Country Life

Wetlands habitat stamp a winner

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

Sam Timm’s painting of an American wigeon pair was selected as the winner of the recent 2023 Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp Design Competition. Timm’s painting will be displayed on the Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp that is issued in 2024. A panel of five judges selected Timm’s artwork from a field of nine original pieces of art. Timm, from Wisconsin, is a two-time winner of the competition, most recently in 1992. Second place was awarded to Diane Ford of Maryland for a painting of gadwalls.

The Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp program has raised more than $11 million for wetland conservation since 1982. Proceeds from stamp sales help fund vital wetland habitat restoration projects in Ohio. Those projects have restored or enhanced thousands of acres of waterfowl habitat. These habitats are important to many resident wildlife species, including state-endangered trumpeter swans, wetland birds, amphibians, and migratory species.

The Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp is $15 and is required for anyone 18 years or older hunting waterfowl and migratory birds in the Buckeye State.… Continue reading

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EPA proposes new vehicle standards for cleaner air

In an effort to accelerate the ongoing transition to a clean vehicles, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new proposed federal vehicle emissions standards in April. The proposed standards seek to improve air quality for communities across the nation, especially communities that have borne the burden of polluted air. 

“By proposing the most ambitious pollution standards ever for cars and trucks, we are delivering on the Biden-Harris Administration’s promise to protect people and the planet, securing critical reductions in dangerous air and climate pollution and ensuring significant economic benefits like lower fuel and maintenance costs for families,” said Michael S. Regan, EPA Administrator. “These ambitious standards are readily achievable thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which is already driving historic progress to build more American-made electric cars and secure America’s global competitiveness.” 

The first set of proposed standards announced, the “Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium Duty Vehicles,” builds on EPA’s existing emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks for MYs 2023 through 2026.… Continue reading

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Foreign-owned food price fixing

By Leisa Boley-Hellwarth

Congress is preoccupied with perceived safety concerns regarding a Chinese-owned ap, TikTok. The general public was transfixed with the alleged Chinese spy balloons that floated across the country. On the other hand, I think we should spend more time considering what is happening in Minneapolis at the U.S. District Court in the District of Minnesota. In re Pork Antitrust Litigation, No. 18-01776, is the case to review. The class action complaint was filed on Jan. 15, 2020, under antitrust laws of the United States, and includes the following Defendants: Clemens, Hormel, Indiana Packers, JBS (settled all claims but denied any liability), Seaboard, Smithfield, Triumph, Tyson, and Agri Stats (data service that monitors pricing and production).

The pork integrator defendants represent $20 billion in annual commerce. The complaint asserts that in the U.S. pork industry, a small number of large companies control supply. The defendants in the lawsuit collectively control over 80% of the pork integrated market.… Continue reading

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Legacy Cooperative locations earn multi-year certified status in 4R Nutrient Stewardship

Continuing its commitment to improving water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin, Legacy Farmers Cooperative has achieved multi-year certified status at five of its Ohio locations through the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program.

• Custar Agronomy – Year Eight Certified 

• Arcadia Agronomy – Year Seven Certified 

• Arlington Agronomy – Year Seven Certified 

• McComb Agronomy – Year Seven Certified 

• Pandora Agronomy – Year Seven Certified 

In its ninth year, the voluntary certification program is a concentrated effort by the agriculture industry to significantly reduce and prevent applied nutrients from running off fields, which has contributed to water quality issues in Lake Erie. Facilities are required to meet certain program goals each year to retain certified status. 

“Having all five of our agronomy locations 4R certified in my opinion speaks volumes about Legacy Farmers Cooperative as a company and where our values lie,” said Paige Fitzwater, Legacy Farmers Cooperative precision services manager.… Continue reading

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Fight the Hunger, Stock the Trailer aiming for record-breaking year

In this featured audio, Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo sits down with Farm Credit Mid-America Loan Officer Jennie Schultice and Rural 1st Loan Officer Jennifer Kroft to discuss the wildly successful Fight the Hunger, Stock the Trailer program. The food drive is expanding its reach in Ohio for 2023 and has big goals for its impact this year.… Continue reading

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Farm On financial management course now available

A new online farm management course offered by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) will help Ohio’s beginning farmers qualify for the requirements of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program.

