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Annual Ohio Dorset Sale March 21

Plans for the 39th Annual Ohio Dorset Sale have been set for March 20 and 21 at the Preble County Fairgrounds in Eaton, Ohio.  Billed as “the first, the biggest, the best” Dorset sale, it will feature both Horned and Polled Dorsets.

Established in 1977, the Ohio Dorset Sale has been a barometer used to gauge how the registered sheep industry is doing in the New Year.  Entered in the sale are 100 head of Polled Dorsets and 42 head of Horned Dorsets.

“The nation’s finest Dorset genetics from nine different states have been consigned to this year’s sale,” said Greg Deakin, sale manager. “The sale’s history is rich, dating back to 1977.  More breed National Champion Rams and Ewes have sold through the Ohio Dorset Sale than any other sale.”

Both Horned and Polled Dorset rams and ewes will be offered consisting of classes for yearling, fall and winter lambs. 

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Beef and pork exports on the rise

Export value for both U.S. beef and pork reached new heights in 2014, posting double-digit gains over the previous year’s totals, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Supporting meat exports is an important part of the National Corn Growers Association’s commitment to building profitable demand for corn, noted NCGA President Chip Bowling, a Maryland corn farmer. Several of NCGA’s affiliated state checkoff programs support the work of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

“Providing quality corn-fed meat to consumers around the world, many of whom are looking for new and healthy sources of protein, helps support corn growers here at home — especially when you consider how livestock feed is our largest corn use,” Bowling said. “We value our ties to livestock and would like to work closely with them as partners in building demand for beef and pork products worldwide.”

According to the federation, beef export value was $7.13 billion — an increase of 16% (and nearly $1 billion) over the previous record set in 2013.

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Ohio Pork Congress highlights

It is a time of change and optimism for the Ohio Pork Congress as Bryan Humphreys, the new Executive Vice President of the Ohio Pork Council (OPC), has taken over for the recently retired Dick Isler. The event highlighted numerous success stories over the past year and outlined many of the challenges ahead.

A new event added to this year’s Pork Congress was the State of the Pork Industry Address. This luncheon created a unique opportunity to hear from two of the newest executives in the pork industry in both state and national roles. Humphreys was joined by the freshly appointed CEO of the National Pork Board (NPB), Chris Hodges, to discuss the current position of their organizations and the future of the industry as a whole.

“Markets could be higher and margins could be wider, but I’m pleased to say that the fundamentals of the Ohio pork industry are strong and I am incredibly excited about the future,” Humphreys said.

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Northeast Ohio Pork Producers serving up delicious food and information

The county fair — there are few better ways to bring people together and showcase the enthusiasm and talent of local community members. Visit the Wayne County Fair in Wooster and it becomes clear that some members of the community have developed a special enthusiasm for the pork industry. Their passion has earned the group’s food stand a prime location and astounding sales numbers at the event.

A project of the Northeast Ohio Pork Producers, the pork stand at the Wayne County Fair brought in more than $90,000 in gross sales in 2014. Sales that high are not unusual for the group that has become an icon at the Wayne County Fair and recently caught the eye of the Ohio Pork Council that is honoring the group as this year’s Pork Promoter of the Year.

The group itself has been around for decades, and while they have had a decline in members and do not hold regular meetings, they are certainly having a huge impact in their community and doing a remarkable job at promoting pork.

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COOL lawsuit dismissed

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson praised the recent dismissal of the U.S. District Court lawsuit on Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), filed by the multinational meatpacking industry and their allies to try and stop the USDA from implementing the very popular labeling law.

“This is a clear and indisputable win for American consumers and producers, and it’s a huge relief to know that common-sense labeling laws, like COOL, can prevail in court despite the deep pockets of the multinationals,” Johnson said.

The papers ending the long and costly lawsuit were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ending American Meat Institute (AMI) et al. v. U.S. Department of Agriculture et al., originally filed in July, 2013.

