Massachusetts takes major step against pork sale restrictions

The Massachusetts House — by an overwhelming margin of 156-1 — voted to delay until Jan. 1, 2023, a provision of the Question 3 initiative that will prohibit the sale of pork that doesn’t meet the state’s production standards, a move championed by National Pork Producers Council, which aggressively has been seeking relief for pork producers and the pork supply chain.

The House also transferred jurisdiction for drafting regulations from the state’s Attorney General to the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture. The measure is expected to easily pass the state Senate next week before heading to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker for signing. Originally set to take effect Jan. 1, 2022, the voter-approved 2016 ballot initiative — similar to California’s Proposition 12 — bans the sale of pork from hogs born to sows housed in pens that don’t comply with Massachusetts’ new standards. It applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether it’s produced there or outside its borders.… Continue reading

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Lamb quality video series

The American Lamb Board (ALB) and Premier 1 Supplies are co-sponsoring a new American Lamb Quality Video Series. North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension Service is producing the 5-part series. 

Using the theme of “Beginning with the End in Mind,” the purpose of the series is to help the U.S. lamb industry provide a consistently high-quality product to consumers, taking into account the wide variety of production systems. 

Travis Hoffman, Ph.D., NDSU and University of Minnesota Extension Sheep Specialist, is spearheading the project. The first video, Lamb Carcass Characteristics is now available at and Additional videos such as USDA Yield Grades and USDA Quality Grades, Live Animal Evaluation and Retail Meat Yield & Value will be announced in the coming months via ALB’s enewsletter. Q & A webinars are also planned.

“Using lamb carcasses to demonstrate quality attributes and techniques used for standardized analysis make the videos very relevant and useful for today’s U.S.… Continue reading

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Recognizing the risks of broadleaf weeds in pasture

By Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension

It is often said that, “Any plant in the wrong place is a weed.”

Well, in a pasture situation, there tend to be quite a few plants that weren’t intentionally planted there but thrive there regardless. It can be challenging to determine if these weeds are threatening or adding beneficial diversity to our pasture sward. Broadleaf weeds tend to be easier to identify and control than grassy weeds in a pasture setting, but can still be puzzling depending on lifecycle, growth stage, flower arrangement, and growth habit.

One that commonly confuses land managers in Southeast Ohio is spotted knapweed. Spotted knapweed is a detrimental weed that shares similarities to many less threatening pasture plants. The color of the flower is similar to that of red clover, the growth habit is similar to chicory, and the flower shape is similar to Canada thistle and ironweed.… Continue reading

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Record value for July beef exports

U.S. beef exports set another new value record in July, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). July export value climbed 45% from a year ago to $939.1 million, while volume was the third largest of the post-BSE era at 122,743 metric tons (mt), up 14% year-over-year. 

July beef exports to the mainstay Asian markets of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were relatively steady with last year, but at significantly higher value. Export volume growth was driven by record-large shipments to China and a strong rebound in Western Hemisphere markets compared to year-ago totals. For January through July, U.S. beef exports increased 18% from a year ago to 822,830 mt, with value up 30% to $5.58 billion. Compared to the pace established in 2018, the record year for U.S. beef exports, shipments were up 6% in volume and 17% in value. 

Pork exports in July were steady with last year at 221,809 mt, but export value jumped 20% to $657.3 million.… Continue reading

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OCA honored with 70th anniversary proclamation from Ohio House of Representatives

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) recently received a 70th anniversary proclamation on behalf of the members of the House of Representatives of the 134th General Assembly of Ohio. This recognition was sponsored by Rep. Tracy Richardson of House District 86.

The proclamation recognizes and awards OCA’s meaningful involvement in the growth and profitability of Ohio’s beef industry through legislative advocacy, research and education over the last seven decades. Rep. Richardson joined OCA board members during their September meeting to present the proclamation and personally give her appreciation for the work they are doing on behalf of Ohio’s beef industry. 

