Apple harvest underway

Pumpkin pies are delicious, changing leaves are stunning, and the blue skies with crisp temperatures are great, but delicious homemade applesauce trumps them all in my opinion because it takes your taste buds back to the bounty of autumn harvest all year long. And, glancing in the freezer, I know that autumn is here because the supply of my wife’s homemade applesauce in the freezer is dangerously low. It must be time to pick apples.

In general, Ohio had a pretty good growing season for apples (though most of the state’s peach crop was wiped out by the cold). There were some pockets of apple frost injury with the cool, late spring, but the moderate temperatures and ample moisture around much of Ohio this growing season have led to a fairly large, and high quality crop for many orchards this year. Wet weather can often mean more fungicides, though cool temperatures helped keep diseases in check.… Continue reading

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Ohio draft horse hitch named North American Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series Reserve Champions

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

Oak Haven Belgians, of Fremont, Ohio, and Flat Rock Draft Horses, of Bellevue, Ohio, represented the state well when they traveled to the Oklahoma State Fair in September to compete in the 2014 Gentle Giants North American Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series Finals.

The top four Belgian, Percheron and Clydesdale six-horse hitches are annually invited to compete in the Series Finals based on membership in the Series and points collected at shows throughout North America and availability of the hitch to attend the Finals.

The 2014 Finals were held at the Oklahoma State Fair. The two teams competing from Ohio placed well throughout the three-day event. Flat Rock Draft Horses placed fourth overall and Oak Haven Belgians were the Reserve Champions. The Blue Ribbon Days hitch of Farmington, Mo., earned the title of the 2014 Gentle Giants North American Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series Finals Champions. They bested Oak Haven Belgians by one point to win the title.… Continue reading

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A trillion meals later, the GMO debate is over

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

I am a man of few opinions. I could never do a radio show where I actually had to choose an opinion on everything from politics to sports. I would fail miserably.

Since I was a kid, I always noticed that the truth to all matters is somewhere in the middle. I have found that to be true the older I get and the more polarized our world becomes.

In the case of a recent Facebook conversation I had, I became a bit more opinionated than I normally do. The topic of conversation that lead me out of my comfort zone was GMO’s.

I don’t know why I get so worked up about the subject, but I do. I live my life with no nonsense and common sense, so when I see the false reports on GMO’s and the absurdities being spread about our kids growing a third eye because of them, I get fired up like a preacher on Sunday morning…not my normal style.… Continue reading

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Food reality, not rhetoric, should drive ag decisions

This summer we had three fluffy little kittens running around in the barn that both of our children adored — Little Stripy, Balderdash and Kitty. One morning when my wife was out doing chores in the barn with the help of our five-year-old son, little Kitty made the very unfortunate decision to hop right beside the dog food bowl while our aging lab-mix was eating. A quick growl and a snap from the grumpy 85-pound dog was all it took to send one kitten flying in multiple directions. It was a gory, but quick, finale for poor little Kitty.

Being around livestock every day, our son was upset about the loss of one of his kittens, but he quickly moved on with life, and apparently a new story to share with friends. A few days later we were driving home from a Cloverbud meeting when my wife got a phone call from a concerned mother.… Continue reading

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Phases of labor and delivery for a goat midwife

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

Nearly everyone that raises livestock looks forward to the time of year when their planning comes to fruition as the baby versions of whatever livestock they are raising are born. I took a couple of years off of raising goats, and I’ve been looking forward to once again welcoming baby goats to our barn this fall.

Despite all the excitement and planning, this goat midwife becomes a little frustrated and impatient as my goats’ delivery dates approach. It doesn’t seem to matter whether or not I know the exact dates the does were bred or if I’m just guessing, my girls make sure they hold onto their kids as long as possible so they can lengthen the extra attention and games they like to play as they near their time of labor and delivery.

Phase One of all deliveries is Excitement. These first few days are busied with reading kidding supplies and pens and giving the expectant mothers extra love and attention as we all look forward to the upcoming birth of new kids.… Continue reading

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Jim’s rainy day

One day a guy named Jim figured out how to control the rain.

He grinned with glee at his newfound power. He figured the world he’d reign.

He set up a business (that for a small fee) could bring you rain or shine.

One week in his business boomed — things were working out fine.

Farmer McGinty needed rain for his corn. Farmer Smith needed some sun.

Betty Lou Harris had just planned a picnic and wanted guaranteed fun.

With a tip of his cap and a wave of his hand, Jim made their wishes come true.

That corn pollinated, the wheat harvest went well and the picnic skies were blue.

More farmers placed more orders. More events were planned.

Jim was making big money — his business going grand.

He could bring on the sun or precipitate, based upon a whim.

