Country Life

Ohio’s Victory Garden program returns for 2022

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio State University Extension offices are kicking off the third year of the Ohio Victory Gardens program. Due to high demand, the program is expanding to include 42 counties, up from 25 counties last year. Thousands of seed sample kits will be available for free to the public to get people planting.

“In the third year of our Victory Gardens program, we are proud of the ground we have covered in reigniting Ohioans’ love for backyard gardening, while lifting people’s spirits and re-teaching an important life skill of growing your own food,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “We’ve gone from distributing 3,000 seed kits in six counties in 2020 to distributing more than 20,000 free seed kits in 42 counties across the state this year. Next year, we plan to expand again to reach even more Ohioans who want to grow a Victory Garden.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Ethanol against the world!

By Matt Reese and Dusty Sonnenberg

Those reading this likely have more interest in bushels per acre than grams of CO2 per megajoule. But, when applied to biofuels, the number attached to this unit of measure has the potential to make or break massive domestic biofuels markets for corn and soybeans. 

Jan tenBensel, a Nebraska farmer and president of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, has spent a fair amount of time looking at grams of CO2 per megajoule because it is an important standard in the ongoing debate about the sustainability of biofuels. 

“In a life cycle analysis of ethanol and electric vehicles, you have to look at the base load of carbon intensity. Right now, that number is 114 grams of CO2 per megajoule for the U.S. on average. If you took a Tesla 3, you’d be at about 144 grams of carbon per mile. If you were to take an E98 vehicle that was ethanol optimized you would have 114 grams of carbon per mile,”  tenBensel said.… Continue reading

Read More »

NEPA changes signal return to outdated, cumbersome regulations

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented on the final phase 1 revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“AFBF is disappointed that the Biden administration has decided to reverse commonsense reforms to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Farmers and ranchers share the goal of caring for the natural resources they’ve been entrusted with and were pleased that the updated 2020 regulations allowed them to protect the environment while meeting the demands of a growing nation,” he said. “Continued challenges from the pandemic, supply chain issues and the drought in the West are impacting farmers, ranchers and the American public in the form of increased food and fuel prices. The situation will now be made worse by the return to a slow and cumbersome NEPA review process that, in many cases, takes years to complete.”

NEPA also can impact the vital infrastructure system of the country.

“President Biden has also made improving the nation’s infrastructure a priority, and a modernized NEPA review process would help deliver projects to communities across the country.… Continue reading

Read More »

Beginning farmer tax credit signed into law

On April 18, HB 95 was signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine. The law establishes an income tax credit for beginning farmers who participate in a financial management program, administered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. It also constructs an income tax credit for established farmers who sell or rent agricultural assets to beginning farmers. 
“The idea for HB 95 all started because younger Ohio Farm Bureau members who were working their way into agriculture, along with more experienced members looking to step away from the industry, were facing many obstacles when it came to working on a transition plan,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “Through their recommendations, our organization worked through the policy development process to successfully add incentives for new and beginning farmers to the list of important issues Farm Bureau advocates for every day. Those grassroots efforts have now come to fruition and we appreciate Governor DeWine signing this legislation into law to allow a path forward for the next generation of agriculturalists in Ohio.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Asian Longhorned Beetle quarantine lifted at East Fork State Park

The Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) quarantine has been lifted in parts of and its campground, a sign of exciting progress in the overall ALB eradication process.

ODA, ODNR and USDA held a joint press conference on Friday, April 15 at the East Fork State Park north shore boat ramp to announce the milestone. 

ODA’s ALB Eradication Program surveyed more than 66,000 trees, performed multiple rounds of campground surveys, and conducted in-person outreach for continued education on the ALB. With the cooperation from the local community and support from government partnerships, 7.5 square miles of East Fork State Park just north of the lake have been deregulated. This declaration lifts certain restrictions, including the movement of firewood out of the campground.

