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OSU scientist recognized for work with poultry

Ohio State University’s Sandra Velleman helps turkeys and the industry around them get stronger.

A scientist in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), Velleman studies the genetic and cellular mechanisms governing how turkey muscles grow and develop — key to improving the birds’ growth rate, keeping them lean and raising them efficiently for food. Then she helps the poultry industry and poultry producers develop management practices that put those findings to use.

The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) recently honored Velleman for her contributions by presenting her with its 2014 Distinguished Senior Faculty Research Award. The award honors outstanding achievements by an OARDC faculty member at the rank of professor.

Velleman, who last year earned Expertscape’s No. 1 world ranking for turkey research based on her published expertise, is a professor in the college’s Department of Animal Sciences.

Her findings have led to the development, for example, of turkey production practices that maximize muscle growth and reduce fat conversion, the result being to maintain the low-fat turkey breast meat consumers prefer.… Continue reading

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Mexico removes import restriction on U.S. beef

The Mexican government is in the process of making regulatory changes that allow for import of U.S. beef and beef products derived from cattle of any age. This important development lifts the 30-month cattle age limit for U.S. beef and effectively removes the last of Mexico’s BSE-related restrictions.

“This is an issue that U.S. Meat Export Federation has been working on for a number of years, and resolving it has been a lengthy process,” said Chad Russell, U.S. Meat Export Federation regional director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, contractor to the beef checkoff. “We received excellent support on this issue from FAS officials at the U.S. embassy in Mexico, who always made sure that it was front-and-center whenever U.S.-Mexico trade issues were being discussed at high levels. Though it took some time, these efforts have now paid off.”

The changes to Mexico’s import regulations were to take effect April 30, though shipments of over-30-month beef cannot begin until the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) updates its Export Library.… Continue reading

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Vermont passes state GMO labeling bill

Vermont lawmakers passed a state bill to require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO). Both the House and Senate approved the bill and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said he plans to sign it. The requirements would take effect July 1, 2016.

“Any law requiring the labeling of foods that contain GMO ingredients creates extra costs for farmers, food manufacturers, distributors, grocers and consumers,” said to Karen Batra, Biotechnology Industry Organization director of food and agriculture communications.

Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association said the national grassroots movement calling for mandatory labeling has prevailed despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent fighting against it.

“Vermont’s landmark victory today will force food companies to either label GMOs in all states or reformulate their products to be GMO-free in order to avoid stating ‘this product was produced using genetic engineering’ on their packaging,” he said.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.)… Continue reading

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USDA to conduct soy checkoff request for referendum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct a request for referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Program (soy checkoff) during a four-week period, from May 5 through May 30, 2014. This referendum is authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act.

The request for referendum will determine whether U.S. soybean producers want a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Program. The Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act requires that the secretary of agriculture provide soybean producers the opportunity to petition for a referendum every five years.

To be eligible to participate, producers must certify they or the entity they are authorized to represent paid an assessment at some time between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2013. Documentation for that assessment, such as sales receipts showing that the checkoff was collected, will be required up front when submitting the request form.

Eligible individuals who do not want a referendum need not take any action.… Continue reading

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Zane Trace FFA wins statewide nutritional campaign

Zane Trace Future Farmers of America (FFA) was awarded $2,000 from the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program (OSGMP), as part of the “Food for Thought Challenge.” The statewide competition among FFA chapters to increase awareness about the nutritional value of a whole grain diet, among other healthy behavior changes, at their schools.

Before their peers and a judging panel, FFA chapters showcased their “Food for Thought Challenge” campaign efforts at the 86th Ohio State FFA Convention May 1 at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. Food for Thought FFA chapters included: Clear Fork, Eaton, London, Marion Local, Miami East, Mt. Gilead Christian, New Bremen, North Union, Riverdale, and Zane Trace.

Participating chapters submitted campaign proposals to OSGMP in September and based on the originality of their ideas, were granted $500 each in October to implement their campaigns. Campaign tactics included the use of student food logs, organizing educational fairs with health-related groups and providing healthy snacks between classes.… Continue reading

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Summit County Farm Bureau receives grant for creative programming

Summit County Farm Bureau was one of four county Farm Bureaus selected nationwide to receive a $700 grant from the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee (AFBWLC) to help fund “Our Food Link” activities.

Our Food Link is a year-round program that county and state Farm Bureaus can use to effectively reach consumers of all ages and backgrounds with information about today’s agriculture.

