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China fuels October pork exports, beef exports down

Strong demand from China bolstered U.S. pork exports in October, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Export Federation (USMEF), while October beef exports were below the very high totals posted a year ago.

October pork exports increased 8.5% year-over-year to 225,376 metric tons (mt), while export value climbed 10% to $592 million. January-October export volume was 5% ahead of last year’s pace at 2.13 million mt, while value increased 3% to $5.48 billion.

Pork export value averaged $48.13 per head slaughtered in October, up 4% from a year ago. For January through October, the per-head average was down 1% to $51.12. October exports accounted for 24% of total U.S. pork production and 20.9% for muscle cuts only, up from 23.6% and 20.7%, respectively, a year ago. January-October exports accounted for 26% of total pork production and 22.6% for muscle cuts, both up slightly year-over-year.

October beef exports totaled 108,017 mt, an 8% decline from last year’s large volume, while export value ($649.1 million) was down 11%.… Continue reading

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Frobose Meat Locker adding local flavor to community

By Matt Reese

Much of rural and small town Ohio is built on the character of local agricultural businesses that have been woven into the fabric of the community — a bit of local flavor.

There a few better examples of this local flavor than Frobose Meat Locker in the village of Pemberville in Wood County. The business includes, of course, a meat locker where customers can rent freezer space to house their meats, but the business is widely known for its vast array of brat recipes and high quality, locally produced meat products. The family business is also known for its role in the local culture.

Bob and Elaine Frobose both grew up on area farms and now they operate Frobose Meat Locker with their children Ben, Jacob, Zach, and Abby. The family raises cattle and a few pigs to supply the business along with procuring poultry, pork and beef from area farms.… Continue reading

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Farm groups file legal challenge to California’s Prop 12

The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation have filed a legal challenge to California’s Proposition 12, which imposes animal housing standards that reach outside of California’s borders to farms across the United States and beyond.

“Proposition 12 revolves around a set of arbitrary standards that lack any scientific, technical or agricultural basis, and will only serve to inflict further harm on U.S. hog farmers,” said Jen Sorenson, NPPC vice president. “California represents approximately 15% of the U.S. pork market, and Proposition 12 will force hog farmers who want to sell pork into the populous state to switch to alternative housing systems, at a significant cost to their business. U.S. pork producers are already fighting to expand market opportunities overseas. We shouldn’t have to fight to preserve our domestic market too.”

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Proposition 12 prohibits the sale of pork not produced according to California’s highly prescriptive production standards.… Continue reading

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Rule proposed to level the playing field for organic dairies

A policy that allows a one-time transition of dairy cows from conventional to organic production has been inconsistently enforced, putting farmers who play by the rules at a competitive disadvantage and undermining the integrity of the organic label. However, a proposed rule would level the playing field by more clearly defining current regulations.

The Origin of Livestock proposed rule, which was originally published in 2015 but has not yet been finalized, would allow organic dairy farms to transition conventional replacement animals into organic production only once, prohibiting the continuous transition that some farms have incorrectly practiced. In comments submitted, National Farmers Union (NFU), a longtime advocate of fair and commonsense organic rules and regulations, voiced support for the rule and urged its immediate finalization and implementation.

“The organic label is only as meaningful as the enforcement of organic standards. But currently, the origin of livestock provisions are being applied inconsistently across the industry, allowing some farmers to repeatedly transition conventional replacement animals into organic production while others comply with the rules and only transition a single, distinct herd once.… Continue reading

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Cooperatives Working Together settlement lifts legal cloud

The National Milk Producers Federation announced it has reached a settlement agreement to end a class-action lawsuit concerning a herd retirement program that ended in 2010 and was administered through NMPF’s Cooperatives Working Together initiative. The settlement will safeguard ongoing efforts to aid U.S. dairy producers, lift a years-long legal cloud and allow NMPF member cooperatives and the current CWT program to move forward with greater legal and fiscal certainty.

The plaintiffs (generally larger retailers and companies who directly purchased butter and cheese from CWT member cooperatives) in First Impressions Salon, Inc. v. National Milk Producers Federation et al, (pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois), and defendant NMPF have agreed to a settlement of $220 million in exchange for a release from all claims. Based on antitrust rules that mandate a tripling of any damages, that amount is less than 6% of the damages sought by plaintiffs.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Council names Melissa Bell Interim Executive Vice-President

The Ohio Pork Council is pleased to name Melissa Bell as Interim Executive-Vice President, beginning December 16, 2019.

