Pork Checkoff updates its Transport Quality Assurance Program

Since 2001, the pork industry’s Transport Quality Assurance program (TQA) has promoted responsible practices when handling and transporting pigs. In that time, TQA has undergone five revisions – always striving to offer the most current, science-based information on humane handling, biosecurity and proper transportation of swine.

The mission of the TQA program remains unchanged: to continuously build a culture of protecting and promoting animal well-being through training and certification of animal handlers and transport personnel. In that process, TQA uses the most current industry-proven techniques in an effort to build consumer confidence and understanding of the high-quality pork products delivered to market every day.

“Consumers are hungry for information on how their pork is raised — from the farm to the table,” said Sherrie Webb, animal welfare director at The National Pork Board. “That need for information is about more than what happens on the farm and extends to how that animal is safely and humanely transported from farm to market.… Continue reading

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Speaker Boehner visits Ohio hog farm

Recently, Congressman John Boehner, Speaker of the House visited Wuebker Farms in Versailles. Wuebker Farms co-owners, Jeff and Alan Wuebker, their families,

representatives from Ohio Farm Bureau, the Ohio Pork Council were present for the Speaker’s visit and offered insight on many issues facing today’s pork industry.

Bill Minton, a nationally recognized swine veterinarian from Chickasaw was also present and was able to provide an update on Ohio’s work to combat PEDv.

“It was great to have Speaker Boehner on our farm to see, hands-on, what we do everyday to produce safe, affordable pork for the American consumer,” said Jeff Wuebker. “His visit was a good reminder of the many challenges we face in the swine industry and how important the federal government is in helping farmers protect our food supply. Agriculture is the number one industry in the Speaker’s district and in Ohio with over $100 billion in economic activity each year.”… Continue reading

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For Your InFARMation brings students to the farm

Saatvika Vyakaranam from Tyler Run Elementary School in Powell has been named this year’s winner of the Ohio Livestock Coalition’s (OLC) essay contest. For being named the winner, Saatvika’s entire third grade class — all 113 of them — will be awarded an all-expenses paid field trip to a central Ohio livestock farm this month.

The essay contest is part of OLC’s For Your InFARMation (FYI) program. The program includes free educational materials for teachers designed to teach third grade students about the origins of the food they eat every day and about the important role agriculture plays in Ohio’s economy.

FYI materials support key Ohio academic contest standards for social studies, language arts, science and math, and can be downloaded free of charge at Through these materials, students learn more about farmers and the economy, livestock farming, keys to safe and health food, careers in agriculture and more.… Continue reading

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Social media boosting meat exports

Ten years ago, most people would have never dreamed of putting a picture of their breakfast on the Internet, or sharing musings while siting in traffic. And poeple couldn’t show the world videos of the funny tricks performed by their children or dog.

Now they can, courtesy of social media outlets such as Facebook (founded in February 2004), YouTube (February 2005) and Twitter (March 2006), to name a few.

It didn’t take long for the social media phenomenon to sweep around the world, and while it is a global tool, it has local applications, making it ideal for an organization like the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) that supports U.S. beef, pork and lamb exports around the world, but tailors the message to each individual market.

“Social media is insanely popular and is incredibly powerful – and cost-effective – if used properly,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president of global marketing and communications.… Continue reading

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Eli Lilly and Company announces agreement to acquire Novartis Animal Health

Eli Lilly and Company has announced an agreement to acquire Novartis Animal Health for approximately $5.4 billion in an all-cash transaction that will strengthen and diversify Lilly’s own animal health business, Elanco. Upon completion of the acquisition, Elanco will be the second-largest animal health company in terms of global revenue, will solidify its number two ranking in the U.S., and improve its position in Europe and the rest of the world.

With a presence in approximately 40 countries and 2013 revenue of approximately $1.1 billion, Novartis Animal Health is focused on developing better ways to prevent and treat diseases in pets, farm animals and farmed fish. Lilly will acquire Novartis Animal Health’s nine manufacturing sites, six dedicated research and development facilities, a global commercial infrastructure with a portfolio of approximately 600 products, a robust pipeline with more than 40 projects in development, and an experienced team of more than 3,000 employees.… Continue reading

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Sign-up for disaster assistance program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that eligible farmers and ranchers can sign up for U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster assistance programs restored by passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Depending on the size and type of farm or ranch operation, eligible producers can enroll in a number of programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The Livestock Forage Disaster Program and the Livestock Indemnity Program will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, including calendar years 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have suffered losses because of disease, severe weather, blizzards and wildfires.

Producers signing up for these programs are encouraged to contact their local FSA office for information on the types of records needed and to schedule an appointment.… Continue reading

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The ins and outs of fencing decisions

Wood prices are predicted to reach record highs by the end of 2014. This is due to timber-supply shortages related to environmental factors such as heavy rainfall. The increasing demand for wood products as the economy and housing markets begin to recover also plays a large part in rising prices. With low supply and increasing demand, the wood product industry and its consumers are facing price hikes on wood everywhere.

