Country Life



Do you know who coined the name “coronavirus”?

By Judit E. Puskas and Carin A. Helfer

Coronavirus got its name from its appearance: it looks like a ball with a crown (corona or halo) around it. The first images under an electron microscope were taken in 1964 by June Almeida, a Scottish female scientist.

The corona is made of spikes that attach the virus to cells. The RNA found inside the particle carries the information to copy the virus, allowing it to multiply. A person’s immune system will create antibodies that try to destroy the virus. These antibodies provide protection against the virus, which is how vaccines work — a weakened, or inactivated virus, is injected to trigger antibody formation. Simple? Yes, on the surface. However, June found that Hepatitis B can (i) can be carried by a person with no symptoms and no antibodies, or (ii) kill a person, or (iii) can cause health problems in a person.… Continue reading

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CFAP signup has started

By Ben Brown, Peggy Kirk Hall, David Marrison, Dianne Shoemaker and Barry Ward, The Ohio State University

Since the enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, 2020 and the announcement of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) on April 17, 2020, producers in Ohio and across the country have been anxiously awaiting additional details on how the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will provide financial assistance for losses experienced as a result of lost demand, short-term oversupply and shipping pattern disruptions caused by COVID-19. Signup for CFAP started Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at local FSA offices.

The additional details on CFAP eligibility, payment limitations, payment rates, and enrollment timeline arrived on May 19, 2020, when the USDA issued its Final Rule for CFAP.  Resources for Ohio are available at: https://cpb-us-w2.wpmucdn.com/u.osu.edu/dist/9/29991/files/2020/05/CFAP-Payments-Final-5-20-2020.pdf.

OSU Extension and Ohio FSA also conducted a webinar hosted by Ohio Ag Net outlining program materials and answering questions featuring Leonard Hubert of the Ohio Farm Service Agency.… Continue reading

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Wildlife chief cleared

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

Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) Chief Kendra Wecker has been cleared of an alleged hunting violation after an investigation conducted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“ODNR’s Office of Law Enforcement completed an investigation,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz stated in a release. “The results of that investigation were reviewed by the Delaware City Prosecutor, who concluded there was no evidence of hunting on public land or turkey baiting. The anonymous allegations were unfounded. We appreciate their thorough review of this case.”

It was alleged that Wecker violated Ohio’s hunting laws while pursuing turkeys on private property in Delaware County, within 50 yards of a game feeder.

“On April 25, 2020, the ODNR received an anonymous complaint of turkey hunting by shotgun on an area restricted to archery hunting only,” the ODNR release stated. “An additional complaint alleged that hunters were harvesting turkey over a baited area.… Continue reading

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Canning in 2020

Home food preservation is expected to be very popular this year, as many people have taken on several kinds of new hobbies to pass time while staying home during quarantine.

Temporary business closures due to stay-at-home orders have also resulted in more people turning to gardening, whether due to a fear of food supply chain disruptions or a desire to have more control over the foods they eat.

Nationwide, more consumers are expected to plant gardens this year. For example, online searches for “growing vegetables from scraps” increased 4,650% in March compared the same time last year, according to Google Trends.

“Empty grocery store shelves, decreased incomes, more time at home, and an increased sense of an unknown future have many people wanting to do what they can to be more self-sufficient,” said Kate Shumaker, an Ohio State University Extension educator and registered dietitian. “That has led many to a new era of ‘victory gardens,’ where local food security starts in your own back yard,” she said, noting media reports of up to 300% increases in seed sales this spring.… Continue reading

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RIP Evinrude

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

BRP has announced it will discontinue production of Evinrude outboard engines, ending a century-long run of the iconic outboard boat motors founded in 1907 by Olé Evinrude in Milwaukee.

I own three Evinrudes at present, from a 1960s 3 horsepower model passed along to me by my late Dad to a state-of-the-art 2014 130 hp E-TEC outboard that — even used — cost me more than we spent on my wife’s car (I’m good, Maria doesn’t read OCJ). I figure that over four decades of boating I have owned at least a dozen of Ole’s offspring, and I’m not going to be alone in missing the classic brand with the oddball name.

Here’s the gist of the press release sent to boating media the day of the announcement:

“Our outboard engines business has been greatly impacted by COVID-19, obliging us to discontinue production of our outboard motors immediately,” said José Boisjoli, President and CEO of BRP.… Continue reading

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Coyote trapping/hunting regulations again being debated

By Matt Reese

In early 2020 coyotes were causing quite a stir in Columbus due to a proposal from the Division of Wildlife to align coyote hunting and trapping regulations with Ohio’s furbearers.

“The Division of Wildlife proposed some rule changes that would require anyone who traps or takes a coyote to have a fur taker permit. It also set up a season for coyotes that would be in line with other animals such as fox and so forth,” said Tony Seegers, Ohio Farm Bureau director of state policy. “The provision was really going to hamstring farmers with the creation of a season that would not be beneficial for lambing and calving on livestock farms. The Division, after much consideration and comments from many of our members, decided to withdraw those rules.”

