Country Life

USDA issuing $1.75 billion through emergency relief programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will begin issuing more than $1.75 billion in emergency relief payments to eligible farmers and livestock producers. These much-needed payments are helping farming and ranching operations recover following natural disasters in 2020, 2021 and 2022. 

“USDA provides substantial economic support for America’s farmers and ranchers through its critical farm program payments. These payments are reflective of the incredible and cumulative financial hits brought on by devastating natural disasters that agricultural producers nationwide have endured while fulfilling their commitment to produce our food, fiber and fuel,” said Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary. “This additional assistance helps offset the tremendous losses that these producers faced and is a valuable investment, not only for farmers and ranchers but in the economic successes of our communities — rural and urban —  and in our nation’s food security for generations to come.”   

Emergency Livestock Relief Program 

FSA will issue more than $581 million in 2021 and 2022 drought and wildfire emergency relief to eligible ranchers.   … Continue reading

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Feeding Farmers | Andy King, T&D Enterprises, Allen Co.

The King Family of Allen County were winners of the first week of the 2023 edition of Feeding Farmers in the Field. In this video, Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood caught up with Andy King of T&D Enterprises to discuss the farm, their year so far, and the future ahead. Andy has recently bought into the operation and says he looks forward to continue innovating down the road, and offers some advice to fellow up-and-coming farmers who are in similar situations as the next generation.

Along with a broadcast from their operation, they won a free lunch at the farm and an assortment of other prizes thanks to 92.1 The Frog, as well as AG Boogher and Son, RRR Tire, Fertilizer Dealer Supply, North Star Hardware & Implement Co., Farm Credit Mid-America, VTF-Sunrise, Homan Inc., and Golden Harvest.… Continue reading

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USDA Ohio NRCS proposed revisions to conservation practice standards

USDA’s Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service is inviting input during a 30-day comment period on draft revisions to a number of conservation practice standards. If approved, these standards would revise the current Ohio Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) and provide the criteria and considerations required for all USDA Farm Bill financial and technical assistance related to the resource concerns being addressed.   

“Reviewing our standards ensures that we are placing cutting-edge, scientifically backed conservation practices on farms,” said John Wilson, state conservationist for Ohio. “We want to ensure that the public has time to review and provide input so that we can look to the future of agriculture together.”

These standards will govern participation in USDA Farm Bill and Inflation Reduction Act financial and technical programs. They will be available in the NRCS FOTG as well for use by other partners and governmental agencies. 

To view the draft conservation practice standards open for public comment, visit reading

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One year of 988

By Bridget Britton, Behavioral Health Program Coordinator for Ohio State University Extension

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. In September of 2023, there was a milestone marking one year since the launch of 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Nationwide. This switch allowed for youth and adults to go from memorizing a 1-800 number to the easy-to-remember 988.

What is 988?

  • Think the equivalent of 911 only 988.
  • Simply call, text, or chat 988 when you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health challenge or thoughts of suicide.
  • A mental health professional will answer the call and it is completely anonymous, available 24/7.

What have the benefits been?

  • Almost 5 million people have contacted the line in the last year, 2 million more than the previous one.
  • The average answer time went from 2 minutes and 39 seconds to 41 seconds.
  • There are specialized options for Veterans, Spanish subnetwork, and LGBTQI youth.
Continue reading

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Setting up success with succession planning

By Matt Reese and Joel Penhorwood

With the topic of farm succession comes a number of less-than-pleasant potential conversations between generations. Farm Credit Mid-America’s Melanie Strait-Bok, senior vice president of agricultural lending, said FCMA financial officers can be a great resource for tools and advice to work through those tough conversations. 

“I know everyone makes the joke that a farmer never retires, but succession planning goes beyond retirement. It’s looking at how to have a viable operation today and move that viable operation into the future, whether that’s transitioning to the next generation within the family or bringing in somebody outside the family,” Strait-Bok said. “How do we make sure that we can bring in the next generation of farmers so that they can be successful and learn? When you think about succession planning, I know conversations might be slightly difficult, but that’s why you have individuals around you to help like your financial officer at Farm Credit, your accountant and your attorney.… Continue reading

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Paul Bunyan Show Oct. 6-8

The Paul Bunyan Show, one of the oldest and largest forest industry shows in the country, has sold out its exhibitor space for the 2023 show. The event will be Oct. 6-8 at the Guernsey County Fairgrounds in Cambridge. This year is the 65th celebration of Ohio’s forest products industry that is a vital part of the state economy, employing over 115,000 individuals and contributing over $30 billion in economic activity.

