To whom it may concern: Something’s fishy about the Toledo crisis

To those concerned with the water ban in Toledo, here are some musings, opinions and thoughts about the water disaster on Ohio’s northern shore that are not for the faint of heart. You have been warned.

To farmers in Ohio

First, you know I love you and I am on your side. But wake up! If this challenge does not wake you up about the importance of doing everything in your power to eliminate the escape of nutrients from your farms, I am not sure what non-legislative-restriction-mandate-law will.

But, you say:

“We are already doing so much to improve…”

“Sewage treatment plants are a huge part of the problem…”

“Look at all the fertilizer people put on their lawns…”

“We are funding measures for more research…”

“We are being more proactive than anyone else…”

Yep, I get it. Those statements are all correct, but they don’t necessarily matter to the people of Toledo.… Continue reading

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Veterinarians not fooled by HSUS

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

As many in agriculture know by now, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is full of tricks to raise gobs of money for a many number of reasons. A very few of those reasons have anything to do with cats and dogs and the vast majority of the funds raised are used for lobbying efforts, ballot initiatives and other strategies to attack American agriculture and take meat off of the consumer’s plate.

Their hefty bank account is proof that many Americans have been fooled to give their hard earned money to the so-called animal rights group, that only sets aside 1% of that moolah for pet shelters.

For awhile, they seemed to have many of the nation’s veterinarians bamboozled too. HSUS even merged with the the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA), formerly the Association of Veterinarians for Animals Rights (AVAR), in 2008 to build ties with the veterinary community.… Continue reading

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Hitching mini horses: Determination is the key

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

If you have been reading my blogs, then you know that my pursuit of finding an additional team of miniature horses hasn’t been going too well. I wanted another really well-trained team so that my husband, Mark,  and I could each drive a team at the fair and so that I could hopefully eventually learn to drive larger hitches.

I have been trying to decide whether nor not I should just keep the three good minis I have and be happy with them rather than continuing to search for another reliable miniature horse to add to the group. There is probably a point in time when I just need to give up.

Common sense would have determined that I probably should have stopped with three. I do most of the daily work involving their care myself plus it is looking like the price of hay could go up considerably this year.… Continue reading

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Summer planting season

Ohio’s planting season for crops has wrapped up and 2014 harvest is getting closer, but in many ways, summer offers other opportunities to plant seeds. With the children out of schools and attention turned towards 4-H projects and the fair season, seeds for the future of Ohio agriculture are being planted all the time in every corner of the state through the fair season.

Of course, farm kids from all over Ohio have been hard at work in the show ring at this year’s Ohio State Fair and county fairs. To recognize the importance of these efforts, AgriGold Hybrids is sponsoring Ohio Ag Net mid-day coverage at Ohio fairs and donating $1,000 to 10 separate county junior fair boards across the state.

“We know the important role that youth plays in agriculture,” said Kent Miller, with AgriGold Hybrids. “4-Hers completing a project at the fair is the culmination of all of their hard work and is an excellent building block for agriculture.”… Continue reading

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Frost watch 2014

Any time a crop gets planted late there are grumblings of the potential disasters that would take place if there is an early killing frost. There has been no shortage of those concerns in 2014.

In addition, cicadas, wives tales, lunar cycles and the neighbor’s meteorologically inclined knee all seem to be pointing to the significant possibility of an early frost this year in late September, compounding the concerns for farmers. The plunging temperatures this week contribute to the conversation as well. So how real are the 2014 early frost watch concerns?

Corn and soybeans are running behind in many parts of Ohio due to late planting and challenging conditions early in the spring. By July 13, 14% of Ohio’s corn crop was silking compared to the 29% five-year average and 22% of soybeans were blooming compared to the 32% five-year average. So, clearly the late crop component of the early frost disaster scenario is plausible.… Continue reading

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Inventing a new miniature horse haircut

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

I body clip most of my miniature horses in late spring or early summer every year because they don’t tend to shed their winter hair very well. Most of them are easy to clip as them seem to enjoy the removal of their winter hair. It probably also helps that Ohio is usually experiencing consistent, very warm temperatures before I start body clipping the miniature horses. They are usually hot and ready for their summer haircuts.

This year I was down to my last horse, John, and the clipping had gone very well up to that point but events took a pretty drastic turn for the worse when it was John’s turn. He decided he liked his winter hair and didn’t like the clippers. It took all of my patience and several sets of clipper blades to remove half of his body hair.

Another set of blades had become dull and I decided John and I could also use a break so I set the clippers down to rest a bit.… Continue reading

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Farm life for kids sets the stage for a healthy life

To follow up on my previous post, at least in the summer I am pretty sure “the good old days” were rarely spent inside. This is one of many reasons that growing up on a farm has long been heralded as one of the best ways to spend childhood. Farm life offers the fairly unique opportunity to work and play outdoors with family members on an almost daily basis with a giant “park” right outside your door.