The Asian Longhorned Beetle can cause serious damage to Ohio’s trees. ALB adults emerge from the trees throughout the summer, with the chances of seeing adult beetles peaking in August. Checking trees for the beetle and damage it causes is one way residents can protect their own trees and help the efforts to eliminate this invasive beetle from the United States.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio rural communities receive over $1.3 Million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grant funds

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the establishment of a program under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to expand rural hospitals and providers’ access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and supplies, while helping rural health care providers stay financially solvent in the long-term. The initial awards of the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants total $43 million and will benefit 2.2 million peoplewho live and work in rural America. Awardees include 93 rural health care organizations and community groups across 22 states.

“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA mobilized our staff and resources to respond in record time to improve the long-term viability of rural health care providers and services across this nation,” Vilsack said. “USDA used an all-hands-on-deck approach to create the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program to address a variety of immediate health care needs and services in rural communities. The American Rescue Plan Act and this program are examples of the government’s ability to respond quickly to ensure every person and family has access to high-quality health care no matter their zip code.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio legislature passes statutory farm lease termination and beginning farmer bills

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

Bills establishing new legal requirements for landowners who want to terminate a verbal or uncertain farm lease and income tax credits for sales of assets to beginning farmers now await Governor DeWine’s response after passing in the Ohio legislature this week. Predictions are that the Governor will sign both measures.

Statutory termination requirements for farm leases – H.B. 397

Ohio joins nine other states in the Midwest with its enactment of a statutory requirement for terminating a crop lease that doesn’t address termination. The legislation sponsored by Rep. Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) and Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) aims to address uncertainty in farmland leases, providing protections for tenant operators from late terminations.

The bill states that in either a written or verbal farmland leasing situation where the agreement between the parties does not provide for a termination date or a method for giving notice of termination, a landlord who wants to terminate the lease must do so in writing by September 1.… Continue reading

Read More »

Nominations open for 2023 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year Contest

Farmers are invited to submit nominations for the 2023 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year contest, supported by Purina. This is the fifth year of the contest, which celebrates farm dogs and the many ways they support farmers and ranchers in producing nutritious food for families and their pets across America.

The grand prize winner — Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year — will win a year’s worth of Purina dog food and $5,000 in prize money. The winner will be recognized at a Farm Dog of the Year award ceremony at the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in January 2023. Up to four regional runners-up will each win $1,000 in prize money.

The 2023 Farm Dog of the Year will also be featured in a professionally produced video. The profile of 2022 Farm Dog of the Year Fit can be viewed at

“It’s a pleasure to host this popular contest again and provide a glimpse into daily life on the farm,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president.… Continue reading

Read More »

New framework guides conservation action on America’s grasslands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has unveiled a new plan to help guide voluntary conservation work over the next five years across 25 states, including more than 7 million acres of new conservation practices on productive, working lands.

The plan, which will be implemented in Ohio, will accelerate voluntary conservation efforts for the Northern bobwhite quail and the grassland and savanna landscapes that the species calls home.

“When we manage for bobwhite habitat, we’re creating healthier forests and forage, which is good for livestock producers, landowners, and natural resources,” said John Wilson, NRCS State Conservationist in Ohio. “This new framework builds on what we know — that America’s agricultural producers using conservation practices are helping declining species like the bobwhite while also providing food and fiber and conserving our resources for future generations. In the face of climate change, as well as habitat loss and fragmentation, expanding efforts to conserve landscapes and wildlife communities is more important than ever.” … Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio legislators pass beginning farmer tax credit and statutory farm lease termination bills

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

Bills establishing new legal requirements for landowners who want to terminate a verbal or uncertain farm lease and income tax credits for sales of assets to beginning farmers now await Governor DeWine’s response after passing in the Ohio legislature. Predictions are that the Governor will sign both measures.

Statutory termination requirements for farm leases – H.B. 397

Ohio joins nine other states in the Midwest with its enactment of a statutory requirement for terminating a crop lease that doesn’t address termination. The legislation sponsored by Rep. Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) and Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) aims to address uncertainty in farmland leases, providing protections for tenant operators from late terminations.