Then, in early February a Canadian delegation comprised of the Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz and members of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Canadian Pork Council and the Canadian Meat Council made a lobbying trip to Capital Hill on the heels of the release of a new study conducted by Auburn University Professor Robert Taylor showing that allegations that COOL depressed prices of Canadian cattle were false.

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A cautionary tale of manure, insurance and the neighbor’s well

A case was recently decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court that got my attention. This is not law in Ohio and may never be law in Ohio. If a similar set of facts were to come before an Ohio court, it is likely that this case may be referred to by one of the parties as informative or persuasive. The Ohio judge, however, would be the one to determine that.

The trouble all started in early 2011 when Robert and Jane Falk, dairy farmers with 600 cows near West Bend, Wisconsin, spread liquid cow manure onto their farm fields for the purpose of fertilization. Sound familiar? This happens all of the time in Ohio and throughout the country. The Falks applied the manure in accordance with a nutrient management plan approved by their county land and water conservation department.

Six neighbors complained to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that their wells were contaminated.

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2016 Federal Budget proposal addresses food safety, antibiotics and trade

President Obama’s $4 trillion fiscal 2016 budget includes several measures important to the U.S. pork industry. Contained in the funding blueprint are proposals that would impact the hog industry and agriculture, according to the National Pork Producers Council. Provisions included in the budget:

  • Consolidate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service and the food safety components of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to create a single agency within the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Address emerging swine diseases, such as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus and other swine enteric coronaviruses.
  • Devote $20 million to USDA for the national control program for feral swine.
  • Increase by $57 million USDA’s budget for fighting antimicrobial resistance, including: an increase of $17 million for the Agricultural Research Service to study the relationships among microbes and livestock, the environment and human health; a $10 million increase for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to enhance monitoring for antimicrobial-resistant bacteria among livestock; and $2 million more for the National Agricultural Statistics Service to enhance survey work related to antimicrobial resistance.
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Water quality law and program update for Ohio agriculture

Winter’s cold may have cooled the algae growth in Lake Erie, but it continues to be a hot topic at the Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Industry Conference Dinner and Annual Meeting.

A large crowd of representatives from 250 different Ohio grain, feed, seed, fertilizer, and chemical companies were in attendance at the event to hear a number of presentations on water quality. The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program, which is administered by OABA, was part of the water quality discussion.

“We are really excited about the certification program and within the first couple of years we would like to see a million acres of ag land that is in accordance with the 4 Rs,” said Carrie Vollmer-Sanders, Western Lake Erie Basin project director for The Nature Conservancy. “When someone gets audited for the program, it may be that not all of the pieces and parts are there, but the education is happening and they are making progress.

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National Dairy Shrine seeking nominations for awards

National Dairy Shrine is again seeking nominations for its most prestigious awards: Guest of Honor, Pioneer, Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder, Progressive Dairy Manager, and Graduate Production Award.

The Guest of Honor is given to a contemporary dairy leader for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the dairy industry. It has been awarded every year since 1949 when Dean H. Kildee was named the first Guest of Honor. Each year, three to four living or deceased Pioneers of the dairy industry are honored by National Dairy Shrine for their service and leadership in the dairy industry. Meanwhile, the Distinguished Dairy Cattle Breeder is an award which recognizes active, progressive dairy producers who, through their expertise in managing a dairy breeding herd based upon sound genetics and business principles, serve as a model of success for fellow breeders throughout the country. All these award winners’ accomplishments are on permanent display in the National Dairy Hall of Fame at the National Dairy Shrine Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wis.

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Meat and feed prices driving expansion

The expansion of the nation’s cattle herds for the first time since 2007 is largely the result of record-high cattle prices and the availability of more abundant feed, Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt said.

Hurt, analyzing a U.S. Department of Agriculture semiannual report that cattle numbers have increased by slightly more than 1% following seven years of decline, said there were multiple incentives for expansion in 2014.

