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Improving air conditions in poultry layer houses using an innovative ventilation system

By Xinjie Tong and Lingying Zhao

The Ohio egg production industry is a significant economic sector in the state and is responsible for creation of 12,503 jobs and $438 million in annual earnings. Technology advances in egg production facilities over the past decades have enabled very efficient operations of large-scale layer houses, that can typically host 100,000 to 250,000 hens with stacked cages, automated manure-belts, feed and water delivery, egg transport, and mechanical ventilation systems. In these larger layer houses, ventilation plays a crucial role in maintaining a proper indoor air conditions and for disease control for hen health and efficient egg production. However, it has been a challenge to achieve the comfort and health standards with existing ventilation systems. At The Ohio State University, an innovative ventilation system has been designed at the air quality and bioenvironmental lab, which can potentially improve indoor environment and limit disease outbreaks in layer houses.

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African swine fever struggles continue in China as virus found in feed ingredients

As of early 2019, China has reported more than 100 cases of African swine fever (ASF) in 19 provinces and four municipalities, including Beijing, for a total of 23 distinct geographic areas. Recent outbreaks have been reported in Guangdong and Fujian provinces. However, a new case in the north’s Heilongjiang province has affected a farm with 73,000 pigs, the largest farm yet to report a case of the deadly disease.

On Dec. 25, Chinese officials announced the detection of ASF virus in some protein powders made using pork blood manufactured by a Tianjin-based company. The raw materials for the batches were from 12 slaughter and processing plants in Tianjin. The new ASF case occurred despite the farm banning of the use of food waste and pig blood as raw materials in the production of feed for pigs, in a bid to halt the spread of the disease.

In a related move, China recently announced that slaughterhouses will need to run a test for ASF virus on pig products before selling them.

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Life and lessons at Laurel Valley Creamery

By Kayla Hawthorne, OCJ field reporter

Nick and Celeste Nolan operate a 25- to 30-cow dairy on their family’s homestead in Gallia County. The family of eight has been working on the farm for 13 years and making cheese for nine of those years, which is a full-time job for both parents.

The property was owned by Nick’s grandparents and was a dairy farm from 1947 until 1990. In 2001, Nick and Celeste moved their family back to the farm.

“Nick worked for General Mills in Wellston as a project engineer. And then in 2005, they outsourced his position and we had [already] bought the farm and [were] just kind of hobby farming,” Celeste Nolan said.

Their hobby farm included hay, Scottish highland beef cows and goats, which she called her “gateway animals.”

“We had just moved out here and were just kind of playing,” Celeste said. “We were buying what we could afford.”

After Nick lost his job, they decided to go all out and buy dairy cows to start milking.

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U.S. pork industry ends 2018 with major antibiotic progress

America’s 60,000 pig farmers and their veterinarians are ending 2018 with recognition of their diligence to use medically important antibiotics in a strictly responsible way. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s newly published Annual Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals cites 2017 data that shows a 33% decline in this most critical class of antibiotics intended for use in food animals. When added to the decline found in the 2016 data, it confirms a reduction of 43% in this class of antibiotics from the 2015 level.

“This report is another indicator of the hard work that my fellow pig farmers have been doing to reduce the need for antibiotics. We continue to work closely with our veterinarians to ensure that we use antibiotics responsibly and according to FDA-approved labels,” said Steve Rommereim, National Pork Board President a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “We’re committed to using antibiotics in a strategic way that focuses on animal health and well-being, as well as to protecting overall public health.”

Veterinarian Dave Pyburn, senior vice president of science and technology at the National Pork Board, says that while the new report is not a perfect estimate of antibiotic use at the farm level, it clearly shows a downward trend in antibiotic use intended for food animals.

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2019 Draft Horse Sale Dates

If you have sales you would like to see included on this list, e-mail

Jan 3-4, 2019
Bluegrass Sales Stables Spring Draft Horse & Mule Sale, Trenton, KY


January 15-16, 2019

Keystone Draft Horse Sale, Harrisburg, Pa


February 4, 2019

Kalona Special Work Horse Sale, Kalona, Iowa


February 20-22, 2019

Mid-America Draft Horse Sale, Gordyville, Illinois


March 2, 2019

LaRue Horse Sale Annual Spring Driving Sale, LaRue, Ohio


March 4-9, 2019

Mid-Ohio Draft Horse and Carriage Sale, Mount Hope, Ohio


March 6-9, 2019

Boone Draft Horse & Mule Sale, Sedalia, MO


March 19-22. 2019

Topeka Spring Draft Horse, Carriage & Equipment Sale, Topeka, IN


March 22-23, 2019

Dixie Draft Horse Mule and Carriage Auction, Troutman, North Carolina


March 26-29, 2019

Waverly Midwest Horse Sale, Waverly, Iowa


April 3-5, 2019

Midwest Select Draft & Driving Horse Sale, Madison, Wis.