In this role, Bell will work alongside the board of directors to manage and execute OPC’s strategic goals, coordinate state checkoff programs, and continue the organization’s involvement in H2Ohio, in addition to the Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative. Bell has served as OPC’s Director of Membership Outreach since May 2018, in which she organized events and maintained relationships with key investors, members and partners of the organization.

“Melissa is a tremendous asset to the Ohio Pork Council, which is why we are pleased to offer her the opportunity to serve as Interim Executive Vice-President,” said Dave Shoup, President, Ohio Pork Council. “Given Melissa’s leadership experience in agriculture, coupled with her passion for the industry, we are confident she will excel in this role.”

Before joining OPC in 2018, Bell served as the Sponsorship Development Consultant at the Ohio FFA Foundation, and prior to that as the Executive Director for the Foundation.… Continue reading

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Winter dairy calf management

By Jason Hartschuh, Extension Educator, Crawford County, Ohio State University Extension

Winter roared in this year way before most of us were ready with corn still in the field, barn doors not dug out and winter calf supplies still in the back corner of the barn. Even though we know winter is coming, it never seems like we are ready when the first blast of winter comes.

Calves are most comfortable when the outside temperatures are between 50 to 68 degrees F, which is a calf’s thermoneutral zone. When temperatures are below the lower critical temperature of 50 degrees F, calves need extra energy to stay warm. At times during winter, this can be a challenge since 50 degrees F at night can have highs of 70 degrees F during the day. Usually calves deep bedded with straw manage this variation by nesting with their legs coved at least to the middle of the back leg when lying down.… Continue reading

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Dairy defined: Dean Foods a reminder of cooperative strength

By the National Milk Producers Federation

“Disruption” is a present-day buzzword, and dairy has had its share. From the globalization of markets to the rise of plant- and cell-based competitors, farmers are grappling with a shifting landscape, even as dairy farms themselves have changed.

But none of that is as personally disruptive as a missed milk check — the interruption of the cash flow that’s necessary to keep a dairy operating. That’s the disruption some farmers have worried about in recent weeks, following the Dean Foods bankruptcy announcement. It’s one we at National Milk have followed closely, and it’s one that forcefully reminds us of the value of the cooperatives we serve, from their farmer-owners to the consumers who depend on them.

Cooperatives have played a crucial role in protecting their members’ economic interests for more than a century. As the industry deals with the uncertainty surrounding what the processing landscape will look like post-Dean Foods, hundreds of dairy farmers have no doubt been wondering what ultimately will happen to their milk as the bankruptcy sorts itself out.… Continue reading

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Give a ham for the holidays

In honor of the upcoming holiday season, the Ohio Pork Council invites Ohioans to make a ham or pork product donation to community members in need across Ohio. For the second year in a row, Ohio Pork Council is teaming up with the National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council to participate in this community challenge.

Following the success of last year’s campaign, participants are invited to challenge fellow pork producers, family members and friends on social media to donate a ham to a local food pantry or neighbor in need.

The challenge began Tuesday, Nov. 26, and will last throughout the holiday season.

To share your donation story with the Ohio Pork Council, tag @OhioHogFarmers on Facebook, use #HamsAcrossAmerica #WeCare #GiveAHam, or email Meghann Winters at mwinters@ohiopork.org.… Continue reading

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Connecting customers with their food

By Matt Reese

It all comes down to providing the farm connection that consumers are seeking — that is why Brian and Stacie Anderson do what they do. The much sought-after connection of consumer to food takes quite a bit of extra work, but it has paid off for the small, but growing business of Anderson’s Farm Fresh Products just outside of Bowling Green in Wood County.