Due to this shortage “You get what you pay for,” will take on a whole new meaning for farm fence customers this year, making research and purchasing long-lasting products even more crucial to avoid spending double, or even triple the amount of your initial investment. When making an investment to fence your farm, consider the “4 W’s” (Who, What, When and Warranty) before locking in a purchase.


Who set the pressure-treating standards for the posts?

The AWPA (American Wood Protection Association) has written a book of standards to ensure customers receive the highest-quality and longest lasting wood products available.… Continue reading

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Sheep Award nominations due June 1, 2014

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, 2014. Award recipients will be honored at the 2014 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium. If you would like to nominate someone for any of these awards, please contact the OSIA Office at 614-246-8293 for an application. Award applications will also be posted at after March 15, 2014. 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… Continue reading

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Feral pigs and PEDv

Do feral swine play a part in spreading Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv)? That’s what scientists across Michigan and the country are rushing to figure out.

According to, scientists are developing a new blood test to detect PEDv to determine if feral hogs are helping spread the disease. David Marks, a wildlife disease biologist at the USDA Wildlife Services office in Okemos, Mich., explained to reporters that the serum test is being used in a national pilot project. If it is found to be successful, scientists will begin to test archived blood as well.

“We keep extra serum every time we catch a feral pig, so if they do find (the disease in archived samples), then the next step would be to test in those states where the virus has been found,” Marks said.

Actual testing of wild pigs in Michigan is still months away, and while biologists aren’t certain PEDv has reached feral hog herds, there is still a possibility.… Continue reading

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USDA announces funding to train the next generation of farmers

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of more than $19 million in grants to help train, educate and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of agricultural producers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP).

“USDA is committed to the next generation of America’s farmers and ranchers because they represent the future of agriculture and are the backbone of our rural economy. As the average age of farmers continues to rise, we have no time to lose in getting more new farmers and ranchers established.” said Secretary Vilsack. “Reauthorizing and expanding the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is one of the many resources the 2014 Farm Bill gave us to build America’s agricultural future. Through this program, we can build a diverse next generation of farmers and ranchers.”

BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help farmers, ranchers and managers of non-industrial private forest land – specifically those aiming to start farming and those who have been farming or ranching for 10 or fewer years.… Continue reading

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USDA announces disaster assistance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that farmers and ranchers can sign up for disaster assistance programs on April 15. The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, including calendar years 2012, 2013 and 2014, USDA reported.

USDA is encouraging all producers who experienced losses to compile records documenting their losses before enrolling in these disaster assistance programs. Local Farm Service Agency county offices can provide information on the types of records applicants will need. Producers are also encouraged to contact their county office ahead of time to schedule an appointment.

LIP provides compensation to livestock producers that have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. Sheep are included as eligible livestock for this program.… Continue reading

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Public notice by the Ohio Pork Council and the National Pork Board

The election of pork producers and delegate candidates for the 2015 National Pork Producers Delegate Body will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at the American Dairy Association Mideast offices, 5950 Sharon Woods Blvd., Columbus, OH 43229. All Ohio pork producers are invited to attend.

Any producer, at least 18 years of age, who is a resident of the state and has paid all assessments due may be considered as a delegate candidate and/or participate in the election. All eligible producers are encouraged to bring with them a sales receipt verifying that hogs were sold in their name and the checkoff deducted.

For more information, contact the Ohio Pork Council at 5930 Sharon Woods Boulevard, Ste. 101, Columbus, OH 43229 or 614-882-5887.… Continue reading

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Handling manure the right way

Brad Mattix really wanted around 36,000 tons of poultry manure from Trillium Farms to sell and to spread over more than 4,000 acres of farmland in Marion and Crawford counties.

“The microbial activity benefits the soil and the yield potential is much better. Once we added this to the soil for five or six years, we were consistently out-yielding fields with commercial fertilizer. The only commercial fertilizer we use now is nitrogen. We showed Trillium Farms our plans and what we wanted to do,” Mattix said. “They said they would prefer us to do all of it.”

And, by all of it, the folks at Trillium Farms meant 135,000 tons of poultry litter from 12 million hens in facilities in Croton, Marseilles and Mt. Victory each year — a suggestion that would give the most ardent supporter of the value of manure a reason to pause.

