Will proposed farm bill set off trade retaliations?

After the announcement that the House and Senate agriculture leaders constructed and agreed on a five-year farm bill proposal, many agriculture groups applauded the efforts and outcome to be voted on later this week. However, some organizations fear that their members will face economic harm because in its current form, the 2014 farm bill fails to fix the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law.

“The bill that the conference committee released Monday is not one that addresses the concerns of our members,” said Scott George, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “The released bill is a slap in the face to every livestock producer in this country and we are calling on Congress to fix the mistakes they have made that are costing cattlemen and women every day.”

Canada and Mexico filed a complaint over the law with the World Trade Organization, which is expected to rule on it next month.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Pork Congress to highlight industry information

The 2014 Ohio Pork Congress will be held on Feb. 11-12, in Columbus, at the Crowne Plaza North. Those involved in the pork industry across the state will want to attend the Ohio Pork Congress to view and learn about the latest pork industry technologies.

On Feb. 12, those involved in the pork industry are invited to attend the Professional Pork Producers Symposium, a set of educational seminars featuring experts from around the U.S. The Ohio Pork Congress also features a trade show offering the latest information from agribusinesses throughout the nation. The trade show will be open on Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

“We encourage anyone involved in the pork industry to attend the Ohio Pork Congress and the Professional Pork Producers Symposium this year. Congress will be very educational, presenting valuable information for all of those involved in the industry,” said Dick Isler, Executive Vice President, Ohio Pork Council.… Continue reading

Read More »

Wilmington College breaks ground for new Center for the Sciences and Agriculture

There was noticeable excitement in the air as a large crowd settled into the cushy seats in the Heiland Theatre on the charming, snow-blanketed Wilmington College campus. The group of students, faculty and alumni was buzzing about the future as they gathered for a Jan. 24 groundbreaking ceremony for the Center for the Sciences and Agriculture. The new facility will transform the teaching of math, science and agriculture at Wilmington College. Construction will begin soon on a 13,500-square foot addition to the 34,000 square-foot Kettering Hall, which will undergo a complete renovation. Expected completion is August 2015.

“There will be new labs and new classroom space and facilities that are up to par with the type of program and the faculty that we have had for years,” said Adam Lohrey, agriculture studies recruiter for Wilmington College. “Over the last four years we have had 25% growth each year in the agricultural program and we are over 250 students currently.… Continue reading

Read More »

Beef School to Focus on “Improving Breeding Herd Efficiencies”

The first session of the 2014 Ohio Beef Cattle School is rapidly approaching on January 28, 2014. This three session school kicks off with the topic “Improving Breeding Herd Efficiencies.” The focus of this program will be improving overall herd productivity through improved herd health and nutrition programs. Troy A. Brick DVM, Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and Dr. Francis Fluharty, Research Scientist, OSU Department of Animal Sciences will serve as featured speakers for the evening.

These sessions will follow a similar format used in the past as each session will be broadcast locally via an internet link at a variety of locations around Ohio. If interested in attending one of these host locations, go to the following link to find the current listing of host locations around the state:

Individuals that participate in all three sessions of the 2014 Ohio Beef Cattle School will have received sufficient training to qualify for Ohio’s Beef Quality Assurance Program.Continue reading

Read More »


With the prolonged spell of cold plus snow cover across Ohio, starlings and similar pests are once again a problem on livestock farms. Nuisance birds are particularly troublesome on farms which have exposed feed in feeders and bunks that these pests can easily get to.

Not only can these birds carry and transmit disease, but they consume expensive feed. As Steve Boyles described last year, an average starling weighing 85 grams can consume over 2 pounds of feed in a 30-day period. Commonly seeing a 1,000 or more starlings at a feed bunk in the kind of weather we are experiencing can add up to more than a ton of feed lost to birds in only a month’s time!

The best approach to controlling nuisance birds usually involves employing a combination of techniques including exclusion, scare tactics, shooting, repellants and toxicants. For detail on how to employ each of these control measures as well as a list of labeled control materials, visit the USDA-APHIS publication titled European Starlings or their on-line Wildlife Damage Management page.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Cattlemen’s Association youth holds second “Cattle Battle” to benefit Make-A-Wish

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association BEST Program for youth ages 8-21 years will host the BEST Celebrity Showdown at the Clark County Cattle Battle to benefit Make-A-Wish. The event, in its second year, will be held on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, at the Champions Center in Springfield.

