Country Life

Ohio’s 2018 fair season kicks off

It is again the time of year where the attention of countless exhibitors, volunteers and visitors is focused upon the longstanding tradition of the county fair. The events are a centerpiece of summer for Ohio counties, but they would not happen without the dedication of many hours from volunteers.

“People do not really understand the number of volunteer hours that local fairs have,” said Tom Stocksdale from Wayne County who serves as the District 5 representative on the Ohio Fair Managers Association Board of Directors. “If fairs had to pay for everything that happens, they couldn’t afford to operate. So much depends on volunteer hours.”

Thanks to all of those volunteers as Ohio’s fair season kicks off this month.


Paulding County Fair (Paulding) June 11-16
Pickaway County (Circleville) June 16-23
Putnam County (Ottawa) June 25-30


Marion County (Marion) July 2-7
Harrison County (Cadiz) June 25-30
Clinton County (Wilmington) July 7-14
Madison County (London) July 7-14
Adams County (West Union) July 8-14
Lawrence County (Proctorville) July 7-14
Logan County (Bellefontaine) July 8-14
Trumbull County (Cortland) July 8-15
Montgomery County (Dayton) July 9-15
Lucas County (Maumee) July 10-15
Jackson County (Wellston) July 13-21
Franklin County (Hilliard) July 14-21
Crawford County (Bucyrus) July 15-21
Fayette County (Washington C.H.)… Continue reading

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Who can work on your farm?

By Emily G. Adams, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Coshocton County, Ohio

The 2018 hay baling season has arrived and, for some farms, that means more labor than usual is required to get all the jobs done. That labor may include your own children or grandchildren. Today we’ll take a look at what the law allows and also consider what types of jobs kids are capable of handling from a developmental standpoint.

One great reference to guide these considerations are “Youth on the Farm: What Type of Farm Work Can They Perform” by Peggy Hall and Catherine Daniels in the OSU Agricultural and Resource Law Program. Another very helpful publication is Penn State Extension’s “Children and Safety on the Farm.”

The law treats the children you hire differently depending on their relationship to you. If you hire your own child or grandchild, Ohio and federal law allows you to have the child do any type of job, including agricultural jobs that are categorized as hazardous.… Continue reading

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Ohio State students dedicate capstone project to save wetland

By Chip Tuson, Program Manager, Marketing & Communications for the Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, OSU Extension, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Each autumn, seniors majoring in Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering (FABE) at The Ohio State University begin a yearlong capstone design experience. Students form teams to address real-world problems sponsored university, local, and national clients and organizations. This year, 118 FABE students completed 23 projects. In addition, 39 Agricultural Systems Management (ASM) students also worked on 12 projects in a similar exercise.

One group of ecological and biological engineering students chose a project close to home with those familiar with Ohio State’s Columbus campus: restoring the Carmack Woods. The Carmack Woods are a 6.5-acre undeveloped area on the west side of the Columbus Campus.

“There was a point in time when the university considered developing the Carmack Woods area into a parking lot because they are losing a large parking area near medical campus,” said the team, consisting of ecological engineering majors Monica Backs, Lucas Froelich, Jake Radeff, Patrick Sanders, and biological engineering major Gio Papio.… Continue reading

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Hunting seasons (finally) set

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman

This autumn’s hunting and trapping seasons were among the regulations approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council at its twice-delayed meeting in May. Deer hunting changes include modifications to antlerless harvest on public land following the weeklong deer gun season, after which only antlered deer may be taken from public hunting areas and no more than one antlerless deer may be taken from public hunting areas per license year, except from an ODNR Division of Wildlife authorized control hunt.

A reduction in the bag limit, from three deer to two deer was approved for Jefferson County, a change designed to encourage herd growth there. All other county bag limits remain the same and the statewide bag limit remains at six deer. As usual, only one deer harvested by any means anywhere in Ohio may be antlered, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit.… Continue reading

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CIFT kitchen incubator achieves food safety excellence

The Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK), managed by CIFT, achieved a superior score on a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) third party food safety audit.

