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State-inspected meat plants may soon, finally, have access to interstate sales

By Kyle Sharp

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a final rule April 19 that will broaden the market for smaller state-inspected plants. By participating in this voluntary cooperative interstate shipment program, select establishments will have the option to ship meat and poultry products, bearing an official USDA mark of inspection, across state lines.

“We’re excited to announce this new rule that offers smaller plants the opportunity to expand their market and sell their products to new customers,” said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza. “Allowing these state-inspected establishments to ship their products across state lines has the potential to expand rural development and jobs, increase local tax bases, strengthen rural communities, and ensure that food is safe for consumers.”

While that sounds like great news, most state-inspected processors are taking a “wait and see” approach.

“I’ve learned not to get my hopes up,” said Mike Jessee, Ohio Association of Meat Processors (OAMP) president and owner of Dee-Jay’s Custom Meats, Fredericktown.… Continue reading

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Challenging decisions for forage producers

By John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

At the risk of stating the painfully obvious, it has been a very wet spring in the state of Ohio and most surrounding states. The cool, wet weather has put nearly every farming enterprise behind schedule thus far and this week’s weather forecast offers little immediate relief. Corn planting is well behind schedule and soybean planting may soon join the same trend. Poor field conditions have also prevented forage producers from making seedings for permanent pastures or hay fields.

The poor field conditions are particularly troubling for beef producers wanting to improve their forage situation. Even though it seems like a distant memory, the fall of 2010 was abnormally dry in many locations, which resulted in many substandard or delayed seedings. This fact combined with the current field conditions has put many forage enterprises in a precarious situation.

This week’s weather will push the earliest opportunity to return to the field into next week which puts us at the first of May.… Continue reading

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Zeedyk’s custom manure application venture stems from necessity

By Kyle Sharp

About 2001, Visser Dairy with about 1,600 cows started up next to the crop farm of the Zeedyk family in Defiance County. At the time, Roger Zeedyk Jr. farmed the land along with his sons Roger IV, Mike and Adam. An arrangement between the two farms soon materialized, with the Zeedyks supplying corn silage to the dairy and, as partial payment, the dairy’s manure would be applied to the Zeedyks’ fields for fertility.

In the first few years of this arrangement, the problem was finding someone to apply the manure in a timely fashion, said Roger Zeedyk IV.

“It always got there, it was just never quite when you wanted it, or it didn’t quite get applied the way you wanted it,” Roger IV said.

Roger IV had watched people do custom manure application over the years and talked with them about how it needed to be done.… Continue reading

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Ohio fish farms growing quickly

Two years ago, Dave Lemke lost his job so he netted a new one.

Fish farmer.

Today the Wayne County man works — will even expand soon — in a small but fast-growing industry in Ohio whose jobs have doubled in the past 10 years and whose economic impact has more than tripled in that time to nearly $50 million.

And he credits Ohio State University, and specifically its Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development, or OCARD, as a key to his success.

“They helped me get to the point where I’m at now,” said Lemke, who together with his wife, Wendy, owns and runs the Scales to Tails Seafood Shoppe in Wooster and a five-acre fish farm near there. Later this year, pending bank approval, they’ll open a new $4 million, 10,000-pounds-per-week tilapia farm planned in large part with OCARD’s assistance. Seven new jobs will result.

Aquaculture experts with OCARD, headquartered at Ohio State’s South Centers in Piketon in southeast Ohio, study what’s crucial to the industry, including lower-cost feeds, improved fish genetics and greater efficiency.… Continue reading

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Livestock industry: May 2 Workshop in Columbus tackles ammonia, nitrogen

This year’s Ohio State University agricultural air quality workshop will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing livestock and poultry producers when it comes to ammonia emissions and their connection with nitrogen fertilizer. It will take place Monday, May 2, at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center in Columbus.

Aimed at farmers, allied animal agriculture industries, agency professionals and regulators, the workshop will provide a fundamental understanding of ammonia emissions, air regulations, and the best management practices and innovative technologies available for the abatement and recovery of these emissions — both to protect the environment and to create an alternative solution for fertilizer needs in farming.

Registration for the event, which will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., costs $35 before April 25 and includes lunch. Registration after April 25 costs $45. To register, download a form at http://go.osu.edu/Cn3, fill out and mail with payment to the address indicated on the form.… Continue reading

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Wall Street Journal gets the story wrong on antibiotic use

By Doc Sanders

Bill Towson of The Wall Street Journal reported March 16 on a recent USDA hearing about the supposed overuse of antibiotics by hog farmers. He reported that the USDA’s Edward Knipling testified that the alleged overuse posed a human health threat.

