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Scholarship opportunity for students interested in the pork industry


The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and CME Group are pleased to announce the 2016 Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship Program

  • Sponsored by CME Group
  • Managed and administered by the National Pork Producer Council

Write yourself a brighter future!

The scholarship program was introduced in 1990 by CME Group and NPPC to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the CME Live Hog futures.  The scholarship was renamed in 2006 to honor the passing of NPPC Board of Director Lois Britt. Britt, a lifetime supporter of agriculture, spent 34 years with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service finishing out her carrier for 15 years with Murphy-Brown LLC doing Public and Government Relations. She was inducted into the NPPC Pork Industry Hall of Fame, the N.C. Pork Council Hall of Fame, and awarded the N.C. 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award as some of her many achievements.

With the marking of the 50th anniversary of the Live Hog futures in 2015, the number of scholarships was raised from four to five awarded. … Continue reading

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Poultry donation highlights effort of Ohio youth exhibitors

Just prior to Thanksgiving, the Ohio Poultry Breeders Association donated a turkey, four chickens and a gift card to complete the holiday meal to one local Columbus family in need for their Thanksgiving feast.

These chickens and turkey represent the Thanksgiving dinner that was purchased during the Ohio State Fair’s Sale of Champions in August, which was in lieu of no poultry shows during this year’s fair due to the threat of avian influenza.

The sponsor of the Thanksgiving dinner was the Ohio Poultry Breeders Association and several buyers participated, including Gerber Poultry, Cooper Farms, Weaver Brothers, Case Farms, Hertzfeld Farms, Trillium Farms, Prairie Star Farms, Hemmelgarn and Sons, Cal Maine Foods, Sauder Amish Eggs, Hillandale Farms, Stoller Farms, Kalmbach Feeds, Wendel Poultry Service, Nature Pure, New Day Farms, Mercer Landmark and Kroger Co.

The Ohio Poultry Association also donated $1,000 to the Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program, a program of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which directly benefits Ohio’s farmers and provides fresh, Ohio-grown fruits and vegetables and shelf-stable, protein-packed foods (including eggs) to more than 2 million Ohioans who struggle to afford food on their own.… Continue reading

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What is the share for Ohio’s farmers of the cost of Thanksgiving dinner?

The Ohio Farmers Union released a Thanksgiving version of the organization’s popular Farmer’s Share graphic which shows farmers and ranchers receive only about 19 cents of every dollar spent by consumers on their Thanksgiving dinners.

Click Here for Farmer’s Share Graphic or PDF

“We want to remind Ohioans to be thankful for farmers and remind them that 80 percent of what they pay for food at the grocery are costs added after grain, meat and produce leaves the family farm,” said Joe Logan, OFU President.

Logan said these costs include processing, marketing, wholesaling, distribution and retailing according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

“These added costs take a bite out of all of our family budgets — consumers and farmers alike — at Thanksgiving and throughout the year,” Logan said. “As our American food system has gotten more reliant on industrial agriculture and a relative few huge companies dominating grain and meat markets, family farmers are as squeezed as many American consumers by the cost of what’s on our dinner plates.”

The Farmer’s Share graphic was created and is maintained by the National Farmers Union.… Continue reading

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Turkey prices up due to avian influenza

It might be more costly thanks to an extensive avian flu outbreak earlier this year, but there should be no shortage of turkey for Thanksgiving this year.

Still, other segments of the poultry industry are taking longer to rebound, said a poultry specialist with The Ohio State University.

“The good news is the avian flu hit early enough in the year, and since most whole turkeys you buy at Thanksgiving are hens, there was sufficient time for a lot of the farms to be repopulated,” said Mike Lilburn, professor of animal sciences with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Lilburn is also unit supervisor with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s Poultry Research Center and is a poultry specialist with Ohio State University Extension.

Female turkeys generally take 16 to 18 weeks to grow to 22 to 25 pounds, when they are normally harvested to provide an 18 to 20 pound bird at retail.… Continue reading

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NPB explains steps for antibiotic use

The National Pork Board reiterated the proactive steps the U.S. pork industry has taken to ensure responsible antibiotic use on pig farms. Pork industry leaders say calls by various organizations to end antibiotic use on farms are misguided and would have a negative impact on food safety.

