, a major pork-consuming country, has been a top trade priority for the National Pork Producers Council. 

Late last year, NPPC Assistant Vice President of International Affairs Maria Zieba testified on the importance to U.S. pork producers of the Vietnamese market and urged the Trump administration not to impose U.S. tariffs on goods from Vietnam over that country’s alleged currency manipulation. NPPC led recent efforts, including a letter from 70 members of Congress, asking U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to press Vietnam to eliminate tariffs on U.S. pork.

“We thank the lawmakers, led by Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), for their support in recognizing the importance of the Vietnamese market to U.S.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s BEST program to kick-off new season in December

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Beef Exhibitor Show Total (BEST) Program is excited to kick-off a new season with this year’s theme “How the BEST was won,” alongside sponsoring partners: Ag-Pro & John Deere, Bane-Welker Equipment, Bob Evans Farms, Diamond T Land & Cattle Co., D&E Electric, M.H. EBY Inc., Farm Credit Mid-America, Weaver Leather Livestock, The Folks Printing, Dickson Cattle Co., Jones Show Cattle and RD Jones Excavating.

BEST is a youth development program of OCA that recognizes Ohio’s junior beef exhibitors for participation and placings through a series of sanctioned cattle shows that include showmanship competitions, educational contests, leadership opportunities and community service. Juniors earn points for participation in each sanctioned show which they are rewarded for at the end-of-season banquet.

The schedule for this year’s season is as follows:

  • AGR Holiday Classic, Circleville — Dec. 10-12
  • Scarlet & Gray Midwest Showdown, Columbus — Jan. 7-9
  • The Weekend Spectacular, Marion — Jan.
Continue reading

Read More »

Red meat exports remain on record pace

Both U.S. beef and U.S. pork exports were on a record pace through September, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports posted one of the best months on record in September, with value climbing nearly 60% above last year. Pork export volume was slightly below last September, but value still increased 8%. 

“Facing significant logistical headwinds and higher costs, these outstanding results are really a testament to the loyalty and strong demand from our international customers and to the innovation and determination of the U.S. industry,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO.


Beef exports continued to soar in September at 123,628 metric tons (mt), up 20% from a year ago and the fourth largest volume of the post-BSE era. Export value jumped 59% to $954.1 million — the second highest month on record, trailing only August of 2021. For the first three quarters of 2021, beef exports increased 18% from a year ago to 1.08 million mt, valued at $7.58 billion – up more than $2 billion (36%) from the same period last year.… Continue reading

Read More »

Water effects on livestock performance

By Mark Landefeld, Ohio State University Extension Educator ANR, Monroe County and Jeff Bettinger, Lead District Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Limitation of water intake reduces animal performance quicker and more dramatically than any other nutrient deficiency. Water constitutes approximately 60% to 70% of an animal’s live weight and consuming water is more important than consuming food. Domesticated animals can live about 60 days without food but only about 7 days without water. Livestock should be given all the water they can drink because animals that do not drink enough water may suffer stress or dehydration.

Signs of dehydration or lack of water are tightening of the skin, loss of weight and drying of mucous membranes and eyes. Stress accompanying lack of water intake may need special considerations. Newly arrived animals may refuse water at first due to differences in palatability. One should allow them to become accustomed to a new water supply by mixing water from old and new sources.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Hereford Futurity highlights Ohio genetics

In October, Ohio Hereford breeders gathered at the Morrow County Fairgrounds in Mount Gilead. The Buckeye Hereford Association hosted the annual event which showcases Ohio bred seedstock. Judge Tom Modro of Hillsboro evaluated 54 head of the finest Hereford stock from across the state.

2021 Ohio Hereford Futurity Champions

Grand Champion Female: HFJ Mia Paige H312, a March 2020 heifer sired UPS Sensation 2296 ET. Bred by Jacob Wiechart, Fort Jennings and owned by Ephraim Fowler, Salesville.

Reserve Champion Female KT Olivia 206J, an April 2021 heifer calf sired by THM Durango 4037. Bred and owned by Cramer Cattle, Ada.

Grand Champion Cow/Calf Pair: Wilson 25Z Andrea 103C, sired by Wilson 44U Deacon 25Z, with an April heifer calf by Boyd 31Z Blueprint 6153. Pair bred and owned by Wilson Stock Farm, Kensington. 