Summit County Farm Bureau will use the grant for its “Plow to Chow” event, an outdoor formal dining experience that will benefit Ronald McDonald House of Akron. The fundraiser will be held July 17 at Boughton’s Farm, a local produce operation that offers “u pick” and a farm market. Guests will go on a wagon ride through produce fields before sitting down for a six-course gourmet meal of almost all local ingredients with local wine pairings.

“Our overall goal is twofold: to raise awareness of agriculture to nonfarming individuals by connecting our diners to the origins of their food and to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House of Akron so that they can provide local individuals and families in need with assistance and services,” said Nick Kennedy, Summit County Farm Bureau’s organization director.… Continue reading

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The Ohio results of the 2012 Census of Agriculture

Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the final 2012 Census of Agriculture results sharing a wide-range of information about what agricultural products were raised in the United States in 2012, and where, how and by whom they were grown. The data, which is reported at the national, state and county level, will help farmers, ranchers, local officials, agribusiness and others make decisions for the future.

“The 2012 Census of Agriculture provides a wide range of demographic, economic, land, and crop and livestock production information as well as first-time or expanded data,” said Cheryl Turner, State Statistician. “Many of these data about Ohio and our counties are only collected and reported as part of the every-five-year census.”

The 2012 Census of Agriculture data show the following key findings for Ohio.

– The average age of Ohio principal operators increased from 55.7 in 2007 to 56.8 in 2012.… Continue reading

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ODA accepting specialty crop grant proposals

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is now accepting proposals for the 2014 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which will provide funding for projects to enhance the competitiveness of crops such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and nursery crops.

Grant funding is provided by the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service. The deadline for online grant proposal submissions is June 6, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. Grants will range from a minimum of $25,000 to a maximum of $150,000. In addition, all applicants must provide a minimum match of 25 percent of the requested grant amount.

Project proposals are sought that will advance the long-term economic viability of the state’s specialty crop industry while increasing the marketability of specialty crops. Higher rankings will be given to projects that demonstrate profit potential for growers and that could boost employment opportunities in the specialty crop industry. Food and agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, associations or commodity groups, universities and research institutions are eligible to submit specialty crop proposals.… Continue reading

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Ohio Agricultural Council awards academic scholarships

 Six Ohio high school and college students have been selected to receive scholarships from The Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC).  The scholarships, each totaling $1,000, were awarded for the 2014-2015 school year.

The students, each of whom is pursuing a degree in an agricultural-related area of study, were chosen based on their excellent academic record, outstanding leadership qualities, community involvement, and exceptional essay responses.

“The Ohio Agricultural Council recognizes that the future of the farming community lies with the next generation of agriculture leaders, and we are pleased to provide scholarships to help students further their education,” says Jenny Hubble, OAC board president. “We congratulate these young leaders on being selected to receive scholarships for the 2014-15 school year.”

The high school student recipients and their hometowns are as follows:

  • Matthew Hiser, Jamestown
  • Andrea Kackley, Pleasant City
  • Taylor Pugh, Louisville

The college student recipients and their hometowns are as follows:

  • Jordan Bonham, Washington Court House
  • Summer McCracken, Anna
  • Erin Wollett, Sunbury

The students will be recognized at OAC’s annual Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame Awards Program on August 1 at the Ohio State Fair. … Continue reading

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Report prevented planting and crop damage

Producers need to report acreage to the local Farm Service Agency office within 15 days of the final planting date of the crop, when bad weather prevents planting or damages crops. This applies to all crops, whether covered by crop insurance, not covered by insurance, or covered by FSA’s Non-insured Assistance Program (NAP). Final planting dates vary among counties and crop types.

Producers who have their crops insured through a private crop insurance company should contact the insurance agent immediately and advise them of the damaged crops. Additionally, for those crops covered under FSA’s NAP, producers should immediately contact their local FSA office to report the acres and file a CCC-576, Notice of Loss Application.

“Producers with NAP coverage should report their losses within 15 calendar days of crop damage from natural disaster, so the loss can be appraised and production counted before the crop is put into another use, abandoned or destroyed,” said Steve Maurer, State Executive Director for Ohio’s Farm Service Agency.… Continue reading

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Warmer weather bringing alfalfa weevil with it

With warmer weather finally reaching the eastern Corn Belt, growers in southern and central parts of Ohio and Indiana need to start scouting for alfalfa weevil immediately, while growers farther north should prepare to start scouting for the pest in May, said an entomologist with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

While the extended cold conditions felt in the region this winter might have negatively affected the alfalfa weevil, growers still need to prepare for scouting their fields for this insect, said Andy Michel, an Ohio State University Extension pest expert.