“We understand people are confused about the role of antibiotics in meat production and, unfortunately, recently released reports only add to that confusion,” said Dr. Jennifer Koeman, Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine and Director of Producer and Public Health at National Pork Board. “It’s simple — when you produce healthy livestock, you get safe food. The meat you eat is safe due to Food and Drug Administration rules on antibiotics and U.S. Department of Agriculture testing of meat.”

The National Pork Board is implementing a three-point plan of action focused on five research priorities:


  • Establishing a blue ribbon panel on antibiotics, an outcome of the Pork Checkoff’s stewardship plan announced this past June.
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Quest for the best steer

An ideal beef steer is one you can profitably produce again and again, to earn premiums on a value-based grid. That’s the premise Paul Dykstra used in presenting “How to build the perfect steer” at the Angus Means Business National Convention and Trade Show.

Dykstra has worked with feedlots as Beef Cattle Specialist for the Certified Angus Beefbrand for the past 13 years, managed the USDA Meat Animal Research Center’s feedlot before that, and has a current interest in a commercial cowherd in western Nebraska.

People may differ on ideal production strategies for that ideal steer, Dykstra said. Some insist that focus on the feedlot can only come from terminal breeding programs, while others insist the steer must come from a system that also produces replacement heifers.

“We’ll cross back and forth over that line as we look less at how, and more at what we need for a mainstream target like the Certified Angus Beef brand,” he said.… Continue reading

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Extension to Scrapie Comment Period

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service extended the comment period for the proposed rule to amend the regulations of the National Scrapie Eradication Program through Dec. 9. The comment period for the draft revised scrapie program standards is also extended through Dec. 9.

APHIS welcomes all comments on the proposed rule. The proposed rule is available at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2007-0127. Comments can also be submitted and reviewed through this link.

Industry is encouraged to offer comments to this proposed rule. The American Sheep Industry Association’s detailed comments are available for review at www.sheepusa.org/IssuesPrograms_AnimalHealth_Scrapie.… Continue reading

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New Canadian Agricultural Minister says Canada will pursue COOL retaliation

Reiterating newly-elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s position, new Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay said the Canadian government will uphold the Conservative party’s decision to pursue trade retaliation against the United States over its Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law, according to the National Pork Producers Council.

The statute requires meat to be labeled with the country where the animal from which it was derived was born, raised and harvested. It also applies to fish, shellfish, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables and certain nuts.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled that COOL discriminates against Canadian and Mexican livestock sent to the United States to be fed out and processed, violating international trade rules.

“It’s not what we want to do, but if we were forced to do it, it’s something that we would likely have to do,” MacAulay said.

A WTO arbitration panel now is determining the level of retaliation; Canada and Mexico have asked for a combined $3.1 billion.… Continue reading

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Feeding winter hay on pasture fields

As we approach winter I have a question for you. Where do you feed your livestock?

When the grass runs out do you bring them to a barn or facility to feed them? Do you leave them out on pasture and bring the feed to them?

The reason for my questions is that experienced graziers spend the fall planning their winter feeding programs — planning to the point of not only what they will feed but also where they will feed the animals.

I do not know the exact percentage, but it should be safe to say that many forage based livestock producers use round bales of hay as their primary stored winter feed. Hay is stored in some central location and then moved to the field for feeding. Quite a few of these producers feed round bales in rings out in the pasture field. Depending on the number of animals to be fed, producers will move bales out to these rings two or three at a time.… Continue reading

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NFU highlights concerns with FMD in Namibia

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson urged the Obama administration to oppose a proposed rule that would make Namibia an eligible country to export meat to the United States. Namibia just this year experienced an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

“The fear over FMD is warranted,” said Johnson in comments submitted to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). “An outbreak would have devastating consequences on our domestic livestock industry. NFU calls upon the administration to defend U.S. farmers and ranchers by opposing imports of live animals and processed or frozen animal products from countries or regions with a history of FMD.”

Johnson noted that in 2006, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed to add Namibia to the list of regions that are considered free of FMD with the exception of north of the country’s Veterinary Cordon Fence (VCF).

“Earlier this year Namibia had an outbreak of FMD north of the VCF,” Johnson said.… Continue reading

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Presenting: DairyPalooza 2015

Roll out the red carpet, grab some popcorn, and settle in for the premiere of the DairyPalooza moo-vie. In honor of five years of DairyPalooza, our generous sponsors and the Ohio 4-H Foundation have teamed up to create a feature film for DairyPalooza just in time for the release of our 2016 event dates.

