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Seven Asian countries now battling African swine fever

Continuing its march across the continent, African swine fever (ASF) now has claimed its seventh Asian country, Myanmar, which is west of most previous known cases. If you include the Asian portion of Russia in this count, there are eight Asian countries battling ASF. According to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), two far eastern provinces (not far from the Chinese border) have recently reported new cases of the disease on farms. While ASF had been found in eastern Russia before, these provinces had not reported cases previously. This marks the first cases in Eastern Russia since late 2017.

 

Myanmar

In the recent United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, the ministry of agriculture, livestock and irrigation confirmed that the country’s first ASF outbreak occurred in a village in Mongla Township, Kengtung District, Shan State, on Aug. 1. This is in the northeast part of the country near the Chinese border. 

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Ohioan among finalists for America’s Pig Farmer of the Year

The National Pork Board recently announced the four finalists vying to be named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year, including Doug Dawson from Delaware, Ohio. The program honors a U.S. pig farmer each year who excels at raising pigs following the We Care ethical principles and who is committed to sharing their farming story with the American public.

“The finalists do what’s best on their farms every day for people, pigs and the planet,” said National Pork Board President David Newman, a pig farmer representing Arkansas. “The finalists also showcase how diverse family farming is today throughout the United States.”

The other finalists are Chris Hoffman – McAlisterville, Pennsylvania, Josh Linde – Manilla, Iowa and Thomas Titus – Elkhart, Illinois. To help select the winner, the four finalists will meet with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago later this month. The judges will view videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will interview each of them.

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Stress task force offering help to struggling Ohio farmers

Dairy farmers grapple with slumps in milk prices while the cost of feeding their cows keeps rising. For crop farmers, prices for corn and soybeans remain low, and many growers couldn’t plant either crop this year.

The persistent spring rain created the state’s worst planting year on record and has contributed to a near-record low level of hay to feed livestock in Ohio and across the Midwest.

So much is out of a farmer’s control — weather, commodity and feed prices, a hike in international tariffs on American agricultural goods that has diminished demand for them.

When rain this past spring kept farmers from planting, among the comments that circulated on Facebook was one offering a phone number for a suicide hotline.

Now, perhaps more than ever, farmers might need help with how to keep their businesses afloat, how to find jobs off the farm, how to find clinicians to help deal with mounting frustration or despair that might come with running a business farming the land.

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Animal Agriculture Alliance releases report from 2019 Animal Rights National Conference

The Animal Agriculture Alliance released a report detailing observations from the Animal Rights National Conference, held July 25 through July 28 in Alexandria, Va.

The event was organized by the Farm Animal Rights Movement and sponsored by Mercy for Animals, The Save Movement, Compassion Over Killing and The Humane League, along with other animal rights extremist groups.

“Animal rights extremists are becoming increasingly aggressive in their efforts to end animal agriculture,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “Releasing reports from major activist conferences enables everyone in animal agriculture to prepare for strategies and tactics targeting their livelihood.”

Similar to last year’s conference, speakers made it clear their vision is animal liberation, not promoting animal welfare.

“There is no such thing as humane slaughter and anyone who tells you differently is simply lying,” said Michael Budkie of Stop Animal Exploitation Now. Demetria Atkinson of Redefine Your Mind argued, “Animals are people too.” “We need to say that all animal agriculture is cruel and wrong,” said Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns.

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Dairy industry asks U.S. government to swiftly secure strong trade deal with Japan

In an effort organized by the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council, 70 dairy companies, farmer-owned cooperatives, and associations today sent a letter to the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture asking the U.S. government to capitalize on the conclusion of Japan’s national elections and quickly finalize a strong trade deal with Japan in order to secure critical market access for the dairy industry here at home.

“Given that Japan is an established market with a growing demand for dairy products, the successful negotiation of a robust trade agreement with Japan will bring a much-needed boost to the economic health of the U.S. dairy industry and set our industry up on a path to compete effectively there moving forward. Securing robust dairy export opportunities into this overseas market will be critical to restoring confidence for our dairy farmers and processors across the country,” they wrote.

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Disruption in fed beef slaughter

By Stephen R. Koontz, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics — Colorado State University

Tyson’s Finney County, Kansas, facility suffered a fire late Friday, Aug. 9. The good news is that there were no reports of injuries, a testament to the planning and operation of the facility and emergency responders. The bad news — for cattle markets – is that this plant will remain closed indefinitely. The fire is reported to have started in the box shop but major damage – as in a collapsed portion of the roof — was also reported. The Finney County facility is west of Holcomb and Garden City, Kansas, and is a major fed cattle slaughter and boxed beef fabrication plant. The plant slaughters approximately 6,000 head per day and between 27,000 and 30,000 head per week. This is 4.5% to 5% of the national fed cattle slaughter.

The impact of this event on fed cattle markets will be substantial.