Towson went on to report that the situation could be exposing Americans to antibiotic-resistant E. coli and Campylobacter. E. coli causes a severe gastrointestinal (GI) tract illness. Campy also causes food safety issues that can lead to GI disease.

The article stated that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned hog, cattle and chicken producers to stop the widespread practice of feeding antibiotics to livestock to promote growth. Knipling was quoted as saying that the government antibiotic monitoring system used in livestock has produced significant results. And the article said USDA is proposing research to show hog farmers how to wean their pigs off antibiotics.… Continue reading

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Charles Moellendick receives COBA/Select Sires Distinguished Service Award

Charles Moellendick, Lancaster, Ohio recently received a Distinguished Service Award from COBA/Select Sires during the cooperative’s annual meetings. He was presented with a plaque which read, “For Your Calm & Effective Service and Leadership 1980-2011.”  Moellendick thus became the first person to receive this prestigious recognition since 1996.  Moellendick also served as a Director of Select Sires representing COBA members during the same 31 year period.

In making the presentation to Charles Moellendick, current COBA/Select Sires President, Tom Fleming, noted that it was during Moellendick’s term as President of COBA/Select Sires that the current General Manager, Bernie Heisner, was hired in 1992.  When Moellendick started as a Director of COBA in 1980 the cooperative sold 473,043 units of semen in its service area, which remarkably grew to 1,764,136 units in 2010 with no change in the geography served.  Fleming further observed Moellendick’s demeanor as a board member was generally quiet with good humor, but when Charles spoke people listened attentively to what he had to say. … Continue reading

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Buckeye Livestock Judging Camp planned for June

The Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences and OSU Extension will be hosting a 3-day, 2-night livestock judging camp beginning in the afternoon on Monday, June 27, and ending around noon on Wednesday, June 29. Camp participants will be staying in the Taylor Tower dorms on the OSU campus with camp chaperones. Camp will be open to any student interested in livestock judging that will be in 9th grade and above for the 2011-2012 school year, as well as 2011 graduates still participating in the state 4-H contest.

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association will be assisting with the camp and handling the registration. The cost of the camp will be $200 per student and will cover:

• Lodging (including linens and towels)
• Food
• Recreation (may include swimming)
• Transportation during camp
• Official camp t-shirt
• Bound copy of the 2011 OSU Livestock Judging Team Manual
• Judging notebook
• 24-hour medical assistance

Kyle Culp, OSU Livestock Judging Team coach, and Dr.… Continue reading

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EPA exempts milk from SPCC rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exempted milk and milk product containers from the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule, potentially saving the milk and dairy industries more than $140 million per year. This regulation has been in place since the 1970s, and with this action, EPA for the first time will ensure that all milk and milk products will be formally exempted.

In response to feedback from the agriculture community, EPA determined that this unintended result of the current regulations – which were designed to prevent oil spill damage to inland waters and shorelines – placed unjustifiable burdens on dairy farmers. To ensure that this outdated rule didn’t harm the agriculture community while the mandatory regulatory process proceeded, EPA had delayed SPCC compliance requirements for milk and milk product containers several times since the SPCC rule went into effect.

“After working closely with dairy farmers and other members of the agricultural community, we’re taking commonsense steps to exempt them from a provision in this rule that simply shouldn’t apply to them.… Continue reading

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State, Ohio Fresh Eggs settle violations and contempt charges

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) announced that the State of Ohio has entered into a proposed consent order with Ohio Fresh Eggs, LLC (OFE) of 11212 Croton Road in Croton, Ohio.

The consent order was lodged on April 6, 2011, with the Licking County Common Pleas Court that resolves 71 allegations of violations of ODA and Ohio EPA laws, regulations and permits for OFE’s facilities in Licking, Hardin and Wyandot counties issued by each Agency.

The charges in contempt include failure to comply with required barn renovation schedules and were based on the 2001 Buckeye Egg Farm consent order in Licking County, which was applicable to OFE as the entity that bought the former Buckeye Egg Farm in 2003.

The new proposed consent order will replace the Buckeye Egg Farm consent order and resolves both the complaint and charges in contempt.… Continue reading

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Volunteers needed for milk study

More people are choosing to drink raw milk these days, and Ohio State University researchers are hoping to find out why.

They are looking for people who live on farms who drink either raw or pasteurized milk to take part in a study. Volunteers will be asked to meet with researchers to complete a written survey, and take part in a 1.5-hour-long focus group session. They will be paid $25 for their time and trouble.

