Ohio Pork Council highlights winners

The Ohio Pork Congress awards luncheon highlighted another great year of service and accomplishments in Ohio’s pork industry. Several award winners were recognized.


Jim Albaugh was the Pork Industry Excellence Award winner. The award was presented by Kim Lawson of Elanco.



Bill Funderburg, from Greenville, was the Ohio Pork Industry Service Award Winner. The award was presented by OPC president Duane Stateler and Dick Isler.



Kevin Stuckey, was the Manager of the Year. The award was presented by OPC president Duane Stateler and Dick Isler.



The Pork Schop, represented by Barb Stuckey, received the Pork Promoter of the Year Award. The award was presented by OPPC president Duane Stateler and Matt Reese, from Ohio’s Country Journal.

Also in the program Grady Bishop, Elanco Director of U.S. Swine Business Unit, talked about the challenges and opportunities of food security moving forward. A highlight from the last year was the recent launch of the Ohio Pork Council’s re-designed website,… Continue reading

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Consistent attention to detail bred success in the Yorkshire business

Society today is often focused on being the most attention grabbing and extreme, and the hog breeding business is no different. But, according to noteworthy Yorkshire breeder and the Ohio Pork Industry Service Award recipient Bill Funderburg, being flashy is not always the best path to long-term success. He was recognized at the Ohio Pork Congress today.

“Being spectacular is not as important as being honest and consistent,” he said. “That is how you get pigs that will do well for the customer.”

Funderburg achieved almost unprecedented success in the Yorkshire breed with consistency and attention to detail while maintaining focus on the big picture. Sometimes his pigs were spectacular, but, more importantly, Funderburg built a reputation over 50 years for consistent quality hogs on his Darke County farm.

“We started in 1951 with my father west of Greenville. We were on the halves there and we farmed about 400 acres.… Continue reading

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New swine virus

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is informing pork producers and veterinarians that a new coronavirus has been detected in pig fecal samples from four different swine farms in Ohio by Dr. Yan Zhang, a virologist from ODA’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL). The virus cannot spread to humans or other species and poses no risk to food safety.

The farms from which the samples were taken experienced outbreaks of a diarrheal disease in sows and piglets in January and early February of 2014. The clinical signs of the disease were similar to that of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) and transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE), which are both caused by coronaviruses. Electronmicropy of fecal samples from the four farms showed the presence of coronavirus-like viral particles. In one of the four farms, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for TGE viruses and PED viruses currently circulating in the U.S. were negative, but all 10 samples were positive for a new virus.… Continue reading

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Determination important in battle with EPA

In the middle of the extreme frigid temperatures in early January, a beautiful dark heifer calf arrived. We dried her off, covered her with a calf blanket and promptly moved her into the heated shop for a warm welcome to the world. All was well until about a week later when we moved her to her own snuggly, well-bedded calf hut. She resided there for about 15 minutes while she dismantled it, then ran back to the shop door.

After several unsuccessful attempts at relocation, I gave up. She spent most of January in the shop. I respect her determination, so I named her Lois, after the plaintiff in Alt v. EPA, a case I am watching as it works its way through the federal courts.

Lois Alt is a 62-year-old grandmother and longtime electrician for the construction industry who invested her life savings in her West Virginia chicken farm. She saw the poultry business as a welcome alternative from her long commute to Virginia.… Continue reading

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Red meat exports boom

Beef exports continued their surge in December, surpassing year-ago totals by nearly 13% in volume and 20% in value led by growth in sales to Japan, Mexico, Hong Kong and Central/South America. Totals for 2013 were up 3% in volume to 1.17 million metric tons (mt) and 12% in value ($6.157 billion) – breaking the 2012 value record.

The new milestone for U.S. beef export value also meant new records for the average export value per head: an annual record of $244.96 per head of fed slaughter, up $28.23 from 2012 and a new monthly record in December at $279.16, up $36.52 from December 2012.

U.S. beef exports in 2013 equated to 13.2% of total beef production (muscle cuts plus variety meat) and 10.4% of muscle cuts alone, up from 12.7 and 9.8% last year. The totals trended up in December, reaching 14.5% and 12%, respectively.

Beef sales to Japan closed the year up 54% in volume (234,615 mt) and 35% in value ($1.389 billion), pushed by a strong December showing that was more than 75% ahead of last year’s volume totals and 45% higher in value.… Continue reading

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Russian markets could re-open for U.S. pork

Russia has indicated that it plans to end the ban on imports of U.S. pork products by mid-March and possibly as soon as the end of February, according to Sergei Dankvert, head of Russia’s Veterinary and Phytosanitary Service (VPSS).

Last year, Russia implemented a ban on imports of U.S. pork and beef that are produced with beta-agonists. Russia began requiring pork imports from the United States to show documentation that the pork does not contain ractopamine residues. The country also restricted U.S. pork imports through unscientific standards for tetracyclines and pathogens on raw product, standards that no country in the world can meet. The U.S. government, with NPPC and meat industry input, has been working to develop a commercial option for U.S. exporters to ensure beta-agonist-free pork for Russia. NPPC continues to work closely with other industry partners and the U.S. government to ensure Russia abides by World Trade Organization rules and reopens its market to U.S.… Continue reading

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Pig housing can be a conversation starter

Last month, pork industry giants Smithfield and Tyson announced plans to develop animal welfare improvements that include moving away from the practice of using gestation crates.

