Country Life

Teachers ‘outstanding in their field’ at GrowNextGen Ag Biotech Academy

Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood chats with Jodi Adams, science and math educator from Washington HS in Washington Court House, Fayette County about her experience with the Ag Biotech Academy through GrowNextGen. The intensive experience is meant to educate the educators on advanced agricultural teaching lessons in a variety of areas.

This update on GrowNextGen is brought to you by the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean farmers.… Continue reading

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Timber Talk: Timber Harvest Professionals

By Jenna Reese, Executive Director of the Ohio Forestry Association, Inc., and Jeff Jenkins, Past President of the Ohio Forestry Association, Inc.

Harvesting timber is a forest management practice that requires technical expertise to do it right. Foresters can obtain professional certification through the Society of American Foresters and/or the Association of Consulting Foresters and loggers can be certified through the Ohio Forestry Association’s (OFA) Master Logger program. Certification is voluntary in the State of Ohio, so the best way to ensure a forestry or logging professional is properly trained is to only work with certified professionals. The OFA recognizes the exemplary work of Ohio Master Loggers each year through their Logger of the Year Award.

OFA’s 2022 Logger of the Year, John Jefferson with Jefferson Logging of Crown City

In 1999, John Jefferson was following in his father’s footsteps: he was going to school to become a machinist. He enrolled in the first machinist class ever at Marshall University.… Continue reading

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Messy legalities (Part 2)

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth     

Legal battles for family farms gets messy. Here is a recap from Part 1.

HFI was incorporated in Iowa in 1974, with George and Keith Hora serving as the initial directors. HFI owns 1,075 acres of land in or near Washington County, and it grew corn and soybeans at all times relevant to the litigation.

Kurt and his wife, Heather, later formed HK Farms, Inc. They grow crops and feed swine from weaning to finishing. Brian Hora and his wife formed Precision Partners Corporation which conducts farm activities.

Gregg Hora worked for HFI from 1982 to 1985. He then left HFI and Washington County to farm with his inlaws. Brian began working for HFI in 1985. Kurt began working for HFI in 1988. Brian supervised Kurt and HFI’s operations during this time.

On August 18, 2017, brothers Brian and Gregg Hora, filed a petition against Keith, Kurt, Heather and HK Farms (essentially their father and their brother) and sister-in-law.… Continue reading

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Walnut Council meets to discuss managing hardwoods for quality timber

The Walnut Council will hold its annual meeting July 28-30 in Springfield. The meeting will feature a field tour of walnut and hardwood plantation and forest management, landowner networking sessions, and a day of technical presentations. View the full program at and register before July 10 to get the early bird rate.

“The Walnut Council is a leading organization for professionals and tree farmers to share information for managing hardwoods for high-quality veneer and sawlogs in the eastern US. Although the emphasis was initially on black walnut, the Walnut Council now includes other eastern hardwoods,” said Liz Jackson, executive director. “The program for this year’s annual meeting is a good example of our expanded efforts to increase and manage our hardwood resource.”

Attendees can register to participate by individual days or for the entire meeting, which includes a field tour, indoor presentations by experts, and other activities designed to encourage interaction among professionals and fellow tree farmers.… Continue reading

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Registration open for Innovations in Farm Protection summer webinar series

Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professionals will be hosting a summer series of lunch and learn webinars featuring Nationwide. Each session will feature new and innovative solutions, research, and information on the latest technology and strategies to protect farms and rural communities. 

Participants will receive one hour of workers’ compensation training for each session they attend, which may be counted toward the annual Workers’ Compensation Group Rating Program employer two-hour training requirement.

Friday, July 19 — Innovations in Ag Risk Prediction 

Join Vicente Rico, senior consultant of product development with Nationwide Agribusiness, as he shares innovative ag tech solutions which can assist farms and ag operations stay a step ahead of losses and avoid downtime.

