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Get the Facts on Starting an Aquaculture Business at an Ohio Fish Farm Tour, July 16

Anyone interested in starting an aquaculture business, or perhaps expanding an existing one, has the opportunity to participate in a tour of fish farms throughout northeast Ohio on July 16.

Ohio State University’s South Centers at Piketon and Ohio Soybean Council will sponsor the event, which runs from 7:45 a.m. until 6 p.m. The cost is $20 per person.

The Northeast Ohio Fish Farm Tour will feature stops at Scales to Tails, Laurel Creek Fin Farm, Raber’s Fish Farm, Fender’s Fish Hatchery, and Blue Ribbon Fish Farm. Participants will meet at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s Fisher Auditorium at 7:45 a.m. before departing on the tour. The tour is schedule to arrive back at OARDC around 6 p.m. OARDC is located at 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster, Ohio.

Scales to Tails Seafood Shoppe sells live fish and fresh filets. The shop also boasts a large processing facility. Owners Dave and Wendy Lemke also raise tilapia, yellow perch, bluegill and largemouth bass.

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National Pork Board to meet during National Pork Industry Conference

Planning for the National Pork Board’s 2011 budget begins in earnest next week when board members meet July 13 to review revenue projections from the Pork Checkoff and to set a spending target for the new budget year. The board is meeting during the three-day National Pork Industry Conference at Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

The board, under the leadership of newly elected president Gene Nemechek, will welcome four new pork producer members recently appointed to three-years terms by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack: Julie Maschoff from Carlyle, Ill.; Derrick Sleezer from Cherokee, Iowa; Wathina Luthi from Gage, Okla.; and Steve Wuergler from Drain, Ore. The board also will pay tribute to four retiring board members: Tim Bierman, a Larrabee, Iowa, producer who as the immediate past president remains on the board for one year as a non-voting member; Steve Weaver of Elk Grove, Calif.; Bruce Samson of Three Forks, Mont.; and Henry Moore of Clinton, N.C.

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Feeding Wheat Grain to Livestock? Get it Tested for Vomitoxin First

In a year when overly wet conditions and a head scab outbreak are significantly impacting Ohio’s wheat crop, there is no room for assumptions that grain is toxin-free and safe to feed to livestock.

To avoid any health problems in cattle, swine, poultry and other animals, growers are highly encouraged to test the grain for vomitoxin levels before any of the feed or grain byproduct is destined for consumption.

“Farmers shouldn’t think that it’s OK to handle or feed scabby grain without actually testing and knowing how much toxin is in it,” said Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension small grains specialist and plant pathologist. “I always emphasize testing.”

Wheat in some portions of Ohio is experiencing upwards of 60 percent incidence of head scab — a disease that attacks the wheat during flowering under wet, humid conditions. The disease can impact yields. The fungal pathogen that causes head scab also produces mycotoxins (most notably vomitoxin) in the grain that can be unsafe for livestock if consumed in high levels.

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Ohio Department of Agriculture Finds Bovine Tuberculosis in Paulding County Herd

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs today announces that preliminary tests performed by the department’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory revealed a positive result for bovine tuberculosis in a Paulding County dairy herd. There is no known human illness associated with this occurrence.

The herd was found positive after routine tuberculosis testing by the department. The herd was depopulated, and the department is currently conducting a trace-in and trace-out investigation to determine if other livestock may be affected.

“We are currently working with our state and federal partners on this matter to take the necessary steps to identify the origin of the affected cattle,” said Boggs. “This is yet another example of how the Ohio Department of Agriculture works daily to assure the safety of Ohio consumers and livestock.”

Tuberculosis is a disease caused by bacteria which affects the respiratory system. Bovine tuberculosis, also known as Cattle TB, is an infectious form of tuberculosis as it infects most warm-blooded animals, including humans.

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Ohio EPA Awards Nearly $200,000 for Sustainability Efforts on OSU Farm/Research Facility

 A working farm just west of The Ohio State University campus and nestled in the heart of metro Columbus is being transformed into a learning laboratory of best management practices for water quality protection and whole farm sustainability.

A $194,324 grant from Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and local matching dollars totaling $132,456 will enable the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District to demonstrate several progressive projects on OSU’s Waterman Agriculture and Natural Resources Laboratory (2433 Carmack Rd.). The projects will serve as application tools for current and future farmers and showcase environmental stewardship for students, faculty and urban residents.