Reserve Champion Cow/Calf Pair: Wilson 5051 Amelia 138G, sired by KT Small Town Kid 5051, with a March bull calf by TH 22R 16S Lambeau 17Y.… Continue reading

Read More »

USMEF welcomes Ohio corn checkoff as Million Dollar Club member

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is recognizing the Ohio Corn Checkoff as the newest member of the USMEF Million Dollar Club — a group of agricultural organizations that have invested more than $1 million in the promotion of U.S. beef, pork in lamb in international markets. 

Ohio Corn’s first investment in USMEF programs came in 1990. An award honoring Ohio corn producers for more than 30 years of steadfast and consistent support of USMEF will be presented Nov. 11 at the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference in Carlsbad, Calif.

“The U.S. livestock sector is the Ohio corn industry’s largest customer, so supporting meat production and exports is a very important part of what we do,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director for Ohio Corn. “We feel that red meat exports are an extremely efficient way for Ohio corn producers to capitalize on international growth opportunities, so we have always viewed our longtime partnership with USMEF as a very wise investment of corn checkoff funds.” … Continue reading

Read More »

Warm season grass challenges and benefits to grazing

By Matt Reese

Those who graze livestock all understand the “summer slump” where Ohio’s cool season pastures decrease in productivity in the often hot, dry days of July and August. This slump has significant implications when maximizing pasture through management.

Nathan Rice raises grain and cattle on his Clinton County farm and knows the summer slump all too well on the 14 acres of pasture for his small cow/calf freezer beef operation. He also works for the Nnatural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and has learned the benefits of alternative grazing options. To help address the significant costs he has seen associated with the summer slump for his cool season pastures, Rice has been working to establish some native warm season grasses, including species like big bluestem, little bluestem and Indiangrass. 

“I was interested in using native warm season grasses after learning about them through my work with NRCS. They really have a good ability to fit in a grazing system by addressing the summer slump.… Continue reading

Read More »

Continue to “stage” pasture into fall

By Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

My wife has been splitting open persimmon seeds. For those who don’t know what this is supposed to mean — it is an old wives’ tale method of predicting the upcoming winter weather. For clarity, I’m not saying my wife is old, but she does like to read persimmon seeds! Traditionally, you split the persimmon seed open to reveal the whitish sprout inside. It may require a bit of imagination, but they are supposed to resemble a spoon, a fork or a knife. The spoon is said to predict lots of heavy, wet snow. A fork means you should expect a mild winter. A knife indicates an icy, windy and bitter cold winter. Surprisingly or luckily, it is often correct. She split open several seeds this year — all were spoons.

Now, I would not bank on that information, but it is a reminder that we need to be prepared ahead of time for whatever the weather decides to throw at us.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio egg industry update

By Matt Reese

The egg industry in general is divided into multiple segments: graded shell eggs for retail in grocery stores; food service graded (different packaging); farm pack (nest run) eggs that are not graded and go to processers; liquid whole egg, yolks or egg whites for food processors; and liquid egg products for the food service industry. Each industry segment in Ohio faced unique challenges in the last 18 months.

Jeff Cutler with Cooper Farms talked about the challenges across the diverse markets for Ohio’s egg producers as the industry navigated the challenges of the pandemic. 

“Recently we have seen some improvement in demand both in food service as well as food manufacturing on the ingredient side, so we’re glad for that. We are coming out of a normal summer cycle where retail demand for shell eggs is not usually the strongest period anyway, but we have seen some steady demand for retail too,” Cutler said.… Continue reading

Read More »

Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium coming in December

The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association is pleased welcome Etienne and Isabel Richards as speakers to the 2021 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium in Wooster as part of the Dec. 3 and 4 event at the OARDC Shisler Conference Center. This year’s symposium theme is genetics and reproduction and will feature a wide variety of speakers and gathering opportunities.

