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Cattlemen press for USDA oversight of on lab-grown meat

Danielle Beck, director of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, used remarks at a public meeting to advocate for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversight of lab-grown fake meat products. Hosted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the stated goal of the public meeting was to provide interested parties and the public with an opportunity to comment on the technology and regulations related to lab-grown meat technology. However, despite existing federal laws which designate USDA as the primary oversight body of lab-grown fake meat, USDA was not afforded a role in the public meeting.

“NCBA applauds the pointed questions FDA has posed regarding risks, hazards and manufacturing methods of lab-grown meat food products,” Beck said. “However, the appropriate agency to ask the questions under discussion today is the agency that will ultimately have jurisdiction over lab-grown meat food products. Any fair reading of the law places lab-grown meat food products within the primary jurisdiction of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.”

Beck also explained why USDA jurisdiction is crucial for ensuring that lab-grown fake meat products are safe for consumers.

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Farmers flocking to meet the demand for lamb

The high slopes of southeast Ohio and other parts of the state are suited more for grazing animals than for row crops.

“You can put cattle and sheep across those areas and make it productive land,” said Roger High, executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA).

Many have. Across the state, the number of sheep flocks has grown in the past decade in response to an increasing demand for lamb meat. Much of the growth has been among Amish farmers in several counties, some of them former dairy producers who took up raising sheep for a chance at higher profits, High said.

Some cattle producers have recently started grazing sheep on the same pasture as their cattle. And in cities and suburbs in northeast Ohio, some are using lambs to trim their grass instead of pulling out the lawn mower, said Christine Gelley, Ohio State University Extension educator in Noble County.

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Impressive numbers attend American Dairy Goat Association 2018 National Show in Columbus

By Matt Reese

The American Dairy Goat Association’s 2018 National Show was held last week at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. The event ran from June 23 to 30 and drew exhibitors from across the country. It was among the largest national dairy goat shows ever with nine breeds represented.

“We are so excited to have people here in Ohio. We have more than 3,200 animals entered from across the country it is the biggest we’ve ever had,” said Robin Saum, the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) president from Fairfield County. “It rotates around the country and our local group, the Southwest Ohio Dairy Goat Association, has been planning this show for over two years. It is a big deal. Once a year we have an ADGA National Show. People from all over the country attend and this is the largest entry we have ever had in a National Show.

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Livestock groups urge swift passage of ESA Amendments of 2018

The Public Lands Council (PLC), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) urged swift passage of the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018. The amendments, introduced by Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, are based on the Western Governor Association Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative bipartisan policy recommendations.

In a letter of support, PLC President Dave Eliason, NCBA President Kevin Kester, and ASI President Mike Corn stated:

“As the nation’s largest non-governmental bloc of land managers, ranchers take great pride in their integral role in species conservation and recovery. For generations, livestock producers have been dedicated to improving the health of landscapes where wildlife call home. Over the years, they have grown frustrated by the lack of commonsense ESA implementation and being put on the sidelines while those decisions are made. This legislation will help bring them back to the table to craft recovery plans that are workable and produce favorable results.”

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Manure application on double-crop soybeans

By Glen Arnold, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Wheat fields will be harvested in Ohio soon and some farmers will plant double-crop soybeans. In recent years there has been more interest from livestock producers in applying manure to newly planted soybeans to provide moisture to help get the crop to emerge.

Both swine and dairy manure can be used to add moisture to newly planted soybeans. It’s important that the soybeans were properly covered with soil when planted to keep a barrier between the salt and nitrogen in the manure and the germinating soybean seed. It’s also important that livestock producers know their soil phosphorus levels, and the phosphorus in the manure being applied, so soil phosphorus levels are kept an acceptable range.

An acre-inch of water is 27,154 gallons. The application of 10,000 gallons per acre of dairy manure would be about 0.37 inches of moisture. The application of 7,000 gallons of swine manure would be about 0.26 inches of moisture.

