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Island style — agriculture on Lake Erie

It’s a surprise for many to learn that Ohio boasts its own share of sizable islands on the state’s inland sea — Lake Erie. And though physically removed from the mainland, animal agriculture still thrives there.

Kelleys Island, boasting an area of 4.41 square miles and a population of 312 as of the 2010 census, has its own share of farm life. Gary Finger, along with his wife Jackie, own and operate The Village Pump, a restaurant and all-around community staple. They also raise some of the livestock that call the island home.

“I don’t ever question it. I totally enjoy it. But I’ve lived here my whole life,” Finger said of raising livestock on an island. “It’s good for me. That’s all I do is take care of people all the time, so it’s fun to take care of our own animals too.”

Gary got his start on the island after his brother bought the Village Pump in 1969 and he convinced his parents to let him move in above the restaurant in 1972.… Continue reading

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OCA hosting Beef Industry Update Meeting

A Beef Industry Update meeting provided by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will take place in Hardin County. Beef producers from Hardin and surrounding counties are encouraged to attend.  The meeting will be held Wednesday, September 28th at 6 p.m. at the Rolling Hills Farms Show and Sale Facility, 17838 Co. Rd. 67 Belle Center, OH 43310.

A complimentary dinner will be hosted by OCA Allied Industry Council (AIC) members Animal Profiling International and Multimin USA and door prizes will be provided. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from Pete Hausser, Animal Profiling International and Multimin USA’s Midwestern representative, on keeping their cow herd profitable. OCA Staff will be in attendance to discuss OCA events and policy updates.

Contact the OCA office at 614-873-6736 or email beef@ohiobeef.org for more information about the industry update meetings. More information can also be found at www.ohiocattle.org.

The Beef Industry Updates are sponsored by the Animal Profiling International and Multimin USA.… Continue reading

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The decision to expand or sell

The beef industry has certainly experienced a bit of an economic “roller coaster” over the past few years. The historically high prices for all classes of beef cattle during 2014 and the first half of 2015 encouraged an expansion phase to begin. As beef cattle prices have moderated over the past year, expansion has continued but at a slower pace. The outlook for beef cattle prices for the next several years still remains positive. The current beef economy has created an interesting dynamic where you can hear producers debating the merits of expanding their herds and also merchandising females.

Depending on your situation, the current beef economic climate provides a unique opportunity for both buyers and sellers of breeding cattle. Both groups can take advantage of this situation by participating in the upcoming Ohio Cattlemen’s Association fourth annual Replacement Female Sale on Friday evening, Nov. 25. The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock facility in Zanesville and will start at 6 p.m.… Continue reading

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OABA to host Preventive Controls for Animal Food Course

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association, in collaboration with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), will offer the FSPCA Preventive Controls for Animal Food Course Oct. 25-27. The new training is intended for individuals that are designated as the Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) for their facility under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

FSMA requires facilities processing any type of animal food (complete feed or ingredients) to comply with new current good manufacturing practices and to implement a written animal food safety plan developed and overseen by a PCQI.

This course is the standardized training developed by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA). This training is accepted by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as meeting the requirements of PCQI designation. Participants that complete the course will receive a certificate from the FSPCA.

Led by Henry Turlington and Gary Huddleston, of AFIA, the course content will provide knowledge of the FSMA animal preventive controls rule and training for creation of an effective animal food safety plan.… Continue reading

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Avian influenza detected in Alaska

State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey is encouraging poultry owners to ensure they are following recommended biosecurity practices after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that a highly contagious strain of avian influenza was detected in wild birds in Alaska. No other recent cases have been identified in the country.

“While this finding is not cause for any immediate concern, it is a good reminder for poultry owners to develop and employ a strong biosecurity program on their farm, regardless of their size or production model,” Forshey said. “This will help them protect their flocks from this influenza as well as other diseases that can affect their birds.”

