Country Life

Over 2,000 farmers participating in OACI to improve Ohio water quality

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) announced that over 2,000 northwest Ohio farmers have become involved in the organization’s certification program since its rollout in early 2020. The certification program helps farmers throughout Ohio take their conservation efforts to the next level with a free, confidential analysis that allows them to better manage on-farm nutrients to improve water quality.

“When we created this universally recognized farmer certification program, the overarching goal was to help increase adoption of best management practices and recognize farmers who demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement,” said  Kris Swartz, OACI Chair and Wood County farmer. “We have achieved some very positive results since the program began, which once again proves that farmers are interested in taking part in resources and education they need to voluntarily employ modern, science-based water quality practices on their farms.”

OACI continues to work with the DeWine Administration’s H2Ohio initiative to ensure funds flow to farmers who demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement through implementation of H2Ohio approved practices that contribute to healthier waterways.… Continue reading

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Tall tales, taller corn

Remember Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack, and his massive sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox? You younger readers may have to Google them. Anyway, Paul and Babe were bigger than life in American and Canadian folklore.

As I reminisce reading years ago about Paul’s exploits, I ponder — now as a vet who has provided nutritional advice to cattle and swine producers — what kind of nutritional program would be required for an ox of Babe’s legendary mass? 

I recently discovered that the answer could lie in the town of Totontepec in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. I’ve never visited there, though I’ve been in Mexico numerous times.

If there’s any place on earth that could satisfy Babe’s outsized nutritional demands, it’s got to be Totontepec. There they have a variety of corn that the locals call olotón. It’s been grown in the mountainous Totontepec region for a couple thousand years. … Continue reading

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Fall hunting season dates set

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

The Ohio Wildlife Council approved proposed hunting and trapping season dates for 2023-24, including deer bag limit changes in seven counties, during its regularly scheduled meeting last month. Deer are Ohio’s most popular game animal, and hunting seasons in 2023-24 will have similar dates to last year. Bag limits will increase to three deer in Belmont, Gallia, Geauga, Harrison, Jefferson, and Monroe counties, and will decrease to two in Butler County. As in years past, only one antlered deer may be harvested, regardless of where or how it is taken. The deer hunting season dates for 2023-24 include:

• Deer archery: Sept. 30, 2023-Feb. 4, 2024

• Youth deer gun: Nov. 18-19, 2023

• Deer gun: Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2023; Dec. 16-17, 2023

• Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 6-9, 2024.

The Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) disease surveillance area in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties will again allow additional hunting opportunities to slow the spread of CWD.… Continue reading

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SCOTUS favors farmers in WOTUS ruling

On May 25, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a favorable opinion in the much-anticipated WOTUS case, Sackett v. EPA. The justices held that “waters” refers only to geographical features that are described in ordinary terms as “streams, oceans, rivers, and lakes” and to adjacent wetlands that are “indistinguishable” from those bodies of water due to a continuous surface connection, making it difficult to determine where the “water” ends and the “wetland” begins. 

For more than half a century, the agencies responsible for enforcing the Clean Water Act (EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) have wrestled with the problem of defining the term “waters of the United States” and its jurisdictional reach over wetlands. Before this ruling, the Supreme Court has tried three rotimes to clarify the meaning of WOTUS, adopting varying interpretations. 

The holding is a clear win for farmers and landowners, as it seeks to resolve the recurring question of what wetlands are to be considered WOTUS and significantly limits the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction, especially over isolated wetlands such as prairie potholes; all nine justices rejected as “implausible” the agencies’ use of the flawed and expansive “significant nexus test.”… Continue reading

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New OSU labs focus on ag, construction technology

The Ohio State University has received a gift from Trimble, a technology company, to establish state-of-the-art technology labs for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences(CFAES). This gift of software and hardware represents the largest philanthropic gift-in-kind investment to support teaching, research, and outreach in the history of CFAES.