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Ohio hosts American Dairy Goat Association national show

The American Dairy Goat Association‘s 2018 National Show has been running this week at the Ohio State Fairgrounds, continuing through Saturday. Ohio Ag Net’s Lea Kimley caught up with the ADGA president Robin Saum from Fairfield County and Kirt Schnipke, of Ober-Boerd Dairy Goats, (who had the Reserve Grand Champion Oberhasli at the competition) to talk about the unique aspects of the dairy goat world. This among the largest national dairy goat shows ever with over 3,200 animals pre-registered and nine breeds represented.

 

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The importance of beef exports

By John F. Grimes, Ohio State University Extension Beef Coordinator

The subject of trade seems to be a daily topic in the national and agricultural media in recent weeks. The President appears to be determined to create an environment for “fairer” trade between the U.S. and many of our trading partners. Thus far, negotiations between the U.S. and other countries have yielded few results, tough talk, and the threat of tariffs.

Much of the uncertainty surrounding the issue of trade has created a level of anxiety within several U.S. industries. Agriculture is certainly one of those industries. Many agricultural commodities play an important role in our overall trade balance. The beef industry is greatly impacted by exports across the globe.

Annual U.S. beef exports have risen significantly over the past decade according to statistical data from the U.S. Meat Export Federation. In 2008, the U.S. exported 984,712 metric tons of beef at a total value $3.619 billion dollars.

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Dairy and pork producers watching trade war closely

If the world tariff conflict continues to escalate, Ohio’s pork and dairy producers could suffer from the fallout.

Exports of soybeans, which have already been targeted with tariffs, are critical to Ohio, but pork and dairy products play a role in the state’s economy as well.

Earlier this month, Mexican authorities set tariffs on U.S. imports including a 20% tariff on pork and 25% on some cheese products. China too has targeted pork imports with a tariff of 25%. In Ohio, pork is the sixth highest agricultural export; dairy is the eighth.

Any cut in demand for pork will likely decrease demand for corn and soybeans because both crops are used to feed pigs, said Ian Sheldon, an agricultural economist, who serves as the Andersons Chair in Agricultural Marketing, Trade and Policy in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University (CFAES.)

“That’s why the Mexican government did it,” Sheldon said.

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Livestock handling safety

By Kent McGuire, Ohio State University Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

There are many activities during the summer that involve working with livestock. No matter if you are moving animals to different pastures, providing veterinary care, or youth working with 4-H animals for the fair, safety should be a priority when handling livestock. Animal behavior can be unpredictable at times and livestock can revert to instinctual reactions when they feel threatened or stressed. Individuals can be injured due to preoccupation, haste, impatience, or even anger. Injuries that are common when working with livestock include bites, kicks, being stepped on, pinned against a solid surface, or overcome by a single animal or the whole herd. Some general guidelines when working with livestock include:

  • Understand and study the typical behaviors of the livestock you are working with.
  • Herd livestock such as cattle or sheep can become agitated or stressed when one animal is isolated from the herd.
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Sow housing transition deadline looming for Ohio swine production

By Matt Reese

Back in 2009, Ohio’s livestock industry was facing growing pressure regarding farm animal welfare and, in response, introduced Issue 2 on the November ballot. Ohio voters overwhelmingly supported Issue 2 that created the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.

Now in 2018, Ohio’s nearly 3,500 swine producers are in the process of transitioning to group housing for pregnant sows by 2025 as a part of the requirements of standards set by the board.

Pigs are typically housed in groups, but pregnant pigs are often moved to individual stalls partly because pregnant sows need consistent access to food without the risk of injury fighting among each other. Battles for food and the establishment of dominance can lead to overfeeding, underfeeding and serious injuries for sows in group housing situations.

Individual stalls, however, can also have disadvantages for pregnant sows. Some research has shown that production animals tend to have lower levels of cortisol — a hormone produced from higher stress levels — in their blood when they are raised in open environments versus separate stalls.

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Pork 509 to focus on pork quality

On Friday, June 29th, the Ohio Pork Council and The Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences are hosting ‘Pork 509’ – a seminar to discuss pork quality.