Called Farm On, the self-paced, on-demand farm financial management course was created by Ohio State University Extension professionals and is offered through OSU Extension’s new Farm Financial Management and Policy Institute (FFMPI), said Eric Richer, assistant professor and OSU Extension field specialist in farm management. 

“The Farm On financial management course was created to address the needs of Ohio’s new and beginning farmers who want to better prepare themselves to operate a commercial farm in Ohio and do that with a high level of economic stability while remaining profitable and responsible at every step along the way,” said Richer, who is the lead instructor for the Farm On course. “We believe Farm On will be a great deliverable to Ohio’s agriculture industry because it is on-demand, self-paced, and taught by Ohio State’s expert farm management instructors.”… Continue reading

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AFBF says Biden let farmers down

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented on President Biden’s decision to veto the Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution that would have overturned the Environmental Protection Agency’s overreaching Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The CRA was a bipartisan, bicameral effort by Congress to halt implementation of the flawed rule. 

“This veto flies in the face of President Biden’s promise to support farmers and ranchers. This rule is a clear case of government overreach that leaves farmers wondering whether they can farm their own land. It’s a shame the President is standing with bureaucrats instead of with the people who stock America’s pantries,” Duvall said. “The President’s decision to disregard the bipartisan will of Congress also causes farmers, ranchers and all Americans to doubt his often-repeated commitment to work with Congress when Members come together on a bipartisan basis. They did so and he rejected their will with the stroke of a pen.… Continue reading

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Fruit and veggies from a different perspective

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

This winter I joined a writers’ group — a huge step out of my dietitian-farmer comfort zone. Each week the group is given two prompts for a 10-minute write about, NO google, NO preparation and NO THESARAUS!!! Yikes! A FREAK OUT began when I found the protocol involved sharing. Out. Loud. My blood pressure began to rise as David Bowie crooned in my ear “Pressure pushing down on me.” 

As the cell timer began to chime, I had changed directions more than Siri in three consecutive traffic circles in a construction zone. 

“Under pressure” was full chorus while my blood pressure was about to jet my head into the heavens. Not good, as this was a group of Midwesterners, New Yorkers, New Jersians, and Californians young at heart. How could I share when I couldn’t even follow my train of thought. At the first prompt I shook my head with absolute certainty that this was not happening. … Continue reading

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OSU and ODA team up to give out free garden seeds for Ohio Victory Gardens

Ohio’s movement to promote urban and rural gardening is back and bigger than ever. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio State University Extension are partnering once again to encourage Ohioans to cultivate their own produce.

At the Franklin County OSU Extension facility April 9, Ohio Victory Gardens officially kicked off with a special appearance from Brutus Buckeye, who helped plant a few seeds to start the season.

The popular Ohio Victory Gardens program is back for its fourth year and due to high demand, the program is expanding to include 50 counties. OSU Extension offices will be handing out the free seed sample kits to the public to get people planting. Specific days and times for each office are available on the Ohio Victory Gardens website, as well as planting resources and information.

“The Ohio Victory Gardens program is helping to revitalize the art of growing your own fresh food and helping to reconnect people back to agriculture,” said Brian Baldridge, Director of ODA.… Continue reading

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Eminent domain reform started then stalled

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

An eminent domain revisions bill appears to be on hold after its removal from the committee agenda that would have provided the bill a third hearing. House Bill 64 was introduced by sponsors Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) and Rep. Rodney Creech (R-W. Alexandria) on February 21. The bill had two hearings before the House Civil Justice Committee on March 7 and 14, but was removed from the committee’s March 21 meeting agenda. 

House Bill 64 proposes quite a few major changes to Ohio eminent domain law:

  • Voids an appropriation of property if the agency does not follow statutory procedures for the appropriation, such as procedures for appraisal of value, good faith offers of compensation, and negotiation with the landowner. Under the proposal, a landowner could bring a claim against the agency for violating any of these procedures and the appropriation would be invalid.
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USDA to aid distressed farmers facing financial risk

By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension Educator, ANR in Tuscarawas County

Beginning in April, USDA will provide approximately $123 million in additional, automatic financial assistance for qualifying farm loan program borrowers who are facing financial risk. Funding is through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and builds on the same program announced in October 2022.