“We truly do not know very much about how farmers make the choice to drink raw or pasteurized milk — there’s just nothing in the literature,” said Lydia Medeiros, a scientist with the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Ohio State University Extension, and a professor of human nutrition in the College of Education and Human Ecology. The study of farm families is part of a broader project on raw milk consumption in Ohio.… Continue reading

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Care Board votes to put “turn around” language back in veal standards

By Kyle Sharp

In February, more than 30 Ohio veal farmers representing roughly half the veal production in the state presented a petition to the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (OLCSB) stating they “do not anticipate continuing to raise veal in the State of Ohio” after 2017, if the drafted veal regulations at that time were made final. As a result, the Board voted March 1 to amend its proposed veal production standards by removing a requirement for veal calves to be able to turn around in their individual pens during their first 10 weeks of age after Dec. 31, 2017.

At the April 5 OLCSB meeting, more than 100 animal activists, many of them bused by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) from Cleveland and Cincinnati, came to the meeting wearing shirts that read “Let Them Turn Around” and featured an image of veal calves. They called for the Board to overturn the March 1 amendment and restate the requirement for veal calves to be able to turn around.… Continue reading

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Research helps producers use more distillers grains, reduce feed costs

Almost a third of the 146 million bushels of Ohio-grown corn used by the state’s growing ethanol industry ends up in a byproduct called distillers grains, which can be used as a cheaper feed alternative for cattle, sheep and swine.

In the past animal nutritional requirements and high fat, nitrogen and sulfur content of distiller’s grains (DGS) have limited the use of the byproduct to 25% of cattle diets. The restriction has led to a reduction in potential savings for producers as well as fewer employment opportunities and profits for ethanol plants. But, Ohio State University researchers are working to change that.

“Both the biofuels and livestock industries are jeopardized unless discoveries are made to allow increased use of DGS in animal rations as a viable and cost-effective substitute for corn grain,” said Steve Loerch, an animal scientist with Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster.… Continue reading

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NCBA: 101 members of Congress call for EPA to back off dust

The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lisa Jackson received a letter from 101 members of the U.S. House of Representatives expressing concerns about EPA’s potential revision to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Coarse Particulate Matter, more commonly known as dust. Led by Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Congressman Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), the policymakers collectively emphasized the devastating impact farmers, ranchers and all of rural America would feel if the EPA moves forward with regulating dust at unprecedented levels.

“This bipartisan effort to protect farmers, ranchers and all of rural America from a burdensome, unnecessary and scientifically unfounded regulation is reassuring. We firmly stand behind and strongly support this effort to relieve farm and ranch families from the massive heap of regulations coming out of the EPA,” said Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “We hope Administrator Jackson and all of the officials at EPA are listening to the continuous calls from elected leaders to use science and commonsense when proposing or even considering regulations.… Continue reading

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Hog prices nearing their peak

The highest hog prices on record will soon be arriving, said a Purdue University Extension economist.

“These may be the highest hog prices for the next several years as well, especially if corn and soybean shortages can be reduced somewhat this summer with favorable growing conditions. On the other hand, if 2011 turns out to be a short crop production year, then the previous statement will be invalid as surging feed prices will force added liquidation of the hog herd this fall. But you already knew how much was riding on upcoming crops,” said Chris Hurt.

USDA’s March Hogs and Pigs report implied that pork supplies will be somewhat higher this year. However, demand factors are more important to hog prices now than supply. Those demand factors include the continued strong growth in export demand, the continued economic recovery in the U.S., and inflation in commodities, he said.

The report indicated that the market herd was up nearly 1%, primarily as a result of a somewhat larger-than-expected winter pig crop, he said.… Continue reading

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Forages and nutrient management

By Bob Hendershot, State Grassland Conservationist, USDA-NRCS-Ohio

Forages can help in managing nutrients from manure applications.

Harvested forages can be used effectively to remove excess nutrients from crop fields and reduce water pollution potential. Harvested forages are very marketable, and should be considered as a way to transfer nutrients off of farms with excess nutrient levels. Forages also are excellent in improving soil conditions, reducing soil erosion and runoff that contributes to water quality concerns.