Throughout the seminar, faculty at the OSU Department of Animal Sciences will host informational sessions regarding welfare, genetics, meat quality, processing characteristics and more. Attendees will also be able to participate in a hands-on carcass and meat quality assessment, led by Dr. Lyda Garcia and Dr. Eric England. Additional speakers at Pork 509 include Dr. Steve Moeller and Dr. Monique Paris-Garcia. See the days’ agenda here and call 614-882-5887 for registration.

OPC President Rich Deaton visited with the Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins about the event, as well as the importance of early registration as space is limited.

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BQA certification increasingly important to end users

Beginning in 2019, Wendy’s and Tyson Foods will require all their meat suppliers to be certified in a program emphasizing the most humane ways to raise cattle, according to media reports and industry officials.

For years, Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification has been a voluntary national program with training offered within Ohio by Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

But companies are increasingly requiring the certification because consumers want to know where their meat or other food comes from and how it is handled, said Stephen Boyles, OSU Extension beef cattle specialist and state coordinator for Beef Quality Assurance.

“There’s just a lot more ‘foodies’ in our population now,” Boyles said, referring to people with a strong interest in high-quality food.

The point of farmers taking Beef Quality Assurance training is to help ensure their meat will be sold for a good price, and that consumers will eat a safe and wholesome beef product, Boyles said.

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Fire overtakes hog barn in Fayette County, killing 5000 pigs

On Tuesday, a major fire broke out at 7111 Old US 35 SE in Fayette County between Washington Court House and Frankfort. According to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, 13 fire agencies from Fayette, Pickaway, Ross, Highland and Greene Counties assisted in fighting the blaze.

The fire, reported to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Communication Center at 1:08 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, has totally destroyed the facility and killed approximately 5000 head of swine.

​The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office also reported that the fire occurred at the Straathoff Swine Farm in Wayne Township located in southeast Fayette County. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The fire spread quickly throughout the facility causing intense heat and extremely heavy smoke, making it difficult for fire personnel to battle the interior of the fire.

​One member of the fire service sustained an arm injury at the scene and was transported to the Fayette County Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released.

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Hay moisture levels

By Chris Penrose, OSU ANR Extension Educator, Morgan County and Dan Lima, OSU ANR Extension Educator, Belmont County

With the limited opportunities and short windows many have had to make hay so far this year, some hay may have been made at higher moisture levels than we would like. Moisture levels have a direct effect on hay quality. What we have found to be a consistent number in the literature is 20% moisture maximum. To be more specific:

Small squares to be 20% or less,
Large round, 18% or less and
Large squares, 16%
Hay baled at 20% moisture or higher has a high probability of developing mold, which will decrease the quality of hay by decreasing both protein and total nonstructural carbohydrates (TNC) AKA energy! The mold will also make the hay less palatable to livestock and could potentially be toxic, especially for horses. Even hay baled between 15%-20% moisture will experience what is known as “sweating.” Sweating, in regard to hay bales, refers to microbial respiration, which will create heat and result in dry matter (DM) loss.

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Senate Bill sets up group to study trucking regulations

Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., recently introduced legislation to revise existing trucking regulations to make them more flexible for drivers hauling livestock.

The “Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act” would establish a working group at the Department of Transportation (DOT) to examine the federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules and the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations. The HOS rules limit commercial truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period. Once drivers reach that limit, they must pull over and wait 10 hours before driving again. ELDs record driving time, engine hours, vehicle movement and speed, miles driven and location information, electronically reporting the data to federal and state inspectors to help enforce the HOS rules.

The legislation requires the Secretary of Transportation to establish a working group within 120 days to identify obstacles to the “safe, humane, and market-efficient transport of livestock, insects, and other perishable agricultural commodities” and to develop guidelines and recommendations for regulatory or legislative action to improve the transportation of those commodities.