April 15- 16, 2019
Kalona Spring Draft Horse Sale, Kalona, Iowa


April 25–26, 2019

Buckeye Spring Draft Horse Sale, Dover, OH


April 25–27, 2019

National Clydesdale Sale, Shipshewana, IN


June 6-7, 2019

Mid-Ohio Draft Horse and Carriage Sale, Mount Hope, Ohio


June 21, 2019

Topeka Summer Draft Horse, Carriage & Equipment Sale,  Topeka, IN


June 21–22, 2019

Seymour Draft Horse Sale, Centreville, MI


September 11–14, 2019

Boone County Draft Horse & Mule Sale, Sedalia, MO


October 1–4, 2019
Waverly Midwest Fall Horse Sale, Waverly, IA


October 8-11, 2019

Mid-Ohio Draft Horse and Carriage Sale, Mount Hope, Ohio


October 14 & 15, 2019
Kalona Fall Draft Horse Sale, Kalona, Iowa


Nov 29 – 30
Dixie Draft Horse, Mule & Carriage Fall Auction, Troutman, NC

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Cattlemen urge action to reduce trade barriers in Japan

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Kevin Kester urged the Trump Administration to move quickly to tear down trade barriers for U.S. beef in Japan. Speaking at a public hearing on the potential economic impact of a U.S.-Japan bilateral trade agreement, Kester noted that reducing tariff and non-tariff trade barriers would benefit Japanese consumers and U.S. cattle producers. Japan is the top export market for U.S. beef, accounting for nearly $2 billion in sales in 2017. However, U.S. beef exports face tariffs as high as 50% under some circumstances.

“NCBA strongly supports prioritizing and expediting negotiations for a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement,” Kester said in his comments. “The U.S. beef industry is at risk of losing significant market share in Japan unless immediate action is taken to level the playing field.”

A number of key U.S. competitors have negotiated agreements that provide their producers with preferential access to the Japanese market. For example, under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Australian beef exporters will enjoy a tariff reduction of 27.5% in the first year of the agreement for fresh and frozen products.

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and banquet

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will celebrate Ohio’s cattlemen, hear from industry leaders and set new policy for 2019 at the OCA Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center in Lewis Center, Ohio.

The day’s events will kick off at 9:00 a.m. with the Cattlemen’s Quiz bowl written test. This youth event, sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America, is for youth ages 8-21 to showcase their beef industry knowledge. It is a two-part contest, consisting of written and verbal rounds. Shortly after, a Youth Beef Quality Assurance Session will start at 10:00 a.m. There will be three age divisions offered and the top three winners will be recognized as well as the top team in each group. During the Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation (OCF) luncheon, sponsored by Murphy Tractor, at 11:30 a.m., the 2019 scholarship recipients will be recognized and the OCF business meeting will be conducted.

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U.S. beef gains new market access in Morocco

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the government of Morocco has agreed to allow imports of U.S. beef and beef products into Morocco. 2018 is the first year that U.S. beef and poultry exporters have access to Morocco’s market under the terms of the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Morocco opened its market to U.S. poultry in August, 2018.

“President Trump continues to prioritize the opening of new markets for U.S. agricultural products. New access to the Moroccan market for beef and beef products is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports of U.S. agricultural products,” Lighthizer said. “I welcome Morocco’s agreement to allow imports of U.S. beef and look forward to growing our shipments to Morocco.”

In 2017, the United States was the world’s third largest beef exporter, with global sales of beef and beef products valued at $7.3 billion.

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Ohio Pork Council launches bacon vending machine

The Ohio Pork Council is pleased to announce the launch of their Bacon Vending Machine, located in Ohio State University’s Animal Science Building. In honor of finals season, the machine will supply students with ready-to-eat bacon until Dec. 13.

“The Bacon Vending Machine is a unique and fun way for the Ohio Pork Council to support Ohio State students and promote the pork industry at the same time,” said Dave Shoup, Ohio Pork Council president-elect.

With proceeds from the machine benefitting the meat science program, Hormel, Sugardale and Smithfield donated shelf-stable bacon strips and bits to fill the machine. For just $1, students can “fuel up” with bacon to power through their last two weeks on campus before Christmas break. Members of the meat science program are responsible for stocking and maintaining the machine during its time on campus.

“The meat science program is excited to partner with the Ohio Pork Council through the Bacon Vending Machine project,” said Lyda G.

