Country Life

Health sharing or insurance?

By Risë Labig, marketing specialist for Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net

Last year at this time, my husband and I were in the process of deciding whether to continue to participate in my company’s health care plan, or change to a “health-sharing” plan. Like the majority of Americans, premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed. Through no fault of our employer, I knew that based on us hitting milestone birthdays our premiums would rise. And rise they did, to the tune of over $1,100 per month, and that doesn’t include the deductible.

I am employed at a small business (Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net), as many people are. Small businesses simply do not have the “buying power” of a large group. As a result, premiums and deductibles are high. As anyone who has tried to navigate through deciding which deductible to choose — higher deductible, lower premium versus lower premium, higher deductible — well, it’s not easy.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau celebrates a century of service to agriculture

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

Ohio Farm Bureau is celebrating its 100th annual meeting this week with the theme “Celebrating our Past, Creating our Future.”

The event includes a historical museum highlighting a century of Farm Bureau accomplishments in legislation, business development, cultural and social change, economic and environmental sustainability and celebrating Farm Bureau’s successes through grassroots action. For example, the organization played a role in the electrification of rural Ohio, the creation of Nationwide Insurance and the preservation of Ohio’s rural landscape.

OFBF President Frank Burkett III was honored to be a part of the centennial event.

“I’m excited about the 100th annual meeting. For 100 years farmers have been coming together to create solutions for the agricultural community in three levels of our organization  — their county Farm Bureau, the Ohio Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau. What an accomplishment — less than 1% of U.S.… Continue reading

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30th Annual Fort Wayne Farm Show at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum

When Jack Thill started the Fort Wayne Farm Show, he envisioned a trade show where the farm community could come together with agri-business leaders to learn about and compare the latest equipment and products in this ever-changing marketplace. Now, in its 30th year, that vision has grown to become one of the nation’s most respected farm shows, attracting qualified attendees from many states.

Exhibitors present the latest farm technology the industry has to offer along with the area’s largest variety of farm machinery equipment, in one location. In 2019, Northeastern Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Purdue Cooperative Extension will present daily educational seminars. Parkview Health Systems will offer free CPR Classes each day of the show. Also in 2019, in support of the Indiana FFA Scholarship Foundation, fundraising auctions, featuring a variety of donated items, will be held both Tuesday and Wednesday. Last year’s auction raised over $20,000.00 for scholarships.… Continue reading

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Trade progress for U.S. agriculture with USMCA

In early December, U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials signed the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) after a year of intense negotiations on the trade pact.

“[The] signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement continues the progress American farmers and ranchers have made since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect in 1994,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico increased from $8.9 billion to $39 billion under NAFTA. That boost provided important markets for farmers and ranchers whose productivity has only grown since the agreement was signed. USMCA keeps all those gains and adds improvements in poultry, eggs, dairy and wine. In every way, this new agreement is just as good, if not better than, the one that came before. We thank the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for all the hard work that went into this accord.

“As good as all this news is, farmers and ranchers still face retaliatory tariffs over steel and aluminum disputes with our North American neighbors and other trading partners.… Continue reading

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2019 Farm Management School to be offered in Darke County

OSU Extension will be partnering with Farm Credit Mid-America to hold a Farm Management School this winter to address this need from the agriculture community. The series is for all those in farming or agriculture businesses interested in finances, business plans and how to make their operation successful.

January 3              Farm Mission and Business Plans

January 10           Record Keeping and Balance Sheets

January 17           Budgets and Enterprise Analysis

February 7           Ag Law and Farm Transition

 

Presenters for the series will include Bruce Clevenger, Dianne Shoemaker, Sharon Harris, Peggy Hall and Sam Custer from Ohio State University Extension. Farm Credit Mid-America team members will also be presenters.

 

OSU Extension, Darke County would like to thank our sponsor Farm Credit Mid-America for their support in holding this program.

Pre-registration and payment required. Download the full flyer and registration at http://go.osu.edu/2019farmmanagementschool . $40 per person. Registration deadline is December 26, 2018.   Registration includes snacks and materials.… Continue reading

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North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association provides invaluable training and fellowship

By Mike Ryan, OCJ field reporter

The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) is a unique and valuable organization for gun dog owners, trainers, and breeders.

