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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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%).… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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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.… Continue reading

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FMD language in Senate Agriculture Panel’s Farm Bill

The National Pork Producers Council was encouraged that the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry included in its 2018 Farm Bill language establishing a vaccine bank to deal with an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD).

FMD is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, pigs and sheep; it is not a food safety or human health threat. Although the disease was last detected in the United States in 1929, it is endemic in many parts of the world.

Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said the agriculture panel will mark up its bill June 13. The full House is expected to vote on its measure, which also includes FMD language, June 22.

“This is encouraging news for the livestock industry,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio, and chairman of NPPC’s Farm Bill Policy Task Force. “With a vaccine bank, we’ll finally be able to adequately prepare for an FMD outbreak.… Continue reading

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Farm field trip offers third graders a unique learning opportunity

The Ohio Livestock Coalition (OLC) has announced the winners of its annual student essay contest, which asked Ohio third-grade students to answer the question, “How do Ohio farmers make sure we have good, safe food to eat?” Students from throughout Ohio submitted essays answering the question, in hopes of winning a class field trip to an Ohio livestock farm.

Laela Colwell, a third-grade student from North Union Elementary School, in Richwood, was selected as the grand-prize winner, awarding her entire class an expenses-paid field trip to the Nature Pure LLC, a family-owned and operated egg farm located in Raymond, Ohio. In her essay, Colwell explained how farmers provide excellent care for their animals, which ensures safe, healthy food for consumers.

“There is a disconnect for many young students in Ohio between the food they eat daily and where it actually comes from,” said Jenny Hubble, OLC representative and senior vice president of communications at the American Dairy Association Mideast.… Continue reading

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Unique opportunities, challenges for organic producers during difficult days for dairies

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net

Farms of all sizes and production methods are in tough situations right now with financial pressure with inputs are too high and prices too low. Many small farms in recent years have turned to organic production as a way to make the most bang for their buck on existing acres. The situation may be the most dramatic for dairy farms now facing years of below production cost milk prices.

Alan and Renee Winner in Logan County made the organic transition for their dairy and about a third of their crop acres for a number of reasons.

“Over the past 20 plus years we have eaten organically and learned about alternative therapies such as homeopathics, essential oils, and herbs, so this was a natural transition for our family,” Renee Winner said. “Although we have some neighbors and a couple of Alan’s relatives that were already organic, it wasn’t until a local friend, who has been involved with organics for several years, shared information about the industry that we actually thought that we could make that jump. … Continue reading

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Dairy trip of a lifetime for Ohio FFA members

By Alex Zimmer, Agricultural Science Instructor Buckeye Valley High School-DACC

Because of their success at the 2016 National FFA Convention, members of the Buckeye Valley-DACC dairy team were invited to compete internationally, traversing seven european countries over the course of two weeks during June of 2017.

The FFA Dairy Evaluation contest requires students to judge classes of dairy cattle (cows and heifers), select appropriate sires, judge pedigrees, and take a test about the function of the dairy industry as a whole. Qualifying to travel and compete internationally was not a small feat for the Buckeye Valley-DACC FFA dairy evaluation team. The opportunity was borne of a tremendous amount of work and dedication put forth by four team members; Macee Burke, Hannah Edelblute, Sarah Lehner, and Donnie Smith. The group began preparing in the winter of 2016 studying external anatomy, learning to read pedigrees, and gaining knowledge on the dairy industry as a whole.… Continue reading

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Trade war hurting U.S. pork

According to Iowa State University Economist Dermot Hayes, U.S. pork producers have lost $2.2 billion on an annualized basis due to events leading up to and following China’s 25% punitive tariffs in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel.

“U.S. pork has invested significantly to ramp production to capitalize on growth opportunities around the world, including China and other markets throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” said Jim Heimerl, a Johnstown, Ohio pig farmer and president of the National Pork Producers Council. “We applaud the administration for making the expansion of agriculture exports a cornerstone of the discussions with China. We hope the next round of trade talks with China results in improved market access to a critical export market for U.S. pork and other farm products.”

The National Pork Producers is calling for a swift resolution of the United States-China trade dispute, paving the way for increased U.S. pork exports to the world’s largest pork-consuming nation.… Continue reading

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House members call to end Thailand pork ban

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Virachai Plasai, ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the United States, calling for the removal of restrictions on imports of U.S. farm products, including pork.

The bipartisan letter — signed by 44 members and sponsored by Reps. David Young, R-Iowa, and Ron Kind, D-Wis. — points out that if Thailand does not make “significant progress” on removing its import restrictions, the United States may suspend some of its trade benefits. The letter came after the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) last week agreed with a request from NPPC to review Thailand’s eligibility for the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program because of that country’s failure to provide access to its market for U.S. products, including pork.

