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BEST program concludes 15th year with annual banquet

The 2013-2014 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) BEST (Beef Exhibitor Show Total) Program wrapped up on May 10 with its annual awards banquet held at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.

“The banquet is a time to celebrate the many achievements of our BEST participants, both in and out of the show ring,” says Stephanie Sindel, BEST coordinator. “Each participant is recognized for their hard work by family, friends and BEST supporters alike.”

Several representatives from program sponsors Bob Evans Farms, Burroughs Frazier Farms, Farm Credit Mid-America, Green Oak Farms, M.H. Eby, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Weaver Livestock were on hand to help present awards totaling more than $42,000 in belt buckles, furniture, show materials and other awards.

This year’s BEST program featured 17 sanctioned shows that weaved its way across the state with 380 youth participants showing 537 head of market animals and heifers.


Banquet Sponsors

The BEST program also receives tremendous support for awards and the awards banquet.… Continue reading

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NFU continues defense of COOL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently heard argument en banc in AMI v. USDA. While a three-judge panel had affirmed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction on the implementation of the revised Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations, the panel had noted that one issue might warrant rehearing en banc.

The parties’ positions before the Court are essentially the same as what was presented to the panel although additional briefing was sought by the Court on the reach of a certain Supreme Court decision in the First Amendment area.

National Farmers Union (NFU), along with fellow intervenors the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, American Sheep Industry Association and Consumer Federation of America, has participated at both the district court and at the D.C. Circuit supporting the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s revised COOL regulation and opposing the preliminary injunction request of the plaintiffs/appellants.

“The revised COOL regulation is an important step in providing consumers improved information on the origin of the meat products they buy, and it reduces consumer confusion,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.… Continue reading

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Action being urged for EU cheese situation

A bipartisan group of 177 members of the U.S. House of Representatives urged the Obama administration to use the transatlantic trade talks with the European Union (EU) to address a variety of export barriers hampering the U.S. dairy industry. Among the barriers are the EU’s recent efforts to prevent U.S. companies from using common food names like parmesan and feta in export markets, including the EU, and even in the U.S. domestic market.

The Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus co-chairs, led by Reps. Reid Ribble and Peter Welch, spearheaded the letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. In that message House members said negotiations with the European Union over the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) offer a good opportunity to address protectionist measures that block U.S. dairy sales to 500 million consumers.

“We urge you to achieve a strong and beneficial outcome for the U.S.… Continue reading

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First forage cutting coming soon

While we’ve all been focused on getting planting done between the rains, our established forage crops have quietly been growing rapidly. I hate to say this, but first cutting of forages is just about upon us. Orchardgrass was just beginning to shoot a head in central Ohio last Friday. The alfalfa stands that were not severely injured by winter are looking great and growing fast.

For high quality feed, such as for lactating dairy cows, pure grass stands should be harvested in the late boot stage just before the heads start to peek out. So for orchardgrass in the central and southern half of Ohio, that means harvest should begin as soon as the weather and soil moisture permits.

A timely first and second cutting is critical for high quality forage. Fiber accumulates faster in the first two growth cycles in May and June than it does later in the summer.… Continue reading

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Cattle prices moderating after record highs

Cattle prices have started to moderate after reaching unexplained record highs in the first four months of the year, says Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

He believes that the highest prices of the year are now likely in the past.

In the first quarter of 2014, Nebraska steers sold at an average price of $147 per live hundredweight — more than $20 higher than the previous first-quarter record price. Nationally, finished cattle prices were up 17% during the first quarter. With production only down 4%, the hike has been somewhat unexplained.

“It was not so surprising to have record-high cattle prices, but the real surprise was the lofty heights of those new records,” Hurt said.

While there are a few factors that could have played into higher prices, Hurt said none of them seem to have been big enough to force prices to the levels they reached. Some of those include overall low meat and poultry supplies, reduced beef production, low broiler egg hatchability and expected reduction in pork availability from the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus.… Continue reading

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Ohio hog farm turning up the heat on PEDv

It has now been well over a year that America’s pork producers have been battling a relentless virus that has caused a very high number of piglet losses in over half of the 50 states. Since there has not yet been a vaccine developed for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv), bio-security has been of utmost importance to keep the virus from spreading to new farms and to keep it from coming back to farms it has already impacted.

For Heimerl Farms in Licking County, one of the unfortunate farms that has had to deal with the deadly and costly virus back in November, keeping PEDv away for good is a goal they are taking very seriously. That is why the Heimerls have invested heavily in their own thermo-assisted drying and decontamination (TADD) system.

