Country Life

A look at the environmental impact of pets

By Don “Doc” Sanders

An estimated 200 million dogs and cats live in the United States, along with 330 million humans. More than 60% of American households are home to at least one pet.

You’ve probably seen the information out there about how people impact the environment. But how much do our pets contribute to this effect?

Do they really have a significant environmental impact? You bet your sweet bippy they do! 

Pets’ impact on global warming was first studied in 2017, using a technique called life cycle analysis (LCA). An LCA of an animal species evaluates all of the inputs that go into supporting the animals, right down to the animals’ outputs. That is, their excrement.

LCAs have been completed numerous times over the past several years for food animals like cows and pigs. So, it’s logical that researchers would also evaluate our pets. Or at least you’d think so, if they had a chance to see how much food my boxer, Ruby, wolfs down. … Continue reading

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Trout in the Cuyahoga River

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show 

The Cuyahoga River has been stocked with about 1,000 rainbow trout. That’s amazing when you consider that the northeast Ohio flow was once a national punchline for water pollution, catching on fire in 1969. Since then, the river has made a comeback for recreational users and wildlife — such as trout — alike.

The trout release was a combined effort by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the Western Reserve chapter of Trout Unlimited and the city of Cuyahoga Falls.

“This is unprecedented. I don’t know that this has ever happened in the river so now it’s stocked,” said Don Walters, Cuyahoga Falls Mayor.

Jason Pullin, recreation program manager for the city, said the conditions were perfect for a release that would seem unthinkable not long ago.

“Trout typically live in cold water, but it has to be very clean.… Continue reading

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Plenty of opportunities to buy yet in 2022

By Matt Reese

The end of 2022 is looming and there are big purchase decisions farms may need to make in the coming weeks, many involving equipment. 

Peter Gehres

“People are looking to maybe turn over equipment at the end of the year to get something new and certainly people buying needing to spend some profits rather than paying Uncle Sam. Fall auction season is always a very busy time and after the Labor Day holiday gets wrapped up, we go as hard as we can until Christmas,” said Peter Gehres, CEO of Jeff Martin Auctioneers. “We are actively getting ready for auctions all around the country throughout the rest of the fall. We’ve got a great auction coming in Lima, Ohio on Dec. 13 at the Allen County fairgrounds. Brandon Gerdeman is based right there in northwest Ohio and taking consignments actively for ag equipment and transportation equipment, as well as construction equipment and any other assets related to that.… Continue reading

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Farm Bureau urges Congress to address rail strike

Ohio Farm Bureau wrote a letter to Ohio’s congressional delegation urging swift action to avert a rail strike or lockout that would lead to shutdowns or slowdowns of rail-dependent facilities, resulting in devastating consequences to national and global food security.

This letter shares Ohio Farm Bureau’s support of the emergency resolution H.J. Res. 100, which would implement the Tentative Agreement as brokered by the administration with the rail labor unions and the railroads. 

“A strike or lockout, combined with existing challenges in the rail system, backlogs at our ports, and with trucking along with record-low water levels on the Mississippi River impacting numerous barge shipments, would be catastrophic for the agricultural and the broader U.S. economy,” the letter read. “Congress must act to prevent this from occurring. Thank you for your responsiveness to this imminent supply chain issue.”

The House is expected to take up H.J.Res. 100 for a vote on the floor as early as Nov.… Continue reading

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OSU Outlook and Policy Conference highlights

 The Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics (AEDE), held its first in-person Outlook and Policy Conference since 2019 in November, at the 4-H Center on Ohio State Campus. 

Below are brief summaries of what each speaker presented, along with copies of their presentations.

Energy market outlook by Brent Sohngen 

This presentation examined current trends in energy markets, focusing on factors affecting the supply and demand of oil, natural gas, and renewable energy. These factors include global supply considerations related to OPEC, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and resulting economic sanctions, and US energy policy.  Critical US and Ohio energy policies and their effects on market outcomes in energy markets were examined, with respect to recent legislation related to renewable energy sources. The global demand situation also plays a critical role in energy markets and were examined. Finally, the presentation also considered how widespread net zero commitments by many private companies could influence the future evolution of energy markets domestically and internationally. … Continue reading

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FSA microloans an opportunity for small, beginning farms

By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County

Housed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides loan opportunities for agricultural producers. Microloans were developed for and are available to better serve the unique financial needs of new, niche, and small to mid-sized farm operations.

