Blogs

Rural votes matter

By Matt Reese

Yikes. Are you tired of political ads yet?

There is almost nowhere I can look in Central Ohio, other than the fields and autumn-clad woods behind my house, without seeing or hearing something about a political candidate. Radio, television, print, billboards, Internet, airplane banners — every possible form of media is overflowing with election driven messages.

Ohio voters have been relentlessly bombarded for months by a steady stream of political ads highlighting the virtues of some candidates and pointing out the villainous behavior of others. Ohio once again finds itself at the center of the election at the federal level, and is also home to multiple state and local elections of significant importance this fall. The amount of ads and money spent is clear evidence that, if you live in Ohio, your vote really matters on a national scale.

I have talked with multiple people who recently visited Ohio from other states and they are amazed at the number of national level political ads here verses what they see and hear in their home states.… Continue reading

Read More »

Farm bill failure hurts planning efforts

By Matt Reese

It was a harried Saturday morning. Our young son had an 8:45 soccer game and we were scrambling to get him equipped with the proper uniform, socks, shin guards, water bottle and all of the other necessities required for a 30-minute epic battle of three-year-old athletes upon the field of play. I was in charge of shoes and shin guards and we were running late.

With proper planning, I would have found all of the necessary items the night before so they were ready to go in the morning. I didn’t do that, however. It was a wild scramble and finally we had everything loaded and ready to go. The kids were in their car seats and we were headed down the road before I realized I left my son’s left soccer shoe at home. My wife was not impressed.

With busy schedules of story interviews, events, speaking engagements and meetings this time of year, my wife and I are always planning and scheduling ahead for our various road trips.… Continue reading

Read More »

The Ty-Rade – Nice costume Pacelle

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Did you hear the one about the animal rights activist that wanted to be on the board of the 2nd largest meat processor in the world?

Some might think this is a story only to tell around a campfire in late October, complete with a flashlight held up to your chin while giving the bone chilling details of this horrifying tale. But this story that would make ghosts run for cover…is true.

Wayne Pacelle, the President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is vying for a seat on the board of directors for Tyson Foods (insert blood curdling scream here).

I’ve seen some really great disguises walk the streets of my neighborhood during this time of year, but this costume certainly isn’t winning first prize.

Pacelle is not hiding his identity, or his agenda, very well. He is pretty open about his intentions of using his influence of being on Tyson’s board to urge the company to commit to a definite time frame to phase out the confinement of sows in gestation crates.… Continue reading

Read More »

Tips for selling items on craigslist

By Kim Lemmon

Most of us have accumulated a few items through the years that we no longer need. Garage and yard sales are still a great way to clean out and clean up your home or barn but craigslist can often be an even better place to buy and sell items because the Internet reaches such a large audience.

Craigslist is a website that allows people to post online ads for free. Folks can look at posted ads of items for sale in their area by location and product type. My favorite section is the farm and garden section. I’ve bought and sold many items on craigslist. I’m sort of a junkie.

My friends and family have often asked me about my success at selling items on craigslist. I don’t have any special skills; I just put a lot of time and effort into selling my products.

Here are some of my top tips if you plan to sell items of your own on craigslist.… Continue reading

Read More »

My sister is not afraid of Bigfoot

My sister travels through these thick woods several times a day to care for her pasture-raised poultry.

By Kim Lemmon

My sister, Kelly Hahn, and her family live in the rolling hills near Mohican on 23 acres of mostly woods. Not only is their house bordering a thick wooded area, but for 6 to 8 months of the year, Kelly takes at least twice daily drives in her ATV or walks through the thick woods to care for her pasture raised poultry.

It is typical for the Hahns to have 1,000 chickens of varying degrees of growth scattered in moveable pens in flat pastures at the top of wooded hills and at the bottom of small valleys. They also manage pasture-raised turkeys and have laying hens and a few hogs on hand as well.

Whenever we have family parties at Kelly’s house, the extended family takes walks with Kelly and her husband through the wooded paths and up the hills to take a look at her chickens.… Continue reading

Read More »

Say yes to bacon!

While growing up in the Reese house, when any of my brothers would be asked, “How much bacon would you like?” they would simply respond, “Yes.”

The idea was that they would be keenly interested in any available amount of bacon. One of the favorite bacon dishes of our family was (and continues to be) World Famous Dad McMuffins. I am not sure of the the accuracy of the “world” part, but they were certainly famous in some circles, and the highlight of the egg and cheese sandwich on an English muffin was the bacon. As they were being prepared, there were inevitable bacon thefts and my hungry brothers and I waited for the delicious treat. MMMmmmm…bacon. I still love it.

In fact, I even tried the somewhat unusual bacon maple doughnut from Patterson Fruit Farm in Geauga County last week. (Thanks, by the way, to all in Geauga County who hosted us). … Continue reading

Read More »

At Flat Rock Draft Horses, family makes for a great team

By Kim Lemmon

If you read my blog in August, you know I admire the equine members of the Flat Rock Draft Horse team.  The more that I watched the members of the Rowe family work together as I prepared to write a more complete story on Flat Rock Draft Horses for Ohio’s Country Journal, I began to admire how seamlessly the human members of the team worked together as well.