“The organization is in part driven by breeders as a means to improve breeds and bloodlines. NAVHDA has four levels of tests that apply to every breed of gun dog in all of their training and development stages,” said Steve Spangler, of Sugar Grove, who has bred, trained, and hunted over bird dogs for 15 years. “The first level test is the Natural Ability Test, which is done before the dog is 16 months old. This tests the dog’s natural instincts by exposing the dog to certain situations and scenarios where they are graded on search, use of nose, cooperation, sensitivity, and bird finding. Actual training begins for the Utility Test. The Utility Test mimics everything I want a dog to do in the field, specifically where I hunt in southeastern Ohio.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation awards $20,700 in ag, community grants

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently awarded $20,700 in grants to organizations that support and promote Ohio’s agricultural industry as well as local communities. The foundation’s Action & Awareness grants focus on four core areas: economic development, education, environment and the human-animal bond.

Grant recipients are:

  • AgriPOWER to support two scholarships for Ohio Farm Bureau’s intensive, year-long leadership program for farmers and agribusiness professionals.
  • Crown Point Ecology Center to help convert an existing building into a honey extraction and beeswax processing facility that will be available to local northeastern Ohio beekeepers.
  • Friends of the Juvenile Court in Clinton County to help expand an existing program that pairs at-risk youth with local farmers through the 4-H process.
  • Ohio Energy Project in support of its Energy Sources Tour and Energy Sources Blitz programs that give teachers behind-the-scenes access to the energy industry.
  • Ohio Hop Growers Guild to support its 2019 Ohio Hop Conference in January.
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Putnam SWCD Farmer Meeting Dec. 4

The Putnam Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting a farmer meeting on Dec. 4 highlighting water quality and the vital importance of the 4Rs in the Lake Erie Watershed.

“My goal is to get every retailer in Putnam County 4R certified and get every acre soil sampled,” said Jeff Duling, with Putnam SWCD.

The featured speaker at the event will be Chris Winslow, director of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program that supports greater knowledge and stewardship of Lake Erie. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Ottawa K of C Hall. Snacks and soft drinks will be provided. For more information contact Putnam SWCD at 419-523-5159.… Continue reading

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Farm bill progress announced

Farm bill negotiators — Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn. — have reached an agreement in principle on a new farm bill.

This welcome news for agriculture as the push to get a bill done in 2018 continues.

“It’s imperative that farmers and rural communities have a new farm bill this year,” said Lynn Chrisp, National Corn Growers Association president. “NCGA is grateful for today’s announcement that sets the steps in motion to ensure that happens. Our grower members have been making phone calls and sending emails to Capitol Hill urging lawmakers to reach a deal before year’s end. We thank them for heeding this call and look forward to fully reviewing the conference agreement.”… Continue reading

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Bad weather did not stop Ohio’s opening day of deer-gun hunting season

Hunters checked 13,614 white-tailed deer on Monday, Nov. 26, the opening day of Ohio’s deer-gun hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

There is still time to get out and enjoy Ohio’s deer-gun season, which remains open through Sunday, Dec. 2. Two additional days of deer-gun season (Saturday, Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 16) have been added to increase the opportunity for people to hunt with firearms. Find more information about deer hunting in the 2018-2019 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.gov.

Past year’s harvest summaries and weekly updated harvest reports can be found at wildohio.gov/deerharvest.

For the first time this year, Ohio resident hunters can purchase multiyear and lifetime licenses at wildohio.gov and at hundreds of participating agents throughout the state. License buyers can choose from 3-year, 5-year, 10-year and lifetime hunting or fishing licenses. All money generated from the sale of multiyear and lifetime licenses is deposited into the Wildlife Fund, where it will be used to protect and enhance Ohio’s wildlife populations.… Continue reading

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Public comments on watersheds in distress

By Matt Reese

The public got to weigh in with thoughts on the proposed Watersheds in Distress designation on Nov. 20. There were a number of concerns raised in the comments including the costs of the designation, the challenging logistics, the legalities, and a lack of practicality of implementation. In addition, a number of residents from the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed expressed concern about a provision standardizing rules in Ohio’s distressed watersheds.