Microloan types

There are two types of microloans available through FSA: Farm Operating Loans and Farm Ownership Loans. Specifics about each are provided below.

Operating microloans can be used for all approved operating expenses, including but not limited to: start-up expenses; annual expenses such as seed, fertilizer, utilities, land rent, marketing costs, family living expenses, purchase of livestock or equipment, minor improvement costs, hoop houses, tools, irrigation, and delivery vehicles.

Ownership microloans can be used for FSA Farm Ownership Loan approved expenses, such as the purchase of land or a farm, construction of new buildings, improvements to existing buildings, pay closing costs, and implement conservation practices.… Continue reading

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Pheasant Point: Burning to restore upland bird habitat

By Brooke DeCubellis, Natural Resources Conservation Service

For Bonnie Hurley and her late husband Dale, prescribed fire was a tool that they used to rejuvenate their grasslands and create ideal wildlife habitat for upland game birds in Lewistown in Logan County. Initially, the two leased the 110 acres for farming but ultimately decided that they wanted to create a wildlife habitat and enrolled the property into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).  

“It was always my late husband’s vision to be able to conserve and give back,” Hurley said. “Dale loved upland bird hunting and being out in nature with his dogs and we both wanted to pass that legacy on to others.”

Bonnie Hurley and her late husband Dale wanted to leave by improving wildlife habitat on their Logan County property. NRCS photo by Brooke DeCubellis.

Under the guidance of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pheasants Forever, and other conservation experts, the Hurleys worked to put a habitat management plan in place.… Continue reading

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Tips for safely thawing a turkey

With the traditional holiday just days away, if you’ve purchased a frozen turkey, the time to think about how to defrost it is now. Depending on how large your frozen bird is, it could take up to six days to safely defrost it in a refrigerator. 

It’s very important that you thaw and cook your turkey safely to help avoid developing foodborne illnesses. Thawing a frozen turkey correctly helps minimize the growth of bacteria, which can cause foodborne illnesses. While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely. However, as soon as it begins to thaw, any bacteria that might have been present before freezing can begin to grow again, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

There are three safe ways to thaw a frozen turkey: in the refrigerator, in a container of cold water, or in a microwave.

The USDA recommends thawing it in the refrigerator because doing so allows the turkey to thaw in a controlled environment out of the temperature “danger zone”—between 40- and 140-degrees Fahrenheit—where bacteria can multiply rapidly.… Continue reading

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Thanksgiving costs on the rise in 2022

 Spending time with family and friends at Thanksgiving remains important for many Americans and this year the cost of the meal is also top of mind. Farm Bureau’s 37th annual survey provides a snapshot of the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10, which is $64.05 or less than $6.50 per person. This is a $10.74 or 20% increase from last year’s average of $53.31.

The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs more than last year, at $28.96 for a 16-pound bird. That’s $1.81 per pound, up 21% from last year, due to several factors beyond general inflation. Farm Bureau “volunteer shoppers” checked prices Oct. 18-31, before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices. According to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data, the average per-pound feature price for whole frozen turkeys was $1.11 the week of Nov. 3-9 and 95 cents the week of Nov.… Continue reading

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NFU weighs in on COP27 Panel

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew participated in the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP27) summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. In addition to serving as an official observer of the proceedings as a representative of the World Farmers Organization, Larew also joined the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Agriculture panel – hosted by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. President Larew highlighted NFU’s support for the USDA climate-smart agriculture pilots that were recently announced. 

“It’s my honor to bring the voice of American family famers to the global stage as world leaders convene to discuss how we navigate the climate crisis,” said Rob Larew, NFU President“Family farmers and ranchers have led the way in sustainable and innovative practices. The USDA climate-smart pilots will accelerate this good work by further leveraging the resources of private and public partners to even greater gains, while keeping farmers and ranchers at the heart of the efforts.… Continue reading

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Operation Evergreen again sending some Christmas to troops overseas

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio Christmas Tree Association (OCTA) are partnering once again to send American troops stationed throughout the world Ohio-grown Christmas trees. Operation Evergreen is an annual event that was held at ODA’s Reynoldsburg campus and organized by OCTA.