“We have been raising poultry, beef, egg layers and now turkeys here in Wood County for six years. We got started with a small-scale egg laying operation and have grown from there. The reason behind that growth is serving the local community that has a need and a want for locally sourced protein products. We are able to sell at the Bowling Green Farmers Market, we do direct sales to customers as well as partner with local businesses to share our products with people all around northwest Ohio,” Stacie said.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s BEST Program set to kick off season

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is pleased to announce the 2019-20 BEST (Beef Exhibitor Show Total) program sponsoring partners that include AgPro Companies, Bob Evans Farms; Farm Credit Mid-America; Frazier Farms; Garwood Arena; Kalmbach Feeds – Formula of Champions; M.H. Eby, Inc.; John Deere, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Weaver Leather Livestock. BEST is a youth program of OCA that recognizes Ohio’s junior beef exhibitors for participation and placings through a series of sanctioned cattle shows that include showmanship competitions, educational contests and leadership opportunities. Juniors who participate in these sanctioned shows earn points for their placings. Points are tabulated for cattle, showmanship, registered Bred & Owned animals and first or second year BEST participants in a separate Novice division for market animals, heifers and showmanship. The program promotes consistency for exhibitors at sanctioned shows hosted by county associations or agricultural groups and clubs. These points are tabulated and posted at www.ohiocattle.org.Continue reading

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Keeping up with all the recent RFS developments requires some energy

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

If you’ve been keeping up with the ag news lately, chances are you’ve heard a lot about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). As a refresher, the RFS program “requires a certain volume of renewable fuel to replace the quantity of petroleum-based transportation fuel.” Renewable fuels include biofuels made from crops such as corn and soybeans. Lately, you may have heard discussion about a controversial new rule regarding the volumes of biofuels that are required to be mixed with oil. While all that talk has been going on, there has also been a lawsuit against the EPA for RFS exemptions given to certain oil refineries. Congress has been examining the exemptions as well. Having trouble keeping all of this RFS information straight? We’ll help you sort it out.

 

EPA proposes new RFS rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a notice of proposed rulemaking, asking for more public comment on the proposed volumes of biofuels to be required under the RFS program in 2020 and 2021.… Continue reading

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Dairy margins widen to highest since 2017 in positive economic sign

In welcome news for the dairy economy, the September margin under the Dairy Margin Coverage program rose by $0.56 per cwt. over the August margin to reach $10.41 per cwt, the second consecutive month margins have fallen outside the threshold necessary to trigger a federal payment. The is the highest seen since the beginning of 2017, allowing for the change in the alfalfa hay price in the margin formula’s feed cost calculation. The September all-milk price was $0.40 per cwt. higher than August’s and the DMC calculated feed cost for September was $0.16 per cwt. lower than August’s, mostly due to a drop in the price of corn.

As of Nov. 6, USDA’s DMC Decision Tool currently projects DMC margin to remain above $9.50 per cwt. for the remainder of 2019 and during all of 2020. Milk prices are expected to generate most of the monthly changes in the margin forecast, while feed costs are anticipated to remain relatively stable during that time.… Continue reading

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Humphreys moves on to National Pork Board

The National Pork Board has named Bryan Humphreys the vice president of producer, state and industry relations. He will start in his new role on Dec. 16.

Humphreys grew up working on the family farm in Iowa raising hogs, corn and soybeans. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, he organized grassroots efforts and managed multiple political campaigns around the country. In 2009, he joined the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) as the director of grassroots, where he encouraged pork producers to tell their stories and interact with influencers and key decision makers. As part of this role, Humphreys also spent time in more urban areas helping educate elected officials and other influential decision makers on modern pork production practices.

In 2014, Humphreys became the executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council, where he led efforts around some most pressing social and environmental issues of the day.

“Bryan is highly respected by pork producers in Ohio and his colleagues around the country,” said Bill Even, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. … Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association to host Annual Meeting and Banquet

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will celebrate Ohio’s cattlemen, hear from industry leaders and set new policy for 2020 at the OCA Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center in Lewis Center.