“As we’ve gone through the rule making process, we thought it would be best to standardize things. As it is right now, Grand Lake St. Marys has a calendar ban on manure application and the Western Lake Erie Basin has a frozen and snow covered ban in statute based on Senate Bill 1,” said Mark Bruce with the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “As part of the designation of the watersheds in distress, the [Kasich] Administration felt it was best to try and standardize that.… Continue reading

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ODA announces 2019 funding for local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program

The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced that eight land trusts, four counties and 15 Soil and Water Conservation Districts will receive funding to help preserve farmland across the state. These organizations will receive allocations from the Clean Ohio Fund to select, close and monitor easements under the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP).

LAEPP sponsor organizations will accept applications from Ohio landowners interested in selling an agricultural easement on their farms. A total of nearly $8.5 million will be made available in this funding round. Local sponsors have been certified to accept applications in 34 counties. Interested landowners should contact the certified local sponsor in their county for application details.

The program allows landowners to voluntarily sell easements on their farms to the state of Ohio. The easement requires the farm remain permanently in agriculture production. Selected farms must be 40 acres or more, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have the support of their local government and not lay directly in the path of development.… Continue reading

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2018 Ohio Water Quality update

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Lake Erie wasn’t as bad as expected this year with harmful algal bloom severity coming in below expectations — at a 4 when it was predicted at 6. I have seen several remarks as to why. It wasn’t due to reduced nitrogen or phosphorus flowing into the lake, it was due to windy conditions this summer.

But we are under a pending distressed watershed order for eight watersheds in northwest Ohio. We will see what happens next February when the Soil and Water Conservation Commission meets again.

For the rest of Ohio outside of the Lake Erie Watershed, the area of concern is the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA-supported scientists have determined that this year’s Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” — an area of low oxygen that can kill fish and marine life — is approximately 2,720 square miles, an area about the size of Delaware.… Continue reading

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Farmers receive 11 cents of the Thanksgiving food dollar

Farmers and ranchers take home just 11.3 cents from every dollar that consumers spend on their Thanksgiving dinner meals, according to the annual Thanksgiving edition of the National Farmers Union (NFU) Farmer’s Share publication. The popular Thanksgiving Farmer’s Share compares the retail food price of traditional holiday dinner items to the amount the farmer receives for each item they grow or raise.

“As we gather around the Thanksgiving dinner table this year, we should take time to recognize and thank the family farmers and ranchers who provide our Thanksgiving meals,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “While consumer holiday food costs continue to decline, incomes for American farm and ranch families are dropping precipitously. We’re in the midst of the worst farm economic downturn in generations, and we’re hopeful the Farmer’s Share can help illustrate that fact to the general public.”

On average, farmers receive 14.8 cents of every food dollar consumers spend throughout the year, while more than 85% of food costs cover marketing, processing, wholesaling, distribution and retailing.… Continue reading

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Holiday indulgence in moderation

Many people are looking for ways to either avoid temptation or make better choices that will allow them to maintain a healthy weight while they navigate all the indulgence of the season, said Jenny Lobb, a family and consumer sciences educator for Ohio State University Extension.

With that in mind, Lobb offers the following tips that can help you enjoy the holidays and still meet your food-related health goals.

Use the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate dietary guidelines as your guide to healthy eating. MyPlate encourages people to eat more fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, including advocating that people make half of the food on their plate fruits and vegetables. So look for fruits and vegetables when you go to holiday gatherings and when you are planning your own meals. Filling up on those foods first might help you eat less of the other richer foods that you might encounter later.… Continue reading

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Ohio farmers get big response after putting their pulling tractor to work

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net

It’s hard to go to a tractor pull and see those souped-up machines barreling down the track without thinking “what could those actually do on the farm?” The Metzger family of Shelby, Ohio recently had fun trying that out with their pulling tractor ‘Alcoholic Harvester.’ You may have seen it yourself as the video posted by Jim Metzger of the super-class tractor pulling a grain cart through a field currently holds well over two million views since it was posted about three weeks ago.