The bill states that in either a written or verbal farmland leasing situation where the agreement between the parties does not provide for a termination date or a method for giving notice of termination, a landlord who wants to terminate the lease must do so in writing by Sept.… Continue reading

Read More »

Vultures in effigy

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

I recently hosted USDA’s Tom Butler on my radio show, “Buckeye Sportsman,” (@buckeyesportsmanradio; to discuss Ohio’s burgeoning black vulture numbers. It’s no secret to many OCJ readers that Ohio’s black vulture population, birds that often prey on young livestock, causing injury and sometimes death, creating major economic losses for some livestock producers, has increased in recent years. As migratory birds, black vultures are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, state laws and regulations, which means they can’t be killed or destroyed without a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) Migratory Bird Depredation permit. 

Well, recently the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) obtained a statewide depredation permit for black vultures from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and will work with USDA Wildlife Services to issue sub-permits to livestock producers who are experiencing issues with black vultures.… Continue reading

Read More »

Easter eggspert recipes

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietitian

The focus on world events may have distracted you from some pressing questions. What’s in your Easter Basket? Hollow or solid chocolate bunny? Plastic or real eggs? Sour, fruity, or traditional jellybeans? Or are you one of those peep lovers? Peep. Peep. Peep! It’s sure to provide stimulating conversation at your next family gathering. 

Fascinating research my fingertips found on the subject shows that we spend around $20 filling our baskets. Lining the pockets of candymakers with over $18 million during the Easter holiday season alone. The research company Pattern shows the top 5 selling candies are Cadbury Eggs (both big and mini), Reese Eggs, Starburst jellybeans, Robin’s eggs, and chocolate bunnies. There were 75,000 consumers who searched for jellybeans on Amazon last year as the clock ticked closer to the bunny’s big hopping delivery day! That is just crazy talk but, what can I say, the Detwilers love jellybeans.… Continue reading

Read More »

Funds coming to Grand Lake St. Marys for dredge equipment

State Representatives Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) and Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) announced the release of funds Monday for new dredge equipment for Grand Lake St. Marys. 

The Department of Natural Resources will receive $83,395 to replace dredge equipment that has been in operation on the lake for the past 21 years.

“This is a critical replacement for the lake,” Manchester said. “This updated equipment is needed to help keep the lake healthy.” 

Over the past several years the dredge has been less productive due to failing parts. These funds will be used to replace major functions of the dredge to include the electrical, hydraulic and computer hardware.

“These improvements are not only vital in advancing the lake’s natural habitat, but also protecting a major economical attraction to western Ohio,” Riedel said.

Grand Lake St. Marys over the past decade has been plagued by dangerous algae blooms that have affected the water quality and aquatic animal life.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio’s beginning farmer tax credit bill moves forward

State Representative Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) announced the General Assembly has approved House Bill 95, her bipartisan legislation that creates a beginning farmer tax credit to assist one generation of farmers to the next.  

The legislation will also allow for an income tax credit for established farmers as they sell or rent their agricultural assets to beginning farmers who take a qualified financial management course. Agriculture assets include farmland, livestock, buildings or equipment.

“Agriculture is the backbone of Ohio’s economy and with the average age of Ohio farmers at 58-years-old, we must do something to get the next generation to look at farming as a career choice,” Manchester said. “This legislation not only gives existing farmers a financial reason to pass on their trade, but also keep agriculture strong in the state.”

 Under the bill, the credit is limited to five years and allows up to $10 million for the total amount of tax credits awarded for the life of the program.… Continue reading

Read More »

Bipartisanship allows lawmakers to make positive impacts

By Brooke Appleton, Vice President of Public Policy for the National Corn Growers Association 

When John Enns climbed up on his rye wicker on a beautiful day in 2004, he was looking forward to spending time in the field. Excited about riding his recently purchased equipment, he didn’t know he was moments away from having his life change forever.