 “It is truly an honor to be recognized by the state of Ohio for the work we are doing in our association. All of those involved, both past and present, have worked tirelessly to ensure the quality of our state’s beef production and we will continue to do so for years to come,” said Aaron Arnett, OCA president.… Continue reading

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Market beef budgets updated

During the past 18 months, for many, finishing and marketing fed cattle has been a roller coaster ride. Considerable commodity market disruptions have caused wide swings in not only the value of cattle, but also the cost of feed and related feeding and marketing expenses.

To provide tools that allow cattlemen to quickly compare and speculate on potential cattle feeding margins, Ohio State University’s Market Beef Budgets have recently been updated. They may be downloaded in spreadsheet form from the OSU Extension Farm Office website at:

To provide a view of differences found in efficiencies when self-feeding versus bunk feeding, two different budgets are offered. Each spreadsheet is designed similarly and allows the user to override any of the default numbers found in the sheets.

Once downloaded, users are encouraged to begin by plugging their own numbers based on previous experience and current or speculated future market conditions into the yellow cells.… Continue reading

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Use care when marketing local beef

By Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, Ohio State University Extension

I am a big supporter of local food production and direct marketing. When done properly in some production systems there are opportunities to capitalize on demand for locally produced food, serve as a direct link for consumer education, enhance economic sustainability of the farm enterprise, among other benefits.

I have taught dozens of programs on local foods and direct marketing in the last five or so years. In each of those programs I remind participants of these two things with regards to labeling and direct marketing;

  1. Do not misrepresent your product and
  2. Do not misrepresent or make false statements about the product of other producers.

Recently several friends of mine have shared with me several instances of both of the above scenarios. In one such instance a freezer beef producer’s (who shall not be named) attack on beef produced by other producers and the beef industry was egregious enough to get me wound up; and I try not to get too wound up about things seen on social media.… Continue reading

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Replacement Female Sale consignment deadline Oct. 1

The 2021 date for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) ninth annual Replacement Female Sale will be Friday evening, Nov. 26. The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock Auction Co. in Zanesville, Ohio and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The middle of the 2021 breeding season is an excellent time to evaluate your herd and consider marketing decisions for the fall. Young, high quality cattle backed by solid genetics are in demand with potential buyers. Yearling heifers bred artificially to proven calving ease sires are very marketable. A shorter breeding season that results in a tighter calving window has also proven to be popular with potential buyers. As we think about that tight breeding season, consider those January to early May calving females as potential consignments and breeding pieces that will fit calving windows for many Ohio producers.

It is also a great time to evaluate the body condition of potential sale animals and make nutritional adjustments to the animal’s diet in anticipation of a late November sale date.… Continue reading

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USDA extends deadline to apply for pandemic assistance to livestock producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing additional time for livestock and poultry producers to apply for the Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program (PLIP). Producers who suffered losses during the pandemic due to insufficient access to processing may now apply for assistance for those losses and the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animals through Oct. 12, 2021, rather than the original deadline of Sept. 17, 2021. PLIP is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.

“Livestock and poultry producers were among the hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Zach Ducheneaux, Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator. “We want to ensure that all eligible producers have the opportunity to apply for this critical assistance. The Oct. 12 deadline also aligns with the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 deadline.” 

PLIP provides payments to producers for losses of livestock or poultry depopulated from March 1, 2020 through Dec. 26, 2020, due to insufficient processing access as a result of the pandemic. Payments are based on 80% of the fair market value of the livestock and poultry and for the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animal.… Continue reading

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OPA recognizes award winners

The Ohio Poultry Association recognized some important industry leaders with awards at the Annual Banquet held last weekend in Columbus.

Lisa Timmerman (center) was recognized for her service to Ohio’s poultry industry.

Lisa Timmerman, with Hendrix-ISA, was recognized with the Meritorious Service Award. Timmerman, of Ft. Recovery, has over 30 years of poultry experience. She has served as president of the OPA board and on the United Egg Producer Board (UEP) and American Egg Board (AEB). She has also worked for Cooper Farms.

Carl Link with Cooper Farms was presented the Golden Egg Award.

