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Manure regulation in Ohio

Although long considered a natural fertilizer that can benefit our soils, manure has a history of increased regulation in recent years based on potential impacts to water quality. The following explains how state and federal law regulates the production, storage and application of animal manure in Ohio.


Livestock Environmental Permitting Program

The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting (ODA) administers a permit program for Ohio’s largest confined livestock operations, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Facilities (CAFFs). Ohio Revised Code Chapter 903 and Ohio Administrative Code 901:10 contain the program’s legal provisions.

An owner must obtain a “permit to install” and a “permit to operate” from ODA before operating a CAFF. The permit requirement applies to a CAFF that houses any of the following, at a minimum:

  • 700 mature dairy cows
  • 2,500 hogs over 55 pounds
  • 10,000 baby pigs under 55 pounds
  • 82,000 laying hens
  • 125,000 pullets or broilers
  • 1,000 head of beef animals of any size
  • 500 horses
  • 10,000 sheep or lambs
  • 55,000 turkeys.
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EDF launches initiative to reduce fertilizer use for commodity grain crops

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has launched a new, collaborative initiative to eliminate fertilizer pollution as a major environmental concern in the United States. The effort will engage farmers and businesses throughout the supply chain to transform the way fertilizer-dependent grain crops are grown and sourced.

“If we’re going to meet food demands for a growing population, we’ve got to decouple production from pollution as soon as possible,” said David Festa, EDF vice president. “The most promising way to accomplish this essential task is by collaborating with decision makers at every point in the U.S. grain supply chain — from retailers and food companies to agribusiness and farmers.”

Fertilizer is the engine of agriculture, but its inefficient use is one of the biggest threats to a stable climate and clean water. Nitrogen not soaked up by crops emits a heat-trapping gas 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Phosphorus and nitrogen run-off from fertilizer are one potential factor in the growth of algal blooms that contaminate drinking water supplies.… Continue reading

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Wet October weather ahead

We are now in transition season.  We expect the rest of October to become more active with rain chances every two to four days.  We will be in a battle zone between high pressure near the East Coast and low pressure near the central U.S. leaving Ohio and the Ohio Valley in the transition zone for stormy weather. Temperatures will swing from above to below to above normal with the overall trend close to normal for temperatures.  Frost and freeze chances will be increasing but we are on track for about a normal frost and freeze season in October.


We expect to see above normal rainfall for the rest of October. There is a greater than 80% chance of exceeding two inches of rain in the next two weeks over most of Ohio which is high for this time of the year.  Normal rainfall is about an inch the next two weeks. … Continue reading

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New tools to assist with farm bill decisions for dairy

A new website is up and running to allow dairy farmers to sign up for meetings statewide on the intricacies of the dairy programs in new farm bill. Training for the meetings is provided in part by experts with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The meetings are part of the college’s efforts to help farmers learn more about the farm bill’s Dairy Margin Protection Program, commonly known as DMPP, and the decisions dairy producers must make by Nov. 28 if they want to participate in the program in 2014 or 2015, said Dianne Shoemaker, an Ohio State University Extension field specialist in dairy economics.

The meetings, which will be held in locations across Ohio, are a joint effort between OSU Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency county offices, Shoemaker said.

Producers can register for the meetings statewide at go.osu.edu/2014dairyfarmbill.

Shoemaker, along with OSU Extension educators and Farm Service Agency county directors will present information on the DMPP during the meetings for dairy producers, she said.… Continue reading

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American Wagyu cattle blend the best of two worlds

Cattle getting massages and being fed alcoholic drinks may sound funny, but the Wagyu breed of cattle known for producing melt-in-your-mouth Kobe beef in Japan is shrouded in eastern mystery, tradition and lore.