Good biosecurity practices for poultry owners include the following:

  • Monitor flocks for unusual signs of illness such as “snicking” (sneezing,) a 1% or more decrease in egg production, or an increase in mortality. Other signs to look for are wheezing, lethargy, and depression.
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Human brain evolution not possible without eating meat

A recent study published in Nature magazine found that human brain evolution would not have been possible without eating meat. The report stated that energy saved from less chewing and the calorie-rich, nutritious benefits of meat played a large role in the evolution of facial and dental sizes, speech production organs, locomotion, thermoregulation and perhaps the size of the human brain. According to the report, “Meat requires less masticatory force to chew per calorie than the sorts of generally tough plant foods available to early hominins.”

Another report, published in the academic journal Elementa, found that a vegan diet uses a far less sustainable agricultural land base than omnivorous diets. Meat production is able to utilize pasture land and crop land that vegetables and fruits are unable to use. While a vegan diet is less land intensive, reducing the amount of meat products does not necessarily free more land for cultivation.… Continue reading

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Pasture weaning versus drylot weaning

Calf management strategies involving pasture weaning coupled with maternal contact (i.e., fence-line weaning) have been recommended as possible best-management practices for minimizing weaning stress and reducing subsequent feedlot morbidity compared with drylot weaning. Recently a study was done to evaluate the effect of fence-line or drylot weaning on the health and performance of beef calves during weaning, receiving, and finishing.

At weaning, calves (average weaning age of 180 days) were assigned one of three weaning methods:

  1. drylot weaning + complete visual and auditory separation from dams
  2. pasture weaning + fence-line contact with dams
  3. pasture weaning + fence-line contact with dams + supplemental feed delivered in a bunk.

All calves were individually weighed at the time of maternal separation and were given initial vaccinations against respiratory pathogens. In addition, all calves were treated for internal and external parasites. Booster vaccinations were administered 14 days later. At the end of the 28-day weaning period, all calves were shipped four hours to a feedlot.… Continue reading

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2016 Ohio State Fair Commercial Cattle Show results

The 2016 Ohio State Fair Commercial Cattle Show participants exhibited 25 pens of three for a total of 75 head of commercial steers and heifers on July 31, 2016 during the fair. This year’s event featured a newly added Junior Division. Judging the event were Dick and Bob Jurgens, from Illinois. The show was managed by United Producers, Inc. and the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association served as a sponsor.

Prosser Brothers of Urbana, Ohio, exhibited the Overall Grand Champion Lot of 3 in both the Junior and Open Divisions, both of which were also named the Champion Lot of 3 Steers. The Prosser’s Junior Division champions had an average weight of 1,335 pounds and their Champion Open Division entry averaged 1,361 pounds. Austin Wiseman from Malta, Ohio took home the Reserve Champion Lot of 3 honors in the Junior Division with his Pen of 3 Steers, recording an average weight of 1,347 pounds.… Continue reading

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Bovine tuberculosis diagnosed in Indiana white-tailed deer

Last week the Indiana Board of Animal Health announced the  diagnoses of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in a wild white-tailed deer in Franklin County, Indiana.

Bovine tuberculosis (TB) has been diagnosed in a white-tailed deer in Franklin County, Ind. This marks the first time the disease (more formally known as Mycobacterium bovis) has been found in a wild animal in Indiana. This finding means significant changes in disease monitoring requirements for cattle owners and deer hunters in the area.

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) has been working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to test wildlife on a Franklin County cattle farm where TB was diagnosed in April. The 2-year-old doe that tested positive for TB was culled as part of the surveillance effort on the cattle farm.

Under federal requirements, finding TB in a free-ranging wild animal means testing of all cattle must expand from 3 miles to 10 miles and surveillance in hunter-harvested deer will intensify.

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Conference helps young cattlemen develop industry leadership skills

The 2016 Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC) hosted 18 cattlemen and women for a 3-day leadership development program in Columbus and the central Ohio areas, Aug. 18-20. The conference was made possible by Farm Credit Mid-America and the Ohio Soybean Council.

YCC kicked off Thursday evening at the Crowne Plaza North in Columbus with a beef dinner and participants were present for the 2016 Ohio State Fair Commercial Cattle Show carcass contest awards presentation. Guest speaker, Justin Sexten, Ph.D., Director of Supply Development for the Certified Angus Beef Brand, discussed the challenges and opportunities currently facing the beef industry.