Carl Link received the Golden Egg Award. Link has been with Cooper Farms for an amazing 50+ years, beginning his career at St. Clair Mills before it became Cooper Farms in 1976. Before recently retiring, his role was Production Manager. He continues to work for Cooper Farm one day a week on special projects.… Continue reading

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Ohio Sheep Day 2021

Mark your calendar for the 2021 Ohio Sheep Day on Sat., Oct. 2. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. at the OARDC Small Ruminant Center (5651 Fredericksburg Rd. Wooster, OH  44691). Please visit: to RSVP will be used for accurate breakfast and lunch count.

Topics covered in the program will include alternative forage crops, forage storage, manure and mortality composting, fall lambing, data collection, Dystocia, and animal handling.

For more information, contact Brady Campbell, Ohio State University Small Ruminant Specialist at or visit… Continue reading

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Ohio State professor receives 2021 BQA educator award

For Steve Boyles, Ohio State University (OSU) beef cattle extension specialist, it’s all about connecting with his students and providing visual, hands-on demonstrations and activities to help them be the best cattle handlers they can be. 

Boyles is originally from Southeast Ohio, where his family ran a research facility for OSU. Growing up on the farm cultivated his love for beef cattle. Boyles pursued that interest, eventually becoming a leading expert in Beef Quality Assurance (BQA). He uses his knowledge and expertise to teach agriculture students, cattle producers, and consumers alike the importance of BQA.

“It’s not always the classic classroom lecture,” Boyles says. “I think people appreciate visual and hands-on opportunities. So that’s why I always get the audience to participate.”

To help with visual learning, Boyles obtained a grant in 2001 to have miniature corrals built. These make it easy to discuss corrals in a three-dimensional method where pieces can be moved around. … Continue reading

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Brady Campbell named small ruminant specialist at Ohio State

The Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences has hired Brady Campbell as an assistant professor to focus on small ruminant management.

Campbell begins his new position on Sept. 15 in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). He will work with Ohio State Extension professionals to develop educational materials and programs for sheep and goat producers. 

“Brady will fill an important role for our department and the state. Ohio is the largest sheep production state east of the Mississippi,” said John Foltz, chair of the animal sciences department. “Lamb and goat production are on the rise in Ohio due to a variety of factors, including increased consumption in restaurants and increased ethnic populations in the state.”

In addition, he will conduct applied research on small ruminant production and management and assist with youth livestock sheep and goat programs. 

“As we educate undergraduate students who are increasingly from urban backgrounds, they can more easily work with small ruminants,” Foltz said.… Continue reading

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Preparing for and preventing African swine fever

With the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory confirmation of African swine fever (ASF) in samples collected from pigs in the Dominican Republic, efforts are being redoubled to protect U.S. swine herds from this devastating disease hitting too close to home.

ASF has moved through Russia and Eastern Europe since 2007 and in August of 2018 was reported in China’s swine herd. It has been estimated that the number of sows China has lost to ASF is more than the entire U.S. sow herd.

The Dominican Republic case of ASF confirmed on July 28 is less than 1,000 miles away from the U.S. border, so USDA is using the case as an opportunity to prepare U.S. producers and key stakeholders for the possibility of ASF entering the U.S. Rosemary Sifford, with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), participated in a recent Pork Checkoff producer webinar on the topic. … Continue reading

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USDA seeks to designate of Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands as ASF protection zone

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its intent to designate Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as a “protection zone,” a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) designation that allows the United States to maintain its current animal health status should there be a detection of African swine fever (ASF) or other foreign animal disease on the island territories. The USDA will work to gain OIE acceptance of this designation to maintain U.S. pork export continuity should Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands have an animal test positive for African swine fever in the future. The United States, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, remain free of African swine fever, a swine-only disease with no human health implications. There is no commercial pork trade from Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the United States mainland.

