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Ohio State Fair announces ractopamine-free swine show for 2020

It has been announced that swine exhibited at the 2020 Ohio State Fair — and a growing number of county fairs — are required to be ractopamine-free.

Recently, ractopamine-free swine production became a market specification through much of the U.S. pork packing industry. Although ractopamine (sold under the trade names Paylean or Engain for swine) is an approved product used to increase lean growth rate, it has been banned in many international pork markets. In short, ractopamine-free means that a pig has never been fed or exposed to ractopamine from the time of birth to the time of market.

In response, the Ohio Pork Council, Ohio State University Extension, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Ohio State Fair have collaborated to put a comprehensive plan in place for a ractopamine-free swine project.

  1. Understand the ractopamine-free status of any pigs purchased or raised and comply by not feeding or exposing the pigs to ractopamine.
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Ractopamine bans at fairs mean changes for many hog exhibitors

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

As more fairs ban ractopamine — the active ingredient in products like Paylean or Optaflexx — some people in the show pig and 4-H community have questions about changes they will need to make in 2020.

Monty Alexander is not one of them. She is entering her last year as a Wood County 4-H exhibitor and has been no stranger to success with her livestock. She has only shown 4-H pigs for a few years, but she knows the stock show world well. She has won multiple market hog classes and the lightweight market gilt division in past county fairs. She has also done well in showmanship. Alexander credits her success with multiple factors, but she has never fed ractopamine to her pigs. Alexander instead relies on good feeding, good genetics and a unique

advantage over most of her competitors in the flatlands of Wood County — a hill in her backyard — for her success.… Continue reading

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Will Walmart’s new beef packing facility influence cattle prices?

By Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

A couple of questions came in this week concerning Walmart opening a beef packing facility and how the new facility would influence cattle prices. The short answer is that the opening of this facility is not likely to change cattle prices much at all. The reason prices are not expected to change much is because it does not really change supply and demand of beef.

Walmart is partnering with a single seedstock operation, a specific feedlot, and a specific slaughter facility at which time the Walmart facility will take delivery and perform further processing and packaging for the Walmart brand. Thus, the processing facility will create competition with other processing facilities and at the retail level. However, it is not likely that this will shift demand or supply enough to really influence cattle prices at the calf and yearling stages of production.… Continue reading

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Hams Across America shares bounty of pork

The National Pork Board announced today more than 2 million servings of pork have been donated in the last two months by pig farmers working together to help fight food insecurity in their local communities. The donations — made through the national Hams Across America effort — showcase the pork industry’s commitment to the We Care ethical principles, including a focus on community.

“Giving back to our communities is an important part of who we are,” said David Newman, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer representing Arkansas. “Our Hams Across America program gives me and other pig farmers another way to live out the We Care ethical principles, but my favorite part is getting to share our love of the food we produce with neighbors in need.”

The Hams Across America program helps overcome food insecurity, especially in rural areas where pig farmers farm and live. In November, the Oklahoma Pork Council kicked off the #GiveAHam challenge, a grassroots effort that encourages farmers to pay it forward with pork donations to local food pantries and to challenge colleagues and others in their communities to do the same.… Continue reading

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Costume-clad Celebrity Showdown benefits charity, exhibitors

By Dave Russell and Matt Reese

There is no doubt that showing cattle can get pretty competitive as young exhibitors work their way through the BEST (Beef Exhibitor Show Total) program, a statewide series of sanctioned cattle shows that include showmanship competitions. The Clark County Cattle Battle (as its name would imply) is no exception, but before exhibitors showcase their skills and their cattle in the ring, the weekend kicks off in a unique way with the BEST Celebrity Showdown.

For the event, the exhibitors dress themselves and their cattle in (often outlandish) costumes with the hope of catching the eye of a celebrity judge who picks the costume contest winner. Each exhibitor must raise at least $100 in donations to participate, with proceeds going to a worthy charity. The 2020 event, in its eighth year, was held on Friday, Jan. 24 at the Champions Center in Springfield. This year’s event raised $16,370.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 137 | Paylean-Palooza

Paylean Palooza is underway as Matt, Dale and Kolt discuss what fairs are expecting for the future. Bart gets insight from Dr. Todd Price on the topic. Matt sits down with Kurt Theide about the new Navigable Water Protection rule. Dave talks to Dee Anders from the Ronald McDonald house at the Clark County Cattle Battle.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s fairs wrestling with ractopamine

From coast to coast, the U.S. commercial pork industry is excited about the tremendous potential for exporting to China. China, though, is not excited about ractopamine, the active ingredient in Paylean, Optaflexx and other products. China has a ban in place for imported pork from hogs that have been fed ractopamine.

The challenge is that ractopamine has U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval as a legal feed additive for pigs over 150 pounds and has been commonly used to provide some extra muscle for the show ring and commercial production. Pork from pigs fed ractopamine is safe for human consumption. But, like it or not, if China doesn’t want it, the packers who process the pigs are not going to want it. If packers do not want it, the already limited options for processing pigs fed ractopamine get much, much slimmer.

