Cade Stover loves playing OSU football, his family and their farm. Photo provided by Cade Stover.

Top 10 web stories of 2021

By Matt Reese

There were plenty of surprises in 2021 in general, and some surprises for me with regard to the top 10 web stories of the year. There are also some very 2021-type stories in what was, in many ways, a very surprising year.

  1. No days off: Stover puts in work to prepare for football and the farm

Big congrats to OCJ field reporter Brianna Gwirtz for the top web story of the year! She did a great job writing. And what’s not to love about combining Ohio State football with some good old farm boy charm? Watch for more big things in the future from both Brianna and Cade Stover.  

2. Rural landowner rights being voted away by Ohio’s legislators

I admittedly got a bit fired up with this one. Solar development continues to be a huge and divisive issue with many pros and cons. An issue that should not be divisive, though, among Ohio agriculturalists is the preservation of landowner rights. In a society where just about everyone seems to think they know best, I believe there is a clear boundary to that way of thinking directly along property lines.  

3. Nanci Griffith: Country music loses a legend

This was one of those big surprises. I, for one, have never heard of Nanci Griffith before reading about her passing in one of Leisa Boley Hellwarth’s columns. We have long appreciated Leisa for her insights into all things legal and her on-farm approach. I learned a lesson that Leisa should also be appreciated for her cultural insights as well. Who knew? The answer: Leisa did. 

4. Unusual fall armyworm outbreaks

It does not happen often, but every once in a while something we share from the fine folks with Ohio State University Extension will really take off online. That was the case here with a very timely article on a very unusual situation in 2021 written by Kelley TilmonAndy MichelMark SulcJames Morris, and Curtis Young, CCA. Thanks to all we work with at OSU Extension for keeping us in the know, especially about strange happenings such as armyworm outbreaks in the fall. 

5. City of Maumee caught after 20 years of sewage dumping

Uh-oooooh… Kolt Buchenroth did a great interview with Ty Higgins from Ohio Farm Bureau about Maumee grossly exceeding its sewage discharge limits. In the heart of a watershed with many urban fingers pointing at agriculture regarding water quality woes, this story made big headlines in agricultural circles. In urban circles, though, not so much.

6. Poll finds 10 best ice cream shops in Ohio

This was another surprise. It was just a press release we shared with the results of Ohio Farm Bureau’s 3rd Annual Ohio Ice Cream Battle. But, this makes it clear if you didn’t already know, just about everyone loves ice cream.

7. Tar spot in Ohio: What we know and what we’re learning in 2021

This one was surprising too, but not because of the subject matter. The article was authored by John Schoenhals, a Pioneer Field Agronomist in northern Ohio as a part of our Agronomy Update series featuring guest agronomists from around the state. While these articles always provide great insights and information, I don’t recall one of them ever making our top 10 before. Great job John! And thanks to all of the top-notch agronomists who so generously work with us to offer pertinent, timely information through the growing season.  

8. The “cow tax” chain of misinformation

People have a way of seeing and hearing what they want to see and hear to align with their specific way of thinking. This is a reason (maybe THE reason) behind much of the societal division we saw in 2021. The rumor of the “cow tax” is an excellent example of how this can happen and why it can be so damaging.   

9. Ohio files suit challenging vaccine mandates

Was there a more discussed national issue in 2021 than this one? There were several surprises on this top 10 list. This story was not one of them. 

10. Weather, exports and acres will dictate corn prices: $4 and $8 are still possible

The crop prices were a huge story this year, finally moving into the range of solid profitability for the farmers producing them. Jon Scheve always has tremendous insights into the markets and he hit a Top 10 homerun with this one! 

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