“The educational project will provide on-the-ground examples of how to improve operations and the sustainability of production, reduce maintenance costs and protect water resources both on the farm and downstream,” said Russ Gibson, Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water Nonpoint Source Section manager. The Franklin Soil and Water grant is one of eight federal Section 319 Clean Water Act grants awarded by Ohio EPA this year.

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Hog Market Outlook Remains Strong

By Jeff Caldwell

A blue moon — when there are 2 full moons in the same calendar month) has come around 15 times in the last 40 years. In that same time period, live hog prices have passed the $60-per-hundredweight mark 13 times.

So, $60-plus live hogs are rarer than a blue moon. But, that magic number was surpassed in May when live hogs hit $63/cwt. Though he expects the rarity of this occurrence to continue, Purdue University livestock economist Chris Hurt says it’s definitely not a sign that the hog market’s softening, at least for a while.

“The outlook is for strong and profitable prices to continue for some time, although with prices generally below the rare $60 mark,” says Purdue University livestock economist Chris Hurt.”

It’s an optimistic projection for market conditions that have been good to hog farmers since spring. But, one thing that has changed in the outlook, Hurt says, is the expectation for expansion.

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Actual Agreement Between Ohio Ag & HSUS

1)    Recommendations will be made to The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (OLCSB) to take action on issues related to downer cattle and humane euthanasia using language consistent with the proposed ballot initiative.

2)    The Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will coordinate and take action on wild and dangerous animals including the prohibition of the sale and/or possession of big cats, bears, primates, large constricting and venomous snakes and alligators and crocodiles. Existing owners will be grandfathered in, but they could not breed or obtain new animals.

3)    Recommendations will be made to the legislature to support and pass SB 95 largely in the current form, which regulates dog breeding kennels.

4)    Recommendations will be made to the legislature to support and pass HB 108, which will increase penalties on individuals who engage in cockfighting.

5)    Recommendations will be made to the OLCSB to adopt the American Veal Association 2007 agreement to transition to group housing for veal calves by 2017.

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Actual Agreement Between Ohio Ag & HSUS

1)    Recommendations will be made to The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (OLCSB) to take action on issues related to downer cattle and humane euthanasia using language consistent with the proposed ballot initiative.

2)    The Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will coordinate and take action on wild and dangerous animals including the prohibition of the sale and/or possession of big cats, bears, primates, large constricting and venomous snakes and alligators and crocodiles. Existing owners will be grandfathered in, but they could not breed or obtain new animals.

3)    Recommendations will be made to the legislature to support and pass SB 95 largely in the current form, which regulates dog breeding kennels.

4)    Recommendations will be made to the legislature to support and pass HB 108, which will increase penalties on individuals who engage in cockfighting.

5)    Recommendations will be made to the OLCSB to adopt the American Veal Association 2007 agreement to transition to group housing for veal calves by 2017.

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Agriculture responds to HSUS agreement

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) has announced its support for the agreement announced between the Ohioans for Livestock Care coalition and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The agreement validates Ohio voters’ decision last fall to pass State Issue 2, which established the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board as the appropriate venue for defining acceptable farm animal care practices.

“One of animal agriculture’s most vocal critics has agreed that the Livestock Care Standards Board is the proper authority to handle difficult questions about farm animal care,” said Jack Fisher, OFBF executive vice president. “This is truly a milestone and confirms Ohio’s position as a national leader in farm animal care.”

Fisher also praised Gov. Ted Strickland for his efforts to create an agreement that will be good for Ohio farmers and consumers.

OFBF cited additional reasons for supporting the agreement. Farmers now have certainty for an extended period of time regarding housing regulations.

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Breeding for Profit Focus of Ohio Sheep Day July 10-11 in Powell: Register Now

“Breeding Sheep for a More Profitable Flock” will be the focus of this year’s Ohio Sheep Day, which will be held in conjunction with the ASI (American Sheep Industry Association) Regional Genetics Conference July 10-11 at Riverwood Farms in Powell, just north of Columbus.

Sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, Ohio State’s Department of Animal Sciences, the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) and ASI, the event will concentrate on what producers can do to select traits for profit-boosting — including information about the latest innovations in sheep genetics, modern selection criteria, advantages of crossbreeding systems, evaluation of sheep breeds, and more.

Keynote speakers include David Notter, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Kreg Leymaster, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC), Clay Center, Neb.; David Thomas, University of Wisconsin; and Charles Parker, professor emeritus, Ohio State.

Register by contacting Roger High, OSIA and OSU Extension, at 614-246-8299 or rhigh@ofbf.org; or by filling out and mailing a registration form, available at http://www.ohiosheep.org (click on “OSIA Program,” then “Ohio Sheep Day”).