“We thank Secretary Vilsack for taking this pre-emptive step to preserve the continuity of U.S.… Continue reading

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Ventilation and control of airborne pathogens in indoor environments for human and animal health

By Lingying Zhao

The COVID-19 pandemic has painfully made us recognize how critical air quality is to our health. Office buildings, classrooms, most public facilities, and even our homes are not equipped to deal with the airborne transmission of infectious diseases. One sick family member at home may put the whole household at risk. One sick worker may easily spread the virus to coworkers. One sick animal may quickly infect many other animals in large-scale animal production facilities. We need solutions to address these emerging and pressing challenges. Ventilation and/or air pollution mitigation technologies can be developed to control COVID-19 and other types of airborne infectious disease transmission in indoor spaces. Ohio State University researchers are developing innovative ventilation and air disinfection technologies for homes and animal production facilities to improve human and animal health.


Ventilation is an intentional air exchange process that introduces fresh air in, and exhausts stale air out, of an indoor space.… Continue reading

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USDA announces improvements to the dairy safety net and Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the details of the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program as part of meetings with farmers and a tour of farms with Senator Leahy. 

In June, USDA committed to providing additional pandemic assistance for dairy farmers in an exchange at a hearing with Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Leahy. Through the program, USDA will provide about $350 million in pandemic assistance payments to dairy farmers who received a lower value for their products due to market abnormalities caused by the pandemic. The assistance is part of a larger package including permanent improvements to the Dairy Margin Coverage safety net program.

“The Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program is another component of our ongoing effort to get aid to producers who have been left behind and build on our progress towards economic recovery,” said Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary. “Family dairy farmers have been battered by the pandemic, trade issues and unpredictable weather and are the life-blood of many rural communities throughout Vermont, the Northeast and many other regions.… Continue reading

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Western bunnies are threatened

By Don “Doc” Sanders

No, this isn’t about Playboy bunnies. I’m writing about a virus that’s killing rabbits in the western U.S. It’s killing not only wild rabbits, but also domestic ones like New Zealand Whites and European breeds.      

The disease has in recent years been identified in the U.S. as Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Serotype-2 (RHDV-2). In the past decade this virus was killing about 20% of infected rabbits. But RHDV-2 has become more deadly, killing 80% of infected rabbits — especially domestic rabbits.

Three to five days after exposure to RHDV-2, a rabbit will develop a severe illness with internal bleeding and will die in less than 24 hours. Often there are no signs other than hemorrhaging from the deceased rabbit’s nose.

This news takes me back to my boyhood. Rabbits were my first livestock project when I was about nine years old. My cousins, who were three and four years older than me, and were experienced in rabbits as livestock, got me started.… Continue reading

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ALB accepting funding applications for lamb industry promotional programs

The American Lamb Board’s (ALB) end of the fiscal year 2021 is approaching Sept. 30, however, producers and industry partners still have time to submit an application for the Promotional Funding Program. 

 ALB has combined its two industry funding/support programs, the Local Lamb Promotional Funds Program and the Supplier Cooperative Funds Program. The new program, the Promotional Partnership Program, is designed to create more flexibility for industry partners. Applications can be made throughout the year, so there is no longer a deadline. This allows the industry to apply as opportunities arise. 

There are four categories of funding/support available:

1.       Cash sponsorships for events or educational conferences. This category is primarily meant for industry organizations who have existing, successful events or conferences they host regularly with existing sponsorship packages available.

2.       Donation requests for promotional materials that are sold on, such as spice tins, reusable grocery bags, hats, aprons and socks, up to $100 value.… Continue reading

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U.S. beef and pork exports on record pace

U.S. red meat exports closed the first half of the year on a strong note, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Although volume and value eased from the enormous totals posted in April and May, export value was still the highest on record for the month of June and first-half shipments established a record pace for both beef and pork exports.

“USMEF had expected a continued strong performance in June for both beef and pork exports, despite significant headwinds,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO. “2021 has presented many formidable challenges for the U.S. industry, including a very tight labor situation, logistical obstacles that slowed product movement and foodservice restrictions in many key markets. So the fact that first-half exports reached record levels speaks to the loyalty of our international customer base, strong consumer demand for high-quality, nutritious U.S. red meat and the U.S.… Continue reading

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