The day’s events will kick off at 8:30 a.m. with the opening of the OCA PAC silent auction, and the Cattlemen’s Challenge Written Test for youth at 9:00 a.m. This contest, along with the Youth Quiz Bowl, is part of the new Stockmanship Division of the BEST program, which is open only to OCA BEST participants ages 8 to 21 (as of Jan. 1, 2020). The registration deadline for Youth Quiz Bowl is Dec. 27, 2019 at ohiocattle.org. The Annual Meeting will serve as one of the locations available to take the Cattlemen’s Challenge Written Test, and the scores from the test will count toward the overall Stockmanship Awards that will be awarded at the OCA BEST Banquet on May 2, 2020.… Continue reading

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H2Ohio strategies and farm practices outlined by Gov. DeWine

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine unveiled an overview of his new H2Ohio plan for water quality Thursday afternoon in Toledo. Backdropped by the National Museum of the Great Lakes, Governor DeWine presented basic details of the plan to an invited audience of over 100 farmers and legislators, as well as collaborators from farm associations, conservation groups, universities and research centers, agribusinesses, and public and government entities.

“H2Ohio is a dedicated, holistic water quality plan that has long lasting solutions,” said Governor DeWine. “It addresses the causes of the problems and not just the symptoms.”

H2Ohio will invest in targeted solutions to help reduce harmful algal blooms, ensure clean water in disadvantaged communities, and prevent lead contamination in daycare centers and schools. In July, the Ohio General Assembly invested $172 million in the plan.

“This is one of the most comprehensive data-driven planning processes in our state’s history.… Continue reading

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Dean Foods initiates voluntary reorganization

This week, Dean Foods Company announced that it and substantially all of its subsidiaries have initiated voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings in the Southern District of Texas. The Company intends to use this process to protect and support its ongoing business operations and address debt and unfunded pension obligations while it works toward an orderly and efficient sale of the Company.

Dean Foods also announced that it is engaged in advanced discussions with Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) regarding a potential sale of substantially all assets of the Company. If the parties ultimately reach agreement on the terms of a sale, such transaction would be subject to regulatory approval and would be subject to higher or otherwise better offers in the bankruptcy.

Dean Foods is operating in the ordinary course of business and remains focused on providing its customers with wholesome, great-tasting dairy products and the highest levels of quality, service and value.… Continue reading

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Hay supply concerns heading into the winter

Farmers across Ohio are feeling the brunt of last spring’s unprecedented rainfall. Finding hay that is both affordable and sufficiently nutritious has been one roadblock this year for farmers.

In addition, a nutritional deficiency could be sneaking into their herd during this record-breaking year in agriculture.

“Some of the hay’s quality is so low, the animal could actually starve with their hay right in front of them,” said Ted Wiseman, Ohio State University Extension educator.

The enormous amount of rainfall last spring left many farmers unable to get into their fields to harvest hay before it became too mature. The longer the hay matured in the field, the lower its nutritional value got, Wiseman explained.

There are other nutritional alternatives to replace hay in a herd’s diet. A farmer could use corn as a protein source, for example, if protein is what the hay is lacking. Wiseman advises farmers and ranchers to get their hay nutritionally tested as a first step toward making sure their herds are getting the nutrition they need.… Continue reading

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USDA to issue second tranche of trade payments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will proceed with its second tranche of trade relief payments to American farmers as a result of retaliatory tariffs, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said.

“We just have gotten authorization on the second tranche. We’ll be getting it ready hopefully at the end of this month or early December,” he said.

In May, the USDA announced it would again provide payments under the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), valued at $16 billion.

The first round of payments was issued in August and Perdue indicated a third tranche may not be necessary.

“We’re very hopeful that the China negotiations can come to a favorable conclusion. The numbers that we’re talking about right now would be very beneficial to our agricultural producers. We’re hopeful that trade would supplant any type of farm aid needed in 2020,” he said.

MFP provides payments to eligible producers of:

  • Non-specialty crops, including alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dried beans, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat.
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Questions, concerns and consumers in the alternative meat debate

By Matt Reese

It is hard to miss the new products in the grocery store and the nearest fast food restaurant — they look like meat, but they are plant-based. Products like the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat are generating plenty of consumer buzz, questions and misinformation which, admittedly, have some in the livestock world a bit concerned.

“As a meat scientist I have received various calls and questions. It is a very hot topic today in the United States and around the world,” said Lyda Garcia, the Extension meat specialist
with The Ohio State University
College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences. “It is 2019 and we are a big melting pot in the United States. An advantage to that is we have a variety of different tastes. There are many options to choose from, which I think is a phenomenal thing, but I don’t think it is fair to state that one product is better than the other.… Continue reading

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