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OCF Young Cattlemen’s Conference provides industry learning experience

The 2019 Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC) hosted 19 cattlemen and women for a three-day leadership development program in central Ohio, Aug. 8-10. The conference was made possible through the support of program sponsors, Farm Credit Mid-America, Ohio Beef Council, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Soybean Council and the Rick Malir & Bonnie Coley-Malir Beef Leadership Fund.

YCC kicked off Thursday evening at the Ronald McDonald House of Columbus where participants were able to tour the house and learn about its mission. Attendees also had the opportunity to network over a beef dinner with members of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s Board of Directors, program sponsor representatives and other industry professionals. Vice President of Wendy’s Protein Procurement and Innovation, Quality Supply Chain Co-op, Inc. (QSSC), Dr. Henry Zerby, served as the guest speaker for the evening and shared his thoughts on the future of the beef industry and some of the challenges it faces moving forward.

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Livestock groups launch campaign highlighting the benefits of grazing

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council today launched a digital campaign focused on the value of grazing. The digital campaign was created to explore key elements of grazing that benefit the environment, rural communities, and local economies across the United States.

The four-week campaign launched with a video and blog post featuring Rich Atmore, a California rancher that lived through the destructive 2017 Thomas Fire. With the use of livestock grazing, Atmore mitigated the intensity and damage of wildfires around his home and surrounding urban landscapes.

“Wildfire mitigation is just one of the many benefits of livestock grazing,” said Jennifer Houston, NCBA President. “Cattle positively contribute to the environment and our food production system, and it’s a story many need to hear. We need to arm the public with facts; it’s livestock who provide natural nutrients to the soil, ensure our native grasslands remain intact, and ensure rural America remains economically supported.”

Research finds that managed livestock grazing prevents catastrophic wildfire, cycles nutrients through the soil, fosters healthy habitats for wildlife, and supports rural economic development.

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Texas Longhorn show visits Wayne County

The Ohio River Valley Texas Longhorn Association’s 23rd annual Texas Longhorn show was held at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster July 19 and 20.

The 23rd annual show was judged by ITLA approved training judge, June Cohran, DVM of Stuarts Draft, Va. Cohran is well respected as a result of her past performances at Championship shows in several states. All ITLA approved judges are involved in the Texas Longhorn industry buying, selling, exhibiting and promoting, with value perception experiences.

The ORVTLA is an affiliate of the International Texas Longhorn Association. Registered Texas Longhorn cattle sparred for championship awards with 56 International Texas Longhorn Association approved classes. Exhibitors were from Ohio and 7 joining states.

President Amber Dunmire oversaw the event held facility was large, bright and clean, making a pleasant day for all attendees. Parking was easy and the cattle were fat and slick.

For more information and show photos see the Ohio River Valley Texas Longhorn Association on Facebook.

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Hay quality 2019; It’s Déjà vu all over again!

By Stan Smith, PA, Fairfield County, Ohio State University Extension

Coming off a year where quality forages for beef cattle were in short supply throughout Ohio, now in mid-2019 we find that inventory remains critically low. With the National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) estimating only 60% of Ohio’s first cutting hay harvest was completed by the first of July, it’s apparent that Ohio cattlemen will again be faced with finding ways to make “feed” from hay that was harvested way past it’s prime.

As an example of the hay quality we’re seeing, a recent forage analysis on some Fairfield County mixed grass hay that was mowed on June 25th and baled on June 29 – after also getting lightly rained on once – came back showing 6.85% protein and 38.02% TDN (total digestible nutrients) on a dry matter basis. The ADF (acid detergent fiber) was 51.63% and the NDF (neutral detergent fiber) was 65.51%.

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My first cutting is just “cow hay” — now what?

By Jimmy Henning, Forage Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

Late cut hay is a fact of life in Kentucky. There are worse things. Drought, for example. It is no failure if some first cuttings of hay are late, or rain damaged for that matter. The list of things that have to get done in May never ends for the part-time, diversified farmers that form the bulk of the beef cattle producers.

Farmers face a never-ending set of “what to do first” decisions. Something has to be second, or third. So late cuttings of hay happen. The real mistake is to let a less-than-perfect first cutting stop the conversation hay management because a farmer thinks we in Extension are disappointed.

 

Next steps if you think your first cutting is just “cow hay”

The first thing to do is to get a representative core sample and send it to a certified lab for analysis.

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MFP details announced

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released details of the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments announced by the Trump Administration in May. MPF will provide up to $14.5 billion to producers in up to three tranches starting with a first round of payments this August.

Payment rates vary by county from $15 to $150 per acre based on USDA’s calculated damages from tariffs in each individual county affected — most in the $50 to $75 range per acre, according to USDA. That single-county rate will be multiplied by a farm’s total planted acreage for all MFP-eligible crops in aggregate for 2019, not to exceed total 2018 plantings. The county rates for Ohio can be found here. 