My family which included my mom, dad and sister and I showed light horses when I was growing up. My sister and I each showed an Appaloosa gelding at 4-H and open shows. I enjoyed the showing but as is often the case with most families’ endeavours there was some drama from time to time. We had fun and placed well but upon reflection I think we might all be a little too high strung to show a team of draft horses together for decades.… Continue reading

Read More »

Proper perspective important for rain, food perceptions

By Matt Reese

With the dry weather this season, some people see the rain gauge half empty, while others see it half full. Unfortunately, I hardly ever get to see it at all.

The trouble began in the spring of 2011 when I took my young children with me out into the yard to pick the best spot for the rain gauge. From that point on, I would rarely get to check the rainfall amounts that had accumulated in the gauge with any accuracy. The kids were so excited when it rained that they would almost always run out and “check” the rain gauge before I could. Sometimes this check would include filling up the rain gauge with the hose or the toy watering can and sometimes they would make note of the water level and tell me later. My daughter would tell me the range was somewhere between about .2 and 4.5 inches — not especially helpful.… Continue reading

Read More »

The Ty-rade – Replacement Farmers

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

How big of a deal is the NFL replacement official’s controversy? On Tuesday morning, after what I will admit was a horrendous call that changed the outcome of the Packers/Seahawks game, the lead story wasn’t about how the President was going to address the U.N. later in the day or anything related to the election. All of the major networks began their broadcasts with the story of the botched call and how the NFL product is being tarnished by not working out a labor agreement with their “A Team” officials.

The back story is this. The original NFL officials are considered part-time employees. Many of them have regular old jobs like selling insurance or firefighting Monday through Friday and then get to be a major part of the most successful sports organization in the World on Sunday afternoons. These gentlemen are currently battling out a labor deal with the NFL and the sticking point is pensions.… Continue reading

Read More »

Barn invaders of the buzzing kind

By Kim Lemmon

For several weeks, I had been noticing a large number of what I thought were bees buzzing and flying around the entrance to my horse barn. They weren’t bothering the horses but they were becoming more bold and increasing in numbers. The insects were located near where I store my grain so I had to make multiple trips past them to feed the horses both morning and night.

After several weeks of failed searches for their nest, my investigation and bravery finally led to the discovery of a hole in a hay bale. The insects had bored a hole for easy entrance and exit into the stacked hay.

I wouldn’t let my husband look for their nest himself because I feared he might be attacked. The insects were becoming more and more aggravated by our human investigations. My husband called a friend who has bees and the friend agreed to come over and take look.… Continue reading

Read More »

Farm Science Review by the numbers

The 2012 Farm Science Review celebrated 50 years, while the crops faced the worst drought conditions in that same 50 years. There were two OSU ag deans present at the event as Bobby Moser continued the process of handing the reigns over to Bruce McPheron. One university president (Gordon Gee), two ag secretaries (Tom Vilsak from the USDA and Dave Daniels from ODA), one governor (John Kasich) and one two-time Heisman Trophy winner (Archie Griffin) were also all at the 2012 FSR. Three high achievers were inducted into the FSR Hall of Fame and temperatures ranged from the 40s to the 70s. It also should be noted that there were several very tired ag media representatives when it was all said and done. All of these numbers added up to yet another fantastic Farm Science Review. Here are some more pertinent 2012 FSR numbers.

 

Yields

Corn yields were averaging 100 to 105 bushels going into the final afternoon of harvest demonstrations.… Continue reading

Read More »

The Ty-rade – Corn: Commodity or Food?

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

There is no doubt that the recent drought will have a lasting impact. Not only on the farmer’s bottom line, but it will also result in a higher total of your grocery bill. But at what point did corn become a food and not a commodity?

I make this point as other facets of agriculture also have to pass along a price hike due to a poor growing season. Apples are a prime example. At a farmer’s market last week a gallon of apple cider was $8! Obviously the apple crop was sub-par or the jug cap was made of solid gold. But you know what; people that wanted it enough were buying it.

I mulled this over (pun intended) and realized that not all products grown in the field are considered a food, until it is convenient. When corn was $4 a bushel, farmers grew a crop.… Continue reading

Read More »

Life and rewards on a family farm

By Matt Reese

When I was a young boy, my parents decided to start planting Christmas trees on their farm, a labor-intensive endeavor that takes eight to 10 years to derive any income. The years that followed were filled with long hours of spring planting, summer mowing and shearing and winter harvests.

Whether we are planting 3,000 seedlings by hand under the warming spring sun or battling long days of soggy socks while harvesting trees for customers on a 35-degree rainy day during the sales season, my family depends upon each other to do what is needed to make it through. Sometimes it is easy, and sometimes it is not so easy, but we almost always find a way to have fun working together on the farm. These kinds of family relationships do not develop over night, but over years of working together with the common goal of producing something useful from the land.… Continue reading

Read More »

The joys of downsizing livestock numbers

By Kim Lemmon

Many of you know that I have raised pygmy goats for about 7 years. Some of you even followed some of the ups and downs of my goat breeding program through this blog.

