Dairy Price Woes Continue

By Matt Reese and Ty Higgins, for Ohio Ag Net

The world is awash in milk, it seems. Production is up, consumption is down and grim economic reality is settling in for many dairy farms.

Ohio State University Extension field specialist for dairy production economics Dianne Shoemaker does not see much light at the end of the tunnel for dairy prices.

“Sadly, I am not hearing a lot that is hopeful — too many cows, lots of heifers coming up behind them, too much milk. It sounds like New Zealand is having some weather issues, so if that results in lower than expected milk production, that means less milk for export to the international market,” Shoemaker said. ‘It is a bleak picture of the next 12 months. Top this off with uncertainty about NAFTA and proposed tariffs, and it is hard to be terribly optimistic. In spite of the oversupply of milk, farmers have to manage their businesses on an individual basis, which means they are likely to produce more milk and focus on components.” Continue reading

From Across the Field – Spring Approaches

Where did February go? Last week I finished with a bit about the wet and soggy weather, and at the time of writing, things are starting to dry out. As opposed to watching the wind and rain here in Napoleon this past weekend, I drove back to southeastern Ohio where my parents and brother live. Upon arriving, it only took a single step out of my truck to realize that it was just as wet and even muddier than when I left Henry County.

Despite the rain, mud, and rising water there were some signs of spring that we have yet to experience here in NW Ohio. For example, I noticed while driving that some of the shrub and brush type plants were beginning to produce buds, and that pastures were starting to green up. Perhaps, the most evident indicator of the coming spring were the lambs and calves that had been born since my last trip to visit around New Year’s. Continue reading

Wet Conditions Increase Cow Feed Needs

By: Sara Brown, Drovers

Challenges of winter weather is not just for the northern tier of the country, says Amy Radunz, University of Wisconsin beef Extension specialist. “Cattle can often handle frigid temperatures, as long as they remain dry.”

But Mother Nature doesn’t always play fair. When winter temperatures fluctuate greatly, snow and ice melt to create wet and muddy conditions that make it harder for cattle to stay warm.

That’s why mud and cold wet conditions are much more difficult to manage than just the bitterly cold, Radunz says. Continue reading

From Across the Field – Looking Back on HSUS in Ohio

I’m not one to watch a whole lot of news; however, I do read the newspaper and subscribe to a few newsletters regarding the different sectors in agriculture. Perhaps one of the biggest stories in the past week was the resignation of Wayne Pacelle, now the former CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The resignation comes came after pressure from donors following an internal investigation of HSUS which identified three complaints of sexual harassment by Pacelle.

For those of you that remember back in 2010, Pacelle brokered a deal with Governor Strickland to remove an animal welfare issue from the ballot and maintain the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. Most of us will remember Mr. Pacelle as an activist that staunchly opposed animal agriculture and revenue generator for the organization that was described once to me as, “PETA in suits”. While agriculture says ‘good riddance’ to Mr. Pacelle, I do think this is an opportune time to reflect on the 2010 landmark deal and the regulations since passed by the Livestock Care Standards Board. Continue reading

From Across the Field – Changes Coming to the Beef Industry


Things are picking up the pace in the office as we move into February, with not only agriculture programming but 4-H as well. As I look at the calendar for the next six weeks it is jammed packed with meetings and programs, and I couldn’t be more excited as I work towards the end of my first year here in Henry County. One of the programs that combines both the agriculture and youth is Quality Assurance, a program required for youth in order to exhibit livestock projects at the various fair and expositions across the state. The youth program began twenty some years ago in Ohio as the result of some food safety concerns regarding exhibition livestock.

Introduced in 1989, Pork Quality Assurance was designed to help pig farmers and their employees use best practices to promote food safety. The pork packing sector, bought into the program now requires producers to be certified in Quality Assurance in order to send their pigs to market. It is a pretty simple model, having the certification card for quality assurance is a producer’s “ticket” to market access. Continue reading

Wayne Pacelle Resigns as HSUS CEO

By: Sara Brown (Previously Printed in Drovers On-Line)

Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle resigned Friday, hours after the nonprofits board voted to retain his leadership, following a recent investigation into claims of sexual misconduct of three employees. Pacelle denied the claims.

Seven board members resigned in protest immediately after the board’s decision. The move to keep Pacelle also defied demands by several major donors to cut ties with the longtime executive, or risk losing their financial and cooperative support, according to coverage from the Washington Post. Continue reading

Up and Coming Pork Export Markets

JoAnn Alumbaugh, Editor, PORK Network

Dermot Hayes, Distinguished Professor at Iowa State University shared his views on U.S. exports in the January-February issue of Farm Journal’s PORK. He has followed, influenced and visited growing export markets during his 31 years at Iowa State University. In this final excerpt, he discusses expanding markets, and shares his most rewarding moments of working with the U.S. pork industry.

In terms of emerging markets, Hayes says “we’re only tapping the potential in Central America. Continue reading

Informed Consumers Won’t Pay More For ‘Natural’

By: Greg Henderson

Consumers are willing to pay more for steak labeled “natural,” unless they know the definition of “natural.”

Researchers at Arizona State University asked 663 beef eaters about their willingness to pay for steak labeled with different attributes: natural, grass-fed or corn-fed, fed without genetically modified feed and produced without growth hormones or antibiotics. Half of the participants were provided with the definition of natural and half were not. Continue reading

FDA: Antibiotic Sales Drop 10% for Livestock in 2016

By Wyatt Bechtel, Drovers

Antibiotic sales for use in livestock has dropped according to a report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

On Dec. 7, FDA released a summary report for 2016 on “Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food Producing Animals.” A key finding in the report was antibiotic sales and distribution in the U.S. dropped 10% from 2015 to 2016 for food producing animals. Continue reading