Smithfield’s announcement put in place incentives for contract pork growers to shift to “group housing systems” for pregnant sows before 2022. After that, the company will only renew contracts with growers who have switched to the new system. According to the announcement, the company has already transitioned 54% of sows on company-owned farms to the new system.

In a letter to its growers, Tyson said that it was asking all suppliers to improve quality and quantity of space for sows in any new or redesigned barns beginning this year. Whether it involves gestation stalls, pens or some other type of housing, Tyson believes future sow housing should allow sows of all sizes to stand, turn around, lie down and stretch their legs. The company plans to increase audits of sow farms to help ensure responsible on-farm treatment of animals and is urging installation of video monitoring to increase oversight.… Continue reading

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“Smart Barn” technology brings precision to animal agriculture

For years, grain farmers have been able to use precision technology to get the most out of their crops, their fields and their equipment. Ohioans Andrew Klein and Joe Althaus are looking to bring that type of technology to livestock farmers as well with their recently-formed company, PrecisionLSF, and the “Smart Barn” wireless network in Dayton.

“I’ve always been kind of a computer geek, tinkering around with projects and programming,” Klein said. “Two years ago Joe and I were talking about new sensors that had just been created and how they could monitor just about everything in your house and that really caught our attention.”

Not much more came from that conversation until Klein’s dad, who has a hog farm in New Paris, brought up how his phone line technology was difficult to program and only monitored if his power was out.… Continue reading

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Bright future for cattle business

Cattlemen and women gathered at the 2014 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show to hear CattleFax market analysts’ projections for the year ahead. Creighton University Professor Emeritus Art Douglas told the audience he expects improved moisture conditions in the majority of the United States, including improvements of the drought-affected areas of the west coast.

As precipitation returns back to more normal levels for the 2014 growing season, CattleFax predicts farmers in the U.S. should grow an adequate corn crop to build the carry over supply. The improved corn supplies should assure lower corn/input costs over the next 12-24 months, according to CattleFax Grain Market Analyst Mike Murphy.

“The lower input cost will have a direct correlation to improved feeder cattle and calf values in 2014 and with continued  help from Mother Nature, we will be in better shape with regard to hay supply and prices moving forward,” Murphy said.… Continue reading

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Ohio hog farm fighting PEDv with bleach and a prayer

For pork producers across the country, 2014 was supposed to be a year of promise and the opportunity to use a black pen that has been sitting on the desk untouched for some time. But for Stateler Family Farms, early 2014 has been full of daunting challenges.

In early January, the finishing operation received a shipment of piglets that began to show signs of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) in the nursery just days after their arrival.

“PEDv was always on our minds, even before it hit our farm,” said Anthony Stateler, who works with his father, Duane at their McComb facility in Hancock County. “We’ve always taken the precautions of washing up as we go in and having boots at the entrance of every barn.… Continue reading

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OCA celebrates a great year

Ohio beef producers and industry leaders met to develop policy, learn about consumer preferences and demand for beef and to celebrate the many achievements of cattlemen at the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet, Jan. 25, 2014, at the NorthPointe Conference Center in Lewis Center, Ohio. More than 250 attended the event in which an expanded format offered a county affiliate leaders’ meeting and two breakout sessions in addition to the annual meeting and evening banquet. Sponsors who contributed to the success of the event include COBA/Select Sires, CompManagement, Inc., Farm Credit Mid-America, United Producers, Inc. and Steve R. Rauch.

The day’s events began with a meeting hosted for county affiliate leaders to learn about opportunities available and to share with other county leaders. Following a luncheon, the first “Around the Water Tank” breakout session hosted a four-person panel. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Scott George; John Lundeen, NCBA Senior Executive Director of Market Research; Pam Haley, OCA Board of Directors member; and Bev Roe, Ohio Beef Council Operating Committee member, shared with attendees on the positive impact the beef checkoff has had on the beef industry.… Continue reading

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Propane, PED and pig problems plaguing producers

At a time when most hog producers should be excited about the future after a long stretch of high feed costs, they are facing potentially devastating new challenges at every turn. The PED virus is claiming the lives of young pigs and the propane crunch around the country is a constant source of expense and stress with plenty of cold winter weather yet to come.

Anthony Stateler, a Hancock County hog producer, is battling both problems simultaneously.

“We were able to get 400 gallons delivered to us. Right now we have been running 5 to 10 degrees cooler than what we should have been,” he said. “With the PED outbreak we have, you want the barn warmer but you don’t have the fuel to keep it the temperature you want to. We used heat lamps that have helped.

“If I take another two or three loads of hogs, though, we will lose the body heat to keep the barn warm enough.… Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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