“These were led by record-high cattle prices in 2014 with finished cattle averaging near $155 per live hundredweight and Oklahoma 500-550 pound steer calves averaging $250,” Hurt said. “The other part of the incentive was more abundant feed due to a retreating drought in the Central and Southern Plains that restored range conditions and to favorable feed crop production in 2013 and 2014 which lowered corn and protein feed costs.”

The most significant expansion has been in beef cows, which were up 2% from the previous year, the USDA said.

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Cattle numbers up

As of January 1, there were 89.8 million head of cattle and calves on U.S. farms, according to the Cattle report published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). This is the first increase in U.S. herd inventory since 2007.

Other key findings in the report were:

  • There are 29.7 million beef cows in the United States as of January 1, 2015. This is up 2% from last year.
  • The number of milk cows in the United States increased to 9.3 million.
  • U.S. calf crop was estimated at 33.9 million head, up 1% from 2013.
  • Of the 89.8 million cattle and calves, 39.0 million were all cows and heifers that have calved.
  • All cattle on feed increased to 13.1 million, up 1% from 2014.

To obtain an accurate measurement of the current state of the U.S. cattle industry, NASS surveyed more than 38,200 operators across the nation during the first half of January.

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation awards scholarships

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation (OCF), in partnership with several generous donors, was honored to award 12 scholarships, totaling $14,000 to youth across the state of Ohio at the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meet­ing and Awards Banquet, January 24th, at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center in Lewis Center.

The first scholarship, awarded to three students was the Steve R. Rauch Benchmark of Excellence Scholarship. Re­cipients included: Megan Hunker of Huron County, Sierra Jepsen of Fairfield County and Laura Schmuki of Stark County. This scholarship is a $5,000 scholarship that is awarded over a 3 year span to a student enrolled in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. Each year the recipient must maintain a 3.0 grade point average. This scholarship was founded to award the highest standard of academic achievement and was first awarded in 2000 due to the generous contribution of Steve R.

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Isler retires with more than 40 years of friends in Ohio’s pork industry

In 2010, Ohio agriculture shocked anyone who was paying attention by making an agreement with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). What initially seemed to be a deal forged with the devil ultimately took the wind out of the well-funded sails of HSUS in their quest to implement their agenda in Ohio.

Among the individuals squarely in the HSUS crosshairs was Dick Isler, the executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council. At the time, Isler had a wealth of pork industry and consumer relations experience to rely upon, but great leaders know that unified efforts based on years of carefully cultivated relationships are vastly more powerful than individuals.

Hours after the shocking agreement was settled, Isler had this to say.

“We involved the Ohio Pork Council executive committee made up of our officers and those representing us at the national level. We also engaged key stakeholders in the industry as to what terms we could live with,” he said.

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Ohio beef checkoff update

There was plenty to talk about at the recent Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet. Top of mind for many was the Ohio Beef Checkoff that was increased from $1 to $2 per head last year through a referendum vote.

“Checkoffs are about increasing demand for our products. We are in a great position here in Ohio because producers were very supportive of increasing our resources to be able to follow the path that has been laid out at the national level to focus on the next generation of consumers — the millennial moms ages 20 to 34. They are engaged online. They are sharing recipes and asking questions. We need to be engaged where our customer is so we need to share information about beef online,” said Elizabeth Harsh, executive director of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association. “We are going to really move into digital marketing. We also want to make sure we have relevant content on our website.

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A busy year ahead for beef industry policy battles

Colin Woodall, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) vice president of government affairs, provided an update of the national policy challenges that await in 2015 at the recent Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet.

“The real challenge is with the Administration with all of the rules and regulations we are seeing coming out of the departments and agencies at the federal level. The biggest, of course, being the EPA with the Waters of the United States proposal they have right now. This is going to be one of the biggest land grabs from the federal government that we have ever seen. They are going to put every body of water and the land around that water under jurisdiction of both the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. This could dramatically change the face of farming and ranching if it is allowed to move forward,” Woodall said. “There was an effort from the Secretary of Agriculture this fall to put in a second beef checkoff on top of the one we already have.