Roughly 150 vendors will showcase their newest products and many include live equipment demonstrations. Husqvarna (Booth #510-513) is the Paul Bunyan Show’s title sponsor for the 18th consecutive year and will offer training throughout the weekend in chainsaw safety, cutting and felling techniques, technical tree climbing, aerial cutting, and hazard cutting. Other sponsoring exhibitors include but are not limited to: Columbus Equipment Company (Booth #400, 401, 406, 407), Buckeye Power Sales (Booth #129), Murphy Tractor (Booth #439, 440, 444), and LaRoche Tree Service, Inc.… Continue reading

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Attendees enjoyed new tech, great weather at 2023 Farm Science Review

More than 116,786 attendees made the trip to the Molly Caren Agricultural Center this week for the 61st annual Farm Science Review and left with new products, new ideas and new connections.

The three-day farm show welcomed 35,902 visitors on Tuesday, 59,641 on Wednesday and 21,243 on Thursday, all of whom experienced beautiful Ohio fall weather.

“As far as shows go historically, this one is at the top of the list in terms of attendee-exhibitor interactions, field demonstrations and weather conducive to folks enjoying their time here,” said Nick Zachrich, FSR manager. “We’ve had lots of great feedback from attendees and exhibitors alike on how the connections made here this week will be prudent to the agriculture industry as a whole in the years ahead.”

For exhibitors, it’s a chance to connect with current and potential customers. Brad Bergefurd, an agronomist with Brandt, said his company has been exhibiting at FSR for over 10 years now.… Continue reading

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A modern-day pirate tale

By Dan Armitage

There’s a saying among recreational boaters that you’re not considered an “experienced” boater until you’ve run aground at least once. If that’s true, then I am a very experienced seaman, for I have run aground countless times in my 60 years of on-water experience. Granted, I have done quite a bit more boating than most, as an outdoor writer and boat reviewer for several national magazines. I also started my professional boating career when I lived in the Florida Keys, where I worked on commercial lobster and dive boats, enough so that I acquired the sea time, studied hard, and earned my USCG Master Captain credentials. Of course, I always had a boat of my own to “mess about” with, and as is the nature of the “skinny” water in the Keys, and tides constantly changing the depth of the water beneath the hull, I’ve been aground more often than I care to admit.… Continue reading

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Bill introduced to expand financing opportunities for farmers and manufacturers

U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced bipartisan legislation to expand financing opportunities for first-time farmers and small and mid-size manufacturers around the country. The Modernizing Agricultural and Manufacturing Bonds (MAMBA) Act will modernize the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) rules for Industrial Development Bonds (IDBs) and First-Time Farmer Bonds (Aggie Bonds) providing new financing opportunities available to first-time farmers and small and mid-size manufacturers to build new facilities. The rules for IDBs and Aggie bonds have not been updated in nearly 40 years.  

“Ohio farmers and manufacturers are eager to grow and produce more Ohio-made products and food, and we can help them achieve that goal by connecting them with the capital they need to grow,” said Senator Brown. “A simple update to the way manufacturers can use private activity bonds will be a huge help to the next generation of farmers, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs as they work to hire Ohioans and grow our economy.”

 MAMBA will:

  • Improve the ability of aggie bond to support the next generation of farmers ability to acquire land by increasing, the limitation on small issue bond proceeds for first-time farmers. 
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Turtle trafficker, officer assaulter indicted in Hamilton County

In a bizarre only-in-Ohio kind of incident, an individual suspected of trafficking red-eared slider turtles in Cincinnati and striking a state wildlife officer with his vehicle was recently indicted in Hamilton County by a grand jury, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

In July, State Wildlife Officer Brad Turner, assigned to Preble County, received a Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) report regarding turtles being sold in Cincinnati. Officer Turner and State Wildlife Officer Andrew Dowdell, assigned to Butler County, responded to the location. They found two men selling red-eared sliders without the required propagation permit.

During the encounter, one of the suspects, Alonso Oliver-Tucker, 37, of Philadelphia, disobeyed an officer’s verbal commands and fled in his vehicle, striking Officer Turner as he accelerated. Officer Turner was treated at The Christ Hospital and released the same evening.