Like the program announced in October 2022, qualifying borrowers will receive an individual letter detailing the assistance as payments are made. Distressed borrowers’ eligibility for these new categories of automatic payments will be determined based on their present circumstances. More information about the new categories that make up the $123 million in assistance and the specific amount of assistance a distressed borrower receives can be found in this fact sheet, IRA Section 22006: Additional Automatic Payments, Improved Procedures, and Policy Recommendations.

USDA will provide information and training to program participants about the potential tax consequences of the funding program. … Continue reading

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Congress calls for WOTUS repeal

The Senate passage of a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval of the 2023 Waters of the U.S. Rule.

“AFBF applauds Senators for coming together to repeal the 2023 WOTUS rule,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau president. “Farmers and ranchers are committed to protecting the land and water they rely on to grow food for America’s families. Unfortunately, the 2023 WOTUS threatens the progress made to responsibly manage natural resources. We urge President Biden to recognize the concerns from members of both parties and rescind this troubled rule.”

The bipartisan vote under the Congressional Review Act follows a similar effort in the House earlier in March.

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Farm bill a focus of Farm Bureau trip to D.C.

By Joel Penhorwood

There was no shortage of policy to discuss during this year’s Ohio Farm Bureau County President’s Trip to Washington D.C. It took a group of Ohio farmers and ag professionals to the nation’s capital in early March to talk not only the latest issues in agriculture, but also give real-world perspective to lawmakers about policies important on the farm.

The farm bill is set for its five-year update in 2023 and dominated discussion over the three-day trip with a projected price tag of $1.5 trillion. Several other issues were also top of mind, including updates to Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS), ag input availability, tax policies, energy sources, market access, and much more.

Brandon Kern is the senior director of state and national policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau and helped to facilitate discussions around key ag topics.

“It’s really important for Congress to come together and get a farm bill done.… Continue reading

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We’re No. 37!

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

There are some 29.2 million registered anglers in the United States, with more than 52 million anglers of all ages wetting a line annually, according to the Outdoor Foundation’s 2022 Special Report on Fishing. A list of the states with the most registered anglers per capita was developed from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data, which were ranked by fishing license holders based on 2021 data and American Community Survey population estimates, with fishing licenses, tags, permits, and stamps per capita serving as a tiebreaker.

What’s more, nearly 13 million kids under 17 went fishing in 2021 — 14% more than did in 2019 pre-pandemic. And while fishing has traditionally been considered a male-dominated activity, nearly 20 million women hit the water in 2021, and over 1.6 million of them did so for the first time.

And here’s an interesting coincidence: of the 50 states, Ohio is ranked 37th in both fishing and hunting categories.… Continue reading

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Agritourism Conference coming April 1

Ohio State University Extension’s Ohio Agritourism Conference on April 1 is not an April Fool’s Day joke, but it does promise to be fun learning! If you’re thinking about adding or expanding agritourism activities on your farm operation, consider joining us as we learn more about what makes a successful agritourism operation. We’ll will visit two popular agritourism operations in southwest Ohio– Blooms & Berries Farm Market and The Marmalade Lily — with touring and talks planned at both locations.

Here’s the full agenda for the day:

9 a.m. – Registration at Blooms & Berries.

  • Blooms & Berries, an Inside Look. Jeff and Emily Probst – Owners. Meet the team and take a closer look at how we serve about 100,000 guests a year by staying authentically true to our brand and our team!

Morning breakout sessions, featuring Blooms and Berries Farm Market personnel:

  • Love Your Staff.  Erica Clayton – Retail and Events Personnel Manager. 
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Federal judge blocks WOTUS in two states

In mid-March, a federal judge in a Southern District of Texas blocked the Biden administration’s rule defining Waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act from taking effect in two states, Texas and Idaho, in litigation that National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) participated in as part of a coalition of national agriculture and business groups to ensure that the rights of producers, farmers, ranchers, and landowners are protected from regulatory overreach. 