Conference attendees also participated in a spokesperson training program by Daren Williams, Senior Executive Director of Communications. Williams lead participants through a media training session that strengthened their communication skills, taught attendees how to tell their beef production story, and become a more effective cattle industry leader.

Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) staff discussed the value of membership and the role OCA plays in representing the interests of beef producers on legislative and regulatory issues.… Continue reading

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Animal Health Alert: Bovine Tuberculosis Detected In SE Indiana

State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey is recommending cattle owners in Southwest Ohio monitor their herds closely after the Indiana Board of Animal Health reported this week that bovine tuberculosis (TB) has been diagnosed in a wild white-tailed deer in Franklin County in Southeast Indiana. No cases have been diagnosed in Ohio.

“While the extent to which the disease may be present in the wild deer population is not known, cattle owners in Southwest Ohio should be aware of this finding and take precautions,” said Dr. Forshey. “Monitor your cattle for signs of TB, including lethargy, low-grade fever, and cough, and to take steps to prevent contact between your cattle and wild animals.”

Bovine tuberculosis is a chronic bacterial disease that affects primarily cattle, but can be transmitted to any warm-blooded animal. While clinical signs are not visible, in early stages, signs that the disease is progressing may include emaciation, lethargy, weakness, anorexia, low-grade fever and pneumonia with a chronic, moist cough.  … Continue reading

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Price reporting rules show little change

The American Sheep Industry Association was disappointed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to reject industry-suggested language in reauthorizing Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting. The final rule was published Aug. 11 in the Federal Register and will be effective in 60 days.

ASI offered three recommendations to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service that would have improved the industry’s access to useful market data:

• The term packer-owned lambs means lambs that a packer owns for at least 28 days immediately before slaughter.

• Lambs committed would be defined as lambs that are intended to be delivered to a packer beginning on the date of an agreement to sell the lambs.

• To require packers to report price, volume and classification descriptors for all lamb pelts from lambs purchased on a negotiated purchase, formula marketing arrangement or forward contract basis is supported.

USDA approved the definition change for packer-owned lambs, but will not implement the latter two recommendations.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Roundup to Include Trump campaign officials

The registration deadline for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Roundup planned for Friday and Saturday, August 26 and 27 is quickly approaching and those interested in attending are encouraged to make plans to attend. The 2016 Roundup will be held at theOARDC Jackson Agricultural Research Station located at 019 Standpipe Road, Jackson, OH 45640.

OCA is pleased to announce an addition to the Roundup’s Saturday, August 27 morning program. Speaking on behalf of the Donald J. Trump for President Campaign will be Charles W. Herbster, the national chairman of the Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee for the campaign.  Herbster, a noted Angus breeder and businessman from Nebraska, will be joined by Sam Clovis, national Chief Policy Advisor to the Trump campaign and Governor David Heineman, the longest serving governor of the state of Nebraska. They will present information on Donald Trump’s agricultural platform and answer questions.

Friday, August 26 will feature the annual OARDC Jackson Agricultural Research Station’s Beef and Forage Field Night.… Continue reading

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U.S., Mexican dairy industry leaders pledge renewed cooperation

Concluding a successful two-day summit, leaders of U.S. and Mexican dairy industry organizations pledged to work together to boost trade between the two countries, address mutual challenges and increase dairy consumption while also promoting milk production on both sides of the border.

The dairy leaders signed a memorandum creating a U.S.-Mexico Dairy Alliance that will meet annually to exchange information, review industry trends, and identify and seek solutions for problems affecting either side.

Also in the plan going forward will be ways to further reduce trade barriers between the two countries and defend against efforts to capture generic cheese names like parmesan, asiago and feta for the exclusive use of some European producers.

Signing the memorandum for the United States were Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, and Tom Suber, president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Signing for Mexico were Salvador Álvarez Morán, president of the Mexico Livestock Association (CNOG) and Juan Carlos Pardo, president of the National Chamber of Industrial Milk (CANILEC).… Continue reading

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Grazing tips for dry pastures

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, many areas are experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions — and the impact on crops is obvious.