“It’s actually my brother’s tractor and he’s the one driving it,” said Jim Metzger. “We pull the tractor all over the state of Ohio and for the sixth out of seventh year that happens to be the number one tractor again in the state of Ohio in the alcohol super class. We run at Bowling Green, a few NTPA hooks, but mostly OSTPA hooks.… Continue reading

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Turkey prices reach 10-year low

Consumers heading to grocery stores this Thanksgiving will find many reasons to give thanks. Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and department head of Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Economics, said estimated turkey prices will ring in at a 10-year low around $1.45 per pound. The price of Thanksgiving staples will be on par with, if not lower than, the past several years.

“Agricultural commodity prices, like for corn and soybeans, have been low for some time and have remained low,” Lusk said. “These are the ingredients for a lot of food and are also used to make feed for animals, so that’s one of the drivers.”

Low energy costs over the past few years also add to the affordability of food. Good news for the consumer, however, spells bad news for many farmers. Lusk describes the national agricultural economy as fairly depressed, especially compared with five years ago. Certain sectors, like pork, beef and poultry, benefit from low feed prices and continue to prosper whereas other industries, like dairy, are feeling the strain of an oversaturated market and low prices.… Continue reading

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Reflections on the U.S. 2018 midterm elections, trade and the farm bill

By Jonathan Coppess, Nick Paulson, Gary Schnitkey with the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics and Carl Zulauf, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics

This article is composed of 4 short reflections on the 2018 U.S. midterm elections and their potential impact on U.S. farm economics and policy.

 

Carl Zulauf

A well-functioning democracy facilitates mini-revolutions via the ballot box by voters who feel overlooked or disaffected, thus minimizing the likelihood of large, pent-up revolutions. President Trump’s election in 2016 was a mini-revolution by voters, mostly in rural and industrial areas, who had experienced little economic progress or felt negatively impacted by economic, particularly trade, policy.

Results of the 2018 midterm elections will unlikely reverse the 2016 mini-revolution. Democrats won control of the House of Representatives and thus can use oversight hearings and investigations to slow the mini-revolution, but Republicans increased their control of the Senate.… Continue reading

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The search for what is killing the beech trees

American beech trees are dying in northeast Ohio and beyond. An Ohio State University study aims to figure out why.

The study is looking into the cause of beech leaf disease, which was first found in Lake County in 2012 and has since spread to nine other counties in Ohio, eight in Pennsylvania, one in New York and five in Ontario.

Young trees seem to be particularly susceptible to the disease, which initially causes dark stripes to appear on leaves, then deforms the leaves. Eventually the disease can kill the trees.

“There’s no similar forest tree disease that we are aware of anywhere,” said Enrico Bonello, a professor of plant pathology in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), who oversees the study. “It’s really a black box.”

Working under Bonello’s supervision, doctoral graduate student Carrie Ewing is comparing the genes of microorganisms present in leaves that have symptoms of beech tree disease and those that do not, hoping to identify the microorganisms that are uniquely associated with beech leaf disease.… Continue reading

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Landowner’s evidence not determinative in CAUV tax appeal according to Ohio Supreme Court

By Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Agricultural and Resource Law Program, Ohio State University

A landowner may present evidence regarding the value and acreage of his or her land, but the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) is free to weigh that evidence as it wishes, according to the Ohio Supreme Court. All seven justices agreed that the BTA in the case of Johnson v. Clark County Board of Revision acted with appropriate discretion, although two justices did not sign onto the reasoning as to why the BTA acted appropriately. The case involved a property owner’s challenge of the Clark County Auditor’s determination of Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) for property tax purposes.

Continue reading for more information about what CAUV is, how CAUV determinations and tax assessments can be appealed, what happened in the Johnson v. Clark County Board of Revision case, and the main takeaways from the Supreme Court’s decision.

 

What is CAUV?… Continue reading

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