The DairyPalooza movie boasts a cast of hundreds (with no stunt animals), with interviews from attendees, volunteers, and sponsors. DairyPalooza is directed by a team of experts who, for five years, have helped line up A-Cow-demy Award-winning educational sessions for the benefit of Cloverbuds, youth, and adults alike.

In 2015, we were able to expand our DairyPalooza to two events, DairyPalooza Northeast and DairyPalooza West. Both events are featured in our video.

There’s no need to purchase a ticket, but prepare to be dazzled by the sets, the human and animal interaction, the hands-on plot, and the enthusiasm and commitment of everyone involved.… Continue reading

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OSU dairy judging team sweeps three national shows

There is a new undisputed national championship team at The Ohio State University.

The Agricultural Technical Institute dairy cattle judging team swept the three major national competitions this year with its Nov. 8 win at the North American International Livestock Competition in Louisville, Kentucky.

Team members won by an impressive 67-point margin in Louisville, topping the 64-point margin by which they won the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, on Sept. 28. Hannah Dye, a dairy science major from Beloit, Ohio, was first place overall with 710 points. Teammates Tanner Topp (dairy science, New Bremen, Ohio) and Kaleb Kliner (agronomy, West Salem, Ohio) were second and fourth, respectively. Rounding out the four-person team was John Paulin, a hydraulics and power equipment major from Nova, Ohio.

The team’s first big win of the season was at the Pennsylvania-All American Contest in Harrisburg on Sept. 14.

“I cannot remember any year where a team (at the two-year college level) participated in three judging contests and was first place in each contest and high in oral reasons,” said Royce Thornton, chair of the Agricultural and Engineering Technologies Division and coordinator of Ohio State ATI’s dairy programs.… Continue reading

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Interstate shipping options opening up new opportunities for livestock producers

J.B. King has been raising hogs for 50 years. On his first date with his wife, Charlene, the young couple hauled a load of hogs to the Lancaster Depot. They clearly loved raising hogs, but when pork prices crashed in 1999, they had to find another way to maintain a profitable operation on their Athens County farm.

“The crash of the hog market brought us to where we are now. We had been in the club business for a while and then we started selling pork instead of selling pigs in 2000,” J.B. said. “We had been selling to neighbors and we expanded that.”

Since then, King Family Farm has been raising high quality, specialty pork, beef and poultry and directly marketing their products to the local community. It was challenging at first, but they found ways to make it work.

“We use all non-GMO feed. Everything is outside and we use no drugs.… Continue reading

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Old forage gets a new life

A forgotten forage grass imported from Europe in the 1800s could soon be helping to boost cattle and dairy production. The grass, which has adapted well to parts of the Upper Midwest, has been released by U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Resarch Service scientists in Madison, Wisconsin.

The forage grass was discovered on a farmer’s shaded hilltop in a long-time pasture that had never been seeded with commercial forages. Cattle thrived on it and it gradually spread from the hilltop grove into gullies and open areas, possibly because cattle eating the ripe seed spread it in their manure. The farmer fed hay made from it to more cattle, to spread it further. He also eventually began consulting with ARS plant geneticist Michael Casler and his colleagues at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center.

Casler and his colleagues have since spent more than a decade evaluating the grass, named Hidden Valley for the farm where it was discovered.… Continue reading

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OCA members to offer over 115 consignments in Replacement Female Sale

Several members of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will sell over 115 consignments in the OCA Replacement Female Sale on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, at 6 p.m. at the Muskingum Livestock Auction Company facility in Zanesville, Ohio. Consignments include approximately 30 mature cows, less than five years of age, and approximately 85 bred heifers.

Breeds represented will include Angus, Angus x Red Angus, Polled Hereford, Red Angus, Simmental, Simmental x Angus, Simmental x Red Angus, and crossbred. Service sires represented include Angus, Hereford, Maine-Anjou, Red Angus and Simmental.