“Sending our servicemen and women a piece of home during the holidays while they are serving our country overseas is one small way we can show our deep appreciation for the sacrifices they make on our behalf,” said Dorothy Pelanda, ODA Director. “The Ohio Department of Agriculture is proud to once again be a partner on this special project.”

Trees are donated by Ohio Christmas tree growers and inspected by ODA nursery inspectors before being sent to soldiers serving in the armed forces overseas. Trees received a phytosanitary certificate for international shipment and will be delivered to troops by UPS. In addition to the trees, decorations were donated by local schools, churches, and veterans’ groups, ensuring the military units receiving the trees will have all that is needed to celebrate the holidays.… Continue reading

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Nuts about walnuts

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

World Dairy Expo, from the mouth of Farmer Paul is “the world series, the super bowl or the Daytona 500 of the cow world.” The only place in the world where the big question starting the week is “What color are the arena shaving?” 

Nowhere else can you eat ice cream every day, fill your bag with cow tail candy at the trade show, stand in some giant wooden shoes, and party it up every night with “cowboys and cowgirls.” It was time to return to this shindig since it had been over 25 years since my last tagalong to Madison, Wis., home of the World Dairy Expo and my recent adventures. The weather was spectacular with warm balmy Wisconsin temperatures and a kaleidoscope of the changing seasons. Three other cow wives and I decided to escape the world of moos for a day and travel Madison by E-Bike.… Continue reading

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Who has what rights with shared drainage systems?

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

It’s a common problem in Ohio: a dispute between two neighbors over connecting a subsurface drainage tile system that crosses property lines. Can one neighbor cut off the other neighbor’s access to a tile? Can one go onto the other’s property to maintain the tile? If one replaces their system, can they still connect to the other’s tile? Answers to neighbor drainage questions can be, like subsurface water, a little murky. But a recent appeals court decision on a Licking County drainage dispute provides a few clear answers.

The drainage system at issue

Landowner Foor’s clay subsurface drainage system had been on his farm for over fifty years. Foor’s system connected to a larger drainage tile that ran across neighbor Helfrich’s property and eventually emptied into a pond on Helfrich’s land. Foor and his predecessors had used and maintained the line on Helfrich’s property prior to Helfrich’s ownership.… Continue reading

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Ag Land Easement programs enrollment open

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications from landowners and organizations interested in protecting farmlands and grasslands with financial and technical assistance available through the Agricultural Land Easements program (ALE). Applications for ALE are taken on a continuous basis. The deadline to receive fiscal year 2023 funding is December 16, 2022.

The ALE program provides funding to conservation partners to purchase conservation easements on private working lands.  Eligible partners include Indian tribes, state and local governments, and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs.

“This valuable program helps maintain the agricultural viability of the land for future generations,” said John Wilson, NRCS State Conservationist in Ohio. “Ohio’s farmlands are an essential part of the state’s identity and economic makeup and we must do all that we can to preserve them.” 

Land eligible for agricultural easements includes cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forest land. NRCS will prioritize applications that protect agricultural uses and related conservation values of the land and those that maximize the protection of contiguous acres devoted to agricultural use.… Continue reading

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Crickets: More than summer chirping

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Companies like Cargill focus on producing protein from soybeans and other high-yielding sources. I don’t know if they have started growing insects as a protein source, but I have little doubt they are evaluating the possibilities.

Insects have the potential, in the gazillions, to be a major source of protein for mankind. Millions of metric tons of protein could be derived from insects, as they outnumber all other species. Scientists have identified one million insect species. Probably 4 million more are still to be discovered.  

One of the more appetizing insects that I have eaten are crickets. I can testify, from experience, that crickets are a popular food in other countries, where they’re a real delicacy. And they can enhance the flavor of your breakfast cereal. I discovered that little secret at breakfast at a client’s home in Bogota, Colombia. 