“That made us wonder if we were going to get in over our heads but we came up with a battle plan to do it,” Mattix said.… Continue reading

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Fourth Annual Ohio State Fair Commercial Pen of 5 Market Lamb Show

Class Purpose:

  • Increase producer’s knowledge of carcass merit of the lambs they are producing
  • Provide carcass data to producers to aid in sire evaluations
  • Promote the high quality product being produced by the Ohio lamb industry
  • Expand the number of lambs available for the Ohio State Fair Lamb Sale to support the needs of the Kroger Company
    • Provide a greater opportunity for producers to participate in Ohio State Fair sheep activities


Rules for participation:

  • Open to any producer of market lambs – wethers and ewe lambs
  • Entry Fee – $25/pen of 5 – Maximum of 5 entries per family
  • All entries must have a number one pelt (approx. 90 days growth) with a fleece length of (one inch) 1” +/- ¼” (hair breeds will be allowed to show but no shearing will be allowed). Shearing of lambs prior to May 1, 2014 is highly recommended.
  • Lambs will not be washed or trimmed.
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PEDv losses not as large as expected

The headline for the last USDA Hogs and Pigs report could have been: “PEDv Losses Not as Large as Expected.” A week later, spring and summer lean futures are down nearly $10 per hundredweight, or about 8%.

For the pork industry, the USDA’s March Hogs and Pigs report was the most anticipated in decades. The report was the first national comprehensive measure of baby pig losses over the past six months due to the PED virus and the harsh winter. USDA received data from 6,100 pork operations across the country that were randomly surveyed in early March. As such, it is the broadest measure of the losses from an unbiased source.

Analysis of the report numbers suggests the nation’s baby pig death loss over the past six months was about five percent. In contrast, one widely circulated report from an investment firm had predicted an 11% loss for pigs coming to market in 2014, with peak losses exceeding 20% for late summer marketings.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Council scholarship applications due

There are numerous scholarship opportunities available to college students interested in the pork industry.

The Ohio Pork Council will be offering up to $9,000 in scholarships, ranging from $500 to $1000 per individual. Applicants 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.

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

To obtain a scholarship application for both of these scholarships, please visit: Applications for OPC & OPCW scholarships are due April 18. Continue reading

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2014 Ohio Dairy Judging Contest results

The setting is Spring Dairy expo on March 29, 2014 in a very crowded Voinovich arena. Both 4-H and FFA members from all parts of the state have come to compete in the Ohio Dairy Judging Contest. Someone’s goal is about to become reality, while other will return home with an eye towards 2015.

While registration tables are busy, officials are already evaluating the six classes that will be presented. These key individuals also prepare questions for each class that must be answered by contestants. The contest begins with thorough instructions for each division and the animals begin their parade in the ring in both directions, head to tail, and side by side.  The youngest contestants have many questions, but quickly feel the pressure of making a wise choice. Moderator Neal Smith, of the American Jersey Cattle Association, capably manages all movement of cattle. 4-H members compete in three age divisions; Junior, Intermediate, and Senior.… Continue reading

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Plenty of incentive to monitor bull performance

High prices are providing an incentive to cattlemen to expand the nation’s drought-riddled cow herd. With fewer cows in the nation’s breeding herd, it is important to make each cow count, said a University of Illinois Extension beef specialist.

Travis Meteer explained that management strategies play a major role in ensuring that cows re-breed.

“The most obvious management strategy a cattle producer can deploy is conducting a breeding soundness exam (BSE) on bulls. All bulls that will be used in a breeding season need to be tested. Without a breeding soundness exam, producers are taking a huge risk,” he said.

The Extension specialist added that breeding soundness exams are low cost and provide a great return on the investment. Bulls that are infertile or have poor fertility will fail to settle cows.

“Evaluating bulls is crucial to making sure that cows get bred. A BSE should be conducted by a veterinarian each year prior to turnout.… Continue reading

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2014 Spring Dairy Expo show and sale results

The 28th Ohio Spring Dairy Expo was held at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio, on March 27 – 29. A total of 728 quality animals representing all seven breeds of dairy cattle were on the grounds for the shows and sales. Exhibitors traveled from across Ohio and eight other states to present their entries to judges Justin Burdette of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania and Kevin Lutz of Lincolnton, North Carolina.

This year’s event featured seven shows in which 557 open class and junior animals competed for the top spots and six sales offering 244 cattle that are now headed to new homes across the country. An additional event at this year’s Expo was the Holstein USA Judges Conference, which attracted 97 dairy evaluators from across the country.

Next year, Spring Dairy Expo will be held March 26-28, again at the Ohio Expo Center.

Ohio Spring Dairy Expo would not be possible without the generous support of its many sponsors.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Seedstock Improvement Sale

The 2014 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Seedstock Improvement Sale is planned for Saturday, April 12 at noon at the Union Stock Yards Company in Hillsboro, Ohio. The sale offers an affordable way to market bulls from multiple breeds in one location and on one day. Buyers have the assurance of buying bulls with known genetics, a completed vaccination regiment and a breeding soundness exam.

The Seedstock Improvement Sale offers 44 Angus, Sim-Angus and Simmental bulls. Bulls are required to be registered and to have expected progeny differences (EPDs). The bulls will be placed in sale order based on a within breed evaluation star system using EPDs for birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, milk, marbling and ribeye. All bulls are required to be tested for Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) persistent infection (PI) status.

For more information on the sale and to request a catalog, contact the OCA office at 614-873-6736 or through email atbeef@ohiobeef.orgContinue reading

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