The breed was developed in 1868 by crossing Brown Swiss, Devon, Shorthorn, Simmental, and Ayrshire genetics. There are three strains of Japanese Wagyu — Tajiri, Tajima and Fujiyoshi. The breed is known for incredible marbling distribution and fat with a very low melting point to produce tender, flavorful beef. To be real “Kobe,” the beef must have come from a very specific place in Japan from a very specific breed of cattle and processed in a very specific way. But, an Americanized version of the legendary beef has been developed in recent years using the Wagyu genetics that originated in Japan and crossing them with U.S. beef genetics. The result is a blend of the legendary marbling and increased production efficiency for American sized servings and tastes.… Continue reading

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Cattle roundup in southern Ohio after semi tips over

There is a cattle roundup this morning after a semi hauling more than 90 cattle tipped over last night near the intersection of U.S. 62 and Ohio 72 in Highland County near Leesburg.

“We had a call this morning about a semi carrying 90 head of cattle that tipped over around 9:30 or 10:00 last night. I have not seen any but a friend of mine had cattle in her yard this morning. We had a call about 6 a.m. that said there were around 40 still loose and the Department of Transportation was concerned, especially about the high school kids driving to school this morning,” said Kim Haines, who lives near the site of the accident. “I can’t imagine how hard it would be to find 90 black cattle in the dark. There are a lot of calves and hogs on trailers moving up and down that road to the livestock auctions in Hillsboro.”

At least four of the cattle have been hit and killed on the road.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association offers unique opportunities for breeders and youth

The Best of the Buckeye Program, hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) in conjunction with the Ohio Beef Expo and the Ohio State Fair, is gearing up for its second season.

The program provides Ohio seedstock breeders an additional marketing opportunity, creates a source for moderately priced show steers and heifers by providing a program with awards and prestige, and attracts new participants interested in showing at the Ohio Beef Expo and/or the Ohio State Fair. Breeders are encouraged to request a Best of the Buckeye logo for use in printed and digital promotion of Best of the Buckeye eligible cattle. Email beef@ohiobeef.org to request the logo.

The Best of the Buckeye program will offer 20 $500 scholarship opportunities for Best of the Buckeye participants to offset the cost of purchasing, raising and exhibiting a Best of the Buckeye nominated calf. Scholarships will be awarded to less-experienced participants, ages 8 to 21, with consideration given to the applicant’s financial need.… Continue reading

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USDA announces funding for organic and regional food systems

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the award of over $52 million in support of the growing organic industry and local and regional food systems through five U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant programs.

“Local and regional food systems are one of the pillars of our efforts to revitalize rural economies,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Consumers are increasingly demanding more local and organic options. Investing in local and regional food systems supports the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers, especially smaller operations, while strengthening economies in communities across the country. Today’s announcements also improve access to fresh, healthy food for millions of Americans.”

Most of the grants announced were authorized through the Agricultural Act of 2014, including the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Farmers Market Promotion Program and Local Foods Promotion Program, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Community Food Projects (CFP) grant program.… Continue reading

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Fall grazing management

After clipping pastures throughout the growing season and managing pasture rotations to insure that plants are not overgrazed and that there is enough rest period between grazing passes, it can be tempting in the fall to let grazing management slide. There is fall crop harvest and any number of other fall tasks to get done before winter. However, from a plant health standpoint, overgrazing during the fall is more detrimental to the plant compared to overgrazing followed by rest in the early part of the growing season. Fall is the time when the perennial plant must store up carbohydrate reserves that will be used to survive the winter and generate new growth next spring.

In the fall of the year, environmental conditions are not favorable for rapid leaf growth and an overgrazed plant will not be able to generate a lot of new leaf growth. Although leaf growth is slow, if sufficient leaf area is maintained throughout the fall season, photosynthesis is not slowed down.… Continue reading

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Cattle at the crossroads

The year-long across-the-board rally in cattle prices has been driven by a combination of favorable supply and demand factors which have aligned to push prices to record levels. On the supply side, the starting point is cattle numbers. Beef cow numbers are the lowest since 1962, and last year’s calf crop was the smallest since 1949. Cows are the “factory” where beef production begins. Over the years, a combination of poor returns, weather problems in key areas, and strong cull cow prices to satisfy the demand for processing beef encouraged the industry to “tear down” much of its production capacity.

Obviously, this situation didn’t develop overnight, but it did set the stage for what has happened in the past 12 months. Rising carcass weights have partially offset the decline in cattle numbers, but the net result has been tight beef supplies.