The Cincinnati Police Department filed three arrest warrants for Oliver-Tucker, who was arrested several days later in Pennsylvania.… Continue reading

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Ohio ag groups organize to address mental health

Listen to a full conversation on this topic via the audio player above with Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Spokesperson Ty Higgins.

From weather, to rising prices and costs of doing business, to long hours, and the weight of keeping the family farm in business can cause incredible amounts of stress and take a toll on a farmer’s mental wellbeing.

A newly created alliance will focus on mental health in agriculture to ensure Ohio’s farmers, families, and communities are better equipped to deal with stress.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), Ohio Department of Health (ODH), Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), The Ohio State University (OSU), Ohio Farm Bureau (OFB), Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, and Farm Credit Mid-America make up the new Ohio Agricultural Mental Health Alliance (OAMHA).

The group’s first action is introducing a new, anonymous survey to seek feedback directly from rural communities.… Continue reading

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Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! The jumping worms of Dane County

By Don “Doc” Sanders

You may jump to the conclusion that the following story is a thinly veiled reimagining of Mark Twain’s 1865 short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” Twain’s tale has the character Jim Smiley using a frog as a source of income in a gold mining camp at Angel’s Camp in California. Smiley had caught the frog and named it Dan’l Webster.

He taught Ol’ Dan’l to jump and catch flies. Dan’l would do this on command. If you know anything about frog anatomy, frogs have a long tongue that is attached from the front of their lower jaw. This gives them a greater reach when flicking for flies. Smiley used this to his advantage, wagering vulnerable, naive miners how high and far Ol’ Dan’l could jump to catch a fly. But Smiley ends up getting tricked himself. The story appeared more about taking advantage of a bunch of suckers rather than being about a jumping frog.… Continue reading

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USDA forecasts big drop in farm income levels

By Daniel Munch, American Farm Bureau Federation economist

USDA’s most recent Farm Sector Income Forecast, released Aug. 31, dropped net farm income expectations for 2023 lower than initial February estimates to $141.3 billion, down 23% from 2022’s $183 billion. This $41.7 billion decline nearly erases the $42.9 billion increase that was forecast between 2021 and 2022 but is smaller than the $46 billion gain between 2020 and 2021 following the COVID-19 pandemic. When adjusted for inflation, net farm income, a broad measure of farm profitability, is expected to decrease $48 billion (25.4%) in 2023. The forecast also shows farm and ranch production expenses continuing to increase, rising by $29.5 billion (7%) in 2023 to $458 billion, following a record increase of $56 billion in 2022. 

It is important to note USDA finalized net farm income for 2022, which has been forecasted until this release. In February, USDA had estimated 2022 net farm income at $162.7 billion, a 16% increase over 2021.… Continue reading

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Ohio Forestry Association Foundation announces application period for conservation education grant program

The Ohio Forestry Association Foundation opened its grant application window on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. These grants will generally be small-scale and are designed to assist an organization in a conservation education project, with a maximum individual grant amount of $2,500. Applications will be accepted until Oct. 13 this year, with grant awards being selected and announced by Dec. 1 for funding to be used in the following calendar year. See complete details of the grant program, including application details and directions or see the printable application

Examples of past grant recipients include: 

  • $1,000 to help fund the purchase of a Portable Sawmill for a Natural Resource Class at a Career Center 
  • $1,000 to sponsor a Forestry Station at a State Envirothon 
  • $1,000 to help fund an Educational Trip for College Forestry Students 
  • $1,500 to sponsor a 4-H Woodworking Day at the State Fair  
  • $1,750 to fund forestry programming at an Environmental Learning Center 
  • $2,000 to purchase basic forester equipment for youth education  
  • $2,500 to help fund the Best Management Practices for Logging Manual. 
Continue reading

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ODA announces H2Ohio open enrollment in Maumee River Watershed

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced a new round of H2Ohio open enrollment for producers in the 14 counties of the Maumee River Watershed project area.  

“It is as important as ever that Ohio’s agricultural community steps up to the plate to do the right thing,” said Brian Baldridge ODA Director. “We know 2,400 farmers are engaged in H2Ohio, but it takes all of us working together to improve Ohio’s water for generations to come.”