BEST youth will participate in this year’s battle, dressing up their cattle and presenting it to judge Wyatt McCubbin, an up-and-coming country music singer and songwriter.  McCubbin, 18, of South Charleston has accomplished much in the four years he has played music and seeks to follow in the traditional country footsteps of Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Hank Williams Sr.

Through donations from family, friends, the community and members of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, youth participating in the Celebrity Showdown hope to raise $16,000 to help grant the wishes of local children battling life-threatening medical conditions. Last year BEST participants raised more than $19,000, greatly surpassing their $8,000 goal.… Continue reading

Read More »

Pork industry has started slowly expanding

The U.S. pork industry has started a slow expansion driven by lower feed costs, which should lead to more rapid growth of pork supplies in the latter half of this year, said Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

That could result in 2014 turning into the best year for pork producers in nearly a decade.

If corn and soybean meal prices stay low as expected, hog weights and pork production should continue to increase into 2015, Hurt said.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the number of market hogs to be down fractionally in 2014, but weights are expected to run about 2% higher and result in a 1 to 2% increase in pork production for the first half of 2014,” Hurt said. “Farrowing intentions for this winter and coming spring are up 1 to 2%. With pigs per litter about 1.5% higher and higher weights, pork production in the last half of 2014 will be up 3%.… Continue reading

Read More »

Livestock shows and people have much in common around the world

A conversation with…

Tom Turner, professor emeritus of The Ohio State University, who recently returned from judging beef cattle at the Canterbury A&P Show — the largest livestock show in New Zealand.

OCJ: First, this sounds like quite an event — more than just a livestock show. Could you please share a little about what all the Canterbury A&P Show entails?

Tom: The Canterbury A&P show is the largest livestock show in New Zealand but is also much like our state fair with a much smaller midway and a very large display of agricultural equipment more like our Farm Science Review. A&P stands for Agricultural and Pastoral or tilled and non-tilled land. Canterbury is a large agricultural area on the south island and perhaps the most productive area in all of New Zealand. The largest exhibits at the Canterbury show would be beef cattle, sheep and horses. Interestingly the show lasts only three days and is open from 8:00 a.m.… Continue reading

Read More »

Strong beef market continues

It appears that there will continue to be some significant opportunities for profits in the beef sector moving forward, but also a battle to maintain consumer demand as prices continue to rise.

Auctioneer Johnny Regula was excited to see the positive prices for cattle producers at United Producers, Inc. in Bucyrus on Jan. 9.

“The top steer was 1,390 pounds at $152.25 and several from $144 to $149.50,” Regula said. “Top Holsteins were at $137.25! I swear, I never thought I would ever see $150 cattle to the packer.”

The prices are moving up so fast that Regula suggested restaurants serving beef will have to start pricing their menus based on “market price” — a strategy typically reserved for lobster and other seafood. Cattle prices are holding strong around the country due to a number of factors.

“In a typical year, fed cattle prices move up from winter to spring, drop sharply in early summer, and rally back in the fall.… Continue reading

Read More »

A strategy for determining manure management options

The concentration of livestock production facilities has contributed to excess nutrient loading, which has led to degraded surface water quality, increased algal blooms, and community concerns. Livestock manure applied to cropland can provide nutrients and improve soil conditions, but in areas with high livestock concentrations, the acreage needed to recycle manure nutrients may not be available due to excess nutrient loading. Alternative manure processing technologies (MPTs) that have the potential to utilize livestock manure for value-added products are available, but adoption has been limited because farmers lack objective data and a mechanism for comparing their effectiveness.

Under a USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant-funded project, information sheets for seven MPTs (Table 1) and an interactive MPT Decision Tool spreadsheet were developed by the Ohio Composting and Manure Management Program (OCAMM) at The Ohio State University’s OARDC in Wooster.


Table 1.  Manure processing technologies (MPT) for livestock manure.