EAGLE Certification Group conducted the extensive audit that assessed the facility condition and food safety processes and provided independent, third party verification that the GMP program is effective and robust.  Several dozen small businesses use the Bowling Green, Ohio based kitchen incubator to produce food products sold at retail locations.  Achieving this exceptional score assures retailers, as well as customers, brokers and other parties that these products were manufactured in a facility that is regularly monitoring product safety, sanitation and facility design and integrity.

CIFT has worked with small and startup companies since the center’s inception in 1995 by providing product development guidelines, resources and marketing direction to entrepreneurs involved in the production of value-added food products.  Technical capabilities, including nutritional analysis and shelf-life stability testing, ensure safe production of products.… Continue reading

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Grilling, smoking, or barbecuing: Is there a difference?

Now that summer has arrived, it is a good time to know the difference between smoking, grilling, and barbecuing beef.

Seven in 10 U.S. adults own a grill or smoker, the group said. With that in mind, it’s good to know the difference between smoking, grilling, and barbecuing.

Smoking is the process of combusting wood chips, chunks, or logs to generate smoke, which contributes to the complexity of flavor and color of the surface of any meat. Smoke should be thought of as an ingredient that can be added during both grilling and barbecuing applications, said Michael Cressman, an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

At minimum, smoke should be hot enough to register 125 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter to ensure that the meat is being cooked while it is being smoked. However, most commercially available, store-bought smokers produce heat in the range of 225 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, he said.… Continue reading

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Wine is big business in Ohio

By Shelly Detwiler, OCJ food writer

Nothing attracts middle-aged women more than wine. A 2013 Gallup poll states that wine continues to rank as the top beverage choice for those 50 years and older, with women doing most of the buying. This is good news for the Ohio Wine Industry. Ohio Wine is big business producing over 5.93 million gallons of wine retailing for over 61 million dollars annually making us the sixth largest wine producer in the country. The Ohio Grape Industries says there are 265 wineries in the state and that continues to grow. A winery is where wine is produced. A vineyard is anywhere 1+ grape vine is planted. Agriculturally speaking, Ohio ranks ninth in grape production with over 1,500 acres of grapes growing creating 1.3 billion dollars annually.

Wine tourism plays a vital role in Ohio’s wine business attracting over 1.37 million tourists a year. and… Continue reading

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Immigration and farm bill votes expected in the House

The U.S House of Representatives is expected to reconsider the “Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018” (H.R. 2), better known as the Farm Bill, on June 22 after a vote on an immigration bill proposed by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, earlier that week.

That measure includes the “Agricultural Guestworker Act” (AG Act), which would create a new visa program — H-2C — that allows non-seasonal agricultural workers to remain in the United States for up to three years.

Many agricultural groups, including the National Pork Producers Council, support the legislation, which would help address an agricultural labor shortage.… Continue reading

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Spotted lanternflies a growing concern

An invasive pest that was initially contained within Pennsylvania has spread to Delaware and Virginia, and insect experts worry the next stop will be Ohio.

Spotted lanternflies suck sap from fruit crops and trees, which can weaken them and contribute to their death. Native to China, the insect was first found in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania.

At this time, spotted lanternflies are still relatively far from the Ohio border. They have been found in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. However, they can be spread long distances by people who move infested material or items containing egg masses.

“The natural spread would take a long time, but it would be very easy to be moved through firewood or trees that are being relocated,” said Amy Stone, an educator with Ohio State University Extension.

If it arrives in Ohio, the spotted lanternfly has the potential to do serious damage to the grape, apple, hops and logging industries, Stone said.… Continue reading

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29th Annual Buckeye Farm Antique, Inc. Show highlights

By Lea Kimley, OCJ field reporter

The Memorial Day weekend was marked with a tradition of traditions at the Shelby County Fairgrounds with the 29th Annual Buckeye Farm Antique, Inc. Show.

“From 1 to 101 there is something for everyone,” said Ester Geyer, the event coordinator. “There are nearly 500 antique tractors to see, free comedy entertainment, flea market hunting, and tractor pulls.”

International Harvester Chapter 6 was celebrating 25 years. The club originally formed at the antique show. Dennis Wilson, member secretary, brought a unique international truck that was built in Ohio at the Springfield plant. He will travel a few more places this summer anticipating the restoration of another one of his prized processions. Wilson has been an active member of the club for 15 years.