Since then, HB 553 has been introduced to keep the open season for coyotes in place permanently.

“We appreciate the Division of Wildlife withdrawing those proposed rules earlier in the year but we also know agencies can bring rules back.… Continue reading

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Guidelines for county fairs released 🎙

By Matt Reese

The calendar is almost to June and there is still tremendous uncertainty surrounding most of Ohio’s county and independent fairs. The topic came up in Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s afternoon press conference.

“Today we are releasing guidelines on how county fair boards/agricultural societies and local health departments can safely allow kids to participate in limited livestock shows and other activities,” DeWine said.

The guidelines include an emphasis on social distancing, limiting crowds, ensuring the health of people involved, and measures for animal care. The governor encouraged Ohio’s fair boards to work with local health departments on putting on the events within the guidelines.

Earlier in the day State Representatives Susan Manchester and Jena Powell sent a letter to DeWine urging the State to comply with recommendations offered by the Fair Advisory Group.

“Each county has faced different experiences and challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, it is clear that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach,” the letter said.… Continue reading

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COVID-19 merges medical and legal issues

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

Doctors shouldn’t practice law. Lawyers shouldn’t practice medicine. And politicians shouldn’t practice medicine either, but I digress. Some of the most practical and timely legal information I’ve read recently came from a physician practicing in a COVID-19 Unit in Detroit, who shared what she wished her patients had completed prior to their coronavirus diagnosis, advance directives. These legal documents are a set of instructions someone prepares in advance of ill health that determines his healthcare wishes. End of life is a topic none of us likes to contemplate, but according to the doc, not dealing with the inevitable can make the inevitable even more problematic and painful for the patient and the family.

She shared the anguish of the next of kin of a 30-year old patient whose body was unable to fight the coronavirus. He had not executed any legal documents nor had he ever discussed the issues with his family.Continue reading

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Soil moisture and the weather to watch in 2020

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

There is an old saying that “drought begets drought.”

Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension climate specialist explains that soil moisture can have an impact on both temperature and precipitation.

“When we get into weather patterns of dry weather and drought conditions, and it seems like the pattern continues, the level of soil moisture plays a role in that,” Wilson said. “The same applies when we get in a wet pattern, and it just keeps raining. The level of moisture in the soil can impact both the precipitation and temperature.

“This past winter in Ohio was the fifth warmest on record since 1895 looking at the period of December through February. It was also the 22nd wettest. Relatively warm and wet describe how the spring of 2020 began as well. March was the 11th warmest, especially when you factor in overnight lows, and it was the 15th wettest on record statewide.”… Continue reading

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Canal remnants offer glimpse into Ohio history

By Mike Ryan, OCJ field reporter

Constructed in the early 19th century with the goal to connect Lake Erie to the Ohio River and points between and beyond, the great Ohio canal system covered 1,000 miles during its prime years in the Buckeye State. This unique system featured hand dug, man-made canals that were built to be 40 feet wide at the top, 28 feet wide at the bottom, and a 4 foot minimum depth; the canals hauled human and material cargo at a clip of 4 miles per hour by horse- and mule-drawn towboats. Made up of two major north-south running canals — the Ohio and Erie and the Miami and Erie — and several smaller feeder and connector canals, the canal system played an integral role in the development of the Midwestern frontier.

Trustee of the Canal Society of Ohio, Ron Petrie, explained that Ohio pioneers were aided tremendously by the canal system and the state itself owes much of its early growth to this mode of transport.… Continue reading

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Making the most of a COVID slowdown

Like much of the economy, the hydraulic business really slowed down in recent weeks. Though COVD-19 kept things slow at the shop, DNC Hydraulics employees shifted gears into building mode to work on a new 60-foot by 48-foot building at their Rawson facility.

The crew broke ground in late April in response to new growth for the business. The DNC team started by creating a stone pad. After that, the poles went up and the framing started. The next step was to get the trusses up.

“The fun part about this build is that our employees are the main builders,” said Cody Conaway, DNC Hydraulics sales manager. “With the slow down we have had due to COVID-19, our guys really stepped up to help build this building.”

 … Continue reading

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Thinking of direct food sales? Consider these legal issues

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

There’s much disagreement over what we know about COVID-19, but one thing we can agree upon is that it has left an impact on the food supply chain. For some food producers, that impact is creating opportunity. Many growers see the potential of filling the gaps created by closed processing facilities, thin grocery shelves, and unwillingness to shop inside stores. If you’re one of those growers who sees an opportunity to sell food, we have a few thoughts on legal issues to consider before moving into the direct food sales arena. Doing so will reduce your risks and the potential of legal liability.

