Blogs

sunset fire

Happy summer solstice!

To take notice of God’s grandeur never fails to give a thrill. Such is true for summer solstice when the sun stands still. Then oh the bonfires, fireflies and stars that glow Lighting  farm fields and cattails and gardens that grow, The sun sinking low before the shortest summer night, Is nothing short of magic [...]

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rainbow

Time for a rain dance?

The promise of big rains mid-week has fizzled out for some areas of the state with growing concerns about worsening dry conditions early this growing season. According to the USDA’s NASS, much of the state has fallen into negative rainfall totals compared to the normal levels. The towns of Ashtabula and Sydney currently have the [...]

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Despite being generations removed, the city has farm envy

Within the city limits, you may find more weathered wood, barn doors and farm décor these days. For some it may be a way to go back in time to simpler days and for others it may be a trend they saw on HGTV. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that those that dwell in the [...]

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How do you pronounce triticale?

Triticale has gained more popularity as a solid cover crop option with some feed and grazing value as well. The story from the Bolender farm in Brown County shows how valuable the crop can be. The hybrid cross of wheat and rye has many merits but is a significant challenge for folks in the ag [...]

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organic

Is organic worth it? It depends…

When someone asks me if buying organic is worth the extra cost, I tell them, “It depends.” To simply issue a blanket statement that organic production is better for the environment and better for you is simply inaccurate, though it is a message regularly touted as gospel by many in the organic industry. But, of [...]

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Being an ordinary farmer is what made Grandpa extraordinary

As I write this, there is a greasy DeKalb hat and a pair of Liberty overalls hanging on the wall of my office. Yellow work gloves are tucked into the back pocket of those overalls and a big pair of pliers is nestled in the side pocket. The front pocket of those bibs is filled [...]

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Here a newly planted white pine has plenty of opportunity for sunlight surrounded by the aggressive Dutch white clover cover crop.

Clover cover crop helping with weed control (so far)

After the trees are planted in the spring, a major source of summer labor on my family’s Christmas tree farm is weed control. Weeds can rob young trees of exposure to sunlight, moisture and nutrients. The first year of planting trees on the farm (many years ago) we did not emphasize weed control and lost [...]

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Farmers are more valuable than their CAUV

There was recently an article in The Columbus Dispatch about concerns that cutting farmers’ property taxes in Ohio could cost homeowners and schools millions of dollars. The topic at hand is CAUV, or Current Agricultural Use Value, that lawmakers in Columbus are once again debating. From 2008 to 2014, farmers were burdened with a 307% [...]

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Bonkers goat3

Bonkers, the Pygmy goat

Every set of Pygmy goat kids born at my place has one silly member. This year was no exception. In mid-March, a wether was born that immediately caught my attention with his fun antics. If he isn’t chewing on my jacket or jumping on a toy in the goat pen, he is knocking his brothers [...]

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dry dirt

Will La Niña send markets soaring?

The 2016 soybean and corn crops in the U.S. could face a serious shortfall if they get the full brunt of a La Niña. This winter I had the great pleasure of talking with Elwynn Taylor from the Iowa State University. He is watching what the strong El Niño does next. He had this to [...]

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