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Grand Champion market lamb selected

2014 Ohio State Fair Grand Champion Jr. Market Lamb_Logan Harvel of Mt. Sterling, OH (1)_webAt the end of a very long day looking at 694 market lambs at the 2014 Ohio State Fair, Judge Kalen Poe of Indiana selected the champion crossbred exhibited by Logan Harvel of Mt. Sterling as Grand Champion.

Logan said from day one he knew he had a good lamb, but actually having the Grand Champion is an indescribable feeling.

“It means a lot of work paid off, a lot of work,” said Logan. “I’ve been showing for 10 years, been with Shroyer’s for 8 years, it’s great.”

Audio: Logan Harvel, Mt. Sterling, OH (1:20 mp3)

2014 Ohio State Fair Reserve Grand Champion Jr. Market Lamb_Colin Gump, Fletcher, OH (2)_webThe Reserve Grand Champion was the Champion Natural Colored lamb exhibited by Colin Gump of Miami County. Last year Colin exhibited the Grand Champion so being back was special.

“My goal was to come and just do my best,” said Colin. “We knew we had a pretty good one, but I never thought I could be in the top two, two years in a row.”

Audio: Colin Gump, Miami Co. Ohio (1:12 mp3)

For judge Kalen Poe, there wasn’t much separating the two top market lambs.

“To be honest the one I put Reserve, I had winning for most of the afternoon, that one is extremely good,” Poe said. “The sheep I saw later which ends up being the crossbred I used for Grand, we didn’t see him until later on in the day so that’s why I say I had the blue sheep winning for a while, but when he came out, he does everything the blue sheep does, but he’s just…this much, just this much more.”

Audio: Kalen Poe, Market Lamb Judge, Franklin, IN (2:50 mp3)

Compared to a year ago, there were 85 more market lambs in the Jr. Show at the 2014 Ohio State Fair.

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Governor visits with dairy family

Mary Lou, Aubree, Phillip Topp, Topp View Farms, Botkins, OH (1)_webDuring his walking tour On Wednesday, July 23, opening day of the 2014 Ohio State Fair, Governor Kasich stop by the Gilligan Livestock Building where he visited with the Topp View Farms of Botkins, who have been showing dairy cattle at the State Fair for 45 years.

Phillip Topp says it was nice to have the Governor stop by.

“I think it means a lot to these dairy exhibitors and the farmers that are here in the barn today, that the Governor takes time out of his day, out of his busy day to spend some time with us,” said Phillip.

The Governor actually spent more time talking with Phillips eight year old daughter Aubree.

“He asked how do you milk a cow, let’s go pet your cows and how many cows do you have,” Aubree said.

When asked if she thought she was able to educate the Governor of Ohio a little bit about dairy farming, Aubree said.


And yes, Aubree says she was a little nervous.

Audio: Phillip and Aubree Topp, Topp View Farms, Botkins, Ohio (3:15 mp3)

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Managing the California drought

A new study from the University of California-Davis says this is currently the third-worst drought on record in the Golden State with river water for the Central Valley reduced by roughly one-third.  Groundwater pumping is replacing some of the river water losses, reducing the impact on agriculture.

Josue Medellin-Azuara is Senior Researcher at the Center for Watershed Sciences, he says while the groundwater is limiting the agricultural losses this year, if the drought continues it will eventually run out and then they will be in real trouble.  He says a water management plan is needed desperately.

AUDIO:Mendellin Azuara talks about the situation 5:12 mp3

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Managing risk also means lowering cost

When it comes to managing risk, an agriculture economist says the first thing farmers need to figure is how much it costs them to raise their crop.  Purdue’s Mike Boehlje says farmers need to have a tighter handle on their cost structure.  “We need to know how much of cost is fertilizer, seed, and chemical,” he says.  “We need to figure our cost not per acre in my judgment – but per bushel.”  And farmers figure up cost per bushel, he says, because that’s how they market grain.

In this type of economic environment Boehlje tells Brownfield farmers have to look at ways of lowering their input costs.

One of which, is evaluating cash rents.  “They are sticky moving downward,” he says. “It’s really hard, but we shouldn’t put it off the list of costs we need to think about lowering.  Farmers need to explain to the landlord why we can’t pay the rents that we paid in the past.  Maybe negotiate an arrangement that says if prices go back up – ‘I’m willing to pay more’ in form of a flexible cash rent.”