Wednesday, July 31 — Innovations in Ag Risk Prevention

Rico returns to provide innovative ag tech solutions which can assist farms and ag operations to prevent losses and keep operations running smoothly.

Wednesday, Aug. 14 — Agtech Innovation Hub

Join Nationwide Agribusiness’ Bethany Rowles to find out about research being conducted through a unique partnership among Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio State University and Nationwide.… Continue reading

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Another school goes WILD!

By Dan Armitage, outdoor writer

Joining another of my favorite Buckeye State conservation programs, Dover Intermediate School in Cuyahoga County was recently dedicated as a WILD School Site, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW). Wild School sites are supplementary education programs created by schools where students, teachers, and the community can come together and learn about wildlife and the environment. Dover Intermediate School is the 208th WILD School Site in Ohio and the 10th in Cuyahoga County.

Dover Intermediate School boasts an extensive native plant garden that doubles as a dynamic land lab. Students and educators engage in projects aimed to foster environmental stewardship and hands-on learning, including vegetable composting, bird baths, and native flower cultivation. An on-site pond allows students to learn about aquatic ecosystems. These habitats support amphibians, birds, insects, reptiles, and small mammals, providing firsthand insight to the balance of ecosystems.

Teachers use the native garden and pond as a focal point for learning, integrating core subjects such as math, science, social studies, art, and music into an outdoor curriculum.… Continue reading

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Elevating urban farming

By Matt Reese

While thoughts of Ohio agriculture immediately turn to the rural, open fields of the state, there are an increasing number of urban farming efforts in metropolitan areas from the Ohio River up to Lake Erie.

Sherifat Alabi, from Nigeria, is an Ohio State University graduate research associate working on her PhD in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership.

Typically, smaller-scale, farmers in urban areas face unique challenges to production and obstacles in marketing. Sherifat Alabi, from Nigeria, is an Ohio State University graduate research associate working on her PhD in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership. She took an interest in these urban operations of Ohio. With the goal of learning more, and sharing their stories, Alabi undertook a research project titled: “Story of change: Elevating the voices of small-scale regenerative farmers.”

“The purpose was to elevate the voices of small-scale regenerative farmers in Ohio by highlighting their motivation, challenges, and opportunities to influence agricultural literacy and to inspire a collective response that foster support for small-scale farmers and their communities,” Alabi said.… Continue reading

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2024 Water Quality Status Report highlights

Each year, Ohio Farm Bureau releases its Water Quality Status Report. In 2024, the report showcases the impacts being made by Ohio farmers who are taking measures to ensure clean water through voluntary efforts that are being done on a large scale with measurable results. 

This year’s report also features a deep dive into research projects being conducted with the support of the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network, a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project and joint partnership between the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Here are the highlights.

New report gauges impact of farm-level water quality efforts in Ohio 

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative released the findings of its 2023 Assessment Survey Report on practices farmers in the Sandusky watershed are using to manage water and nutrients. The assessment results show ample conservation efforts, as well as areas for improvement and continued farmer education and resourcing by OACI.… Continue reading

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USDA moves to gain better understanding of forest and grazing conservation practices

This summer, the Conservation Practice Adoption Motivations Survey (CPAMS), a joint project between USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), will be mailed to 43,000 forest and grazing landowners and managers across the nation. The CPAMS gathers information to understand why people choose to use different conservation practices, and whether they continue to use practices over time. The data will help improve voluntary conservation programs. 

NASS mailed an invitation to respond early online at starting June 24. NASS is mailing questionnaires on July 8 with the option for survey recipients to respond online, by mail, or fax. If NASS does not receive completed questionnaires by July 28, they may reach out to schedule interviews. A data highlights publication is scheduled for October 2024 and will be published at

Four different conservation categories are researched through CPAMS overall: crop practices, confined livestock practices, grazing practices and forestry practices.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 355 | Irksome Issues in Agriculture

Here at the Ohio Ag Net, we love to highlight all the amazing things going on in Ohio Agriculture. But sometimes, especially during this hot season, you just have to let off some steam and talk about the frustrating things.