One farmer last week told me he had to drive around a lot in his fields to make round bales. All crops are showing signs of stress, including pasture grasses and forages, but the weeds seem to be growing well through these dry conditions.

What can a manager do given the current situation?

Basic pasture management principles are as important, if not more so, during periods of dry weather. Maintaining good fertility and soil pH can help grazing plants survive drought conditions. Soils that have adequate fertility and are at the ideal pH will go a long way in helping plants maintain a healthy root system, which is important for capturing nutrients, minimizing soil loss, and photosynthesis.

If you decide to apply nitrogen fertilizer, use a form that will not volatilize if rainfall doesn’t occur shortly following application.… Continue reading

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Dairy producers talk phosphorous, manure legislation at summer meeting

It wasn’t long ago that Grand Lake St. Marys was the center of controversy due to Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). A lot has happened since that time and phosphorus reduction was one of several important topics at the Ohio Dairy Producers Association (ODPA) Summer Meeting held Wednesday on the banks of the lake in Celina.

“Ohio’s dairy farmers all realize the importance of partnering with the consuming public and with our state agencies and all the businesses that need to help solve the water problem in our state,” said Scott Higgins of the ODPA. “Two bills in the past year have been acted upon — Senate Bill 150, Senate Bill 1 — and dairy farmers know what the obligations are. The challenge we have is knowing how to get there. We brought folks together to help us with the technical nature of it and how can we get there quickly.”

Speakers for the day included Karl Gebhardt of the Ohio EPA, soil scientist Libby Dayton with Ohio State, Karen Scanlon with the Innovation Center for U.S.… Continue reading

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Seeking help for low prices on the dairy farm

America’s dairy farmers are struggling through a round of low milk prices across the country as dairy prices have fallen from recent record highs in 2014.

“Dairy farmers all around the world are suffering and various governments are looking at what they can do, including the U.S. government,” said Chris Galen, Senior Vice President of Communications for the National Milk Producers Federation. “We’re supportive of some efforts that have been initiated here by some key members of Congress to ask USDA if there is anything else that can be done to help farmers during this difficult time.”

It’s a worldwide phenomenon, as lower milk prices around the world can have a direct effect on milk prices across America. Lower international demand is one key factor driving the lower prices.

“China, which was a major buyer a few years ago, suddenly turned the welcome mat upside down and decided they didn’t need as much,” Galen said.… Continue reading

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Tri State Small Ruminant Summit

The Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office, Indiana Sheep Association, and Ohio Sheep Improvement Association are proud to present the 2016 KIO Tri State Small Ruminant Summit – Let’s Grow Together conference, aimed at herd improvement for sheep and goat producers.

The Summit is an event that brings together producers and experts from different states all with similar goals and obstacles.  The topics, spoken on by experienced university professors, veterinarians and Extension specialists, specifically target how to integrate health, genetics and nutrition to enhanced efficiency and productivity. There will also be hands on workshops and live demonstrations. “This provides a great opportunity to create connections between small ruminant producers and the academic types,” said Robert Van Saun of Penn State University who is speaking at the conference.  “It is a chance to learn new, reliable scientific information as these industries begin to grow.”

The Summit aims to expand and improve the industry for consumers as well.… Continue reading

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Some like it hot…some not

As we move into August, we continue to experience a fairly typical seasonal weather pattern for most of Ohio. Yes, it’s hot and humid!  We have been experiencing these conditions for the past couple of weeks and it appears that the trend will continue at least for the remainder of this week. Maybe Mother Nature will improve her sense of humor and provide us some relief in the coming weeks.

Every cow-calf producer makes management decisions about their operations based on a wide variety of factors. Some of these factors include access to land, feed resources, marketing goals, labor availability, etc. In this article, I want to discuss another factor that significantly impacts management decisions for the cow-calf producer. That factor is the weather.

The weather has a direct impact on nearly every management decision made by the cow-calf producer. There are predictable seasonal trends that we can expect as we move from winter to spring to summer to fall.… Continue reading

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