I loved my goats and enjoyed caring for them but as the years passed the joys of raising livestock were often overshadowed by the struggles to keep them all healthy, fed, watered and living in clean pens while still fulfilling my duties at home and work.

It became evident this summer that I really wasn’t enjoying the goats as much as I should have been. I had sold my favorites so I was basically cleaning up after and caring for some really fancy goats from which I really wasn’t getting any enjoyment.

To the shock of almost everyone I know, I decided to sell my remaining goats and take a break for awhile.

I didn’t struggle with the decision and I don’t regret it.… Continue reading

Read More »

Lessons from the county fair

By Kim Lemmon

The saying is, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Sometimes it takes not only the help of the local villagers but also the help of nearly the entire county to get me through the local county fair.

It seemed like I wouldn’t even make it to the fair on opening day. My co-workers had helped me finish the September issue of Ohio’s Country Journal a day early and I was excited to be headed to the fair with my draft horse and two mini horses but nothing is ever easy about moving into the fair.

I put the truck in drive and found that the brakes were gone. My husband, Mark, called a friend and he very generously loaned us his very clean and very expensive truck so we could get all the horses and their accessories to the fair. The truck was returned in less than squeaky-clean condition but was accepted back graciously nonetheless.… Continue reading

Read More »

OCJ covers tell their own stories (the second 10 years)

By Matt Reese

To commemorate 20 years of Ohio’s Country Journal this month, I thought it would be interesting to let the covers tell their unique stories through the years. I pulled out the binders holding a copy of each issue and stacked them up on the desk at the office and started with 1992 and worked my way through 2012.

It took awhile, as I found myself leafing through the pages to see the familiar faces and catch up on ag news of the days gone by. I was reminded how rich Ohio agriculture is in terms of the soils, the productivity and, maybe most importantly, the people. Ohio is home to so many great leaders in agriculture, promising young people and great farmers. Ohio has also been a battleground for some of the most pressing issues in food production as we have Corn Belt values colliding with East Coast mentalities all in the same great state.… Continue reading

Read More »

OCJ covers tell their own stories (the first 10 years)

By Matt Reese

To commemorate 20 years of Ohio’s Country Journal this month, I thought it would be interesting to let the covers tell their unique stories through the years. I pulled out the binders holding a copy of each issue and stacked them up on the desk at the office and started with 1992 and worked my way through 2012.

It took awhile, as I found myself leafing through the pages to see the familiar faces and catch up on ag news of the days gone by. I was reminded how rich Ohio agriculture is in terms of the soils, the productivity but, maybe most importantly, the people. Ohio is home to so many great leaders in agriculture, so many smiling young people and many great farmers. Ohio has also been a battleground for some of the most pressing issues in food production as we have Corn Belt values colliding with East Coast mentalities all in the same great state.… Continue reading

Read More »

Deadlines are made to be broken

By Matt Reese

I do not know where they learned this, but my children are experts at stall-tactics to delay bedtime. The kids’ bedtime is usually around 8:00. Sometimes we make this deadline and sometimes we do not, but my precocious stallers of slumber have the ability to push back bedtime 10 or 15 minutes, maybe even a half an hour, through various schemes.

After getting bathed, dressed and saying prayers, I will tuck my son into bed and he will look at me with the saddest eyes he can muster, conjure up his sweetest little boy tone and say, “Daddy, I’m hun-gy.”

He knows I am a sucker for this and I will inevitably go get him something semi-healthy to munch on. Then, after the snack, “Daddy, I’m firsty.”

If I have reservations about putting my child to bed hungry, I am certainly not going to put him to bed thirsty.… Continue reading

Read More »

The Ty-rade – The crop tour was just Ducky

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Last week I had the opportunity to be a part of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. This tour is 4 solid days of scouting corn and bean fields from Ohio to the Dakotas and I saw firsthand that it is as bad out there as you are hearing. I took plenty of pictures, did some interviews and shot some video to try to give you the best view possible from my vantage point. Here is a recap of my trip.

This was the longest I have been away from home since my kids were born. They always have a little bit of a hard time when I pack my bags, but we have found a way to narrow the distance when I am gone.

Every time I hit the road, I get a stuffed animal to take along for the ride. That toy goes everywhere I go and I take pictures of it in the stangest places and send them back home to my kids.… Continue reading

Read More »

No big guns required on Crop Tour

It has been a real crop tour couple of weeks with our own Ohio Crop Tour down I-71 and I-75 last week and Ty Higgins’ national trip through crop fields from Ohio to Minnesota as a broadcast media representative on the Pro Farmer Crop Tour.

With a bit of crop tour experience under my belt, I can say that they are very enjoyable and informative, but quite rigorous and downright exhausting. My experience involved early mornings and late nights while trying to organize the group, cater to the needs of my fellow travelers, compile the mountain of data we collected over the two day period, shoot video, conduct interviews, take photos and, most importantly, have fun.

In total, we made 20 stops in 20 counties over two days. The yield measurements would take 20 to 30 minutes or so at each stop and then we would jump in the car and I would compile the data on the way and post it on the web, listening to catchy Bluegrass music with Jon Miller along the way.… Continue reading

Read More »