Boehlje says the most important marketing decision farmers make isn’t the price at which they sell their crops, it’s actually what they pay for their inputs.  Because, he says, what farmers pay for their inputs sets cost structure for the operation.

AUDIO: Mike Boehlje, Purdue Ag Economist (1:00mp3)

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U.W. Madison’s Shaver recognized for dairy research

U.W. photo

U.W. photo

Dr. Randy Shaver of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been awarded the American Dairy Science Association Nutrition Research Award for his professional achievements. The award was established in 1948 to promote and stimulate research in dairy cattle nutrition and is jointly sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association and ADSA.

A native of Pennsylvania, Shaver received a master’s degree from the University of Maryland then completed his doctorate degree in dairy science at UW-Madison in 1986 after conducting research at UW-Madison and the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center.

As a professor in the Animal Science Department, Shaver has advised or co-advised 29 master’s or doctoral students at UW-Madison. He has authored or co-authored 88 peer-review journal publications, 170 scientific abstracts, 101 popular-press articles in industry trade magazines and 249 newsletter articles, extension handouts or bulletins, and internet publications. He has presented 590 invited papers at industry conferences in 46 states and numerous foreign countries.

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Cattle were priced sharply higher than last week

Packer inquiry into the cattle was light to moderate, but not much business was transacted. Several packers and at least one major bid as high as 255.00 dressed in parts of Nebraska. Significantly higher than last week’s weighted average of 246.75. Asking prices are around 160.00 plus in the South and 255.00 plus in the North. The kill totaled 114,000 head, 1,000 below last week, and 7,000 smaller than last year.

Boxed beef prices not available due to computer issues at Market News.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled mostly lower. The August contract established new contract highs early in the trading session on Wednesday. Following the initial push higher, prices tumbled lower. Little changed in the market fundamentally or technically, but the recent highs have allowed traders to square positions as uncertainty about further aggressive price support becomes more apparent. Only the two front months closed higher with August up .10 at 156.05 and October up .12 at 158.00.

Feeder cattle ended the session 17 to 162 points higher. The initial strong follow through gains during overnight trade quickly evaporated as additional volume surfaced. This led to positioning activities through the morning. Trade volume slowed through the complex. August settled 1.22 higher at 217.25, and September was up 1.62 at 218.40.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Ozarks Regional Stockyards at West Plains, Missouri totaled 2914 head on Tuesday. Compared to last week, the bulk of the feeder cattle trended 2.00 to 8.00 lower. Yearling steers traded firm with yearling heifers not well tested, although the undertone was lower. Demand was good on a moderate supply. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 625 pounds brought 233.20 per hundredweight. Feeder heifers weighing 612 pounds brought 221.01.

Lean hogs settled 105 to 300 points lower. Aggressive price support seen on Tuesday was short lived as continued weakness in cash markets created major concern about sustaining price levels through the hog complex. The price spread is wide, nearby contracts were priced from 96.00 to 124.00. Continued weakness could create some significant liquidation through the complex, potentially putting more emphasis on deferred futures priced below 100.00 per hundredweight. August settled at 124.57, and October was at 110.45 with both the 3.00 limit lower.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .80 lower at 125.23 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West is down .77 at 125.21, and the East is 1.18 lower at 124.76. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady from 119.00 to 122.00. Midwest hogs were 2.00 higher to 2.00 lower from 88.00 to 96.00 live basis.

The pork carcass cutout value was 1.24 lower at 132.60 FOB plant. Bellies were over 6.00 lower.

Given the recent surge in wholesale beef prices, pork items are probably becoming increasingly competitive. Furthermore, the discount of lean hog futures represents greater pork featuring plans that can take comfort in both the likelihood of cheaper costs and larger wholesale offerings.

The hog slaughter was estimated at 395,000 head, the same as last week, but down 6,000 from last year.

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Cash cheese mixed, butter higher

Cash cheese barrels slipped 3.75 cents on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday while blocks increased another penny.  A busy day with 9 loads sold, 6 barrels and 3 blocks.  Butter gained another 4 cents on 9 sales.  The monthly Cold Storage Report on Tuesday showing that butter stocks continue to decline and are just over half what they were a year ago.

Dairy Market News says cheese supplies are so tight in the Midwest, some manufacturers are telling customers they will have to reduce their orders for August deliveries.  There is no consensus reason as to why supplies are that tight, some say heavier demand, some say less cheese being made.  Milk supplies are flat-to-reduced and spot loads are hard to come by.