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Comparison of grazing systems

By DeVaughn Davis, Nathaniel Kinney, Kristy Payne, Dalton Shipley, OSU Animal Science Undergraduate Students, and Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

Another school year has passed and I am happy to say that I have completed my third year of being involved in AS 4004, Small Ruminant Production at The Ohio State University. This year Dr. Liz Parker and myself co-instructed this course and worked diligently to expose our students to every aspect of the small ruminant industry, including extension outreach and producer education. As a part of the course curriculum, students were challenged to compose an Ag-note (educational poster) to highlight a specific topic that is related to sheep or goat production, management, and husbandry. As viewers, you will see these unique postings appear periodically and will be noted in the title as “Ag-note.”

For our first Ag-note, OSU students DeVaughn Davis, Nathaniel Kinney, Kristy Payne, and Dalton Shipley share an economic perspective on the comparison of continuous versus management intensive grazing.

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Strong April for U.S. red meat exports, including new volume record for pork

April exports of U.S. pork, beef and lamb were sharply higher than a year ago in both volume and value, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports set a new volume record, fueled by tremendous demand in Mexico, while beef exports posted the best-ever results for the month of April.

April pork export volume was 230,049 metric tons (mt), up 13% from a year ago and topping the previous high set in November 2016. April export value was $584.1 million, also up 13%. For January through April, pork export volume was 4% ahead of last year’s record pace at 866,346 mt, while value increased 9% to $2.29 billion. (For pork muscle cuts, excluding variety meat, April was also a record volume month at 184,487 mt, up 18% from a year ago. Muscle cut export value was $480.6 million, up 14%.)

Exports accounted for nearly 30% of total pork production in April, up from 28.4% a year ago, while the percentage of muscle cuts exported also increased significantly (25.8%, up from 23.5%).

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Managing parasites in small ruminants

By Matt Reese

The sun is out, the grass is growing and livestock in Ohio are out on pasture contentedly grazing. There is something special about the relationship between animals and pasture on a farm but there are challenges as well, including parasites.

“Worldwide, producers are losing billions of dollars to parasites through production losses and actual animal losses. They are more of an issue in the Eastern U.S. because our grazing areas are more concentrated than in the West. Issues with parasites increase this time of year when temperatures are 50 to 104 degrees F. Beyond this range, their survivability decreases significantly,” said Brady Campbell, program coordinator of the Ohio State University sheep team. “When it is hot, humid and wet they thrive. Now everything is out on pasture and when it is wet and dewy it is a problem. Dew is actually how the parasites travel up and down the forage and that is when the sheep are doing most of their grazing in the morning and evening.”

Small ruminants including sheep and goats are facing increasing issues with resistance to anthelmintics — dewormers —used for treating parasites.

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Low to negative margins driving hog industry

By Ben Brown, Program Manager for the Ohio State University Farm Management Program

Rallies in grain markets, especially soybean meal, have increased feed costs for hog producers that did not lock in contracts when prices were low. Higher input costs along with a decline in pork prices erased many of the margins hog producers experienced in the first quarter of 2018, but prices rebounded in May. Large increases in hog production in Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Nebraska have contributed to the low prices. The national average for fed hog prices was $52.50 in January but fell to $45.3 by April. Prices have rallied in recent weeks, but still below 2017 levels at this same period. Prices reached a peak in July of 2017 at $67.30. Markets for the nearby July futures contract signal horizontal movements in price. Current prices would suggest a per head return of $2 to $5 as a national average for 2018.

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USDA Extends Application Deadline for Dairy Margin Protection Program to June 22

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the re-enrollment deadline for the Margin Protection Program (MPP) for Dairy will be extended until June 22, 2018. The new and improved program protects participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below levels of protection selected by the applicant. USDA has already issued more than $89 million for margins triggered in February, March, and April, and USDA offices are continuing to process remaining payments daily.

“Last week we re-opened enrollment to offer producers preoccupied with field work an additional opportunity to come into their local office to sign-up. We did get more than 500 new operations enrolled but want to continue to provide an opportunity for folks to participate before the next margin is announced,” said Secretary Perdue. “More than 21,000 American dairies have gone into our 2,200 FSA offices to sign-up for 2018 MPP coverage but I am certain we can do better with this extra week and a half.”

The re-enrollment deadline was previously extended through June 8, 2018.

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