Producers in the following counties are eligible to enroll or re-enroll acreage into proven, science-based, best management practices (BMPs) that contribute toward improving water quality in Lake Erie and other bodies of water: Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Lucas, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, Williams, Wood.

Governor DeWine launched the H2Ohio initiative in 2019 to help offset some of the financial risk producers incur when trying new conservation practices. This year, ODA has streamlined BMPs and updated incentives to better suit producers’ needs to implement conservation practices on their farm operation.… Continue reading

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Plenty of appeal for women in ag at Farm Science Review

More than half (51%) of all farming operations in the United States have at least one female operator, according to the 2019 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). 

“We’re not always the tag-along,” said Emily Mullen, owner and operator of Mullen Dairy and Creamery and longtime FSR attendee. 

“My first experience at FSR was actually a super big deal because I got to play hooky from school for the day and hang out with my dad,” said Mullen. “To be thrown together with a group of people that shared the same passion as I had made me feel like I was part of a community.” 

Like other farmers, Mullen has to think outside the box to keep her family’s fourth-generation dairy farm going. 

“One thing I noticed as I looked at the generations of past family members is that I had to farm differently in order to maintain a place in this industry,” Mullen said.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau releases updated Ohio Landowner Toolkit

Owning land comes with important responsibilities, and Ohio Farm Bureau has recently updated a valuable resource to help landowners better navigate through the issues that come along with those responsibilities.

The new 40-page Ohio Landowner Toolkit contains essential information prepared by Ohio Farm Bureau’s legal team that will help answer questions unique to property owners on topics such as agricultural easements, property rights, oil and gas, zoning, open burning and more.

“The benefits of the Landowner Toolkit extend beyond individual landowners,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “By promoting informed and responsible land management, it contributes to the health of Ohio agriculture as a whole. Additionally, by helping landowners navigate legal and financial complexities, it can contribute to the stability and growth of individual farms and create a path of success for farm families.”

The toolkit also assists members in navigating eminent domain, boundary disputes, trees and property rights, line fence, open burning and Ohio Farm Bureau’s $5,000 Reward Property Protection Program.… Continue reading

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No one can take your place

By Dee Jepsen

National Farm Safety and Health Week is September 17 to 23, 2023. This promotional week has occurred since 1944 to commemorate the hard work, diligence and sacrifices made by our nation’s farmers and ranchers.  

The 2023 theme, “No one can take your place,” reminds us that working in agriculture is different than working other industries. Farms are unique businesses, each producing their own commodity, with their own workforce, management team, and production schedule. Regardless of their size small and large farms can be found in rural, urban and inner-city settings growing food and resources for local and world consumption.

This article was written in the spirit of the hard-working agricultural worker, their dedicated families to pursue an agricultural lifestyle, and the business community that supports the agricultural economy. Here are three short safety and health practices to follow as the fall farming season approaches.

For your safety

Consider the best recommended practices for operating tractors, machinery, ATVs and UTVs, and farmstead systems.… Continue reading

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Nationwide study reveals how farmers adapted in an era of tremendous volatility

A nationwide study by Aimpoint Research, a global, strategic intelligence firm, has revealed how farmers and ranchers have adapted to tremendous volatility and a post-pandemic world with heightened geopolitical and economic uncertainties. The syndicated report, Farmer of the Future 2.0, builds on the foundational Farmer of the Future psychographic segmentation and future projections released in 2018 and provides a window into U.S. farmers’ current mindsets and attitudes on a wide range of topics.

“Since the original study was released, the world has experienced major disruption that has impacted all sectors of human activity,” said Brett Sciotto, Aimpoint Research CEO. “The ripple effects are still being felt. Interest rates and inflation continue to fuel economic concerns. Geopolitical uncertainty is creating new trade flows and technology is rapidly evolving. These and other forces have accelerated the transformation of U.S. agriculture.”

One of the most telling insights from the report is how fast this change has occurred.… Continue reading

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More outdoor learning opportunities focus of new pilot program

GrowNextGen is partnering with The Ohio State University to bring more outdoor learning opportunities to students in Ohio. Dale visits with Patrick Nightingale from Kipp Academy, a GrowNextGen teacher, who took part in an educational event earlier this week at Waterman Farms.

GrowNextGen is a program of the Ohio’s Soybean farmers and their checkoff.… Continue reading

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