“This is not an investment you want to make and it’s not one you can wait to make,” said Brad Heimerl, part owner and manager of Heimerl Farms.… Continue reading

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Maximizing wool value is a year-round effort

Vernon Miller is looking to maximize the profitability from his sheep flock near Sugar Creek in Holmes County.

Miller is among the growing number of farmers in Ohio’s Amish communities looking to sheep production as a way to generate income with smaller acreage and less input than other types of livestock. Though the focus of his production is meat, he recently made a trip to Mid-States Wool Growers Cooperative headquarters in Canal Winchesters to learn about what he can do to improve his wool production from his 90-ewe flock on 36 acres of pasture.

“I have been working on the breeding and feeding to maximize meat production,” he said. “I shear my own sheep. I enjoy it and I want to stay up to date with what is happening with the wool. I got more of an idea of what I need to do to get more out of my wool.… Continue reading

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U.S. pork now eligible for export to New Zealand

New Zealand announced that it will allow the importation from the United States of consumer-ready cuts of uncooked pork less than 3 kilograms. In response to pressure from the National Pork Producers Council, and in the context of trying to persuade the United States to commence negotiations on a free trade agreement, New Zealand undertook a risk assessment on pork, which found negligible risk of disease transmission from consumer-ready cuts of uncooked pork. The New Zealand Pork Industry Board (NZPork) had fought the move through the country’s court system. Most recently, in 2013 NZPork appealed to the Supreme Court, which found in favor of the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries and its Import Health Standard for pork products from countries with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), including the United States.

PRRS is not a food-safety issue, and there is negligible risk of PRRS transmission from the legal importation of pork from countries with the disease.… Continue reading

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Sheep producers and USDA officials share goals

Sheep producers from across the country met with officials of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this week to hear the progress of sheep related programs within the department.

According to Jack Shere, DVM, associate deputy administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Veterinary Services, APHIS is committed to eradicating scrapie from the United States. The agency is also considering the proposition of a “negligible scrapie-risk” category to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The United States is still on track to eradicate scrapie by 2017, however, detecting the last cases of scrapie is always the most difficult and costly. Surveillance of goats, in particular, will need to be ramped up to accomplish this goal.

“The negligible risk category opened up many markets for the beef industry and our current thinking is that having such a category for scrapie could also be positive for the sheep industry,” Shere said.… Continue reading

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Big Ohio Sheep Sale show results

The Preble County Fairgrounds in Eaton once again hosted the Big Ohio Sheep Sale on May 8-10, 2014. One of the top sheep sales events in the nation, the Big Ohio Sale showcased 11 breeds and auctioned off approximately 800 head. It was the National Sale for Southdown, Shropshire, Suffolk, and Natural Colored breeds and was the Eastern Regional Hampshire Sale.

Results for Grand and Reserve Champions are as follows:


Grand Champion Ewe: Birschbach Hampshires

Reserve Champion Ewe: The Hickmans

Grand Champion Ram: Jadewood Valley Farm

Reserve Champion Ram: The Hickmans


Grand Champion Ewe: Northern Starr Livestock

Reserve Champion Ewe: Pleasant Springs

Grand Champion Ram: Tom Willwerth

Reserve Champion Ram: Bill Leininger Southdowns


Grand Champion Ewe: Avery Shropshires

Reserve Champion Ewe: Avery Shropshires

Grand Champion Ram: City Limits Sheep Farm

Reserve Champion Ram: Avery Shropshires


Grand Champion Ewe: E.B. Suffolks

Reserve Champion Ewe: MacCauley Suffolks

Grand Champion Ram: Lyn Lee Farms

Reserve Champion Ram: MacCauley Suffolks

Natural Colored

Grand Champion Ewe: Wolf Brothers

Reserve Champion Ewe: Kuehne Coloreds

Grand Champion Ram: Wolf Brothers

Reserve Champion Ram: Pines End Natural Coloreds


Grand Champion Ewe: Winning Ways Sheep Farm

Reserve Champion Ewe: Apple Oxfords

Grand Champion Ram: Winning Ways Sheep Farm

Reserve Champion Ram: Daniels Oxfords


Grand Champion Ewe: Riverwood Farms

Reserve Champion Ewe: Lobdell Oxfords and Dorpers

Grand Champion Ram: Riverwood Farms

Reserve Champion Ram: Riverwood Farms

White Dorper

Grand Champion Ewe: Riverwood Farms

Reserve Champion Ewe: Riverwood Farms

Grand Champion Ram: Riverwood Farms

Reserve Champion Ram: Riverwood Farms


Grand Champion Ewe: Spilde Cheviots

Reserve Champion Ewe: Rincker Land and Livestock

Grand Champion Ram: Katherine Kuykendall

Reserve Champion Ram: Spilde Cheviots


Grand Champion Ewe: S Bar S Ranch

Reserve Champion Ewe: Bruce Hoffman and Family

Grand Champion Ram: Bruce Hoffman and Family

Reserve Champion Ram: S Bar S Ranch


Grand Champion Ewe: My Montadales

Reserve Champion Ewe: Gann Farms

Grand Champion Ram: My Montadales

Reserve Champion Ram: Gann Farms


Hampshire Wether Dam Champion: Maddox Farms

Hampshire Wether Dam Reserve: Daniels Club Lambs

Hampshire Wether Sire Champion: Fleener Hampshires

Hampshire Wether Sire Reserve: Daniels Club Lambs

Suffolk Wether Dam Champion: Darrell & Pam Howard

Suffolk Wether Dam Reserve: Daniels Club Lambs

Suffolk Wether Sire Champion: Friesen Show Lambs

Suffolk Wether Sire Reserve: Wampler Suffolks

Dorset Wether Dam Champion: Myers Polled Dorsets

Dorset Wether Dam Reserve: Daniels Club Lambs

Dorset Wether Sire Champion: Myers Polled Dorsets

Crossbred/Unregistered Wether Dam Champion: Lyn Lee Farms

Crossbred/Unregistered Wether Dam Reserve: Jadewood Valley Farm

Crossbred/Unregistered Wether Sire Champion: Derek Westlake

Crossbred/Unregistered Wether Sire Reserve: Perry Club Lambs

big ohio sheep sale


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Retail meat prices climbing

Summer grilling season will cost meat lovers a few more dollars this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Wholesale meat prices climbed higher during the first quarter of the year and retail meat prices quickly followed suit.

“Retail prices for beef and pork cuts have steadily pushed into new record territory,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. “For pork, the average retail price per pound in March—$3.83—was higher than the prior four months and eclipsed the record level set last fall.”

“For beef, the price move in March was more dramatic. Consumers saw the sixth straight month of new record retail prices for fresh beef products, at $5.40 per pound, which is a 23-percent increase compared to the 2010-2012 average.”

The sharp increase in retail beef prices has not occurred in a vacuum, Anderson noted. Retail pork prices are currently 18% higher than in 2010-2012 while chicken is up 9%.… Continue reading

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Mexico removes import restriction on U.S. beef

The Mexican government is in the process of making regulatory changes that allow for import of U.S. beef and beef products derived from cattle of any age. This important development lifts the 30-month cattle age limit for U.S. beef and effectively removes the last of Mexico’s BSE-related restrictions.

“This is an issue that U.S. Meat Export Federation has been working on for a number of years, and resolving it has been a lengthy process,” said Chad Russell, U.S. Meat Export Federation regional director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, contractor to the beef checkoff. “We received excellent support on this issue from FAS officials at the U.S. embassy in Mexico, who always made sure that it was front-and-center whenever U.S.-Mexico trade issues were being discussed at high levels. Though it took some time, these efforts have now paid off.”

The changes to Mexico’s import regulations were to take effect April 30, though shipments of over-30-month beef cannot begin until the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) updates its Export Library.… Continue reading

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Pork Checkoff updates its Transport Quality Assurance Program

Since 2001, the pork industry’s Transport Quality Assurance program (TQA) has promoted responsible practices when handling and transporting pigs. In that time, TQA has undergone five revisions – always striving to offer the most current, science-based information on humane handling, biosecurity and proper transportation of swine.

The mission of the TQA program remains unchanged: to continuously build a culture of protecting and promoting animal well-being through training and certification of animal handlers and transport personnel. In that process, TQA uses the most current industry-proven techniques in an effort to build consumer confidence and understanding of the high-quality pork products delivered to market every day.

“Consumers are hungry for information on how their pork is raised — from the farm to the table,” said Sherrie Webb, animal welfare director at The National Pork Board. “That need for information is about more than what happens on the farm and extends to how that animal is safely and humanely transported from farm to market.… Continue reading

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Speaker Boehner visits Ohio hog farm

Recently, Congressman John Boehner, Speaker of the House visited Wuebker Farms in Versailles. Wuebker Farms co-owners, Jeff and Alan Wuebker, their families,

representatives from Ohio Farm Bureau, the Ohio Pork Council were present for the Speaker’s visit and offered insight on many issues facing today’s pork industry.

Bill Minton, a nationally recognized swine veterinarian from Chickasaw was also present and was able to provide an update on Ohio’s work to combat PEDv.

