Columbiana-Mahoning cattlemen honor Oelker

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CANFIELD, Ohio – Ernie Oelker, Columbiana County ag extension agent, was recognized for his service to the Columbiana-Mahoning Cattlemen’s Association during the group’s annual meeting Feb. 12 at Mill Creek MetroParks Farm in Canfield.

“With Ernie helping get everything set up and scheduling speakers, our quality of programming has been the best yet,” said Stuart Moore, outgoing president of the organization. “I’m not sure we can put into words how much help he’s been.”

For his efforts, Oelker received an embroidered jacket.

Activities and services. Activities sponsored by the group in 2001 included seminars on coyote control, grid pricing and marketing, herd health and cow nutrition. The group also added a freeze brand set and nitrogen tank as well as portable scales and a video library to the services available to members.

The year also saw an increase in membership and was the inaugural year for the association’s steak stand at the Columbiana County Fair. The group also hosted a club calf sale, selling 19 steers and five heifers for an average of $974, and hosted a preview show in June.

“These activities were extremely successful, and we’re looking forward to continued growth in 2002,” said Moore.

New officers. Members elected Mark Kohler to head the organization in the upcoming year. Other officers elected include Kevin Coleman, vice president; Harold Campbell, secretary; and Jim Skeels, treasurer.

Elected to the board of directors for a two-year term were Steve Skrinjar, Brian Cope and Joe Belichick. Mark Noble was elected to serve a one-year term. Curt Hively remains preview show chairman.

Horner and Buchy. Bob Horner of Massillon, District 3 director for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, shared upcoming dates of interest with the group, including Beef Expo, March 14-17; seedstock sale in Hillsboro, April 4-6; Belle Valley bull test, April 20; and revealed plans for the summer roundup to be held in Gallipolis.

Keynote speaker Jim Buchy, assistant director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, encouraged members to stay active and keep a positive attitude toward the industry. Buchy appeared in Director Fred Dailey’s absence.

Buchy also revealed new responsibilities of the department including regulation of auctioneers, and discussed the role of the Animal Diagnostic Disease Lab in the past year as it relates to bioterrorism.

“It’s quite a situation we’ve been in this past year, especially with the events of September and the threats of mad cow and other diseases in this country,” he said. The state currently performs 900,000 tests each year to ensure food safety for Ohioans, he said.

Positive comments. Buchy also shared with attendees some of the positive comments made by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman during a visit to the ODA facility earlier this month.

“She was truly amazed with the facilities and caliber of people we’ve got in this state, including some of the producers she spoke with. It’s reassuring to hear what a good job we’re doing, something that will hopefully bring good results for agriculture in our state and nation,” he said.

Buchy also related the issue of farmland preservation to the organization.

“I see a number of young people in the room tonight, and that’s encouraging,” he said, noting the encouragement of young adults to become involved in agricultural and cattlemen’s organizations will help secure farmland across the state.

“As long as the climate is conducive and the opportunity is there in food production to keep future generations coming in,” the agricultural industry will continue to thrive in Ohio, he said.

He also noted the number of farms in Ohio, defined by at least $1,000 in commercial production, has increased in the past five years from 78,000 to 80,000 operations.

“It’s a tit-for-tat trade-off,” he said, noting 15 million acres are currently tilled in Ohio, a number that has been static as the number of farms increases. However, as land becomes developed, other land comes into production to offset losses, he said.

CAFO regulations. Buchy reported the state is finalizing rules and preparing to implement a livestock environmental permitting program.

The program came about after passage of Senate Bill 141, which transfers permitting of concentrated animal feeding operations from the Environmental Protection Agency to the ODA. The state should be in charge of permitting by June 1, according to Buchy.

Buchy also spoke of the positive outlook for ethanol production facilities and use in Ohio, as well as the state’s assets including water supply, transportation system, and fertile ground, noting the state is “becoming more of a spotlight for agriculture” across the nation.

“We’ve got a lot of resources here in the Buckeye State, and long-range plans are going to explode the cattle business here. We’ve got everything we need and there’s not reason for us not to be one of the largest cattle producing states in the nation,” he said.

(You can contact Andrea Myers at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at amyers@farmanddairy.com.)

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