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Ohio winters offer challenges to pork producers

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Just as the change of the season brings about slippery roads and windshields that need scraped before you venture out, the winter months can be the cause of many concerns on Ohio’ hog farms as well. From moisture, to rodents, to bio-security, there is plenty to keep in mind as pig farmers prep barns for livestock.

“Because of the wet and damp conditions that Mother Nature gives us this time of year, moisture is more difficult to control,” said Dr. Terri Specht, a veterinarian at Heimerl Farms in Johnstown. “We recommend using a couple days to get the barns warmed up before new pigs come in. Most barns are temperature regulated to keep the pigs comfortable all year round, but it takes a while to get a barn to that 65 degree level in the winter.”

As harvest progresses, albeit slowly across the state, those finished corn and soybean fields force some unwelcome guests to look for shelter in those warmed barns.

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North Carolina’s Smithfield lawsuits: Could Ohio’s farmers face similar results?

By Ellen Essman, Sr. Research Associate Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Over the last several months, three nuisance cases have been decided against Smithfield Foods in federal court in North Carolina. The juries in the cases have found Smithfield’s large farms, with thousands of hogs, and the odor, traffic, and flies that come along with them, to be a nuisance to neighboring landowners. Smithfield has been ordered to pay hefty damages to the neighbors, and more cases against the company remain to be decided. Given the outcomes of the cases that have been decided thus far, farmers and landowners in Ohio might be wondering how Ohio law compares to North Carolina law as pertains to agricultural nuisances.


Ohio’s right-to-farm law

Many states, including both Ohio and North Carolina, have “right-to-farm” legislation, which in part is meant to protect agriculture from nuisance lawsuits such as those filed against Smithfield.

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A global education used for local service by Master Shepherd

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

For the 2018 Charles Boyles Master Shepherd of the Year, Dave Burkhart of Hardin County, sheep have been a part of the family, in one way or another, for as long as he can remember.

“Grandpa always had sheep, along with hogs, cattle and chickens,” Burkhart said. “When my dad left the farm he didn’t have any sheep of his own but he was still in the industry with a shearing business, so I was around sheep almost every day growing up.”

As it turned out, Dave’s father was pretty good at his craft as he was named the International Sheep Shearing Champion in 1939, 1947 and 1948. But Burkhart knew he wanted to be more involved with livestock than his father.

“I bought this farm in 1987 and within a month I had my own sheep,” Burkhart said. “We started out with nine and built the flock up to around 300.”

That number has been pared down in recent years and now Burkhart’s farm consists of a small group of Dorset white face cross ewes, along with some Suffolk-Hampshire cross ewes.

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Cooper Farms set to release hog grower video series

Cooper Farms is set to release a video series on hog farming and environmental care on their social media platforms and YouTube.

As Cooper Farms continues to grow and builds relationships in new areas, the videos will serve as a way for the company to introduce themselves, explain what they do and the opportunities they offer to be contract growers.
“We’re growing. We’re always getting new neighbors and we want to be clear to those people, and with those who already know us, about what it is we do,” said  Terry Wehrkamp, Director of Live Production.

Cooper Farms partners with local family farms to raise animals. These videos will show the procedures the company follows to have the least possible impact on the environment, and especially, the neighboring communities.

“We have a reputation of being good neighbors,” Wehrkamp said. “It’s not just something we say, it’s something we do. We want to be transparent with our neighbors and show them that we want to do things the right way.”

Cooper Farms uses a very intricate process when it comes to choosing not only their sites for new barns, but the type of quality leaders necessary to run them.

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Trade progress for U.S. meats

At the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was signed and the White House announced that the U.S. and China will enter negotiations on several key trade issues, including agricultural trade.

“USMEF supports the Trump administration’s efforts to finalize the USMCA and to continue seeking resolution of the metal tariffs dispute with Mexico and Canada, which resulted in retaliatory duties on U.S. pork and beef,” said Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO. “U.S. meat exports have also become entangled in trade disputes with China, so it is encouraging to see the U.S. and China return to the negotiating table. Global demand for U.S. red meat is very strong, but exports cannot reach their full potential until the retaliatory duties imposed by Mexico, China and Canada are removed.”

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Awards, industry updates highlight 2018 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium

By Joel Penhorwood

Sheep nutrition, research updates, and even pasture fencing with satellites were among the highlights that greeted sheep producers and supporters at the 2018 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium in Wooster on Saturday.

“We had another dynamic program. We brought Woody Lane in from Oregon. He’s a world-renowned speaker and expert in sheep production and management,” said Roger High, executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program. “We had some of the researchers from OARDC and OSU that came in and updated us on some of the sheep research that’s going on out there in the research units.”