Forages can be used to draw down soil test phosphorus levels in fields with excessive soil test levels. Typically,

forages will remove 13 to 15 pounds of P2O5 per ton of harvested forage. Plants harvested earlier in their growth stage will have a higher concentration of phosphorus, but a lower yield per acre. Different forages remove different

amounts of phosphorus. Oklahoma research shows orchardgrass removing 50% more P2O5 than the same yield of

alfalfa, ryegrass or tall fescue; twice as much as red clover and three times more than sorghum-sudangrass or pearl millet.… Continue reading

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Ohio hog inventory down 2%, U.S. up 1%

Ohio hog producers had 1.99 million hogs on hand March 1, 2011, down 2% from last quarter and from a year ago, according to the March 25 Hogs and Pigs Report from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The number of market hogs, at 1,820,000 head, was down 2% from last quarter and from last year. Breeding stock, at 170,000 head, was unchanged from last quarter and from last year.

The pig crop during the December-February 2011 quarter numbered 837,000 head, unchanged from last quarter but 1% above last year. The number of sows farrowed during the December-February 2011 quarter, at 89,000, was unchanged from last quarter and from last year. Pigs saved per litter averaged 9.4, unchanged from last quarter but up 1% from last year.

Ohio producers intend to farrow 85,000 sows during the March-May 2011quarter, 4,000 head below a year earlier. Farrowing intentions for the summer quarter, June-August 2011, is 88,000 sows, 3,000 head below the same quarter of 2010.… Continue reading

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OSU cheese-making workshop

Dairy producers looking to expand their operations with farmstead cheese businesses can learn how at an Ohio State University cheese-making workshop.

“Hands-On Basic Cheese Making — Enhancing Dairy Profitability with Cheese” will take place April 27-29 at the Grindstone Creek Lodge at 4-H Camp Whitewood, 7983 S. Wiswell Rd., Windsor. Classes will run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

This three-day class is designed for people who have never made cheese and those who want to improve their skills in order to enter the cheese business. Peter Dixon, one of the nation’s premier cheese-making instructors and operator of the Center for Farmstead Milk Processing in Vermont, will teach the course.

Workshop topics include milk quality, ingredients used in cheese making, cheese-making processes and techniques and tips for establishing a cheese-making business. Participants will have opportunities to make a number of different cheeses.

Registration is $550 per person and includes course tuition, resource materials, all workshop supplies, lunches and refreshments.… Continue reading

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New Ohio State Fair Commercial Pen of 5 Market Lamb Show

There will be a new class for the Ohio State Fair, a 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).
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Beef Expo highlights

More than 30,000 cattle industry enthusiasts attended the Ohio Beef Expo held March 18 – 20, 2011, at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio. In its 24th year, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association hosted the annual event.

The major attraction on Saturday, March 19 was seven breed sales. More than 325 lots were sold with an average price of $2,565 and a gross of $838,665. Individual breed sales results were as follows:

Lots             Sale            Gross                        Total                         Bull                               Female

Average                        Average                        Average

Angus              56             $132,275                  $2,364                         $2,481                         $2,289

Chianina        28             $58,650                   $2,094                         $2,395                         $2,018

Hereford         35             $82,185                    $2,348                         $2,458                         $2,243

Limousin        17             $32,450                    $1,838                         $1,765                         $1,834

Maine-Anjou 82             $252,025                 $2,972                         $3,407                         $2,467

Shorthorn       51             $139,130                  $2,450                         $3,365                         $2,135

Simmental      58             $141,850                 $2,445                         $2,360                         $2,541

TOTAL          327             $838,665            $2,565

ANGUS

Managed by: Al Gahler, Graytown, Ohio

Auctioneer: Ron Kreis, Adamsville, Ohio

Total Number of Lots: 56

Sale Gross: $132,275

Sale Average: $2,364

High Selling Bull: Rains Powerstroke PSNIFPN (Lot 6) sold for $5,000 to Frank Rihaly, Cadiz, OH

Consigned by Dale Rains, Mercer, PA

High Selling Female: SSC Blackbird (Lot 60) sold for $4,200 to James Fielding, Sunbury, OH

Consigned by Davin Sherman, Eaton, OH

CHIANINA

Managed by: Tyler Humphrey

Auctioneer: Ron Kreis

Total Number of Lots: 28

Sale Gross: $58,650

Sale Average: $ 2,094

High Selling Bull: LBG Top Gun 1CM (Lot 27) sold for $3,400

Consigned by Larry Garrett of Indiana

High Selling Female: BALD Penelope (Lot 1) sold for $3,600

Consigned by Jeremy Baldwin & Weber Show Cattle of Indiana

HEREFORD

Managed by: Lisa Keets, Berlin Heights, Ohio

Auctioneer: Dale Stith, Guston, Ky.… Continue reading

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