In the Northeast the cheese factories says milk intakes are strong but components are down.  Demand for cheese is steady to increasing.  Out west milk production is declining as the hot weather sets-in.  Domestic demand is good but export demand has slowed.


National Dairy Products Sales Report for the week ending July 19th; cash cheese blocks decreased 2.2 cents to average $2.01, barrels were 1.5 cents lower at $2.04.  Butter increased 5.6 cents from the previous week to average $2.37 per pound, nonfat dry milk 1.4 cents lower at $1.87 and dry whey decreased 0.1 cent at 68.7 cents per pound.


The Advanced Base Class I price for August is $23.87 up 85 cents from the previous month.  Base Skim Milk Price for Class I for August is $15.22 per hundredweight up 21 cents from the previous month.

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Glass Barn prepares for second state fair

With the start of the Indiana State Fair just over a week away, the Glass Barn is preparing to open its door to fair goers for a second year.  Heather Hill and her family farm in central Indiana and she is one of the farmers featured during the live chats at the Glass barn.

As an Indiana soybean farmer she says she’s proud of how checkoff dollars are being used for the Glass Barn.  “I think very often our checkoff dollars are spent on things that aren’t necessarily tangible to those of us in the field,” she says.  “I think they are spent very wisely – but they aren’t always something we can touch and see.  The Glass Barn is an awesome way to use our checkoff dollars that we can not only see and utilize throughout the Indiana State Fair – but use throughout the year as well.”

The Indiana State Fair opens Friday, August 1

AUDIO: Heather Hill, Indiana Farmer (2:00mp3)

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Grains and oilseeds see solid bounce

Soybeans were higher on short covering and technical buying. Contracts were oversold and pretty much just saw a bounce after making new lows for the move Tuesday. Still, the new crop fundamentals remain bearish and there was no real fresh supportive news. Soybean meal and oil were higher, following the lead of beans. Allendale reports old crop soybean basis levels are firm due to a lack of farmer selling.

Corn was higher on short covering and technical buying. Crop weather continues to look non-threatening and there was no real fresh supportive news for corn either. USDA’s first survey-based assessment of this year’s crop is out on August 12 and the numbers should be very interesting. Ethanol futures were higher. According to the EIA, ethanol production for the week ending July 18 averaged 959,000 barrels per day, up 16,000 on the week and according to the RFA, the second highest weekly output this year.

The wheat complex was higher on short covering and technical buying. The complex also saw a bounce following the new contract lows set earlier in the week in Chicago. The overall fundamentals are bearish and aside from weather issues in the Southern Plains, domestic development and harvest conditions are good, with the Wheat Quality Council’s tour generally projecting solid spring yields. Internationally, the trade’s keeping an eye on harvest delays in parts of Europe. Egypt bought 235,000 tons of wheat (120,000 tons from Russia, 60,000 tons from Romania, and 55,000 tons from Ukraine).

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Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: July 23, 2014

Sep. corn closed at $3.62 and 1/2, up 2 and 1/4 cents
Aug. soybeans closed at $12.01, up 17 cents
Aug. soybean meal closed at $391.50, up $9.70
Aug. soybean oil closed at 36.20, up 27 points
Sep. wheat closed at $5.30 and 3/4, up 6 and 1/4 cents
Aug. live cattle closed at $156.05, up 10 cents
Aug. lean hogs closed at $124.57, down $3.00
Sep. crude oil closed at $103.12, up 73 cents
Oct. cotton closed at 68.77, down 3 points
Aug. Class III milk closed at $21.80, up 20 cents
Aug. gold closed at $1,304.70, down $1.60
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 17,086.63, down 26.91 points

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Wednesday midday cash livestock markets

Cattle country is fairly quiet with just a few token bids noted in Kansas at 156.00, due in part to yesterday’s sharply higher live cattle contracts and significantly higher boxed beef values. It is a safe bet showlists will be priced even higher today, around 160.00 plus live and 252.00 plus dressed.