Land Applicationorganic nutrients are applied to cropland


Separationa portion of the liquids are removed


Compostinga microbial process in which organic materials are decomposed in an aerobic environment


Anaerobic Digestiona microbial process in which organic materials are decomposed in an oxygen-free environment


P Recoverya chemical process in which phosphorus is captured and directly removed from stored liquid manure


Pyrolysisdirect thermochemical conversion of organic material in an oxygen deficient environment at low moisture and high temperature


Hydrothermal Liquefactiondirect thermochemical conversion of organic material in an oxygen deficient environment at high moisture, pressure, and temperature


Key: A-fertilizer and/or soil amendment;  B-renewable energy;  C-raw materials

The information sheets provide comprehensive objective information regarding the effectiveness of the seven technologies for managing and utilizing manure nutrients.… Continue reading

Read More »

Tyson Foods announces hog production practice requests for the future

Tyson Foods announced it will urge its suppliers to implement a series of production practices that it deems representative of responsible food production. Those recommendations include the use of video monitoring in sow farms, discontinuation of manual blunt force trauma as a primary method of euthanasia, use of pain mitigation for tail docking and castration, and the recommendation for sow housing built or renovated in 2014 and beyond to provide adequate quality and quantity of space for gestating sows.

The National Pork Board continues to recognize and promote the opportunity for producers, working with their veterinarians, to make the best decisions for their farms, their families, their employees and their animals. Producers need workable, credible and affordable solutions for improving animal care.

From a broad industry perspective, there are a number of important issues raised by the announcement, according to the National Pork Board. These include:

  • Currently there are no approved drugs for the use of pain mitigation in pig farming.
Continue reading

Read More »

ODA Director signs order for Beef Checkoff referendum


Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels recently signed the order for the Ohio Beef Checkoff referendum vote, which asks for an increase from $1 per head of cattle to $2 per head.

The director’s signature comes after the Dec. 9, 2013, referendum comment hearing, which was attended by the Ohio Beef Council and Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA). The Ohio Farm Bureau and Ohio Dairy Producers Association, which publicly endorsed the Ohio Beef Checkoff, also attended the hearing.

“Cattle producers will a see a return on their investment when they vote yes for this referendum,” said Frank Phelps, OCA president. “This increase will go a long way in helping the Ohio Beef Council reach the state’s nearly 12 million consumers.”

The Ohio Department of Agriculture will oversee the Ohio Beef Checkoff referendum process, regulated by Section 924 of the Ohio Revised Code under the Ohio Beef Marketing Program.

Any producer among the 17,400 individuals that have marketed cattle in Ohio in the 2013 calendar year will be eligible to vote in the upcoming referendum, including youth who market 4-H and FFA beef projects.… Continue reading

Read More »

Food trends to watch for in 2014

In case you had not noticed, it’s another New Year, which means we’ll see all kinds of new food trends. Some of them will have a lasting impact while some of them will be gone before we even notice. The important thing to keep in mind is this: these new trends do not just impact grocery stores and restaurants. They also have the ability to impact the entire food chain, from farm to fork.

We started seeing food trend predictions during the last quarter of last year. The National Restaurant Association (the other NRA) shared its industry consumer trends with those of us who attended the Center for Food Integrity’s Food System Summit last October.

By the year 2020, NRA predicts major developments will require restaurants to make the following adjustments:

  1. Upgrades in product quality and emphasis on “fresh.”
  2. Local sourcing becoming more prevalent.
  3. Greater demand for authentic items and flavor profiles.
Continue reading

Read More »

OCA Best of the Buckeye nominations for Ohio Beef Expo due Jan. 15

Ohio seedstock breeders are encouraged to take advantage of an enhanced marketing opportunity through the Best of the Buckeye program beginning in the 2014 show season, hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) in conjunction with the Ohio Beef Expo and the Ohio State Fair. Nominations for Best of the Buckeye at the Ohio Beef Expo are due Jan. 15.

The Best of the Buckeye program will recognize top-placing Ohio bred, born and registered calves, along with the breeder and exhibitor, in each breed division at the two shows. Thanks to generous sponsors, $45,000 will be presented during 2014 in the form of premiums at the two shows, scholarships and awards. This year’s sponsors are Green Oak Farms, heifer division; Steve R. Rauch, steer division; and Franklin Equipment, scholarship division.