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Training Set for Sheep, Goat Owners July 22

Sheep and goat owners interested in using the FAMACHA system as a selective deworming tool will want to attend a Sheep and Goat FAMACHA Training session scheduled for Thursday, July 22, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Eastern Agricultural Research Station in Noble County.

The program will train producers to use the commercially available system to reduce the development of internal parasites that are resistant to drugs, said Clif Little, Ohio State University Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources.

“FAMACHA allows sheep and goat producers to use a colored eye chart to identify if an animal is suffering form anemia — an indication that it needs to be dewormed,” Little said. “It’s not a cure-all, but it can be a key tool in an overall parasite control strategy, and it can prevent unnecessary use of de-wormers, which can cause resistance to develop.”

Class size is limited to 25 and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Dairy Farmers Say CME Hurts Milk Prices

by Dan Looker

Successful Farming magazine Business Editor

Operators of both large and small dairy farms told a government hearing on competition in Madison, Wisconsin Friday that trading in cheese at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is hurting prices received by producers.

The growing market power of big box retailers and imports of dairy proteins also came up, but a group of farmers from New York to the Midwest to California was nearly unanimous in criticizing a block cheese market that is thinly traded and vulnerable to manipulation.

“This volatility that is being created by the CME is the source of the problem,” said Joel Greeno, who milks 48 cows on his farm near Kendall, Wisconsin. USDA milk prices became more volatile after they were tied to trading of cheese, he said. “It went from fairly stable ups and downs to looking like a heart monitor, and it can’t look like a heart attack.”

Greeno, who uses rotational grazing and is vice president of Family Farm Defenders, was at the smaller end of the spectrum of dairy farms represented at the hearing in the University of Wisconsin student union.

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U.S. Hog Inventory Down 4 Percent

U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on June 1, 2010 was 64.4 million head.
This was down 4 percent from June 1, 2009 but up 1 percent from March 1,
2010.

Breeding inventory, at 5.79 million head, was down 3 percent from last year
but up slightly from the previous quarter.  Market hog inventory, at
58.6 million head, was down 4 percent from last year but up 1 percent from
last quarter.

The March-May 2010 pig crop, at 28.2 million head, was down 3 percent from
2009 and down 2 percent from 2008.  Sows farrowing during this period totaled
2.87 million head, down 5 percent from 2009 and down 6 percent from 2008.
The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding
herd.  The average pigs saved per litter was a record high 9.81 for the
March-May 2010 period, compared to 9.61 last year.  Pigs saved per litter by
size of operation ranged from 7.70 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to
9.90 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

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Breeding Sheep for a More Profitable Flock

Breeding sheep for a more profitable flock will be the focus of a comprehensive seminar on defining and selecting traits that can increase profits in sheep production. OSIA in conjunction with the American Sheep Industry’s genetic stakeholders committee has planned a two day regional genetics symposium for July 10 and 11, 2010 at Riverwood Farms, Powell, OH.

This conference will feature three of the most nationally recognized sheep geneticists in the United States: Dr. David Notter, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Dr. Kreg Leymaster, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and Dr. David Thomas, University of Wisconsin. The Saturday morning session begins with a focus on the basics of animal breeding which will include a discussion of cross breeding systems and their ability to enhance performance through increased hybrid vigor. Followed by a discussion of sheep breeds, both hair and wool, and how they function within the wide variety of sheep production and marketing systems that are found in the Midwest.

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Forage Focus: To Bale, or Not to Bale

BY Victor Shelton, NRCS Grazing Specialist

The past week or so I’ve sure seen a lot of hay being cut; some even went through some wash cycles. I too had some down and had planned on baling it up in small bales until rainy looking weather made as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room of rocking chairs, so it quickly got rolled up. I think every producer stresses over making hay at least part of the time.

I’m often asked the questions, “to bale or not bale” or “should I put up hay or just buy what I need?” Good questions. I think everyone, no matter how efficient or type of grazing system, should have some hay on hand. It is your insurance plan; your contingency plan. Feeding less hay is a good thing though, at least it should be — meaning that you hopefully grazing more.

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United States Cattle on Feed Up 1 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for
feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.5 million head on
June 1, 2010. The inventory was 1 percent above June 1, 2009.

Placements in feedlots during May totaled 2.02 million, 23 percent above
2009. Net placements were 1.92 million head. During May, placements of cattle
and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 445,000, 600-699 pounds were
405,000, 700-799 pounds were 537,000, and 800 pounds and greater were
635,000.