“These shows are great because of the people,” Wilson said. “That’s my favorite part.”

There were a few new attractions at this year’s show.… Continue reading

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2018 Omnibus Bill removes DUNS and SAM requirements for farmers

Effectively immediately, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

financial assistance program participants will no longer need a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Number System (DUNS) number, or to register in the System for Award Management (SAM). The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (2018 Omnibus Bill), signed by President Donald Trump on March 23, eliminated these requirements.

According to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, DUNS and SAM were designed for billion-dollar government contractors, not everyday farmers trying to support their families. These changes help streamline the customer experience of farmers, which is a top priority at USDA, he said.

“This change greatly simplifies the contracting process for our customers and staff,” said Terry Cosby, NRCS State Conservationist in Ohio. “Conservation program participants will soon receive letters from their local NRCS office with more details.”

The exemption does not apply to any current or future agreements or federal contracts with eligible entities, project sponsors, vendors, partners, or other non-exempt landowners or producers.… Continue reading

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Partial repeal of “Dodd Frank” welcomed by community banks

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, also known as Dodd–Frank, was made law in 2010 by President Obama. The law was in response to the financial crisis of 2007–2008, making major changes in all federal financial regulatory agencies and almost every part of the nation’s financial services industry including, and some would say unfairly, smaller community banks.

Since 2010, the number of community banks in the United States has decreased by 2,000, according to statistics from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It is argued by the Trump Administration that small community banks have been unfairly harmed by Dodd-Frank, compared to big banks, which can use their substantial resources to navigate Dodd-Frank’s costly and complex regulations.

This month, President Trump lifted some of those regulations on smaller banks by signing the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155), in an effort make financial regulations more efficient, effective, and appropriately tailored.… Continue reading

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Teens go above and beyond to earn achievement awards

By Katerina Sharp, OCJ 4-H reporter

Along with the many projects, trips and other leadership opportunities available to Ohio 4-H members, teens can apply for achievement awards each year that recognize their hard work in specific project areas.

The Ohio 4-H achievement award application requires members to keep track of and record all their yearly 4-H activities, along with their work in a specific project category. There are 28 categories that cover project areas such as beef, environmental science, health and safety, leadership, photography, and food and nutrition. Counties select the top candidate from each category to go on to the state competition.

Selection for each category is based on what the 4-H member learned, project achievement, 4-H awards and honors. The first-place state winner from each project area receives an all-expenses paid trip to attend National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Georgia, where members network with other 4-H teens from across the country while engaging in leadership trainings and community service events.… Continue reading

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China and ag trade

There has been some positive progress with regard to China, tariffs and agricultural exports. Leading up to the latest round of talks, China lifted tariffs on U.S. sorghum and the U.S. eased sanctions on the Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp., allowing the company to stay in business.

In late May the U.S. and China issued a joint statement indicating that both “agreed on meaningful increases in United States agriculture and energy exports” bringing some temporary relief to ongoing trade dispute concerns. Experts estimate a potential increase of $60 to 90 billion in Chinese purchases of U.S. goods, largely agriculture and beef especially.

“To meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development, China will significantly increase purchases of United States’ goods and services,” the White House said in a statement.

But reports that China has agreed to import large amounts of U.S. ag goods as part of a tentative framework deal to resolve a trade dispute between the nations have prompted some lawmakers from both parties to express concern about what kind of concessions the administration may be offering China.… Continue reading

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NFU pushing for swift action on E15 waiver

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delay in allowing year-round use of E15 gasoline threatens harm to markets for family farmers, according to National Farmers Union (NFU). NFU President Roger Johnson today wrote to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, urging EPA to immediately institute a waiver for summertime sales of E15.

Johnson noted that year-round use of E15 would have significant benefits for farmers, the economy, energy independence, and the environment. Currently, an arbitrary restriction on use of E15 in summer months is limiting the amount of ethanol that can be blended into the nation’s transportation fuel supply. Yet while EPA has been actively working on allowing year-round use of E15 since October 2017, and President Donald Trump committed to allowing an E15 waiver earlier this year, EPA has yet to take any action or provide any time table as to when a waiver can be expected. This delay in issuing a waiver is threatening to upend any potential benefits of a waiver in the upcoming summer months of 2018.… Continue reading

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Ohio corn, soybean and wheat farmers support bipartisan legislation to invest new resources to protect water quality

The Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) and the Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) endorsed Ohio Senate Bill 229 and Ohio House Bill 634, bipartisan legislation which would invest significant new resources to protect water quality throughout the state.