The multidisciplinary labs at Ohio State will enhance teaching, research, and outreach activities in food and agricultural engineering, construction management, and natural resources. The Trimble technology labs will be located on the Columbus campus and Ohio State ATI on the CFAES Wooster campus. The labs will be the first to include Trimble agriculture solutions. 

The centerpieces of this gift are customized training workstations that simulate the use of Trimble agriculture hardware and software in the classroom environment. This technology will instruct students on technologies such as machine guidance control and steering in the classroom, as well as field leveling and water management systems.… Continue reading

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2023 Ohio State Fair schedule changes

A conversation with…

Virgil Strickler, general manager of the Ohio Expo Center and the Ohio State Fair

OCJ: As we get ready to talk about the State Fair, what are this year’s dates? 

Virgil: This year it’s July 26 through Aug. 6. Our entry deadline is June 21 at 1:00 p.m. and, of course, the website at has all of those details.

OCJ: We have had a couple years of the final grand drives for all of the livestock species at combined events in the Coliseum, but this year we’re going back to the barns for the final drives. Is that correct?

Virgil: We put a lot of thought into this and we have to open up that Coliseum to get some of the horse events back in the fair. The draft horses will be back this year and, of course, the junior fair horses. We had to look at it that way and I’ve got to admit that I’m very sentimental about being in the actual facilities where they show for the final drives.… Continue reading

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Ford decides to keep AM radio in vehicles

Ford Motor Company has reconsidered removing AM radio from future vehicles in the U.S. and will now include the technology in their newer model cars.

“The National Association of Broadcasters commends Ford for committing to keep AM radio in their vehicles, which will keep Americans safe and informed, particularly in times of emergency. With tens of millions of listeners, AM radio continues to serve as a vital lifeline to the public and a critical source of community news and exchange of diverse ideas,” said Curtis LeGeyt, NAB President and CEO. “In light of Ford’s announcement, NAB urges other automakers who have removed AM radio from their vehicles to follow Ford’s lead and restore this technology in the interest of listeners and public safety. 

“NAB thanks the numerous lawmakers who are leading the charge to keep AM radio in automobiles, particularly the supporters of the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act.… Continue reading

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Time running out to respond to the Census of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will end data collection for the 2022 Census of Agriculture on May 31. Producers who have not yet returned their completed questionnaires have just one week left to respond. Federal law requires everyone who received the ag census to complete and return it. Recipients can respond online at or by mail.

“The Census of Agriculture remains the only comprehensive and impartial source of agricultural data for every state and county in the nation. It gives producers the opportunity to help shape decisions that will impact their operations, communities, and the future of the industry for several years,” said Hubert Hamer, NASS Administrator. “Not being represented in these widely used data means risking being underserved. The ag census data are used by agribusinesses, educators, researchers, federal and local government, and many others when making decisions about farm programs, loans, insurance, rural development, disaster assistance, and more.”… Continue reading

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Will farmland sales drop off in 2023?

By Matt Reese

Planting season may give fast-talking auctioneers a chance to catch their breath during this time of staggering farmland sale prices, but it will only be a small chance. 

Devin Dye

“When you see strong prices like this, you have sellers interested in trying to capitalize on that, so we look for it to remain somewhat steady now throughout planting season,” said Devin Dye, with Dye Real Estate and Land Company in Lima. “Possession always becomes an issue. When do you give it and how soon do you have the auction to cover possession? So, throughout May and June we’ll see our auction slate slow down just a little bit. Then in July, August and September, things start to pick back up. We’re already starting to put proposals together and talk to sellers about having something midsummer and late summer. We’re already starting to have those conversations, so the opportunity for people to purchase farmland is still going to be there this this year.”… Continue reading

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Happy potlucking!

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Arizona House Bill 2341 was sponsored by Representative Townsend and introduced in 2016. HB 2341 expands the food and drink rule exemption to include potlucks not conducted at a workplace. 