State Veterinarian Tony Forshey outlined the problems now facing fairs at the Ohio Fair Managers Convention in early January.… Continue reading

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China’s ASF problem remains bleak for 2020

Despite 2019 having been China’s official “Year of the Pig,” things could not have been much worse for the nation’s swine herd, its farmers or the country’s 1.4 billion consumers who have a strong preference for pork as a protein.

On a positive note, official reports of African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks in China were more of a trickle in the second half of last year compared with the prior nine or so months. However, many industry experts believe that the country has little hope to rebound its ability to produce more pork in 2020. The main reason? The breeding herd. Last year, every province officially became ASF-positive. This resulted in the country losing about half of its swine herd, which equates to roughly one-quarter of the world’s swine herd.

According to Dave Pyburn, the Pork Checkoff’s chief veterinarian, China’s ASF woes are many.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely here and hope that China will see some relief,” Pyburn said.… Continue reading

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People, product and protocol — Biosecurity and African swine fever

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

The world is watching African swine fever (ASF) and it is a top concern for the U.S. pork industry.

“It would be devastating for our industry. Our industry depends on exports,” said Dave Pyburn, Vice President of Science and Technology at the National Pork Board. “Immediately in the face of an outbreak of any of the big three foreign animal diseases, (classical swine fever, foot and mouth disease, and ASF), we would see all exports stop.”

ASF is not harmful to humans, but is fatal to pigs. This particular swine disease has a near 100% fatality rate according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The ASF virus originated in sub-Saharan Africa, though most of the ASF headlines have come from China. According to a Purdue Agricultural Economics report, the USDA estimates that hog slaughter and pork production are falling sharply in China as ASF continues to devastate the Chinese pork industry.… Continue reading

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USDA moving forward with vaccine bank

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced recent progress on implementing programs funded by the 2018 Farm Bill, including moving forward with developing a Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank.

Specifically, APHIS is awarding $10.2 million to support disease prevention and emergency response training. As part of this funding, APHIS is moving forward with developing the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank. The first priority of the bank is to increase the U.S. stockpile of FMD vaccines. Last year, APHIS’ 30-day sources sought notice for FMD vaccines closed, with seven responses reviewed by the agency.

APHIS is now issuing a request for proposals, and plans to have the initial FMD vaccine contracts in place by the end of the second quarter of FY2020. The agency’s goal is to invest between $15 million and $30 million on the vaccine by the end of this year. Currently, the USDA, which has prescribed vaccination for dealing with an FMD outbreak, does not have access to enough vaccine to avoid devastating economic consequences to the U.S.… Continue reading

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Develop a plan for the year ahead

By Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

I’m glad the days are starting to be a fraction longer, even though it’s not much more yet. While I wait for some daylight, I can usually be found reading early in the morning. I’m certainly a morning person, just ask my wife. There is no other good reason to be up at 4 a.m. this time of year, especially if I don’t have to be. I am though, trying to catch up on reading while it’s a bit easier to stay inside.

There is always something to be learned, reviewed, or perhaps occasionally unlearned. I like to take a second look at old ways of doing things and reading very old agriculture books. You would be surprised to learn that things that most would think are new ideas are sometimes over a century old.

As new ideas or innovations come to light, there is always somewhat of an incentive to evaluate and try them.… Continue reading

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Beef exports (again) a key factor to watch in 2020

By Josh Maples, Assistant Professor & Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University

The latest Monthly Trade data for November 2019 was released by USDA Economic Research Service. The report continued the recent trend of lower monthly exports as compared to 2018. After three consecutive years of double-digit increases (2016-2018) in beef exports, current data show January-November 2019 exports to be down 4.6% compared to the same period in 2018. There are also new and hopeful trade deals to add to the mix with Japan, Canada, Mexico, and China. Needless to say, there are plenty of moving parts for 2020.

November 2019 beef exports were 8% below the same month of 2018 at just under 245 million pounds. For January-November 2019, exports to four of the top five destinations were lower (Japan, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong) with the exception of South Korea which is up 6.3%. Japan is still the top destination for U.S.… Continue reading

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Pig virus is easily transmitted among chickens and turkeys

Ohio State University researchers are taking a look at the potential for viral diseases to spread between livestock species, and potentially to humans. The first animal study of a pig virus’ potential to jump to another species shows that the virus, once introduced to a select group of birds, is easily transmitted to healthy chickens and turkeys.

The researchers who led this work were part of a team that previously found in a lab setting that the virus could infect cells from multiple species, including chickens and humans. In this study, birds that were given the virus developed diarrhea two days after infection. Healthy birds housed with infected chickens and turkeys also developed diarrhea two days after exposure.

That rapid spread of disease surprised the Ohio State University scientists.

