Country Life

In a world of rising conflict, we must cultivate the fields

By World Food Prize Laureates

In his 1970 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture Norman Borlaug said, “If you desire peace, cultivate justice, but at the same time cultivate the fields to produce more bread; otherwise there will be no peace.”

As thousands congregate in Iowa for the 2023 Borlaug Dialogue to search for ways to end global hunger and celebrate this year’s World Food Prize Laureate, his words ring truer than ever. Consider the context: the Uppsala Data Conflict program shows us that the world is living in the most conflict-affected time since their records began in 1975, with numbers of deaths caused by state-based conflicts at their highest level since the 1990s. And this is before the most recent conflict that is threatening to engulf the entire Middle East.

Right now, the U.S. Congress and other governments are considering appropriations priorities for the coming year, and they are likely to increase military spending in response to these increasing conflicts around the world.… Continue reading

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Ohio Soybean Council Foundation offers $44,000 in scholarships

The Ohio Soybean Council Foundation (OSCF) is pleased to announce scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students for the 2024-2025 academic year.

The scholarship program encourages undergraduate and graduate students at Ohio colleges and universities to pursue degrees in one of the many academic fields that support the future of the soybean industry, including agriculture, business, communication, economics, education, engineering, science and technology.

“These scholarships are a perfect way to make an impact on our field moving forward,” said Cindy Layman, Hardin County soybean farmer and OSCF scholarship committee member. “It’s important to recognize people who are passionate about the future of agriculture and these students prove every year that the soybean industry is in good hands.”

The OSCF scholarship program has awarded over $500,000 in scholarships since 2008.

2024-2025 undergraduate scholarships
• Seven undergraduate scholarships of up to $3,000 each will be awarded.
• One $3,000 Robinson W. Joslin Scholarship, which was established in memory of Rob Joslin, a soybean farmer and long-time leader in the soybean industry, to recognize a student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership potential.… Continue reading

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Not deciding is deciding

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

Remember the old adage: not deciding is deciding​? That describes the actions of the US Supreme Court in October regarding a North Carolina case, Stein v. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. This matter is commonly known as the PETA undercover recording case.

On June 3, 2015, over then Governor McCory’s veto, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the North Carolina Property Protection Act, which amended current law that provides a civil remedy for the interference with certain property rights by creating a civil cause of action for the owner or operator of the premises. In essence, North Carolina strengthened their “ag gag” law to offer civil protections to farm owners and operators when encountering undercover animal rights workers. North Carolina described the Act as protecting property owners from damages resulting from individuals acting in excess of the scope of permissible access and conduct granted to them.… Continue reading

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Small Farm Financial College

Ohio State University Extension in Belmont, Guernsey, Jefferson and Harrison counties will be hosting a Small Farm Financial College this winter. This college is designed to help landowners examine potential ways to increase profits on their small acreage properties. The program is open to all new or aspiring farmers, new rural landowners, small farmers, and farm families looking for new ideas. During this college, participants will be challenged to develop realistic expectations for their new farm business.

They will receive information on getting started, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of their property, and developing a farm business plan. Information on farm finances, insurance, liability, labor and marketing will be covered during the college.

The following sessions will run from 6-8:30PM each Tuesday on:
January 16 at The Pike 40, 41010 National Rd, Belmont, OH – Session I: Getting Started on Your New Farm Business
January 23 at Black Sheep Vineyard, 1454 US-250 #7959, Adena, OH – Session II: You Can’t Measure What You Don’t Track.… Continue reading

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Solution for dogs with a defective esophagus

By Don “Doc” Sanders

 Dogs with a malfunctioning esophagus are commonly diagnosed with a condition called megaesophagus. As the name implies, this condition involves a dilated and enlarged esophagus. With megaesophagus, the esophagus is more or less paralyzed, making it difficult for an affected dog to swallow food. Megaesophagus is a frustrating health issue for dog owners and their veterinarians, and it drastically shortens a dog’s life.

I suspect you may not be aware of this health condition, unless you’ve had a dog with the malady. A dog with megaesophagus accumulates food in its dilated esophagus. This prevents the food from passing into the stomach.

Veterinary experts believe that this limitation could be caused by a restriction in the cardia, the valve connecting the esophagus to the stomach, or a failure of musculature in the esophagus to push the food through the cardia. Just an FYI: This complication may occur in humans after COVID infection.… Continue reading

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Ohio Agricultural Council scholarships

The Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC) is excited to announce the opening of scholarship applications for the 2024-2025 school year. OAC is dedicated to supporting the future leaders of the agricultural industry and is pleased to offer scholarships to assist students in pursuing a career in an agricultural-related field.

“OAC is proud to support the education of the next generation of agricultural leaders,” said Chris Henney, President of the Ohio Agricultural Council. “We believe in the potential of Ohio’s youth to make meaningful contributions to the agricultural industry, and these scholarships are one way we can help them achieve their educational and career goals.”