This bill was life-changing for the residents of the great state of Arizona. You see there was potluck prohibition (except in the workplace). Truth! It took almost two months from the first read to the Governor’s John Hancock approving a strike in line 26 (served at a noncommercial social event that takes place at a workplace, such as a potluck) making potlucks legal. Adding to the absurdity of the bill is that there were at least a couple of nay votes! Who votes no on potlucks? Arizonians were unknowingly having more fun than the law allowed at churches, sporting events or even neighborhood gatherings. The police could’ve pulled up, sirens a blazing to the church potluck and hauled them all off to jail.… Continue reading

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Ohio angler nets Great Lakes bass record

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

A 10.15-pound smallmouth bass caught by an Ohio angler from Ontario, Canada, waters of Lake Erie was a 16-year-old female and is the only known 10-pound-or-greater smallmouth bass ever caught in a Great Lakes state or province. On Nov. 3, 2022, Gregg Gallagher of Fremont caught the behemoth bass while fishing in Ontario provincial waters of Lake Erie. The fish was larger than the previous Ontario record, a 9.84-pound bass caught in 1984, and larger than Ohio’s current smallmouth bass record, a 9.5-pound fish. The new Ontario provincial record was weighed soon after the catch on a certified scale in Port Clinton. 

The bass was transferred to the Division of Wildlife’s Sandusky Fisheries Research Station for species identification validation and measurements. The fish was measured as 23.75 inches in length and 19 inches in girth. The Division of Wildlife sampled the record bass and determined it to be a 16-year-old female that was hatched in 2006.… Continue reading

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“Fight the Hunger, Stock the Trailer” has high hopes for third year

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

The bar has been raised for the “Fight the Hunger, Stock the Trailer” program from Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA) and Rural 1st as the effort kicks off for its third year in 2023.

The program sets the stage for, and incentivizes, junior fair youth leaders in counties around Ohio to collect donations for area food pantries during their county fair.

“We are empowering the youth on our junior fair boards and they’re going to get creative on how to bring in canned food to the local fair that week of the fair. Then they’re going to take all that food and donate it to their local community,” said Jennie Schultice, FCMA financial officer. “We started this back in 2021 with eight counties. Last year we jumped to 54 county fairs participating and this year we’re going to move into all five regions of the state, so this will be offered to all counties that we serve this year and we’re looking for bigger and better things in 2023.”… Continue reading

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East Palestine update

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences announced finalized results from plant tissue sample testing on East Palestine area crops near the site of the Norfolk Southern train derailment.

Analysis of scientific data by OSU shows plant materials from agricultural sites in the East Palestine area are not contaminated with semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) associated with the train derailment. Using U.S. EPA-approved methods, ODA’s plant health inspectors collected plant tissue samples from 16 agricultural areas in Columbiana County last month. All samples — including winter wheat, pasture grasses, malting barley, and forage covers — were taken within a five-mile radius of the train derailment site. Samples collected and tested closest to the derailment site (inner radius) were considered the most likely for potential contamination, and plant tissue samples collected farther from the derailment site (background radius) were tested to serve as a baseline comparison.
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Springtime means travel time

By Michael Sweeney, Vice President of Bickle Farm Solutions

One of the most necessary evils we have in the agricultural world is moving our equipment on the road. It is hazardous almost every time we put tires on pavement. But it must be done. Jenny Cox, our business development representative, spoke with Shannon Utter, a Sergeant with the Ohio State Highway Patrol to come up with some things to check and a few clarifications that we all might need reminded of before this big spring push.

Michael Sweeney

When asked about escorting farm equipment, Sergeant Utter said that “Ohio does not require an escort for farm equipment on the road, however putting someone up front if available certainly helps warn oncoming traffic.” 