Programming designed specifically for youth was also presented for the first time at the Symposium. In addition to educational talks, the event serves as a time each year to recognize Ohio sheep leaders with various awards.

Scholarship winners included:

  • Ben Gastier of Erie County with the Gralph Grimshaw Memorial Scholarship
  • Katie Frost of Fayette County with the Dr.
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2018 OCA Replacement Female Sale results

By John F. Grimes, Ohio State University Extension Beef Coordinator

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) held their sixth annual Replacement Female Sale on Nov. 23 at the Muskingum Livestock Auction Company in Zanesville. A large crowd was on hand to bid on 107 high quality females in the sale. The sale represented an excellent opportunity for cow-calf producers to add quality females with documented breeding and health records to their herds.

Buyers evaluated 107 lots of bred heifers, bred cows, and cow-calf pairs at the auction. The sale included 80 lots of bred heifers that averaged $1,437, 25 lots of bred cows that averaged $1,377, and two cow-calf pairs that averaged $1,450. The 107 total lots grossed $152,275 for an overall average of $1,423. The females sold to buyers from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Col. Ron Kreis served as the auctioneer.

Erv-N-Del Farm of Louisville, Ohio consigned the top selling lot at $2,200.

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Outside threats

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

With our son off to college, wife Maria has been my deer hunting buddy this season. She is a somewhat reluctant hunter who I tempt into the blind with all manner of hunting baubles like portable ozone dispensers, heated booties, laser range-finders, Red Dot scopes, trail cameras, lighted arrow nocks and camo touch screen gloves so that she can while away the hours between deer sightings playing Candy Crush. Let’s just say she responds to technology and I’m playing every card in the deck to maintain her interest.

Maria shares word of her weekend adventures in the wilds with her urban co-workers at the metropolitan library, who find it odd that their fashion-conscious co-worker is spending so much time camo’d-up in the deep woods.

“Heck,” commented one. “I don’t even like being outside.”



New Public Land Deer Regulations Take Effect

Speaking of whitetail hunting, from Dec.

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An idea turned into Hinkle Farms

By Kayla Hawthorne, OCJ field reporter

Seven years ago, P.J. Hinkle was a union crane operator. In his time spent travelling for work and running a crane, he had plenty of opportunities to think. One day when he came home from work he told his wife, “I have an idea.”

Now, he’s a full time beef and vegetable producer in Morgan County.

“I was a union crane operator for 15 or 17 years and I left all that to do all this,” Hinkle said. “When I was working construction, I might be in Cleveland tomorrow. Especially being a crane operator, I was all over the place. [I was] gone all the time. The money was good, don’t get me wrong on that, but you reach a stage in life when you think ‘Well, my little girl’s growing up.’ That’s a lot of what I do this for.”

When he was growing up, Hinkle’s parents owned a grocery store, so he has always worked with food and he wanted to make sure his family also learned those lessons.

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BEEF 509 set for Feb. 16 and 22, 2019

Dates have been set for the 2019 edition of BEEF 509.

The BEEF 509 program is held to raise the awareness level about the beef that is produced and what goes into producing a high-quality and consistent product. The program will take place on two consecutive Saturdays, February 16 and 23, 2019.

The part of the program held on February 16 will include a live animal evaluation session and grid pricing discussion. Carcass grading and fabrication are among the activities that will take place February 23. The program will take place at The Ohio State University Animal Sciences building in Columbus. It will be critical to attend both sessions as participants will be assigned to teams that will work together throughout the program.

A maximum of 32 spaces will be available on a first come, first served basis. If interest in BEEF 509 exceeds the 32 spaces provided, names will be held and applicants notified of upcoming sessions.

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African Swine Fever brings destruction, possible market opportunity

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net

African Swine Fever is in the midst of causing global trouble and all signs point to it likely heading to the United States soon. The hog industry is keeping a close eye on the disease’s next move.

What exactly is African Swine Fever (AFS)? As defined in Hungerford’s ­Diseases of Livestock it is: “A highly contagious fatal disease of pigs with a great propensity for international spread (Geering and Forman, 1987). It is caused by a DNA virus which is very resistant, can survive in blood at 4 degrees C for 18 months, in frozen carcasses for several years, and in uncanned hams for up to six months. It affects all classes of pigs and warthogs.”

Though AFS does not affect humans, it poses considerable risk to the wellbeing of the swine industry with all hogs contracting the disease requiring termination.

“When it comes to global issues right now, that is something that could be very devastating in the pork industry in the United States.

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