OAC scholarships are open to high school seniors who are preparing to enter college, as well as undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in college. To be eligible, applicants or their parent or legal guardian must be residents of Ohio. OAC is looking for individuals who exhibit a strong commitment to the agricultural industry and a passion for making a positive impact in their communities.… Continue reading

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Consumer spending away from home on the rise

By Gary Joiner, director of communications at Texas Farm Bureau

The Agriculture Department tracks the food spending habits of Americans as part of its Food Expenditure Series. The latest numbers show consumer spending preferences are changing.

Spending away from home surpassed food at home spending by over $300 million last year. That’s the largest gap ever.

The two biggest drivers in away from home food spending are full-service restaurants and quick service restaurants. Each account for about 34% of the total.

Grocery stores continue to capture the largest market share of what people are purchasing to eat at home. But that percentage has declined significantly.

In 1999, grocery stores accounted for 72% of all at-home expenditures. Last year, that number dropped to 50%. Much of the decline was because of the growth of warehouse clubs, supercenters and home delivery.

According to analysis shared by the American Farm Bureau, food spending behavior also varies by state and region.… Continue reading

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Farmland values? Protein expansion? Trends and tips in a changing financial world

Farm Credit’s Fallon Savage, senior vice president, corporate credit and operations, joins Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood to discuss a wide range of financial topics bound to hit farmers in the year ahead. The main takeaway? In a time of great profitability, keep those pencils sharp when it comes to making strategic decisions for your operation. Topics discussed include farmland value outlook, protein sector expansion, and more.… Continue reading

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“Christmas Tree Ship” tradition returns

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

As in days of old in many Great Lakes ports, Christmas trees will in Toledo by boat on Saturday, Dec. 2, when The National Museum of the Great Lakes, in partnership with Geo. Gradel Co., invites folks to join a holiday tradition by welcoming back the “Christmas Tree Ship.” And thanks to the generosity of The University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC), museum admission will be free for all on that Merry Saturday.

Here’s the backstory: on Nov. 23, 1912, the schooner Rouse Simmons sank in Lake Michigan while carrying Christmas trees, a popular way to transport the holiday trees at the time. Remembered as the Christmas Tree Ship, her captain, Herman E. Schuenemann, was known for giving trees to families in need. The story provides the inspiration behind the Museum’s community giveback event encouraging individuals to make a memory to last a lifetime by watching Santa arrive at the museum’s dock delivering Christmas Trees and holiday support.… Continue reading

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Thanksgiving costs down for Ohioans

Courtesy of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation

U.S. consumers will pay less for their favorite Thanksgiving dinner foods, including turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and milk, based on a new American Farm Bureau Federation Thanksgiving dinner cost survey.

The average cost of Thanksgiving dinner fixings for 10 people is $61.17, which breaks down to just over $6 per person. The overall cost for the holiday meal is down 4.5% or about $3 from last year, but the cost is still more than 25% higher than it was in 2019, which highlights the impact high supply costs and inflation have had on food prices.

“Because turkey is about half of the cost of the basket, any reduction in turkey prices ends up having a pretty substantial impact on the total cost,” said AFBF Senior Economist Veronica Nigh. “Turkey is down 5.6%. The big reason is that we didn’t have nearly as many cases of high path avian influenza.… Continue reading

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Pardon me, Mr. Turkey: National FFA’s Morgan Anderson assists in White House ceremony

Morgan Anderson, Ohio’s recently elected National FFA Officer, was one of those in attendance alongside her fellow student leaders as one of the great American traditions around this time of year took place. That’s right – two fortunate National Thanksgiving Turkeys were pardoned this week by President Biden on the South Lawn of the White House.

According to the National Turkey Federation, this White House tradition has been observed since 1947, signaling the beginning of the holiday season of national thanks and representing agriculture’s plentiful harvest and the contributions of America’s turkey growers.

The FFA members were able to witness the 20-week-old, 42-pound birds, named Liberty and Bell be pardoned.

In this interview, our own Matt Reese talks with Anderson about the unique experience.

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Operation Evergreen again sending trees to troops

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio Christmas Tree Association (OCTA) are partnering once again to send American troops stationed in Kuwait 75 Ohio-grown Christmas trees. Operation Evergreen is an annual event that was held at ODA’s Reynoldsburg campus and organized by OCTA.

“Our servicemen and women deserve the best,” said Brian Baldridge, ODA Director. “Everything our farmers grow is first-rate and that includes Christmas trees. I am proud of the contribution both Ohio growers and ODA are making to ensure military members get a piece of home for the holidays.”

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

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Expanding opportunities for agroforestry

A team of Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin researchers and Extension professionals has recently been awarded funding from USDA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help support use of agroforestry practices and markets by small and medium sized farms in the region.

“This project involves a team of passionate and dedicated researchers and Extension professionals who have worked with farmers and woodland owners in the Upper Midwest for decades. This is a unique opportunity to support synergy between forestry and agriculture professionals and landowners to expand use of agroforestry practices through the region,” said Emily Huff, the project lead and associate professor in the Department of Forestry at Michigan State University.