Boxed beef cutout values were mixed in the morning report with the choice beef .77 lower at 252.03, and select was up 1.54 at 247.33.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Ozarks Regional Stockyards at West Plains, Missouri totaled 2914 head on Tuesday. Compared to last week, the bulk of the feeder cattle trended 2.00 to 8.00 lower. Yearling steers traded firm with yearling heifers not well tested, although the undertone was lower. Demand was good on a moderate supply. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 625 pounds brought 233.20 per hundredweight. Feeder heifers weighing 612 pounds brought 221.01.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota and Eastern direct trade areas are not reported due to confidentiality. In the West the market is .79 lower at 125.19 weighted average on a carcass basis. Nationally barrows and gilts are .95 lower at 125.03. Missouri direct base carcass meat price is steady from 119.00 to 122.00. Midwest hogs are 2.00 higher to 2.00 lower from 88.00 to 96.00 on a live basis.

The pork carcass cutout value was down .46 at 133.38 FOB plant in the morning report.

Given the recent surge in wholesale beef prices, pork items are probably becoming increasingly competitive. Furthermore, the discount of lean hog futures represents greater pork featuring plans that can take comfort in both the likelihood of cheaper costs and larger wholesale offerings.

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Animal welfare issues are driving change

The vice president of animal well-being for Tyson Foods, Dean Danilson, says farm animal welfare issues will continue to be “a driver for change” in the industry.

“More consumers are becoming aware of animal welfare issues, which are increasingly becoming factors in their purchasing decisions,” Danilson says, “and consumers want to know more about how food is produced—but they aren’t sure where to go for accurate information.”

But Danilson says, at the same time, studies have shown that consumers aren’t interested in hearing science-based arguments.

“Consumers are overwhelmed with studies and facts—they don’t know what to believe,” he says. “In our industry, we use scientific- and experience-based language, (but) it doesn’t resonate with consumers—with the moms in New York City.

“The food industry says ‘here’s the reality of pig farming’—the consumer hears ‘you’re speaking down to me and ignoring my very real concerns’.”

So, Danilson says, the industry must continually ask itself, “Is there a better way to do things?”

“Is what we do today the best and the right thing for sustained animal agriculture—and for the welfare of the animal?  Is what was good yesterday mean that it is good for today or good for tomorrow? And we must always ask ourselves, individually and professionally–is there a better way?”

Danilson spoke at the Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit in Ames.

AUDIO: Dean Danilson-excerpt from his presentation at the Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit (12:58 MP3)

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A very cool pattern ahead for most of the Heartland

Cool weather in the Midwest will be reinforced early next week by a strong push of Canadian air. Heat across the High Plains will be relegated to the South, while a brief cool spell in the Northwest will be replaced by a weekend return to hot weather. During the next 5 days, 1- to 2-inch rainfall totals can be expected in parts of the northern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast, as well as the Pacific Northwest and Four Corners.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures east of the Rockies, except for hotter-than-normal conditions in the Deep South. Heat will also dominate the West. Meanwhile, below-normal rainfall in southern Texas and from the Pacific Northwest into the upper Midwest will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather across the southern Plains, Four Corners States, and from the lower Great Lakes region to the Atlantic Seaboard.

5-Day Precipitation Totals

NOAA’s 6- to 10- Day Outlook

NOAA’s 8- to 14- Day Outlook

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Cooler weather returning to the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, cool weather has returned in the wake of a cold front’s passage. The front, which is moving into the Ohio Valley, is producing scattered showers and thunderstorms in the eastern Corn Belt. On July 20, topsoil moisture was rated less than 20% very short to short in all Midwestern States except Nebraska (32% very short to short) and Missouri (23%)—and even those two values are below average for this time of year.

On the Plains, clusters of thunderstorms dot the northern half of the region. Meanwhile, hot weather is overspreading the High Plains, where Wednesday’s high temperatures will approach 100° in many locations. Despite substantial rainfall since late May, subsoil moisture (on July 20) remains at least 60% very short to short in New Mexico (66%), Oklahoma (63%), and Texas (60%).

In the South, hot, humid weather in advance of a cold front is promoting a rapid crop development pace. Rain is still needed in parts of the Southeast to alleviate crop stress. On July 20, topsoil moisture was rated at least 40% very short to short in South Carolina (54%), Kentucky (48%), and Virginia (44%).

In the West, cooler air has spread into the Pacific Coast States, but hot conditions prevail farther inland. An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect in parts of the Desert Southwest, where Wednesday’s high temperatures will exceed 110°. Showers are aiding wildfire containment efforts in the Northwest, but an enhanced risk of new wildfire activity exists in the Great Basin and then northern Intermountain West.