The pest, known to cause significant alfalfa damage in its larval stages, typically starts showing up in southern parts of both states first, slowly progressing its way north, said Michel, who also has an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

“It’s hard to tell how the cold will impact overwintering insects such as alfalfa weevil,” Michel said.… Continue reading

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Adjusting no-till soybean burndown programs for later planting

Weed growth has been somewhat slow this year due to the cold weather in late winter, but the current warm and wet weather should change this.  Those fields not treated with burndown herbicides yet may present some challenges by the time fields are dry enough for traffic again, especially if they were not treated last fall.  Wet weather and delayed planting can have several effects on no-till burndown programs, especially in soybeans.   First, the weeds get bigger and what is a relatively tame burndown situation in April can become pretty hairy by the first two weeks of May.  Second, in the rush to plant when it finally dries out, it can be difficult to keep 2,4-D in the burndown mix and wait yet another 7 days to plant soybeans.  A review of the soybean burndown options for this situation follows.

1.  In all mixtures containing glyphosate, increase rate to the equivalent of 1.5 to 2.2 lb ae/A. … Continue reading

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Boysel named supervisor of Select Sires’ Kellgren and Hecker Centers

Select Sires is excited to announce that Joel Boysel is the new supervisor of the Kellgren and Hecker Centers at their Plain City, Ohio facility. He is filling the position after the retirement of Barry Slack who worked at Select Sires for more than 40 years. In this role, Boysel will provide leadership and manage the 125 bulls that reside in these facilities.
 
Boysel has been employed as a livestock technician at Select Sires Inc. since September of 2013. He previously served as the bull program director at Prairie State/Select Sires in Hampshire, Ill. Prior to that he was the production manager for Harmony Agriculture Products in Marysville, Ohio. Boysel has experience with reproduction and genetics through working with beef cattle on his family’s farm. He resides in Zanesfield, Ohio with his wife, Breanna and two-year-old son, Hollis.… Continue reading

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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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Jessica Swihart joins Ohio Farm Bureau’s field staff

Jessica Swihart has joined Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s field staff to help support county Farm Bureaus in their operations. Swihart, who was hired in anticipation of future staffing needs, will be training under Darren Frank, organization director of Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, Wood and Wyandot counties. Swihart’s duties will be helping leaders strengthen county Farm Bureaus through program development and implementation and identifying ways to serve members and their communities.

Swihart has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Findlay with a major in animal science and minor in business management. Before coming to Ohio Farm Bureau, she was a veterinarian assistant for Town & Country Animal Healthcare in Bowling Green and worked as a farm hand at Eckel Cattle Co. She is a co-owner/manager of the family sheep farm, Swihart’s Moonlight Tunis Farms in Perrysburg.

“Jessica will be a real asset to county Farm Bureau leaders who work hard to represent members and make the organization a guiding force in their communities.… Continue reading

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4R Research Fund awards grant to University of Toledo

The 4R Research Fund announced it has awarded $273,500 in grants for five research proposals aimed at identifying the current state of knowledge and existing research gaps regarding fertilizer best management practices. The Fund, supported by the fertilizer industry and other stakeholders, is a science-based research initiative aimed at improving agricultural sustainability by expanding knowledge of 4R Nutrient Stewardship (use of the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place).

With guidance from an industry and academic technical advisory group, the fund’s management committee selected five proposals. These included an assessment of the effects of conservation practices and fertilizer application methods on nitrogen and phosphorus loss from farm fields was awarded to a project partnership between the University of Toledo and USDA ARS.

The projects are scheduled to be finished within a nine-to-12 month time frame. When complete, details from the analyses will be made available for review by all interested stakeholders.… Continue reading

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Use care for bees with delayed corn planting

Beekeepers in Ohio suffered substantial losses of colonies over the exceptionally long and cold winter of 2013-2014. Here in Wooster we lost more than half of our colonies and beekeepers around the state are reporting levels of winter kill in the 30 to 80% range. While the frigid temperatures played a substantial contributing role, losses were undoubtedly made worse by all of the problems facing bees today: parasites, diseases, pesticides, breeding problems, and a general lack of summer and fall forage.

Spring is the only reliably good season for bees in Ohio. Colonies that survived the winter and new colonies brought up from the Gulf Coast are in the process of harvesting nectar and pollen from spring-blooming trees and weeds — but little honey will be made. This spring bounty will be eaten by the bees themselves as they multiply and grow into large productive colonies that will be able to make a honey crop off of clovers, black locust, alfalfa and possibly soybean in the coming months.… Continue reading

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