To predict what the weather would do, the local weatherman would call Jim.… Continue reading

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Concerned about water quality? Take a gander at the geese

Take a gander at this…

It is a great success story that plays out like a half-century long feel-good movie — the tale of the Canada goose in Ohio. By 1900, the Canada goose had been eliminated from the state of Ohio. In the tradition of white man’s abuse of the abundant natural resources of the land, Canada geese were wiped out from the Buckeye State. In response, the Ohio Division of Wildlife initiated a Canada goose restoration program on state-owned wetland areas in 1956. The effort had fragile beginnings, but by 1979 had proven successful with 18,000 Canada geese nesting in 49 Ohio counties. From there, Ohio’s goose population soared. By 2012, there were nearly 150,000 resident geese in the state and numbers have continued to climb. And, that does not include the migrant birds that are just passing through.

As the population has grown, the story of the goose in Ohio has gone from a feel-good movie to more of a horror picture.… Continue reading

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2014 World Percheron Congress is quickly approaching

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

The 2014 World Percheron Congress will be held Oct. 6-11, 2014, in West Springfield, Massachusetts, at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds.

Don’t let the host state fool you, Ohioans are sure to play a large part in the event. Not only is the office for the Percheron Horse Association of American located in Ohio, but a chart the World Congress show committee put out last summer, showed Ohioans submitting more entries to the Congress than in other state in the Nation.

I’m not sure what the final tally for entries that closed Aug. 1 was, but regardless of the final totals, many Ohioans and their Percheron horses will head east in October to be a part of this event that was last held in the United States in 2010 in Iowa.

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the event. It is not too late to make plans to attend and watch the show.… Continue reading

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I-75 group assessed more than corn and soybeans on the Ohio Crop Tour

We really appreciate the sponsorship of Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers and the time of the volunteer farmers on the trip that make the I-75/I-71 Ohio Crop Tour possible and successful. Though the point of the 2014 I-75/I-71 Ohio Crop Tour is to assess corn and soybeans in Ohio, we try to show our appreciation by taking good care of the participants. Being a group with a healthy respect for all aspects of Ohio agriculture, we did our best on the I-75 leg of the Tour to include many of Ohio’s agricultural commodities.


What can I say? The I-75 group really loved ice cream. As we passed through Findlay at around 10:45 on the first morning on the Tour, I casually mentioned that we were going to be passing by one of the best ice cream shops in the nation — Dietsch Brothers Fine Chocolates and Ice Cream. The famous ice cream shop has deep roots in Findlay dating back to the 1920s.… Continue reading

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Be specific with wishes, God has a sense of humor

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

I have a very vivid imagination, so I spend a good deal of time day dreaming about goals I have set and imagining them coming to fruition.

I keep most of my goals to myself, but one goal that I have shared with close friends and family is my desire to one-day ride on the wagon behind a 6-horse hitch. I spend a lot of time thinking about it and imagining how it will feel to be behind so much power. I also spend time worrying about how to climb up and down from one of those large hitch wagons in a lady-like fashion.

As it turns out, I didn’t need to spend time daydreaming about the last half of that scenario as God had a different type of 6-horse hitch in mind for me than I did. My daydreams always included draft horses, but God’s plan did not.… Continue reading

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Five things farmers do in their free time

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

One of the aspects of my job that I take very seriously is to better connect farmers and the industry that I am neck deep in every day with consumers that may hear my reports on the radio, carry a conversation with me in the grocery store or have a nice chat with me over my suburban backyard fence. There is never a lack of surprising comments when it comes to misconceptions about farmers.

One of those misconceptions that almost literally knocked me off of my feet was the theory that farmers are lazy. As one acquaintance put it, “they plant for 2 weeks and harvest for 2 weeks and that is all they have to worry about.”

If there is one word that I would never use to describe a farmer it would be lazy. In fact, when I found this article online it piqued my attention because the words “farmers” and “free time” are very rarely used in the same sentence.… Continue reading

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Indiana State Fair to host three national draft horse shows

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

It isn’t news to followers of draft horse shows that Ohio as well as Indiana play a large role in hosting and providing exhibitors for some of the countries’ largest draft horse shows.

The Ohio State Fair hosted a North American Six-Horse Classic Series show and offered many opportunities for draft horse exhibitors to show off their horses.

The Indiana State Fair will host three national shows. They will host the National Clydesdale Show (Aug. 10-12), the National Belgian Show (Aug. 14-17), and the National Draft Haflinger Show (Aug. 14-17). Hosting national shows is nothing new to the Indiana State Fair. They have also hosted other national draft horse shows in the past.

In addition to the national shows mentioned above, the Indiana State Fair will host a Mule and Donkey Show (Aug. 6-11), the Mid-American Percheron Show (Aug. 10-12) and a Draft Pony Show (Aug.… Continue reading

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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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