Favorable supply, favorable demand

Supplies of competing meats have also been unexpectedly tight.… Continue reading

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More corn, less meat setting tone of markets from USDA numbers

Last month, USDA released the September Crop Production report along with the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. The market was closely watching to see what USDA thinks about what is shaping up to be a corn crop for the record books.

USDA’s national average corn yield estimate came in at 171.7 bushels per acre. This was right at a bushel higher than the average pre-report estimate. It will be, if realized, a record national average yield. A number of key states are expecting phenomenal yields this year. Most notable is Illinois, for which the state average yield estimate was pegged at 194 bushels per acre. Among major producing states, record yields are currently projected for Indiana (184 bushels per acre), Iowa (185 bushels per acre), and Nebraska (179 bushels per acre). These yields correspond to an aggregate production estimate of 14.395 billion bushels, which will be the second consecutive year of record-high corn production following last year’s 13.925 billion bushel crop.… Continue reading

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Snider selected as National Beef Ambassador

Ohio is represented yet again in the National Beef Ambassador Program as Hardin County native Demi Snider was selected this past weekend to be one of five young people across the nation to represent the beef industry for the coming year.

It marks the second consecutive year that an Ohioan has been named a National Beef Ambassador, following the selection of Sierra Jepsen for 2013-2014.

“It’s pretty amazing that 20 states got together this weekend in Denver, Colorado and out of those 20, a team of five was selected and I was one of the ones chosen,” said Snider, an agricultural communications major at The Ohio State University.

Snider will be spending the following year with fellow ambassadors from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming traveling across the country as a representative of the beef industry. Her agricultural background includes a 40 cow-calf Maine-Anjou farm as well as a pen of steers that her family raises.… Continue reading

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New U.S. Census of Aquaculture released

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the 2013 Census of Aquaculture results. This report is the result of the third national census conducted by NASS to measure the U.S. aquaculture industry. The last Census of Aquaculture was conducted in 2005.

“The 2013 Census of Aquaculture expands on the data collected about aquaculture during the 2012 Agriculture Census and provides a more comprehensive picture of the aquaculture sector at the national and state levels,” said NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly. “There is always a need for current industry-specific data and the results from the census of aquaculture will be used by federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations and producers to make decisions impacting this specialized area of agriculture.”

The aquaculture census provides detailed information relating to production volume and methods, surface water acres and sources, sales, point of first sale outlets, and aquaculture distributed for restoration, conservation, enhancement, or recreational purposes.… Continue reading

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Executive order addresses antibiotic issue

An executive order from the White House last week addressing the challenge of antibiotic resistant bacteria concluded that more research is necessary to move forward.

“In its executive order on combating antibiotic resistant bacteria, the White House acknowledged something that the National Pork Producers Council has been saying for years: More epidemiological research is needed to understand the key drivers of increased antibiotic resistance,” said Howard Hill, NPPC president. “NPPC is pleased that the administration agrees that more research is needed and looks forward to working further with FDA and USDA on determining the most informed and appropriate solutions for combating antibiotic resistant bacteria.”

The role of antibiotics in agriculture needs to be better understood by all of the key stakeholders in this complex issue.

“It is important to emphasize that raising farm animals is a 24/7 job, and the health and well-being of livestock is the top priority for farmers and ranchers.… Continue reading

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NPPC on the TPP

The National Pork Producers Council thanks U.S. trade officials for diligently working to achieve an outcome in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations that would benefit all sectors of our nation’s economy, including agriculture. At the same time, we must also express our deep disappointment in Japan’s continuing rejection of the fundamental terms of a successful TPP agreement, as agreed upon by leaders of all participating TPP nations prior to Japan’s entry into the negotiations last year.

Japan continues to demand exemptions from tariff elimination for an unprecedented number of agricultural products. Its negotiators have declared that products such as pork, dairy, beef, wheat, barley, sugar and rice are “sacred” and cannot be opened to free trade in the TPP. Japan has employed this or similar arguments in all of its prior free trade agreements, so it is not surprising that some in the United States might accept this as reality, submit to Japan’s demand and accept the crumbs from its table.… Continue reading

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Humphreys excited to “serve and benefit” Ohio’s pork producers

A conversation with…

Bryan Humphreys, who will be starting his new role as Executive Vice President of the Ohio Pork Council on Oct. 1

OCJ: First, could you share a little about your background growing up in Iowa on a farm and how you hope that will prepare you for your new role in Ohio?