Nothing is left unsaid in this year’s summer agriculture rant podcast. Hear from Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net team members, alongside agriculture industry leaders, as they share their thoughts regarding everything from falling commodity prices to environmentalists’ perception of agriculture.

Included in this week’s podcast:

  • Hosts Matt Reese and Dusty Sonnenberg chat with Luke Crumley, Director of Public Policy and Nutrient Management for Ohio Corn & Wheat, about his summer ag frustrations.
  • Dale gets a biodiesel update from Scott Fenwick of the Clean Fuels Alliance.
  • Matt interviews farmer and industry leader Ray Von Horn about the 2024 wheat harvest.
  • Joe Everett, farmer and team member, shares his thoughts on falling commodity prices.
Continue reading

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Lawsuit filed over EPA’s electric vehicle mandate

The National Corn Growers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation and six auto dealers representing 16 brands and collectively operating dozens of dealerships in major markets across the country joined the American Petroleum Institute in filing a lawsuit in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s light-duty and medium-duty vehicle emissions standards for model years 2027-2032.

The groups said EPA exceeded its congressional authority with the regulation and rendered a decision that values one tool for fighting climate change over others.

“By approving tailpipe standards that focus exclusively on electric vehicles, EPA has ignored the proven benefits corn ethanol offers in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combatting climate change,” said Harold Wolle, Minnesota farmer and National Corn Growers Association President. “While it could take decades to get enough electric vehicles on the road to significantly lower GHG emissions, ethanol is a critical and effective climate solution that is available now.… Continue reading

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The floundering farm bill

By Matt Reese

In terms of (very) long awaited progress toward a finalized new farm bill, there have been a few early summer bright spots.

“After a long impasse, there has finally been some movement to reauthorize the farm bill. The House Committee on Agriculture recently passed the Farm, Food, and National Security Act by a vote of 33-21,” said Brooke Appleton, vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association. “But now, thanks to the hard work of House Agriculture Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson (R-Penn.), as well as committee members from both parties, we have moved into a different stage in the legislative process, though there is still much work to be done.”

Appleton said NCGA is pleased with several amendments, including one from Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio) on sustainable aviation fuel that was adopted by the committee. There are hopes Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, will soon outline the Senate Republican farm bill framework for negotiations with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich), Appleton said.… Continue reading

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Food from around the world: The spice of life

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Disclaimer: Do not read this information if you have a weak stomach or have a condition causing nausea.

The theme of this essay is about food served around the world. In my travels I have been eaten various cuisine as I describe here.

A fish head is a delicacy that is served only at the very best restaurants in China. The head is served on a plate that is the centerpiece of the meal. It may be accompanied by a small salad and some freshly baked bread. Generally, only the fish head is served. it is relatively large and will provide about all of the meat a connoisseur will crave with the meal. It is a simple process to use chopsticks peel the flesh from around the lips, cheeks and eyes. I must confess, the meal is outstanding!

At Chinese restaurants, a couple of eggs in the shell are often served with the meat selection.… Continue reading

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PSP when meals get tough

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Sometimes life comes at you fast. Spring of ‘24, I was plugging away preparing for upcoming strawberry season. Containers arrived on April 30. We had just uncovered the berries from the latest cold snap and Bam! May 7 we were picking strawberries in between what seemed like a never-ending weather pattern of downpours. Of course, it ended, but life was a tad bit chaotic in that stretch. In a perfect Insta-world, a totally stocked fridge and pantry, a meal list and maybe even some prepped meals would have been ready to go. Let’s just say 2024 has not be that year.

When things get crazy for your family and in times of the busy farming season, hurry up and eat can become our mantra. Attack the war-games during harvest, planting and every time in between like a 5-star general and be sure to PSP: Plan, Shop and Prepare so you are battle ready.… Continue reading

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From the farm to the classroom (and back to the farm)

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

While students are the main focus of the project, a batch of hatching chicks in a third-grade classroom has captured the attention of many in Mayfield City Schools east of Cleveland in Cuyahoga County.