Morning Low Temperature Plot

Weather Alerts

Forecast High Temperatures (National)

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Changes in the farm economic landscape

oppedahl_davidDavid Oppedahl is a senior business economist in the economic research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Oppedahl conducts research on the agricultural sector and rural development as well as conducting microeconomic research. He also directs the Chicago Federal Reserve District’s survey of agricultural banks on agricultural land values and credit conditions.

Oppedahl spoke at the recent Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit in Ames, after which Brownfield visited with him about changes in the farm economic landscape.

AUDIO: David Oppedahl (4:10 MP3)

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Are you prepared to manage risk?

Profitability in the agriculture industry is changing.

As grain prices continue to decline, margins are becoming tighter.  Purdue Ag Economist Mike Boehjle has some suggestions for farmers to better manage their risk.

AUDIO: Dr. Mike Boehlje, Managing Risk (3:00mp3)

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Americans choosing more chicken

More Americans, on average, are eating more chicken and price is not the main reason according to a new consumer survey. The survey found overall chicken consumption is up 17% from two years ago. While the lower price of chicken compared to the rising price for beef and pork was a factor, it was not the main factor in the overall increase in U.S. chicken consumption.  Respondents named nutrition and taste as the top reasons for choosing chicken. So how, then, does chicken compare with beef and pork from a nutritional stand-point?

HEALTHY LIVING PROGRAM – Chicken consumption/nutrition (1:30 mp3)

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161st Ohio State Fair opens today

The official opening to the 161st Ohio State Fair will take place with the Governor and other dignitaries cutting the ribbon in front of the Cardinal Gate today at 9 a.m.


Tom Price, Chairman of the State Fair Commission says fairgoers can take pride in how good the fairgrounds looks.


“One of the things is the tree planting, Operation Shade,” said Price. “This is the second tree planting, the first was at the Cardinal Gate, but hot weather doesn’t bother us, we’ve got enough air conditioned buildings you can slip in and back out, and certainly the flowers, we’ve got 40,000 flowers this year, 40,000, next year we’ll have 50.”


The 2014 Ohio State Fair runs thru August 3.

Audio: Tom Price, Chairman, Ohio State Fair Commission (4:00 mp3)

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The unveiling of the Butter Cow and Calf

2014 Butter Cow and Calf unveiled. Meet Scarlet and Grayce (4)_webOne of the longest running traditions at the Ohio State Fair, dating back to 1903, the unveiling of the butter cow and calf was held on Tuesday, July 22.

Scott Higgins who represents Ohio Dairy Farmers says in addition to the cow and calf this year, there are 15 symbols that represent Ohio.

“It’s an honor for the dairy industry to have this rich tradition and we try not to let the consumers or the dairy farmers down, every year we make sure that the butter cow and calf are beautiful images of what the dairy industry is all about,” said Higgins. “But having a featured sculpture that represents Ohio’s symbols and all the character and traditions that we have in this state, it’s neat to be able to showcase them here.”

Audio: Scott Higgins, Ohio Dairy Farmers (3:40 mp3)

To name the butter cow and calf the dairy industry turned to social media, which Jenny Hubble, spokesperson for Ohio Dairy Farmers says turned out to be quite fun.

“We encouraged fans of the butter cow to submit names and we had a lot of crazy, great, very creative names submitted, Jenny said. “Many were celebrity inspired, some were traditional cow names, but this year we’re very pleased with the names we chose, we think they fit our display very well. This year the butter cow’s name is Scarlet and her calf’s name is Grayce, very fitting since it’s a tribute to Ohio’s state symbols.”

Audio: Jenny Hubble, Ohio Dairy Farmers (2:00 mp3)

You can see the butter sculptures in the Dairy Products Building.

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Groups want to help Vermont defend GMO law

A couple of advocacy groups want to help Vermont defend its GMO labeling law.  Scheduled to take effect in July of 2016, the law is the first in the nation to require labeling of food products which may contain genetically modified ingredients.

The Vermont Public Interest Research Group along with the Washington D.C.-based Center for Food Safety have filed to intervene in the case.  They say the state lacks the resources and expertise to adequately defend the law in court.  They offer counsel from the Vermont Law School Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic as well as fundraising capabilities.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, Snack Food Association, International Dairy Foods Association and others have filed suit claiming the state does not have the authority over labeling of products in interstate commerce.  The suit also charges that the law imposes burdensome requirements and restrictions on free speech.



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