 

Follow COVID-19-related guidelines

Perhaps this goes without saying, but businesses should take COVID-19 guidelines seriously. Doing so will hopefully reduce the potential of a COVID-19 transmission in the operation while also minimizing the risk of an enforcement action and potential legal liability for failing to protect employees and customers.… Continue reading

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Teens to advise ODNR youth outreach program

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

If only this were offered when I was a teen: the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is looking for highly motivated high school students to serve on the Conservation Teen Advisory Council (ConTAC), a statewide network of student leaders working together to enhance ODNR’s youth outreach and program efforts.

“This is a great opportunity for ambitious young people to jumpstart their future careers with skills that transfer to any profession,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz of the opportunity.

ConTAC members will develop innovative and practical ideas that empower young people to protect and preserve Ohio’s natural resources, provide feedback and make recommendations to enhance outdoor outreach. Council members will also get the chance to explore careers in the natural resources sector and develop valuable networking and leadership skills.

A new class of 30 teens will be selected to serve on ConTAC for the 2020-2021 academic year.… Continue reading

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State Fair canceled for 2020 🎙

By Matt Reese

On May 21, the Ohio State Fair announced that the event will not be taking place in 2020 — rides, fair food, junior fair, Smokey Bear, open shows, friends in the show barn, everything is canceled.

In recent weeks, the Ohio State Fair’s management team and the Ohio Expositions Commission were evaluating all available information from state and local health officials, as well as the financial feasibility of a reduced capacity fair. With the available information, the Ohio Expositions Commission voted to cancel the Ohio State Fair in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the fair for the future.

 “Our commissioners love our State Fair and you know how much I do and this is hard on all of us. This is my 28th year with the Ohio State Fair and I’ve had a lot of challenges over the years and this is right up there.Continue reading

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Embracing young family workers and teaching farm safety during the COVID summer

By Dee Jepsen and Shoshanah Inwood

This spring and summer will be like no other in recent history during the COVID-19 outbreak. As you take stock of the goals you have for your farm this season, labor needs, and family dynamics, now is also the perfect time to create a plan for the role kids will have on the farm this season. As you formulate your plan, it will be important to take the age of your children and their farm interest into account. The following strategies and tips may be helpful as you come up with a plan for involving young family members in daily chores.

 

Designate safe play areas for toddlers and young children

A farm is a wonderful place to grow up. However, younger children also require more oversight. It will be helpful to have conversations as a family about how to keep kids safe while farm work is being done.… Continue reading

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Feeding Farmers program postponed

With the uncertainty of the COVID 19 crisis and the apprehension concerning gatherings of people, we have decided to postpone the spring 2020 Feeding Farmers program sponsored by AgriGold until later this year.

“The best part of this program is the neighbors coming together and sharing lunch and fellowship,” said Bart Johnson, owner of Ohio’s Country Journal. “We want to make sure we can continue the importance of getting together socially and celebrating the honor of being involved in agriculture.”

The hope is this fall will bring more relaxed social gathering guidelines and a return to more normal events. We will provide details when we know more.… Continue reading

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Coronavirus and COVID-19: What is this world coming to?

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Sometimes I think my fellow Americans don’t use a bit of their “smarts.” In my April column I described the hysterical rush of consumers purchasing as much toilet paper as they could haul out in a shopping cart or two. Then, over spring break, college students flocked to Florida beaches in spite of calls to social distance and self-quarantine at home.

Florida officials made no effort to stem the tide of spring breakers and their lack of social distancing and their flouting of authority. Florida businesses raked in the bucks from students, with fully booked hotels, restaurants packed to the gills, and booze flowing like the Suwannee River.

The students’ attitude was “if I die of COVID-19, so be it. Eat, drink and be merry. You only live once.” But the students gave no thought about spreading the virus to their friends and families when they returned home.… Continue reading

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CFAP direct payment details announced

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to this direct support to farmers and ranchers, USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program is partnering with regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat and deliver boxes to Americans in need.

Payments will go directly to farmers who have suffered a 5% or greater price loss and who are facing significant marketing costs due to the coronavirus. Eligible commodities include cattle, hog, dairy, specialty crops and row crops. Payments will be limited to $250,000 per person.

“This aid can’t arrive soon enough as many farmers file for bankruptcy, facing unprecedented losses.… Continue reading

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Farms to Foodbanks: Community foundations partner to supply foodbanks

Food chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in meat processing bottlenecks. Grocery and food pantry refrigerators and freezers are empty, despite increased need for healthy proteins.

Ohio Farm Bureau, Pickaway County Community Foundation (PCCF) and Delaware County Foundation are working with local farmers to supply local foodbanks with Ohio raised pork.

“We are always looking to generate win-win opportunities,” said Chris Baker, president and CEO of the Delaware County Foundation. “As the number of residents out of work and seeking assistance from food banks increases, some farmers have struggled due to disruptions at processing facilities. With a modest grant from the Foundation’s Community Crisis Fund we are pleased to be able to feed hundreds of people while supporting local businesses.”

When partners learned the meat processing plant in Orient was reopening after temporary closure they sprung to action and purchased 30 hogs from Ohio producers to process for local foodbanks.… Continue reading

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