Bryan: Growing up on a farm in Southeast Iowa was not without its challenges. When I left for college we were farming 900 acres and 4,000 pig spaces, while attempting to recover from a PRRS outbreak and record low hog prices. I witnessed firsthand the challenges those of us in agriculture can face. Yet, I recognize that it is these challenges that force us to adapt and make continuous improvements that allow for better days. As I start a new chapter at Ohio Pork Council my understanding of agriculture and how challenges affect farms is from real world experience.… Continue reading

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Lewis’ Turkey Farm bigger-than-small, but smaller-than-large

Two sisters who share a love of their family farm have built upon their parents’ business in the wild, rolling hills of Jackson County. Beverly Lewis and Margie Lewis Kiefer are not strangers to the hard work it takes to be the bigger-than-small but smaller-than-large Lewis’ Turkey Farm.

“Most farmers can’t even turn their equipment around in our fields. Mom and dad started here in 1954 with 1,200 turkeys and 130 acres,” Beverly said. “Now we are at 1,000 acres and we start 25,000 turkeys, which by industry standards is very small. At one point, we got up to 100,000 turkeys.”

For many years, the turkeys were all outdoors.

“We were free range before free range was cool, but the markets changed and the coyotes drove us inside,” Beverly said. “Now we are certified free range, humanely raised and humanely slaughtered through the GAP program with Whole Foods.”

To make turkey production work on their small scale, the sisters jump through many hoops to get certified to raise birds for a demanding specialty market.… Continue reading

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House passes Jobs Bill

The House passed The Jobs for America Act (H.R. 4) by a vote of 253 to 163. Bob McCan, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president and Victoria, Texas, cattleman said this was a positive move for cattle producers and a solid step toward stabilizing the economy.

“The Jobs bill passed by the House contains a number of priorities for our producer members including some key tax provisions,” McCan said. “The passage of this legislation brings our producers one step closer to having the certainty they need to make financial preparations and needed investments in this tax year.”

Included in the Act is the America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act and other provisions directed toward the Internal Revenue Service, which makes section 179 expensing and bonus depreciation permanent. The bill also contains the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, requiring Congress to take an up-or-down vote on all new major rules that would have an economic impact of more than $100 million annually before they can be enforced.… Continue reading

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Buckeye football and beef education make for a tasty combination

The Ohio State University’s newly formed Collegiate CattleWomens Club (CCW) is off to an impressive start before the group has even had their first meeting.

Buckeyes 4 Beef was the name of a two-day event the organization recently held on Ohio State’s main campus with the goal of educating consumers about beef and improve its public perception.

“The Buckeyes 4 Beef event was the first organizational event put on by the newly founded Collegiate CattleWomen’s Club,” said Sierra Jepsen, National Beef Ambassador and club co-founder. “We just chartered this organization this summer and this is our first event to come together without ever having a meeting. It was really cool for us to put together something university-wide.”

IMG_7095 copyBuckeyes 4 Beef was composed of two separate parts spread over the Friday and Saturday before and during the OSU football game against Kent State. The first portion of the effort was spent on the school’s Oval speaking with students as they passed by on their Friday routine.… Continue reading

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OCA Young Cattlemen’s Conference provides industry learning experience


The 2014 Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC) hosted 16 cattlemen and women for a 3-day leadership development program in Columbus and the central Ohio areas, Aug. 21 to 23. 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 2014 Ohio State Fair Commercial Cattle Show carcass contest awards presentation. Guest speaker, Kent Bacus, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Associate Director of Legislative Affairs discussed challenges and opportunities facing the future of the beef industry. He encouraged the next generation to engage with elected officials and to get involved in organizations like the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and NCBA

Friday morning at the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) office, attendees participated in a spokesperson training program by Brandi Frobose, NCBA Issues Management. Frobose led participants through a social media training session that strengthened their digital communication skills, helped them to tell their beef production story, and to become a more effective cattle industry leader.… Continue reading

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