Now, any parent knows that it is not always the easiest option to get their children to go outdoors. Today’s clever television shows, electronic games and gadgets galore and the frosty appeal of air conditioning on a hot summer day are quite inviting for both adults and children. A quick push of the remote control button can keep children entertained for hours with minimal parental stress. It is an easy (and often valuable) fix for busy parents with restless summer children, but there is simply no substitute for time spent outdoors.… Continue reading

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Is your hometown the most boring place in Ohio?

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

I would have to imagine that many readers of my blog and visitors of come from pretty ordinary towns, and I would also say that the vast majority of those readers and visitors would say that coming from an ordinary town is not such a bad thing.

When it comes to a recently published survey about the 10 Most Boring Places in Ohio, my hometown of Johnstown, Ohio didn’t make it on the list but, in a weird way, I was kind of hoping it would.

The list was put together by real estate site and here is how the towns were compiled.

First, they compiled a list of the most populated places in the state over 10,000 people, to save some of the smaller places from themselves. Then they used sources including the U.S. Census and business listings to gather what they decided were important criteria.… Continue reading

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Photo Cropping: Struggling fields in Logan, Shelby, Auglaize and Mercer Counties

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

While on a road trip Wednesday (July 2nd, 2014), I took a few detours to get a glimpse of how crops are coming along. My route included Logan, Shelby, Auglaize and Mercer Counties and by the looks of things, most of the crops were planted late and were water-logged shortly thereafter. Take a look at my photo gallery below. It is still very early in the game, but I am sure farmers in this part of the state are looking for something a little better that what they were dealt.… Continue reading

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Ohio well represented at unofficial start of summer draft horse show season

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

The Centreville Classic Draft Horse and Pony Show in Michigan is often recognized as the unofficial start of summer draft horse shows. This year, the show drew 16 draft horse hitches from throughout the United States.

Belgians, Percherons and Clydesdales competed during the two-day show held on June 21-22. This outdoor show held at the local county fairgrounds near Centreville, Michigan, proved to be a great place to kick off the summer show season. The weather was nice the show was well attended. Seven of the sixteen 6-horse hitches that competed at the show were from Ohio.

Here are a few photos of some of the hitches from Ohio.… Continue reading

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There’s no better place for a kid than outdoors

Rise with the sunshine ready to play,

Then collapse into bed at the end of the day.

Scrapes and bruises, skinned up knees,

Sword fighting with sticks and climbing up trees,

Ride on a horse, spray with the hose,

Giggle at dandelion fuzz up your nose.

Roll pant legs up and through cool puddles wade,

Shut your eyes for a nap in an old oak tree’s shade.

Sandbox castles, kitten scratches,

A few bug bites, poison ivy patches —

So much to see and so much to learn.

Don’t touch that fence and watch the sunburn.

Berry stained fingers and thorn-pricked arms,

Manure on boots, dirt from the barn,

Long hot days of sun, sweat and laughs,

Lead your best lamb, groom your best calf.

Spit watermelon seeds out in the grass,

Enjoy twilight ice cream as lightning bugs flash,

Catch a frog and a fish on a swim in the creek,

Don’t know, and don’t care ‘bout what day of the week.… Continue reading

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At what point does determination become stupidity?

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

For the past four years, I’ve been working toward the possession of several quiet and experienced miniature driving horses so I can hook teams and larger hitches at home and at my fair.

I have always dreamed of owning and showing a team of draft horses, but after owning my draft mare for a short time, it became apparent that neither my wallet nor my muscles were up to the task of owning and showing a team of draft horses. I kept my draft mare, but I didn’t try to find her a teammate. Despite not purchasing another draft horse, I didn’t give up on my dream; I just tweaked it a little and started searching for cheaper and easier to harness and care for miniature hitch horses.

I never thought that after four years I would have run through multiple teams and single driving horses trying to find just the right horses for me.… Continue reading

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Donating $4 million farm to 4-H is a legacy of love

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Farmers aren’t usually known as true romantics. In fact, if you ask a farm wife she will tell you that she takes second fiddle two times of every year as her farmer gives all of his attention to the other love in his life; the land.

Sometimes that relationship between a man and the dirt is a match made in farm heaven and sometimes it is a tragedy, but it only takes the winter season for the farmer to forgive and forget and rekindle a bond that will never be broken.

For Minnesota farmer Curt Chergosky, it is because of his love for a woman that he is sharing his first love, his land, with his state’s 4-H program.

Read the entire story here. According to  TV station KARE 11 in Minneapolis/St. Paul:

Andrea Ruesch was a bubbly bundle of energy, still in her mid-30’s, when she started her job in Jackson County.Continue reading

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Hillbilly fencing

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

It would be wonderful if every livestock owner had the pleasure of owning permanent, high quality fencing for his or her animals, but often that is not the case. It seems like it takes years to save up the money and have the time to install nice looking, yet functional, livestock fencing at home. Even once quality fencing is installed, it seems like from time-to-time something breaks or is torn up critters and the fence requires emergency repair. It is in these emergency and temporary situations that hillbilly fencing engineering comes into play.