Marketings of fed cattle during May totaled 1.87 million, 4 percent below
2009. This is the lowest fed cattle marketings for the month of May since the
series began in 1996.

Other disappearance totaled 102,000 during May, 1 percent above 2009.

 Number of Cattle on Feed, Placements, Marketings, and Other Disappearance on
         1,000+ Capacity Feedlots – United States: June 1, 2009 and 2010
——————————————————————————–
                                     :          Number           :  Percent of 
                 Item                :—————————:             
                                     :    2009     :    2010     :previous year
——————————————————————————–
                                     :   —– 1,000 head —-       percent   
                                     :                                         
On feed May 1 …………………..:   10,822        *10,443          96     
Placed on feed during May ………..:    1,638          2,022         123     
Fed cattle marketed during May ……:    1,952          1,869          96     
Other disappearance during May ……:      101            102         101     
On feed June 1 ………………….:   10,407         10,494         101     
——————————————————————————–
*  Revised.                                                                    

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USDA Moves to Restore Competitive Markets in Livestock and Poultry Markets

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released new rules today that propose a host of reforms necessary to help restore competitive markets and contract fairness to livestock and poultry markets.  The new rules directed by the 2008 Farm Bill, promise to outlaw preferential pricing, expand producer rights to sue over unfair and deceptive practices and compel greater contract fairness for poultry producers.

Under the proposed rules, independent family farmers who meet the same quality standards as mega feedlots must be paid the same price.   The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition said those standards must be transparent and made publicly available.

“These rules are crucial to restoring a level playing field for independent family farmers” said Martha Noble, Senior Policy Associate with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.  “Undue and unjustified price preferences for industrial scale factory farms have caused substantial harm to markets, small and mid-sized farmers, and rural communities,” said Noble.

“Family farm advocates have called for an end to unjustified price preferences for decades and perhaps we have arrived at the point where the government will get serious about enforcing the law,” added Noble. 

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Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board Launches Website

The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board today launches its website, www.ohiolivestockcarestandardsboard.org. The website informs and educates Ohioans about the activities of the board.

The interactive site features meeting notices, past meeting minutes, frequently asked questions, updates, contact information and more. It also provides an opportunity for visitors to offer direct comment to the board.

The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is charged with establishing statewide standards governing the care and well-being of livestock while promoting food safety, preventing animal and human diseases and encouraging local food production.

For more information about the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, visit www.ohiolivestockcarestandardsboard.org, or e-mail at livestockstandardsboard@agri.ohio.gov.

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Stoller Farms displays commitment to quality eggs

By Matt Reese

Impeccable environmental stewardship, unparalleled animal welfare and unrivaled food safety are necessities in today’s egg production. They are all interconnected and successful egg producers know that no corners can be cut.

“The chicken does a wonderful job of producing eggs, but if we try to cut corners to save a buck we can ruin that egg,” said Gary Stoller, with Stoller Farms, this year’s environmental steward award recipient. “I have been in this business long enough to see where we came from, and our practices were far inferior back then. Today our food is safer, our birds are healthier and I don’t think there is a food system in the world that is safer than what we have for our eggs in this country today.”

Stoller’s grandfather had nine boys and raised numerous types of livestock to keep them busy on their Paulding County farm. He built one of the largest chicken houses of the era, 25feet wide by 160 feet long, in the early 1920s.

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New National Pork Board Members

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced five appointments to the 15-member National Pork Board.  The five appointees will serve three-year terms beginning July 1.  They were chosen from among eight pork producers nominated and ranked by the National Pork Act Delegate Body during its annual meeting in March.

The appointees are:

  • Everett L. Forkner, Richards, Mo. – Second term
  • Julie A. Maschhoff, Carlyle, Ill.– First term
  • Derrick D. Sleezer, Cherokee, Iowa – First term
  • Wathina M. Luthi, Gage, Okla.– First term
  • Steven R. Wuergler, Drain, Ore. – First term

Everett Forkner was recently elected vice president of the National Pork Board by his fellow board members.  He is the owner and president of Forkner Farms Inc., which has 500 purebred sows and markets 8,000 hogs per year. He has sold hogs in 27 different countries. He also raises corn, soybeans and wheat on 2,000 acres.

Julie Maschhoff, along with her husband, brother-in-law and sister-in-law, is the owner of The Maschhoffs LLC, as well as its vice president of communications. 

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