“Now is an excellent time for producers to add quality replacement heifers to their herds,” says John Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator. “The economic forecast for the cow-calf segment of the beef industry is very good for the next few years. Feeder calf prices remain strong from a historical perspective and the future looks positive as well. This sale represents an excellent opportunity for cow-calf producers to add quality bred heifers to their herds and potentially take advantage of the positive economic outlook for the beef industry.”… Continue reading

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Nov. 20 MPP deadline approaching quickly for dairy producers

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that almost half of all dairy farms in America have made their annual elections for 2016 coverage under the Margin Protection Program, and reminded producers who have not yet enrolled that they have until Nov. 20, to select coverage.

Established by the 2014 Farm Bill, the program provides financial assistance to dairy producers when the margin — the difference between feed costs and the price of milk — falls below the coverage level selected by the applicant.

“This safety net is not automatic, so producers must visit their local FSA office to enroll before Nov. 20,” said Dolcini. “Despite the best forecasts, the dairy industry is cyclical and markets can change quickly. This program is like any insurance product, where investing in a policy today will protect against catastrophic economic consequences tomorrow.”

FSA estimates that based on current participation rates, had the program existed before the 2014 Farm Bill, producers in 2009 would have invested $73 million in premiums and received $1.44 billion in financial protection during that historically weak market period.… Continue reading

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Pork exports up, beef exports struggling

U.S. pork exports showed modest improvement in September while beef exports endured the most difficult month in some time, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

September pork export volume was up 6% from a year ago to 172,012 metric tons (mt). Export value was $456.1 million, down 11% year-over-year but the highest since May. Pork exports through the first nine months of the year declined 4% in volume (1.58 million mt) and 17% in value ($4.21 billion) compared to January-September 2014.

Beef export volume fell 21% from a year ago in September to 79,474 metric tons (mt) and value was down 28% to $456.6 million — the lowest since January. For the first nine months of 2015, exports were down 12% in volume (782,705 mt) and 8% in value ($4.8 billion).

Pork export value per head slaughtered was $46.90 in September, down $11.21 from last year.… Continue reading

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Are your farm’s defenses up for PEDv?

Although the number of new PEDv infections has greatly decreased in recent months, PEDv is still a threat to the U.S. pork industry, and cooler months raise the potential for new cases to emerge.

“In 2013, PEDv was a severe epidemic on a large number of the country’s sow farms and in 2014, we saw more breakouts on finishing sites,” said Dr. Rick Swalla, senior veterinarian for Zoetis, who supported veterinary practices and production systems in the Midwest to help manage PEDv outbreaks. “So far this year, the number of outbreaks has been lower, but as the weather does start to get colder there is a greater risk of the virus becoming epidemic again so farmers have to stay vigilant with their biosecurity efforts.”

Improved biosecurity, and herd immunity from exposure and vaccination, have helped to reduce new outbreaks in 2014. However, there is potential for more PEDv outbreaks this winter, primarily due to the introduction of naive gilts into the sow herd.… Continue reading

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Avian influenza concerns loom large

While there is plenty of discussion in Ohio about the threat of avian influenza as Thanksgiving — and the colder winter weather — approaches, the most common conversations on the subject may be with God.

“We say our prayers every night. Avian influenza spreads easily and the amount that fits on a pinhead could wipe out an entire farm,” said Carl Bowman, of Bowman and Landes Turkeys, Inc. in Miami County. “When I go to these meetings I keep hearing it is not a matter of if we get it, it is a matter of when. We learned a lot this winter in terms of how you treat an outbreak, but it would be a total loss for our turkeys. We could lose 80% to 90% in one week and if you get it they have to destroy them all to stop the virus. I don’t ever remember having any kind of threat like this before.… Continue reading

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Grazing corn residue

Corn residue left over from harvesting can make an excellent source of supplemental feed for livestock, according to a forage expert from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

This is especially true for producers who are facing lower hay crop inventories thanks to the excessive rains that impacted the region during the beginning of the growing season this year, said Rory Lewandowski, agriculture and natural resources educator for the college’s outreach arm, Ohio State University Extension.

Grazing cows on harvested corn acres within the first 30 to 60 days after harvesting can be a great way for producers to stretch their feed supplies, he said.

“This was a tough forage year for many livestock producers,” Lewandowski said. “Many producers are finding that they didn’t get enough hay harvested with all the rain that impacted the crops during the earlier part of the growing season.”

For growers looking for a way to extend their forage supplies, grazing corn residue may be one less-expensive option, he said.… Continue reading

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