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TPA again getting support from agriculture

With negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal hanging in the balance, the National Pork Producers Council, along with numerous ag groups, expressed support behind renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which will enable the current administration and future ones to negotiate and close trade agreements such as the TPP.

“The U.S. pork industry is the poster child for expanded trade,” said Howard Hill, NPPC president. “As a result of trade agreements, our exports have increased 1550% in value and 1268% in volume since 1989, the year the U.S. implemented the FTA with Canada and started opening international markets for value-added agriculture products. Pork producers and U.S. agriculture are dependent on export markets, so NPPC is going to fight tooth and nail to get TPA passed.”

NPPC today sent a letter to every member of Congress, urging passage of legislation to renew TPA.

TPA defines U.S. negotiating objectives and priorities for trade agreements and establishes consultation and notification requirements for the president to follow throughout the negotiation process.

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OCA winners recognized at annual banquet

Congratulations to all of the award winners from the recent Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet. Awards were: Environmental Stewardship to Whitehead Angus Farms from Licking County; Commercial Producer to the Dagger family and Cable Acres Farms in Champaign County; Seedstock Producer of the Year to Tom Karr in Meigs County; Young Cattleman of the Year to Scott Payne in Gallia County; Industry Service to Representative Jim Buchy from Darke County; and Industry Excellence to Sam and Laura Sutherly from Miami County.

The 2015 Ohio Beef Ambassadors were selected as well: Laura Schmuki, from Stark County, Darby Walton, from Wyandot County, and Josie Vanco, from Gallia County. In addition, the OCA awarded $13,000 in scholarships at the event.

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USDA proposes new food safety measures for poultry products

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) proposed new federal standards to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in ground chicken and turkey products as well as raw chicken breasts, legs and wings.

“These new standards, as well as improved testing patterns, will have a major impact on public health,” said Al Almanza, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. “The proposed changes are another way we’re working to meet the ever-changing food safety landscape and better protect Americans from foodborne illness.”

Development of these new standards is a major step in FSIS’ Salmonella Action Plan, launched in December 2013 to reduce Salmonella illnesses from meat and poultry products.

“Getting more germs out of the chicken and turkey we eat is an important step in protecting people from foodborne illness,” said Robert V. Tauxe, MD, deputy director of the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Perception is reality when it comes to water quality and agriculture

Perception is reality.

Those involved with agriculture have long known this — people smell with their eyes, support family farms but hate factory farms, and oppose GMOs even though they do not know what they are. These perceptions translate into realities for agriculture.

The ongoing public debate concerning water quality is laden with perceptions, misperceptions and plain old confusion, even more so than some of the other issues in agriculture. In the case of genetic modification, for example, the crops are among the most tested food ingredients in the history of mankind with no proven ill effects, yet the perception that they are bad and/or unhealthy persists. Even with science clearly on the side of genetically modified crops, perception continues to trump it. Amazing.

Now consider the power of perception in the water quality debate, where there simply is no definitive science able to clearly quantify the factors involved in causing the problem.

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Sidedressing manure into corn continues to have promising results

Ohio State University Extension has conducted manure research on growing crops for several years in an effort to make better use of the available nutrients. Applying manure to growing crops can boost yields, reduce nutrient losses, and give livestock producers or commercial manure applicators another window of time to apply manure to farm fields.

The manure research trial in Table 1 was conducted over four years at the Northwest Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s Hoytville location. The swine manure application rate was 5,000 gallons per acre to get 200 units of nitrogen. The dairy manure application rate was 13,577 gallons per acre to get 130 units of nitrogen. The dairy treatments received additional nitrogen as incorporated 28% UAN just prior to the manure application to reach the 200-unit goal. The 28% UAN treatments also received 200 units of nitrogen.

Pre-emergent applications of 28% UAN, swine manure or dairy manure were made within five days of corn planting.

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