Crickets are best frozen. Before you add crickets to your breakfast cereal, I recommend picking off the legs.… Continue reading

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Ohio Supreme Court allows eminent domain case for bike trail to roll on

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

A landowner challenging the taking of land for a bikeway has lost in an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.  The decision by the state’s highest court doesn’t address whether Mill Creek MetroParks may take the land for the bike trail, but instead gives the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court the go ahead to continue the eminent domain proceeding.

The landowner’s argument.  Mill Creek MetroParks filed a case in 2019 to appropriate land from Edward Schlegel, who would not voluntarily consent to selling some of his land for the park district’s bike trail extension.  Schlegel sought to have the case dismissed when the Ohio General Assembly included a provision in the state’s budget bill in 2021 intended to address landowner opposition to the Mill Creek MetroParks bike trail.  The new provision prevents any park district in a county of between 220,000 and 240,000 people from using eminent domain for a “recreational trail” until July 1, 2026. … Continue reading

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Three fishing lines per angler allowed 

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show 

It’s official: Inland Ohio anglers will be allowed to use up to three lines at once in 2023 and beyond. The Ohio Wildlife Council voted to approve a proposal to allow a maximum of three fishing lines statewide and the rule will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. The change aligns statewide fishing regulations with those already in place in the Lake Erie Sport Fishing District, Ohio River fishing units, and Pymatuning Lake by increasing the limit to three lines per person.  

The council also voted to remove site-specific catfish regulations for Hoover Reservoir and align the popular central Ohio fishing destination with statewide rules for blue and channel catfish. Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, catfish anglers can harvest one blue catfish 35 inches or longer and one channel catfish 28 inches or longer, with no restrictions on shorter fish.… Continue reading

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Bane-Welker hosting Toys for Tots drive

Bane-Welker Equipment is proudly supporting the 2022 toys for tots drive and will be collecting over toys at all Indiana and Ohio locations from now until Dec. 9, 2022.  

“We are proud to support this effort for a second consecutive year,” stated Jason Bane, president of Bane-Welker Equipment. “Last year, everyone really got into the spirit of it, and we had customers and employees who used their Red Zone Rewards points to buy more toys for the children.” 

This type of project aligns well with the Bane-Welker mission of making a positive impact on the communities they serve. 

This year, the Toys for Tots project was initiated by two Bane-Welker employee Justin Butler, a former Marine, who benefitted from the program himself as a child. 

“My passion for helping came from when I was a child and once received toys from this same program,” Butler said.  “It meant a lot to me then, and I wanted to help make a difference in children’s lives now.… Continue reading

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Fishing tournament fiasco

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show 

If you were on social media in the last month you no doubt got wind of the Lake Erie walleye tournament cheating scandal that involved a popular two-man fishing team from Cleveland and Hermitage, Pa. It received significant national print and electronic coverage as well, and rocked the competitive fishing world, at least in the Great Lakes. The two guys put lead fishing weights and filets from other fish into their walleyes before weigh-in, to boost their weights and win the first place $20,000 prize. Well, they got caught red-handed when the tournament organizer smelled something fishy and cut into their walleye, finding the illegal ballast. The situation quickly escalated when fellow competitors surrounded the cheaters, and the pair was fortunate that police we nearby and escorted them to their truck, or else they might’ve eaten some lead themselves from the surly crowd.… Continue reading

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Trade Commission lawsuit fighting for farmers

By Leisa Boley-Hellwarth

We live in a fractured society these days. Republicans hate Democrats. Democrats hate Republicans. The rancor of discussion is worse than the interaction between my Border Collies and the barn cats. There seems to be little common ground, which is why a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission and 10 state Attorneys General caught my attention. It is a true bi-partisan effort. Six of the states are led by Democrat governors: California; Colorado; Illinois; Minnesota; Oregon and Wisconsin. Four of the states are led by Republican governors: Indiana; Iowa; Nebraska and Texas.

The case was filed on Sept. 29, 2022, in the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of North Carolina. Let’s begin by identifying the parties.

• The Federal Trade Commission is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection.… Continue reading

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