The program was formed to provide Ohio seedstock breeders an additional marketing opportunity, create a source for moderately priced show steers and heifers by providing a program with awards and prestige, and to attract new participants interested in showing at the Ohio Beef Expo and/or the Ohio State Fair.… Continue reading

Read More »

BEEF 509 Program set for March

The BEEF 509 program is designed to raise the awareness level about producing food and the reasons why it sometimes might miss its mark with consumers’ palates and producers’ pocketbooks. The 2014 edition of this ever-popular program will take place on the consecutive Saturdays of March 1 and 8. As in the past, the program will be held at the Animal Sciences Building on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Information and activities will be similar to past 509 programs including live animal evaluation, auction and grid discussions, carcass grading and fabrication, new products and a review of live, carcass and boxed-beef values. Attendance at both sessions is critical as participants will be assigned to teams that will work together for each day of the program.

A maximum of 32 spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If interest in BEEF 509 exceeds the 32 spaces provided, names will be held and applicants notified of upcoming sessions.… Continue reading

Read More »

Wind and cold dangerous for livestock

The wind and cold blowing through Ohio right now can offer very dangerous conditions for livestock and the humans caring for them.

It is very important to keep plenty of hay with the livestock in these extreme cold conditions over the next few days.

“A belly full of hay will help maintain the internal temperature of the animal. Keeping the animals out of drafts and plenty of bedding are also important,” said Roger High with the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association. “But keeping them full of hay is the most important management practice that you can do for the animals. It is also important to keep clean fresh water with them at all times as well.”

Here is more from Rory Lewandowski, Ohio State University Extension Educator from Wayne County.

All animals have a thermo neutral zone, that is, a range in temperature where the animal is most comfortable and is not under any temperature stress.… Continue reading

Read More »

Retail meat prices in 2013

USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) released their estimates of monthly average retail meat prices for November. According to this data, beef prices continue to edge higher. Both average Choice and All Fresh retail beef prices rose by about 1% compared with October. The All Fresh retail beef price in November averaged just over $5.01 per pound — the first time this price has surpassed the $5 mark. The all fresh beef price is 4.5% higher than it was last November.

By comparison, both pork and broiler retail prices declined in November compared with the prior month. Pork prices were off by just under 1% from October; however, broiler prices fell rather sharply. The November average broiler composite retail price in November worked out to 195.57 cents per pound. This is a decline of almost 4% from October. That is a fairly sharp drop in a single month. In fact, it is the largest monthly decline in the retail broiler composite price since July 2009.… Continue reading

Read More »

Cold weather could mean more feed

Colder, icy, harsh winter weather means producers need to be aware of increased livestock energy requirements to ensure their animals are able to withstand the extreme outdoor conditions, according to a forage expert from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

While temperatures are forecast to rise slightly over the next few days, the rain that is predicted still means that producers need to be vigilant to ensure livestock are prepared for the weather, said Rory Lewandowski, agriculture and natural resources educator for the college’s outreach arm, Ohio State University Extension.

Cold temperatures, cold rains and muddy conditions can significantly increase the energy required by livestock metabolism to provide enough heat for the animal to maintain its body temperature, he said.

“All of these winter weather conditions can negatively impact livestock performance and increase the energy requirement of the animal,” Lewandowski said. “With the colder than average temperatures the region has experienced in December, it’s time for producers to start thinking about their livestock and their body condition.”… Continue reading

Read More »

New Year’s resolutions for livestock producers

Yes, it’s that time of year again: time to make the list — not check the list — of New Year’s resolutions for 2014. A few suggestions you may wish to consider as you go about developing your list of resolutions include the following:

I will follow the 4R scientific principles of nutrient stewardship.

Right source — Ensure a balanced supply of essential nutrients, considering both naturally available sources and the characteristics of specific products, in plant available forms.

Right rate — Assess and make decisions based on soil nutrient supply and plant demand.

Right time — Assess and make decisions based on the dynamics of crop uptake, soil supply, nutrient loss risks, and field operation logistics.

Right place — Address root-soil dynamics and nutrient movement, and manage spatial variability within the field to meet site-specific crop needs and limit potential losses from the field.

If I have a nutrient management plan for my farm, I will follow it.… Continue reading

Read More »