News Update
October 26, 2007

Deer may be quiet, elusive creatures, but the pronounced damage they leave behind eats away millions of dollars a year in profits.

Ohio State University (OSU) will offer a deer exclusion workshop Nov. 2 to educate those in the agricultural, forest and horticultural industries how to best management deer populations and reduce economic losses from deer damage. The workshop will be at OSU South Centers at 1864 Shyville Road, Piketon, Ohio.

The workshop will run from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Registration is $30 per person and covers the cost of workshop materials and lunch. Registration deadline is Oct. 29 and is limited to 75 participants.

Annual conservative estimates of deer damage are reported to exceed $2 billion nationwide, including more than $100 million in agricultural crop damage, $750 million in damage to the timber industry, and more than $250 million in damage to home landscape and nursery plantings, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

“I have been on farms this past season where several acres of high-value vegetable crops had been totally eaten and destroyed by deer, which results in some major lost income for the farmer,” says Brad Bergefurd, an OSU Extension horticulture specialist.

Bergefurd said the challenge not only lies in keeping one’s crops, plants or favorite tree or shrub off a deer’s menu, but also rests in controlling Ohio’s ever-increasing deer populations. According to the Ohio Division of Wildlife, Ohio’s deer herd has grown from an estimated 17,000 deer in 1970 to some 700,000 in 2005.

“In order to control deer in our plantings, one needs to understand the biology of the deer, or what makes the animal tick,” says Dave Apsley, an OSU Extension natural resources specialist. “Once we understand deer biology, then we can explore the methods that can be implemented to control them.”

During the workshop, specialists in deer biology and control will provide insight on how to protect land from the increasing deer population. Participants will also hear from vendors on what is available on both a small and large scale for deer deterrent and exclusion.

Following lunch, participants will tour research plantings of berries, vegetables and grain crops, as well as Christmas tree farms and forested land at OSU South Centers to view the deer fencing systems being used.

For more information about the workshop, or to register, call 740-289-2071, ext. 223, or visit the OSU South Centers web site at

Release courtesy of OSU Extension. 

USDA Announces Annual FFA Writing Contest

Undersecretary of Agriculture Tom Dorr today reminded FFA students about the annual Risk Management Agency (RMA)-FFA essay-writing contest.

“By participating in the FFA contest, students will gain valuable experience in considering the use of risk management strategies on a farm enterprise,” Dorr says. “This is a wonderful opportunity for FFA students, working with their advisors, to gain valuable experience applying risk management techniques to their own situations.”

The contest, “Risk Management Strategies for My Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) Program,” is sponsored by RMA in cooperation with the National FFA Organization, as a means of making the nation’s future farmers aware of ways of managing various risks associated with farming. This is the 11th year of the contest.

Students will select a risk management strategy relative to their supervised program, analyze the risk, indicate tools used to minimize risk, and explain their application of these tools in an essay of no less than 1,000 words and three to seven pages in length.

Ten winning essays will be selected on the criteria of content, adherence to the assigned topic, grammar, organization, originality and creativity. Each of the 10 winners and their advisors will travel to Washington, D.C., all expenses paid, for a special U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency/FFA Day in April/May 2008. Students and advisors will meet with USDA officials and members of Congress at that time and be recognized in a special ceremony.

The contest is open to current FFA students in good standing. A list of top 10 winners will appear in FFA’s “Making a Difference” newsletter and on the organization’s web site at:

Entries must be postmarked by Jan. 31, 2008, and should be sent to: Risk Management Essay Contest, National FFA Organization, P.O. Box 68960, Indianapolis, IN 46268-0960. Contest rules of entry are online at

— Release courtesy of USDA. 

Fall Beef Checkoff Partnership Aims to Boost Steak Sales

Now through early January, in partnership with the Beef Checkoff Program, 1,900 Applebee’s restaurants nationwide are launching a new menu that is easier to read and offers customers several new cuts of savory beef.

“We’re pleased to see our checkoff dollars at work and that consumers have a broader beef steak offering through partnerships with restaurants such as Applebee’s,” says Tim Shaw, beef producer from Cascade, Idaho, Cattlemen’s Beef Board member and member of the Joint Foodservice Committee. “These programs help leverage our checkoff dollars by offering more versatile beef items on restaurant menus.”

Applebee’s is offering the following cuts of beef at the low- to mid-price tier for the restaurant category during the promotion:

  • 9-oz. Sirloin served with garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and garlic toast.
  • 12-oz. New York Strip: A USDA select-cut steak with tremendous flavor.
  • 12-oz. Ribeye brushed in garlic butter, grilled and then served up in a hot skillet alongside sautéed onions and mushrooms, garlic mashed potatoes and garlic toast.


The Beef Checkoff will invest $150,000 to help extend the reach to consumers of this new beef message from Applebee’s. This promotion will have nationwide reach and will use the Beef Check Logo or checkoff mention on all advertising, menus, national TV, radio, 1:1 consumer e-mail marketing, collateral materials and on the web site.

— Release courtesy of Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board.

Ritchie Industries Contributes to “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”

In Port Deposit, Md., Renee Sherrard-Luther began her day with quite a surprise. The team of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition greeted her with news she and her family would receive a new home in just seven days. Those familiar with the television show, now in its fifth season, know it is the combination of one very run-down house, a deserving family and several designers.

But this makeover had a twist — a contribution from and ag industry supplier. Ritchie Industries, through distributor Ryder Supply Co., Chambersburg, Pa., donated two Omni 2 waterers and thermal tubes to the project.

Why donate a waterer to a home makeover show? For the past 25 years, Renee has owned and operated a nonprofit riding facility dedicated to providing therapeutic riding lessons and helping those with a wide range of physical limitations (including brain injuries, paralysis, autism, cerebral palsy and other developmental problems). Since the loss of her husband, Renee has struggled with finances and the danger of closing her riding facility. Renee and her children have given so much to their community, they are receiving an entirely new house and fully renovated riding facility.

Compiled from a Ritchie release.

NCBA Membership on the Rise

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) announced a membership increase for 2007. As of Sept. 30, NCBA counted 29,029 members, an 8% increase over the same time last year. The largest regional gains for the 2007 fiscal year were posted in NCBA Region IV, which includes Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Bill Donald, a cow-calf producer from Melville, Mont., and vice chairman of the NCBA Membership Committee attributed part of the success to the addition of field representatives in different regions of the country. The field representatives travel to local meetings and provide a conduit for NCBA members to reach the organization, as well as provide NCBA with a way to carry policy and issue updates into the field.

Also cited in the release from NCBA announcing membership growth were increased educational opportunities, including a producer education focus to the National Cattlemen magazine, launch of Cattlemen to Cattlemen television show on RFD-TV and weekly e-mail updates to members.

“NCBA is comprised of cattlemen who fight for the future of this industry in the face of well-financed activist opposition,” says Polly Ruhland, NCBA vice president of affiliate relations and member services. “As an organization with 110 years of experience, we know what it takes to be successful in the public policy arena. Cattlemen serving as volunteer leaders during that time have consistently supplied strength, vision and leadership that is respected in Washington.” 

— Compiled by Mathew Elliott, assistant editor, Angus Productions Inc.

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