The National Pork Producers Council is urging the Trump administration to withdraw or limit the benefits Thailand receives under the preferential trade program, which gives duty-free treatment to certain goods entering the United States.… Continue reading

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Discover Native Warm-Season Forages June 16

By Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, OSU Extension

On Saturday, June 16, 2018, the National Park Service will host a collaborative program called “Discover Native Warm-Season Forages” from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (Mound City Group Visitor Center:16062 State Route 104 Chillicothe, OH 4560).

This free event is a combined effort of the National Park Service, The Ohio State University, Ohio Division of Wildlife, Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council, Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever to share information about the versatility of native warm-season forages for conservation, wildlife, and livestock production.

From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. an optional tour of the Hopeton Earthworks site will be offered as well. Attendance RSVPs are requested for submission by Friday, June 8. Noble County Extension is the contact point for registration information. Call 740-732-5681 for more details.… Continue reading

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Gaining greater market access for Ohio feeder calves

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

You do not have to look long and hard to find plenty of evidence that feeder calf marketing is undergoing significant changes across the country. The market is currently sending a clear message that buyers are demanding more for their purchasing dollars. Significant discounts are occurring in the market place for feeder calves that are not weaned 45-60 days, castrated & healed, dehorned, and given 2 rounds of a modified live vaccine for the shipping fever complex. In 2019, a major restaurant chain is going to start requiring their suppliers of fed cattle to be Beef Quality Assurance certified. This will in turn be pushed down to the producer level. Exports to China and other countries are going to require age and source verification. These are growing realities for cow-calf producers if they want access to as many markets as possible.… Continue reading

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Providence in Ross County pastures

By Abby Motter, OCJ field reporter

In the eleventh chapter of Deuteronomy Moses wrote a phrase that is still being implemented on the land today by a family who holds those words in high esteem.

“So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today — to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul — then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.”

These verses serve as a cornerstone for the Dorrance family in Ross County on their Pastured Providence Farmstead. Paul Dorrance along with his wife Heather and three children are fairly new to agriculture, but through the intertwining of faith and desire to be good stewards of the land they are providing high quality products to Chillicothe and the surrounding community.… Continue reading

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Raw milk amendment gets shot down

Overwhelming opposition from a strong coalition of dairy farmers, processors, consumer groups, food safety advocates, federal and state public health regulators, the medical community, and other key stakeholders led to the defeat of an amendment to the 2018 House Farm Bill that would have allowed the interstate sale of unpasteurized milk.

Amendment 30, offered by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), would have removed existing regulations that prohibit the interstate sale of raw milk for direct human consumption — a development that the coalition of opponents said would have threatened the health of millions of Americans. The Massie amendment failed in the House by a vote of 331 against to 79 in favor.

In a May 14 letter to House leaders Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) insisted that Massie’s proposed amendment to the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R.… Continue reading

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2018 Ohio State Fair Draft Horse Show will be streamed live

New for 2018:

All evening performances during the 2018 Ohio State Fair Draft Horse Show will be streamed live on the Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net Facebook page as well as at ocj.com.

The list of classes that will be streamed live is listed below.

Click here to download a complete schedule of all classes including those that will not be streamed live.

Monday, July 30, 2018 at 5:30  p.m.

Registered Percheron Six Mare Hitch
Belgian Six Horse Hitch Open No Registered Mares
Belgian Four Registered Mares
Reg. Percheron Stallion/Gelding Unicorn
Registered Belgian Mare Cart, Lady To Drive
Percheron Mare Team Driven By A Lady
Belgian Team Driven By A Lady
Percheron Team Driven By A Lady, Stallion/Gelding

Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Belgian Mare Six Horse Hitch
Registered Percheron Open Six-Horse Hitch **
Open Belgian Unicorn – No Registered Mares
Reg. Belgian Cart Mare, Gentleman To Drive
Percheron Single Cart Mare, Lady To Drive
Open Belgian Team No Registered Mares
Percheron Single Cart Stallion/Gelding, Gentleman To Drive
Percheron Registered Mare Four Hitch
Open Belgian Single Cart, Lady To Drive
Registered Belgian Mare Team
Percheron Cart Mare, Gentleman To Drive
Percheron Stallion/Gelding Cart, Lady To Drive

Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

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Ohio Pork Council wins national political advertising award

The Ohio Pork Council received top honors at this year’s American Association of Political Consultants Pollie Award conference for their pig barn pop-up mail piece.

The goal of this piece was to create an eye-catching visual education piece that would capture the audience’s attention. Once their attention was captured, this piece worked to relieve misconceptions about the pork industry by answering questions and increasing transparency of modern farming.

The barn discussed several topics, such as technology, manure and pig feed. This piece was created in a format that could be hand delivered to neighbors or utilized in meetings with major policy decision makers.

“The Ohio Pork Council is thrilled to receive this honor,” said Emily Bir, Director of Communications, Ohio Pork Council. “We look forward to distributing the pop-up mail piece to consumers, neighbors and leaders across Ohio looking for more information on modern pork farming.”

Dubbed “the Oscars of political advertising” by Esquire magazine, the Pollies are the most prized and sought-after awards in the political communications and public affairs industries.… Continue reading

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