As Enns drove the tractor out of a ditch, it flipped over, trapping him under the weight of the machinery. He had two broken vertebrae, five broken ribs and was paralyzed from the waist down. Enns found himself going through hours of physical therapy and trying to navigate a world that often turns a blind eye to those who live with disabilities. Suddenly, Enns was trying to get his wheelchair over steep curbs, trying to climb on top of his tractor without use of his legs and trying to make it up flights of steps at public buildings.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio NRCS announces second round of Conservation Stewardship Program funding

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Ohio has announced a second round of funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Private landowners interested in building on existing conservation efforts to improve production and reduce overall input costs are encouraged to apply by the May 13, 2022 deadline.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land.

“NRCS conservation programs are good for natural resources and for your operation’s bottom line,” said John Wilson, NRCS Ohio State Conservationist. “The Conservation Stewardship Program allows you to address resource concerns like nutrient management, soil quality and energy use, which can really impact a farmer’s margins.”

CSP encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rates, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA’s role in climate initiatives

As the process to write the 2023 farm bill begins, the agriculture committees should address climate policy in a producer-focused way, said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) and a co-chair of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA). Conner’s remarks came during testimony at a House Agriculture Committee hearing to review the role of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs in addressing climate change.

“As the Committee begins work on the next farm bill, we recommend that the process align with FACA’s guiding principles. We believe that policies should be voluntary, and market- and incentive-based; that they should advance science-based outcomes; and that they should promote resiliency and help rural economies better adapt to climate change,” Conner testified.

Conner noted that FACA released a comprehensive list of recommendations related to agriculture and climate in November 2020. Several of these, he said, should be considered during the farm bill process, including strengthening USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, expanding broadband access in rural America, and bolstering energy programs such as the Rural Energy for America Program.… Continue reading

Read More »

Farm Income Enhancement Program studies accuracy of agricultural baseline

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) long-term agricultural baseline projections give farmers, agribusinesses, and policymakers a 10-year look into the future of farming and global trade. Researchers at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) recently looked at the informativeness and accuracy of these projections, which many rely on when making business and government policy decisions.

The Farm Income Enhancement Program studied more than two decades of baseline projections and actual realized values of major agricultural indicators to determine the accuracy of the projections. Examples of indicators included commodity prices, yields, farm income, acres harvested, etc. 

Their studies focused primarily on corn and soybean figures, two prevalent crops in Ohio. 

The results suggest that most of the baseline projections are informative for the future only up to four to five years. However, the report shows that some projections are quite accurate for an extended period.… Continue reading

Read More »

Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week, April 4-8

Ryan Mitchell participates in the Waldo Firefighters Association training program for its volunteer firefighters on a new Grain Rescue System.

Grain flowing inside a bin can trap and engulf a worker in seconds, and makes for a sobering fact: nearly six of every 10 workers trapped in a grain bin don’t survive. 

For the past six years, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Grain Handling Safety Coalition, Grain Elevator and Processing Society and National Grain and Feed Associationhave been working together to address hazards, reduce risks and improve safety and health management systems to help prevent life-altering injuries and fatalities. 

In 2022, the alliance will hold its annual Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week from April 4 to April 8 with a focus on making small changes for a big impact to improve safety in this high-hazard industry.

“Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week will bring industry professionals together to focus on how small changes can eliminate dangerous hazards and protect workers from serious injuries” said Doug Parker, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health.… Continue reading

Read More »

Senate passes Ocean Shipping Reform Act

Last week the Senate unanimously passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.

“AFBF appreciates the unanimous vote in the Senate to pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. Farmers have lost out on up to $4 billion in agricultural exports because of lack of access to export containers, record shipping costs and harmful surcharges,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Limited trade has also hampered farmers’ ability to get crucial supplies like fertilizer at a time when supply chains are already stressed. AFBF encourages lawmakers from both chambers to work quickly to reconcile differences in each version of the legislation and get it to the president for his signature so farmers can continue putting dinner on the table for families in America and overseas.”… Continue reading

Read More »