Much is known about the characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors of U.S. family forest owners and agricultural landowners independently. However, little is known about those who own bothwoodland and farmland, and what, if any, agroforestry and woodland management practices are used by these Farmer Woodland Owners (FWOs).… Continue reading

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New Ohio Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory construction underway

By Matt Reese

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) held a groundbreaking ceremony Nov. 16 to celebrate the start of construction on the new Ohio Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (OVDL). The ceremony brought Ohio’s leadership and agricultural commodity groups and stakeholders to the Reynoldsburg campus. Construction of the new laboratory also brings a name change, as the current title of Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) will be retired.

The 70,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility will include 40% more laboratory space and updated bio-security measures. A more energy-efficient building will also accommodate dozens of new staff members. The Capital Budget signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine last summer allocates $72 million for the new OVDL.

“It’s a great day for the Ohio Department of Agriculture. We provide testing for our livestock industry and the building that is being replaced is way out of date. This new facility is going to take us to the next level.… Continue reading

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Congress approved extension of the 2018 Farm Bill

Congress approved a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded and avoid a shutdown just ahead of the Nov. 17 deadline, combined with an extension of the 2018 Farm Bill through Sept. 30, 2024.  

House and Senate Ag Committee leaders stated that the extension is not a substitute for passing a five-year farm bill but will give lawmakers much-needed additional time to focus on a long-term bill.

Farm groups were generally pleased with the degree of certainty from the measure but are still pushing for a fully reauthorized farm bill.

“We are grateful Congress passed a farm bill extension to avoid serious program disruptions and we encourage President Biden to sign it. However, we urge both the House and Senate to stay focused on a new, modernized farm bill that recognizes the many changes and challenges of the past five years,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “The current farm bill was written before the pandemic, before inflation spiked, and before global unrest sent shock waves through the food system.… Continue reading

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New publication discusses wills and trusts

By Robert Moore, attorney and research specialist for the Ohio State University Agricultural & Resource Law Program

A common question regarding farm transition planning is: “should I have a will or trust for my plan?” Like most legal questions, the answer is “it depends.” Sometimes a will is adequate for a plan while other plans should include a trust. Knowing which you need requires an understanding of wills and trusts and the factors that should be considered when deciding which to implement.

A new publication, Is a Will or Trust Better for Your Farm Transition Plan?, discusses the differences between wills and trusts and provides nine factors to consider when deciding which to use for your plan. The factors to consider are:

  1. Legal fees
  2. Complexity of the plan
  3. Probate
  4. Concerns about heirs
  5. Second marriages
  6. Transition of farming operation
  7. Taxes
  8. Privacy
  9. Control.

The publication analyzes each factor and how it relates to a will and trust.… Continue reading

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Fondue fun

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician 

Fondue night was a favorite childhood memory. We would gather around a platter heaped with crusty bread hunks, fresh crisp-crunchy apples slices and green celery chunks. Fondue forks seen as swords from a kid’s point of view were passed around. These would probably be illegal today or at the very least have hazard warnings in large red letters. I’ll fess up, there may have been a battle or two as mom slaved away making the creation of hot melted cheese and wine goodness. These memories prompted me to create my own fondue nights in the young Detwiler house. Bread was warmed and cut, apples were sliced, celery chunked, and fondue was made. My three guys of course loved the weapons, aka fondue forks, but when it came to the fondue, the little guys pronounced a total fail. Fondue had become Fon-don’t! states the earliest Swiss fondue recipe appeared on the scene was in a Zurich cookbook.… Continue reading

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Learning by teaching

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

Sometimes the best way to learn is to teach.

Whether they realize it or not, GrowNextGen ambassadors learn quite a bit as they help implement ag-based curriculum into activities for students around Ohio during the summer months, including fairs and specific GrowNextGen events. Former GrowNextGen ambassador Micah Mensing said the experience served him well in his current role as a customer education manager for Farm Credit Mid-America, which he started in 2019.

“The GrowNextGen program really started as this idea of being able to take curriculum and be able to share it through educational programs for folks that have never seen a soybean grow out in the field. We teach the many different uses of the commodity and put faces behind the commodity as well by educating about farmers,” Mensing said. “The Ohio Soybean Council provided some great training to me and I have a background growing up on a family farm with my grandpa.… Continue reading

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2023 turkey hatch a good one

Some rare good news for Ohio turkey hunters: the state’s wild turkey poult index, a metric used to estimate nest success for the popular gamebird, was above average for the third year in a row, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW). The 2023 Ohio index was 2.8 poults per hen, above the 10-year average of 2.7 poults per hen.

The agency relies on public reports of wild turkeys and their young, called poults, in July and August of each year to estimate nest success. The annual poult index can serve as an indicator of wild turkey population trends and inform harvest regulations in future years. Turkey brood success is largely influenced by weather conditions, habitat, and predation.

Wild turkey brood surveys in 2021 and 2022 showed above average nest productivity that benefitted turkey populations after several years of below average results. The statewide average poults per hen in 2022 was 3, and 3.1 in 2021.… Continue reading

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