The next week, a federal judge in North Dakota agreed to allow the same coalition to intervene — join as parties — a similar lawsuit filed by a coalition of 24 state Attorney Generals, including those in states such as Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota, among other states. The parties, in that case, are also seeking to stop the WOTUS rule from taking effect nationally. 
Here is the timeline:

  • January 2023 — A coalition of 18 agricultural and business organizations filed suit in federal court in Texas challenging the EPA’s December 2022 WOTUS rule.
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With commerce comes fraud

By Leisa Boley-Hellwarth

Just weeks ago, on Feb. 14, 2023, in federal court in the Northern District of Iowa, a livestock dealer and four of his managers were sentenced in a widespread pig fraud scheme that had spanned nearly two decades and caused over $3 million in loss. 

Beginning in the early 2000s, and continuing through at least late March, 2017, Lynch Livestock’s second-ranking official directed other managers and employees to falsely reduce and downgrade the numbers, quality classifications, and weights of swine that producers and sellers had delivered to Lynch Livestock’s buying stations throughout the Midwest. These practices mostly concerned large, corporate swine producers who brought their swine for sale to Lynch Livestock. To effectuate the fraud, managers at Lynch Livestock’s headquarters created false and fraudulent scale tickets bearing the initials of the managers at the buying stations. By falsifying the producers’ accounts of purchase, Lynch Livestock and its managers created false and fraudulent invoices to pay less than what was due and owing to these producers.… Continue reading

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CIG Grant webinar March 31

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking new proposals for cutting-edge projects that will provide new conservation opportunities through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. In Fiscal Year 2023, Ohio will invest up to $300,000 for new CIG projects. All applicants must submit their applications via Grants.gov by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on May 19, 2023.

Ohio priorities in Fiscal Year 2023 include climate-smart agriculture, urban agriculture, soil health, water quality, and forestry-based sustainable natural ecosystems. Projects may be farm-based, multi-county, small watershed or statewide in scope. For additional information, please contact Ohio CIG program manager Cheryl Rice at cheryl.rice@usda.gov or search for the latest postings at Grants.gov. An upcoming webinar for CIG applicants is scheduled for Friday, March 31, 2023 at 2 p.m. E.T. Interested attendees can join via the below link or phone number: 

Meeting Link: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/events/conservation-innovation-grant-webinar-for-ohios-fy23-notice-of-funding-opportunity

Phone number: +1 202-650-0123,74270577# Phone Conference ID: 742 705 77#

All non-federal entities and individuals are invited to apply, with the sole exception of federal agencies.… Continue reading

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Happy National Ag Day!

By Matt Reese

This 50th anniversary of National Ag Day, organized by the Agriculture Council of America, celebrates the theme “Growing a Climate for Tomorrow.” 

“On this day we celebrate American agriculture and our farm and ranch families who take great pride in growing a safe, sustainable food supply. We also recognize and celebrate their role in producing biofuels for transportation, fiber for clothing and other textiles, building materials and so much more,” said Isabella Chism, a row crop farmer in Indiana who serves on the board of the Agriculture Council of America, which conducts the National Agriculture Day Program each March. With so much of our life depending on modern agriculture, it’s appropriate to set aside at least one day a year to recognize and celebrate our safe and abundant food supply.”

I got to spend part of my first day of spring/March21/National Ag Day with Josh Berry, a fellow Fairfield County resident and farmer. … Continue reading

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National Agriculture Day: 50 years later, farmers are growing a climate for tomorrow

 By John Wilson, State Conservationist, Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service 

Fifty years after the creation of National Agriculture Day, America’s farmers, ranchers and private forestland owners find themselves on the front lines of climate change. They are uniquely positioned to deliver solutions by implementing climate-smart production practices that conserve natural resources, build healthier soils, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and sequester carbon. 

National Agriculture Day on March 21 was a day to recognize the producers who are the best stewards of our land. America’s producers are not only providing food, forage, and fiber for today — they are also investing in climate solutions that will ensure a prosperous agricultural future for generations to come. They are growing a climate for tomorrow, for our state, our nation and our world. 

Here in Ohio, there are 128,686 agricultural producers operating 77,805 farms on 13,965,295 acres of productive land. The average size of an agricultural operation in Ohio is 179 acres.… Continue reading

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