OCWGA and OSA representatives will testify today in favor of HB 634, sponsored by Rep. Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton) and Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson), before the House Finance Committee and in favor of SB 229, sponsored by Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) and Sen. Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta), at the Senate Finance Committee.

“Ohio grain farmers have demonstrated their commitment to the protection of both soils and water quality by investing their time and money to work with partners and find solutions,” said OCWGA board member Mark Drewes. “We applaud this bipartisan coalition of legislators for making the health of Lake Erie and other bodies of water a priority.”

“This will help even more farmers implement best management practices,” said OSA President Allen Armstrong.… Continue reading

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Legislators propose “Clean Lake 2020 Plan” funding to reduce Lake Erie phosphorus

By Peggy Hall, Asst. Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law, Ohio State University

A pair of companion bi-partisan bills just introduced in the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives would provide significant funding to help meet Ohio’s goal of reducing phosphorus loading by 20% in Lake Erie by 2020. The sponsors of S.B. 299 are Senators Gardner (R-Bowling Green) and O’Brien (D-Bazetta) and Representatives Arndt (R-Port Clinton) and Patterson (D-Jefferson) are the sponsors of H.B. 643. The legislation is a “targeted funding solution bill,” according to Rep. Arndt, “providing both [general revenue funds] and capital funding for a variety of strategies that scientists, Lake Erie advocates, agriculture leaders, and others believe can help achieve our phosphorus reduction goals.”

The proposed legislation includes the following:

  • A “Soil and Water Conservation Support Fund” of up to $3.5 million to support county soil and water conservation districts in the Western Lake Erie Basin for staffing and to assist in soil testing, nutrient management plan development that would also include manure transformation and manure conversion technologies, enhanced filter strips and water management.
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Farm bill failure in the House

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

In what has traditionally been a pretty straightforward process, passing farm legislation out of the U.S. House of Representatives has been anything but status quo during recent attempts. The latest farm bill, very similarly to the one introduced on the House floor in 2013, was defeated by a 198 to 213 vote May 18.

Typically when a bill is brought to the floor, it is with the expectation that there will be enough votes to pass it. That was the case as amendments were being hashed out days before the final vote  — until some members of Congress decided to use their “Yea” vote on the farm bill as leverage to get the immigration bill to the floor sooner rather than later.

With non-existent support from the Democrats on this legislation due to changes to the food stamp program (otherwise known at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) the passage of this farm bill relies heavily on Republicans, but 27 of them decided to vote against it.… Continue reading

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Cost of diesel on the rise

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Consumers are seeing a jump in the price they pay for a gallon of gas as summer approaches, a major driving season. The expected additional cost to drive this summer is about $200 more per family compared to 2017.

The same goes for a fuel that farmers heavily rely on to grow food and that the agriculture industry uses primarily to deliver those goods to market, diesel fuel.

“About 65% of all goods transported in the U.S. are moved by trucks that use diesel,” said Veronica Nigh, an economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. “So, when the economy heats up we also seeing diesel prices rise and that is what we are seeing now.”

Compared to just a year ago, the price of diesel has climbed over 20%, which is equivalent to 50 cents per gallon.

“Unemployment is lower, consumers have more money in their pockets and they are out driving and buying more things,” Nigh said.… Continue reading

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When grandpa’s not around…

By Jeff Reese, OCJ marketing specialist

This is a busy time of year for everyone involved in agriculture. If you are not in a field working you are most likely in some form of support role. I have never been directly responsible for the helping with the grain farming but since the loss of my 98-year-old Grandpa two months ago I have felt a pull to the farm.

My uncle has been the “farmer” in our family for as long as I can remember but my grandpa was always there with him. His brother has been a major piece of the puzzle but my grandpa was always there. With the loss of Grandpa things are just a little different.

My wife and I have joked that maybe between the two of us we can help to fill the void Grandpa left helping my uncle on the farm. She can be the brains and I can try not to break things.… Continue reading

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