The fencing at my house isn’t pretty, but it is cheap and it seems to hold the animals in their pastures — most of the time. Although my ultimate goal is to have professionally installed livestock fencing on the property, I’m not ready to put out a huge chunk of change for that yet so I’ve often had to become creative to keep my goats and horses from escaping.… Continue reading

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Tall drink of misinformation: The murky mistruths of water

Water is directly responsible for millions of deaths every year. Water is in the system of every person who has died from cancer. Water, mixed with sodium, is toxic for many types of plants. Ingesting water can be fatal within minutes for young children. Evil world dictators are universally linked with water consumption. Water can be found within a quarter mile of all bee hive losses. With the proper spin, omission and phrasing, it is possible to use facts that make just about anything sound scary. Despite these unsettling facts, there will not likely be any efforts launched for a nationwide label on all products that have any association with contamination from water. None of the above statements about water are in any way untrue, but because everyone has first-hand experience with water every day, they know better. There is significant potential for the generation of fear, however, when spin-laden scare tactics are applied to things people are less familiar with, including genetic modification, pesticides and large farms.… Continue reading

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“Mountain Monsters”: The inside scoop

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

I was fortunate enough to have one of my April 2014 blogs (“Mountain Monsters” — They’re more familiar than you think) catch the attention of the folks at Destination America who produce the show. A few e-mails were exchanged and before long it was all set up for me to have an interview with Trapper, one of the stars of the show.

Of course I was very excited, but a little nervous. I really like the program and I enjoy letting my imagination run wild as I watch it. I was afraid I might meet a polished actor rather than the man from the mountains that I had grown to admire on the show. Luckily, my fears were not founded.

As I sat down to talk to Trapper amid the forests of Salt Fork State Park, it became obvious pretty quickly that he is just a normal “good old boy” who hasn’t been changed by his television fame.… Continue reading

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Enjoy a delicious burrito without the side dish of ag negativity

I confess. I really enjoy Chipotle (hence forth referred to as Chi___le) burritos. What can I say? They are pretty darn tasty, but with that said, enough is enough.

With each round of anti-agriculture, negative advertisements, my stomach soured a bit more for the Mexican restaurant giant in spite of those tasty salsa options and sautéed veggies. The last set of ridiculous videos they released finally sealed the deal for me — no more Chi___le.

I have talked with others in agriculture who share the same dilemma. Though I will not name any names, I know of those who try to hide the Chi___le wrappers in the bottom of the trashcan of their farm shop or make lonely trips after twilight so no one notices their farm truck in the parking lot. I even know one Ohio agriculture VIP who sends his children to get the burritos for him. By doing so, he can honestly say he does not personally support the business if his kids buy the food.… Continue reading

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Barnyard Olympics

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

Does it ever feel like just completing your daily chores in the barn requires athletic talent? It often does at my house. The critters like to gang up on me on days when they are bored as they try to make my job of taking care of them more challenging. If I’m not hurdling over a barn cat that happened to scamper across my path, I’m dodging a frisky miniature horse.

Most days, all that is required to outsmart the barn gang’s game of the day is a few quick movements to dodge them or forethought to hopefully avoid situations where I’m working around them at all. I often try to feed the cats before I have to maneuver through the barn too much, and I try to turn the mini horses out before I clean their stalls. Usually that is all that is required to make it through my daily chores unscathed unless my draft mare, Julie, decides to join the little stinkers in their fun.… Continue reading

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Honoring a century of service

This spring, my family had the honor of celebrating the 95th birthday of my grandfather, Frank Deeds. Much has been said about his generation that has seen agriculture go from horses, to horsepower to satellite guidance in one amazing lifetime. He endured the Great Depression and survived service to our country in World War II. He farmed, taught agriculture and served as an FFA advisor for many years. He educated a generation of students, helping them to be better farmers and, more importantly, better people. He worked tirelessly (and successfully) to provide a better life for his children and grandchildren.

With folks like my grandpa and so many others from his generation serving as role models and examples, it should make us all pause for a moment to appreciate what we have today and how we got here. Grandpa’s generation changed the world in ways that were previously unimaginable, even though we may not always take notice.… Continue reading

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Spring makeovers of the equine type

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

Every spring when the temperatures start to rise, all the critters at my house start to shed their winter woolies in preparation for the coming summer hot weather. I let them shed most of their hair naturally, but there is still large amount of spring grooming and clipping that is necessary to remove the first round of extra hair in preparation for show-ready clipping that happens later in the summer before my fair.

I have found it is much easier to do a quick bath and rough clipping in the spring than to wait and remove all the extra hair right before the fair. Due partially to my lack of refined clipping skills, it often becomes necessary for the horses to have an extra month or so to allow for more hair grow so that mane trimming and leg clipping can be revisited at a later date to smooth out the rough patches and even up the hasty haircuts they received in the spring.… Continue reading

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