“It was great to have Speaker Boehner on our farm to see, hands-on, what we do everyday to produce safe, affordable pork for the American consumer,” said Jeff Wuebker. “His visit was a good reminder of the many challenges we face in the swine industry and how important the federal government is in helping farmers protect our food supply. Agriculture is the number one industry in the Speaker’s district and in Ohio with over $100 billion in economic activity each year.”… Continue reading

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For Your InFARMation brings students to the farm

Saatvika Vyakaranam from Tyler Run Elementary School in Powell has been named this year’s winner of the Ohio Livestock Coalition’s (OLC) essay contest. For being named the winner, Saatvika’s entire third grade class — all 113 of them — will be awarded an all-expenses paid field trip to a central Ohio livestock farm this month.

The essay contest is part of OLC’s For Your InFARMation (FYI) program. The program includes free educational materials for teachers designed to teach third grade students about the origins of the food they eat every day and about the important role agriculture plays in Ohio’s economy.

FYI materials support key Ohio academic contest standards for social studies, language arts, science and math, and can be downloaded free of charge at www.ForYourInFARMation.com. Through these materials, students learn more about farmers and the economy, livestock farming, keys to safe and health food, careers in agriculture and more.… Continue reading

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Social media boosting meat exports

Ten years ago, most people would have never dreamed of putting a picture of their breakfast on the Internet, or sharing musings while siting in traffic. And poeple couldn’t show the world videos of the funny tricks performed by their children or dog.

Now they can, courtesy of social media outlets such as Facebook (founded in February 2004), YouTube (February 2005) and Twitter (March 2006), to name a few.

It didn’t take long for the social media phenomenon to sweep around the world, and while it is a global tool, it has local applications, making it ideal for an organization like the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) that supports U.S. beef, pork and lamb exports around the world, but tailors the message to each individual market.

“Social media is insanely popular and is incredibly powerful – and cost-effective – if used properly,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president of global marketing and communications.… Continue reading

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Eli Lilly and Company announces agreement to acquire Novartis Animal Health

Eli Lilly and Company has announced an agreement to acquire Novartis Animal Health for approximately $5.4 billion in an all-cash transaction that will strengthen and diversify Lilly’s own animal health business, Elanco. Upon completion of the acquisition, Elanco will be the second-largest animal health company in terms of global revenue, will solidify its number two ranking in the U.S., and improve its position in Europe and the rest of the world.

With a presence in approximately 40 countries and 2013 revenue of approximately $1.1 billion, Novartis Animal Health is focused on developing better ways to prevent and treat diseases in pets, farm animals and farmed fish. Lilly will acquire Novartis Animal Health’s nine manufacturing sites, six dedicated research and development facilities, a global commercial infrastructure with a portfolio of approximately 600 products, a robust pipeline with more than 40 projects in development, and an experienced team of more than 3,000 employees.… Continue reading

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Sign-up for disaster assistance program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that eligible farmers and ranchers can sign up for U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster assistance programs restored by passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Depending on the size and type of farm or ranch operation, eligible producers can enroll in a number of programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The Livestock Forage Disaster Program and the Livestock Indemnity Program will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, including calendar years 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have suffered losses because of disease, severe weather, blizzards and wildfires.

Producers signing up for these programs are encouraged to contact their local FSA office for information on the types of records needed and to schedule an appointment.… Continue reading

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The ins and outs of fencing decisions

Wood prices are predicted to reach record highs by the end of 2014. This is due to timber-supply shortages related to environmental factors such as heavy rainfall. The increasing demand for wood products as the economy and housing markets begin to recover also plays a large part in rising prices. With low supply and increasing demand, the wood product industry and its consumers are facing price hikes on wood everywhere.

Due to this shortage “You get what you pay for,” will take on a whole new meaning for farm fence customers this year, making research and purchasing long-lasting products even more crucial to avoid spending double, or even triple the amount of your initial investment. When making an investment to fence your farm, consider the “4 W’s” (Who, What, When and Warranty) before locking in a purchase.


Who set the pressure-treating standards for the posts?

The AWPA (American Wood Protection Association) has written a book of standards to ensure customers receive the highest-quality and longest lasting wood products available.… Continue reading

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Sheep Award nominations due June 1, 2014

In 2010, the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) Board of Trustees initiated an award nomination program to recognize outstanding accomplishments made by sheep farmers as well as people who are associated with the Ohio sheep industry.

Nominations for these awards can only be submitted by OSIA members and must be received by June 1, 2014. Award recipients will be honored at the 2014 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium. If you would like to nominate someone for any of these awards, please contact the OSIA Office at 614-246-8293 for an application. Award applications will also be posted at www.ohiosheep.org after March 15, 2014. Nominations are being accepted for the following categories. Information and requirements regarding these awards will be available with the award application:

• Charles Boyles Master Shepherd Award

• Friend of the Ohio Sheep Industry Award

• Distinguished Service Award

• Environmental Stewardship Award… Continue reading

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