In addition, dairy producers who were in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a 20-cent per hundredweight payment on production history, and hog producers will receive an $11 per head payment based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by the producer between April 1 and May 15, 2019.

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Showing at the Ohio State Fair is about the experience

By Matt Reese

Banners are nice. Success is great. But really, at the end of each Ohio State Fair, it is really about the experience, lessons learned and the people. Though Caroline Winter from Pickaway County has had some success in showmanship and breed shows, those are not the first things she shares about what she loves about the Ohio State Fair.

“I have been showing since I could walk. I love hanging out with my friends who are also my competitors,” the 17-year-old said. “In the show ring we compete, but if my friend beats me, I don’t hold it against them. Whatever happens in the show ring, we go get ice cream or play a game of cards — a very competitive game of cards.

“Spoons is my favorite card game at the State Fair. We’ll get a big game going and it is a lot of fun. And, for the ice cream, you have to go at the right time because if you don’t the line is wrapping around the building.

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Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) to cost less

By Matthew Diersen, Risk and Business Management Specialist, Ness School of Management & Economics, South Dakota State University

Feeder cattle have been under seasonal price pressure, similar to last year. Thus, locking in cattle prices or spending money for insurance may not be a high priority at this time. However, it is never a bad time to plan nor to look for cost-effective ways to manage risk. Livestock Risk Protection (LRP), price coverage sold by insurance agents, is similar to the purchase of put options on cattle futures contracts. LRP is administered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) with a federally-subsidized premium that is set to increase soon.

Interest in and usage of LRP has fluctuated since first being offered in the early 2000s. Nationally, coverage with the feeder cattle endorsement peaked at over 300,000 head in crop year 2014. Such a total was still less than 1% of the U.S.

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Frobose selected #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces team

The Pork Checkoff has selected 13 college students to represent the #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces team this year. Candidates were selected based on their involvement in the pork industry and their strong communication skills.  The 2019 class of Social Forces includes Hunter Frobose from Wood County who is attending Ohio State University.

“Social media is ingrained in young people’s lives,” said Claire Masker, director of sustainability communications for the Pork Checkoff. “It’s an easy tool for them to share their insights and inspiration about an industry that they are so proud to be a part of. With so many diverse social media channels, they each have an opportunity to share their passion for pig farming with their followers.”

The team will be active July through December.

“Consumers continue to have questions about how pigs are raised, and pig farmers know the answers better than anyone else,” Masker said. “Through the Pork Checkoff’s social media outreach program, real farmers are sharing their real stories with consumers through #RealPigFarming.”

The hashtag (#) before RealPigFarming helps people search social media posts with the same phrase, making it easier for them to follow conversations, Masker said.

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Public Notice by the Ohio Pork Council and the National Pork Board

The election of pork producer delegate candidates for the 2020 National Pork Producers (Pork Act) Delegate Body will take place at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, August 14, 2019 in conjunction with the Ohio Pork Council Board of Directors meeting at the Mohican State Park Lodge, 3116 OH-3, Loudonville Ohio. All Ohio pork producers are invited to attend.

Any producer, age 18 or older, who is a resident of the state and has paid all assessments due may be considered as a delegate candidate and/or participate in the election. All eligible producers are encouraged to bring with them a sales receipt proving that hogs were sold in their name and the checkoff deducted.

For more information, contact the Ohio Pork Council Office, 9798 Karmar Ct. Suite A, New Albany OH 43054, 614-882-5887.

 

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USDA now making Dairy Margin Coverage Program payments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) opened enrollment for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program on June 17 and has started issuing payments to producers who purchased coverage. Producers can enroll through Sept. 20, 2019.

“Times have been especially tough for dairy farmers, and while we hope producers’ margins will increase, the Dairy Margin Coverage program is providing support at a critical time for many in the industry,” said Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “With lower premiums and higher levels of assistance than previous programs, DMC is already proving to be a good option for a lot of dairy producers across the country.  USDA is committed to efficiently implementing the safety net programs in the 2018 Farm Bill and helping producers deal with the challenges of the ever-changing farm economy.”

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, DMC replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy).

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Overcoming Ohio’s forage fiasco

By Matt Reese

Like most every sector of Ohio agriculture, those feeding livestock are faced with serious challenges after persistent wet weather swamped pastures, killed alfalfa stands, and severely limited and delayed quality hay making opportunities.

Most of Ohio suffered from too much rain this spring, but the northwestern part of the state has been hardest hit. Gary Wilson from Hancock County is an Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council board member and past president of the American Forage and Grassland Council. Like many others in northwest Ohio, he is scrambling to keep his livestock eating.

“Forages are really short. Last winter a lot of the alfalfa was winter killed. I think it was a combination of a wet fall, cold winter, lack of snow, and there was heaving. People could see their tile lines sticking out like a sore thumb in the spring once everything greened up and there was no alfalfa there between the tile lines — that is not a good sign.

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