On Friday  from 2-5 p.m. attendees will enjoy an afternoon of discussion on genetic appraisal, reproductive strategies, and record keeping from all aspects of the sheep industry. On Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be a collection of sessions including the annual OSIA business meeting, educational presentations and an awards ceremony. Throughout the day attendees will hear insights on recent changes in the sheep industry and discussion on strategic management of genetics and reproduction. As a whole, the symposium will be an opportunity for shepherds to engage with one another for the betterment their home flocks and the American sheep industry.… Continue reading

Read More »

Animal disease surveillance

National Pork Producers Council submitted comments on a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposal to use $300 million to improve surveillance of zoonotic diseases, including influenza strains in swine. 

The organization suggested APHIS establish a one-stop shop to share, investigate and integrate pathogen detection trends and sequence data and recommended it fund USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to develop an integrated system for all influenzas of animal origin and consider expanding it to other zoonotic pathogens. NPPC pointed out that the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) is central to the ability to detect, investigate and surveil for emerging and zoonotic diseases, but its capacity to take on additional testing for known pathogens, some of which may be zoonotic, must be expanded. It also recommended that APHIS increase within the National Veterinary Stockpile the equipment necessary to depopulate and dispose of animals in the event of a zoonotic disease outbreak.… Continue reading

Read More »

Precautions for feeding frosted forages

By Mark Sulc, Ohio State University Extension

One of these days soon we will have a frost. There is potential for some forage toxicities and other problems that can develop after a frost. Prussic acid poisoning and high nitrates are the main concern with a few specific annual forages and several weed species, but there is also an increased risk of bloat when grazing legumes after a frost. 

Nitrate accumulation in frosted forages 

Freezing damage slows down metabolism in all plants, and this might result in nitrate accumulation in plants that are still growing, especially grasses like oats and other small grains, millet, and sudangrass. This build-up usually is not hazardous to grazing animals, but greenchop or hay cut right after a freeze can be more dangerous. When in doubt, send in a sample to a forage testing lab and request a nitrate before grazing or feeding the forage after a frost.… Continue reading

Read More »

Biden Administration may allow for faster processing line speeds

The U.S. Department of Agriculture may allow faster line speeds at pork packing plants under a proposal now being considered by the White House. In July, packing plants operating under the New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) had to slow down pursuant to a March federal court ruling that struck down the system’s increased line speed provision. 

The National Pork Producers Council aggressively engaged for months on the matter, proposing a number of options to allow faster line speeds and pointing out, including in recent comments to USDA, that increasing line speeds to the safe operating levels at which many plants operated under a 20-year pilot program would expand pork packing capacity by about 2.5 percent. (The packing industry lost that much capacity when the federal court’s ruling on the NSIS line speed provision took effect July 1.) Lost harvest capacity took away economic leverage from hog farmers, NPPC pointed out.… Continue reading

Read More »

New nomination procedures for OCA’s Buckeye Breeders Series division of BEST

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is announcing a new nomination procedure for breeders who have cattle being nominated for the Buckeye Breeders Series (BBS), Ohio’s premier bred, born and raised division of the BEST (beef exhibitor show total) program.

For cattle to be eligible for BBS they must be registered and bred by an Ohio breeder. ET calves and calves out of purchased bred cows are eligible if they list an Ohioan as the breeder.

New for the 2021-2022 season, BBS cattle will incur a $25 per head nomination fee, that must be paid by the animal’s first BEST show, in addition to the $60 per head one-time BEST nomination fee. This $25 fee need only be paid one time by either the breeder or the BEST participant. Cattle may be nominated throughout the BEST season, but all BBS cattle that will be exhibited at the Ohio Beef Expo junior show must be nominated by March 1, 2022.… Continue reading

Read More »

Developing a winter feeding program

By Steve Boyles, Ohio State University Extension Beef Specialist

Winter feed costs are the largest single expense in most livestock grazing production systems. Extending the grazing to reduce the cost of feeding stored feed will greatly increase profits. Labor can be reduced 25% or more. Rotational grazing takes about three hours per acre per year as opposed to hay production, which takes seven hours per acre per year. The cost for grazing a cow per day is $.25 compared to $1 per day to feed hay to a cow.

The first step is to evaluate the potential, available, existing feed. Crop residue can be an abundant winter feed. Corn stalks can maintain a spring calving cow in good body condition for about 60 days after corn harvest. The feed value will decline quickly after the 60-day period. Cattle will select and eat grain, then husks and leaves, and last cobs and stalks.… Continue reading

Read More »