“We weren’t even sure the virus would transmit from bird to bird. That’s a significant finding,” said senior author Scott Kenney, assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine based in Ohio State’s Food Animal Health Research Program at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster.… Continue reading

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2020 Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council Conference

The Ohio Forages and Grasslands Council Annual Conference will be held Feb. 21, 2020 from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. The program theme is “Foraging for profit.” The Keynote speaker will be Jimmy Henning, Forage Professor, University of Kentucky, who will discuss “Making good round bale silage” based on extensive research and experience in Kentucky. Henning will also be speaking on a second topic, “The clover dilemma: Do I have enough to withhold N fertility.”

Another featured speaker to address new fencing technologies is Tony Parker, associate professor, Ohio State University Animal Science, speaking on “Current and future technologies for grazing animal management.”

Several producer talks will also be presented which includes beef producer Jonathan Berger from Wooster, Ohio, dairy producer, Jeff Miller from Winesburg, Ohio, stored forages producers, Miles and Caleb vonStein from Jenera, Ohio and sheep producer, Brady Campbell from Waterford, Ohio.… Continue reading

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OSU Extension to host two winter beef programs

Mark your calendars now for the Ohio Beef Cattle Nutrition and Management School, targeted for anyone raising, feeding, or marketing any class of beef cattle.

Session 1 (6 to 9:00 p.m. Jan. 29 at Luckey Farmers Inc. main office in Sandusky County, and Jan. 30 at the OSU Newark Campus in Licking County) will feature former OSU research nutritionist and current University of Georgia Department of Animal Sciences Chair, Francis Fluharty discussing the use of small grains, by-product feeds, and cover crop forages in both feedlot and beef cow diets. Session 2 (Feb. 12 in Sandusky County, and Feb. 13 in Licking County, both 6 to 9:00 p.m.) will feature talks by OSU Extension educators on marketing strategies, feeding and managing for carcass quality, forage testing, and managing annual forages for grazing and hay, as well as discussion led by OSU Clinical Veterinarian, Dr. Justin Kieffer on herd health, parasite management, and vaccination protocols.… Continue reading

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2020 OCA Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet highlights

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

The 2020 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet showed the bright future members needed on a very gloomy and rainy Saturday.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association vice president of government affairs, Ethan Lane, spoke multiple times during the event about key issues at the federal level for the beef industry. Lane explained the NCBA aims to continue to work with the current presidential administration’s interest in trying to help the agricultural community. On the regulatory front, NCBA had a significant recent victory with an announcement by President Trump promulgating new regulations to implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

NEPA was first enacted in 1970 to “create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony,” and has not undergone substantive regulatory revision since 1986. Ranchers must undergo NEPA reviews for many reasons, but common examples include renewal of a term grazing permit, construction of range improvements, or to become eligible for participation in USDA programs.… Continue reading

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Borden second major milk seller to declare bankruptcy

Dallas-based Borden, one of America’s largest dairy companies founded in 1857, announced this month that it initiated voluntary reorganization proceedings in the District of Delaware under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Borden is the second major U.S. milk seller to declare bankruptcy in recent months after Dean Foods Company announced bankruptcy in November.

Borden intends to use the court process to pursue a financial restructuring designed to reduce its current debt load, maximize value and position the company for long-term success. Borden plans to continue operating in the ordinary course of business, under the court’s supervision.

“Borden is EBITDA-positive (earning before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) and growing, but we must achieve a more viable capital structure,” said Tony Sarsam Borden CEO. “This reorganization will strengthen our position for future prosperity. Over the past 163 years, we have earned the distinction of being one of the most well-recognized and reputable national brands.… Continue reading

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2020 OSIA LEAD Marketing Advantage Sale date set

The date has been set for the second annual Marketing Advantage Sale for the OSIA LEAD Council and the Ohio State Fair — January 14, 2020. The event is hosted online by Breeders World.

The Marketing Advantage Sale is the exclusive opportunity to secure advertising visibility during market lamb and breeding sheep events at the 2020 Ohio State Fair through the purchase of one or more sale lots.

New for 2020, the sale will also include expanding marketing opportunities at the LEAD Council’s premier spring educational event, the No Show Lamb Show. There will be four unique sale lots featuring options such as booth space during the event to display business or products to an audience of parents and other adults in attendance at the No Show Lamb Show.

The Marketing Advantage Sale has been established as the primary funding source for the Ohio State Fair Market Lamb and Breeding Sheep Programs.… Continue reading

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Ohio Beef Expo set for 2020

The Ohio Beef Expo, the premier event of Ohio’s beef industry, will take place March 19 through 22 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio. This annual event, coordinated by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), includes a kick-off social; breed sales, shows and displays; beef quality assurance sessions; a multi-day trade show and a highly competitive junior show.

The Ohio Beef Expo will officially kick-off with the opening of the trade show at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 19. This is the second year for the Expo to open on Thursday, allowing more time for attendees, especially those that exhibit cattle at the Expo, to visit with vendors in the Voinovich building. The Expo trade show features over 140 vendors from 25 states that offer products and services beneficial to all cattlemen. OCA members and Expo exhibitors are invited to attend The Social on Thursday evening at the Expo headquarters hotel, the Hilton Columbus/Polaris.… Continue reading

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