“When you tell an eight-year-old they’re going to hatch chickens, it really goes without saying they are excited. One of the perks of being an elementary school teacher is that the students love school and they want to do it. Every day they want to learn something new,” said Jennifer Hancock, a third-grade teacher at the school. “I livestream the eggs while they’re in the incubator and then after the chicks have hatched so that everyone can see. The whole school and the whole community get to watch. It’s a big thing. Kids that aren’t even in my class are asking to come see the chicks. Even the principal came in to see them.… Continue reading

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Sign up for USDA’s Grassland Conservation Reserve Program now open  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that agricultural producers and private landowners can now sign up for the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (Grassland CRP). The signup runs through June 28, 2024. Grassland CRP, offered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), is a voluntary working lands conservation program that enables participants to conserve grasslands and provide important conservation benefits for wildlife, soil health and carbon sequestration, all while continuing most grazing and haying practices. 

“Grassland CRP is a vital conservation tool that supports two of USDA’s top priorities: the wellbeing of American agriculture and the health of America’s grasslands, which provide critical environmental benefits for wildlife and carbon sequestration,” said Zach Ducheneaux, FSA Administrator. “Over the past three years, we have seen historic interest in the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program with producers signing up to conserve over 6.8 million acres. This historic interest from agriculture has proven that agricultural productivity and conservation priorities are not exclusive from one another, but can coexist and, more importantly, complement and enhance one another.” … Continue reading

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Messy legalities (Part 1)

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth     

Families are messy. Farming is messy. Litigation is messy. And on April 19, 2024, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling in a shareholder derivative action that involved all of the above. A shareholder derivative case is a lawsuit brought by a shareholder or group of shareholders on behalf of the corporation against the corporations’ directors, officers and other third parties who breach their duties. In this matter, two brothers sued their father and brother. Let’s take a look at the decision in Hora v. Hora.

The facts section actually begins with the Hora family tree. George and Marie Hora, of Washington County, Iowa, had three children, Keith, born in 1938, and his two siblings, Kathy and Kevin. Keith married Celeste in 1959, and from 1960 to 1968, they had six children, Gregg, Brian, Dana, Kurt, Daren and Heidi.

Upon Celeste’s death in 1989, the Celeste N.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau files brief with U.S. Supreme Court

Ohio Farm Bureau has filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the highest court in the land to take on a case to help Ohio landowners.

The case, O’Connor v. Eubanks, takes on the question of whether a state can be sued in federal court for a “takings” claim. Specific to this case, the “taking” is about unclaimed funds that were being held by the state, which did not provide the plaintiff, Mr. O’Connor, interest on those funds when he claimed them.

According to Ohio Farm Bureau Policy Counsel Leah Curtis, this could set a precedent that goes well beyond unclaimed funds.

“We filed this brief in large part because of eminent domain and something called, ‘inverse condemnation,’ which is a claim you can make in court when the government takes your property but doesn’t go through the proper process to do so and doesn’t compensate you,” Curtis said.… Continue reading

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Summer is heating up beef demand

By Bernt Nelson, American Farm Bureau economist

Summer grilling season is underway, stimulating demand for all types of animal proteins, including beef.

Though the July Cattle Inventory has been discontinued by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, we can use other reports to piece together the cattle and beef market outlook. Three beef reports to tell the story of where markets and grocery store prices are headed.

Cattle on Feed

USDA’s monthly Cattle On Feed report, published on May 24, estimates that there were 11.6 million head of cattle on feed on May 1, up 1% from May 2023. Cattle placed on feed in April were estimated to be 1.66 million, down 6% from April 2023. Cattle marketed in April totaled 1.87 million head, up 172,000 head or 10% from 2023. Cattle on feed for 120-plus days was 4.72 million, down 4.5% from last month, but up about 5.5% from this time last year.… Continue reading

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