It is not always easy coming up with an extra person to run a pickup out in front, but I think most reading this article have probably had a close call or two that could have been avoided if someone was ahead warning oncoming traffic.… Continue reading

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USDA seeks members for Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agricultural and Innovative Production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking nominations for four positions on the Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. Nominations will be open to public from May 15, 2023, to July 15, 2023. The 12-member Committee, which first convened in March 2022, is part of USDA’s efforts to increase support for urban agriculture and innovative production. Members of the Committee provide input on policy development and help identify barriers to urban agriculture as USDA works to promote urban farming and the economic opportunities it provides in cities across the country. 

“The Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Committee is an important opportunity for urban and innovative producers to have their voices heard and give direct feedback to USDA,” said Terry Cosby, Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, which oversees USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. “These new members will provide valuable input on how we can better serve urban agricultural producers with a focus on equity, local food systems, access to safe and nutritious food and new ways to address climate change.” … Continue reading

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Farm Bureau service delivery pilot project launched

Continuing its “value first” approach, Ohio Farm Bureau has developed a new pilot project in 12 northwest Ohio county Farm Bureaus to test an alternative field staff structure. 

This project follows the 2022 launch of an initial pilot that is testing a new service delivery model in cooperation with eight county Farm Bureaus in northwest Ohio, with a unique combination of staffing and a structure aimed to build membership with more specialized programs and services. 

According to Ohio Farm Bureau Vice President of Membership Paul Lyons, this new pilot project will have very similar goals as the first, but will use a slightly different method. Those goals include leading with the value of Farm Bureau when promoting the organization, creating new approaches to acquire and retain members while designing a more individualized experience for them, and testing a new staff delivery model to meet Ohio Farm Bureau’s overall goals.

“For this new pilot project, the county Farm Bureau structure will remain the same, as will the staff,” Lyons said.… Continue reading

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Stay ahead of the field! Sign up for Ohio Ag Net’s NEW free text alerts

We know you’re always on the go and staying informed in this hectic world is important to stay competitive. Now, that’s easier than ever before!

NEW from the Ohio Ag Net – get the latest farm news, weather, and market reports delivered directly to your phone. Keep on the move while our team of broadcasters works to bring you the information you need to stay ahead of the field!

By signing up at the form below, or at, you’ll get the voice you know with the news you trust texted to you each weekday at 11 a.m. ET. Sign up is fast, simple, and free!

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Barn painting auction to benefit 10 Ohio historical societies

Hocking County Historical Society, Logan, Ohio, is holding an online auction of historic barn paintings to benefit 10 historical societies throughout Ohio, including those in the following counties: Shelby, Champaign, Fulton, Stark, Portage, Ashland, Summit, Wood, Ross, and Hocking. Each historical society currently displays 7 to 8 of the paintings. The paintings, oil impasto, are done on a Masonite panel and framed in rustic barn siding, made by the artist and author, Robert Kroeger. The barn paintings and their stories are featured in the recently released book, Round Barns of America, available in bookstores and through online retailers. The auction is on and under the Hocking County Historical Society. It begins on May 1 and ends on May 31.

The 72 paintings feature 11 round barns in Ohio, including Stark County’s Timken barn and Lancaster’s round barn in the county fairgrounds as well as the oldest documented round barn, built by President George Washington in 1794.… Continue reading

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More ticks expected this season

Backyard lovers, campers, outdoors enthusiasts, and pet owners beware. If you thought last year’s tick season was bad, just wait. This year has the potential to be even worse.

Ticks—and the diseases they carry—are on the rise in Ohio and will likely continue to increase. There has been a steady increase in tick-vectored disease numbers in Ohio each year, and officials don’t expect to see a reverse of the trend, said Tim McDermott, an educator with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“While you can encounter a tick during any season, spring marks the beginning of heavy tick season, and this year, the tick population statewide is expected to continue to rise,” he said. 

McDermott said there are multiple factors contributing to the increase in tick-vectored disease, including global climate change, tick range expansion, and increasing numbers of wildlife living in close proximity to people. … Continue reading

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