Country Life



Oil industry says EPA “rushed to judgment” on E15

Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

As E15 inches closer to being available around the country, the American Petroleum Institute is accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of not doing its homework before approving the sale of gasoline containing 15% ethanol.

An API-funded review of studies on equipment compatibility with E15 produced sobering results, according to Bob Greco, the Institute’s Director for Downstream and Industry Operations.

“An estimated half of the existing retail outlet equipment is not compatible with E15,” Greco said. “Unfortunately it may be hard for a station to know if its equipment is or is not compatible. This could discourage many of the nation’s 157,000 gasoline retail outlets from selling E15.”

Without a market for higher ethanol blends, Greco said the federal biofuels mandate could result in higher compliance costs or production constraints that could place upward pressure on gasoline prices for consumers.

API says EPA has done an inadequate job of answering questions surrounding E15, in particular dispensing equipment and other infrastructure implications.… Continue reading

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Vilsack makes a student loan appeal to FFA

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack got on the phone Monday with FFA students to discuss the need to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1. The Obama administration and Congress agree student loan interest rates need to stay low, but they can’t agree on how to pay for it.

Vilsack told the FFA members the administration prefers the Senate’s approach to paying for it, closing tax loopholes, over the House’s desire to offset the extra spending by eliminating a women’s preventative health program in President Obama’s health care overhaul.

“There are some concerns on the part of the administration that preventative healthcare ought not to be cut,” Vilsack said. “Particularly for those in rural areas where we are dealing with a healthcare system that has not favorably treated rural residents. We end up paying more out of pocket and having poorer results and less access.… Continue reading

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NRCS funding available for Great Lakes Basin

More than $24 million is available to agricultural producers and landowners to improve and protect the waters and resources in the Great Lakes Basin, announced Terry Cosby, State Conservationist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Applications to install specific conservation practices through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) are being accepted for priority ranking through June 8, 2012.

Producers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin can apply at their local USDA office for funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), and the Conservation Technical Assistance Program (CTAP). NRCS specialists provide farmers and ranchers with technical assistance to help determine the best conservation practices to improve and protect the resources on their land.

All eight states are using the same dates for the sign-up. Interested landowners should contact their local USDA office before June 8, 2012, to apply.… Continue reading

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Students can still submit entries to ‘Ag is Cool’ contest

With just 79 days until the Ohio State Fair, the Ohio Department of Agriculture is encouraging students (K-12) to submit their entries for the 2012 “Agriculture is Cool!” Creative Expressions contest. Ohio children enrolled in school or home schooled during the 2011-2012 academic year have until July 9, 2012 to capture their personal interpretation of why Ohio agriculture is cool for their chance to win two tickets to see The Band Perry at the Ohio State Fair.

Entries, which can include an original video, photograph, drawing, or painting, will be judged in the following age categories. One winner from each age group and category will be chosen:

Grades K-2: Photography, Drawing or Painting
Grades 3-5: Video, Photography, Drawing or Painting
Grades 6-8: Video, Photography, Drawing or Painting
Grades 9-12: Video, Photography, Drawing or Painting

All entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges that may include representatives from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Office of the Governor, the Ohio Expo Center, and professionals in the areas of video production, photography, drawing, painting and other visual arts.… Continue reading

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Students can still submit entries to 'Ag is Cool' contest

With just 79 days until the Ohio State Fair, the Ohio Department of Agriculture is encouraging students (K-12) to submit their entries for the 2012 “Agriculture is Cool!” Creative Expressions contest. Ohio children enrolled in school or home schooled during the 2011-2012 academic year have until July 9, 2012 to capture their personal interpretation of why Ohio agriculture is cool for their chance to win two tickets to see The Band Perry at the Ohio State Fair.

Entries, which can include an original video, photograph, drawing, or painting, will be judged in the following age categories. One winner from each age group and category will be chosen:

Grades K-2: Photography, Drawing or Painting
Grades 3-5: Video, Photography, Drawing or Painting
Grades 6-8: Video, Photography, Drawing or Painting
Grades 9-12: Video, Photography, Drawing or Painting

All entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges that may include representatives from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Office of the Governor, the Ohio Expo Center, and professionals in the areas of video production, photography, drawing, painting and other visual arts.… Continue reading

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Dream home turns into EPA nightmare

By Leisa Boley-Hellwarth, attorney in Mercer County

It was a beautiful March Sunday afternoon, with record high temperatures, a light breeze and sunshine. I had just sat down at my farm office computer, when I happened to glance out the window and looked again, before it registered. Holstein heifers were galloping down the driveway! Not one or two, but what appeared to be a barn full, all of breeding age. Maybe it was their idea of a spring fling. They were kicking their heels and racing around.  The rodeo began.

It was a little like the Supreme Court, some ran right and some ran left. So we started with the ones in the middle and gradually herded them all back into the heifer barn.

That same month, the Supreme Court Justices all headed in the same direction. They reached a unanimous decision in “Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency” and sided with landowners who challenged an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliance order.… Continue reading

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Open house to showcase careers, advances in plant pathology and ag sciences

People interested in learning how to feed the world’s growing population can attend an open house on the subject at Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center on June 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Feeding the World in 2050: Career Opportunities for Future Scientists,” hosted by the department of Plant Pathology, will emphasize the wide array of degree programs and career opportunities in plant pathology and agricultural sciences, said Anne Dorrance, a plant pathologist with joint appointments with OSU Extension and OARDC.

Participants will have the chance to visit programs in bioinformatics, disease diagnostics, disease management, organic agriculture, urban farming and invasive species, as well as examine diseases of field crops, fruits, vegetables and ornamentals, she said.

A selection of laboratories, greenhouses and research plots will be open for visitors, including one of the largest disease-screening wheat nurseries in the northeastern U.S. featuring research in the genetics of breeding, biological control, host resistance to fungicides, epidemiological models and forecasting, inoculation techniques, and disease management strategies.… Continue reading

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Feeding Farmers in the Field with Lehner Farms

 

Today at midday we held our first Ohio Ag Net and AgriGold ”Feeding Farmers in the Field” winner, Jason Lehner of Marion. Jason says he’s finished planting corn and would like to start on beans, but the 2 inches of rain they got Tuesday night is preventing that from happening.

This spring the Ohio Ag Net and AgriGold will be honoring Ohio farmers and helping them get planting done with a little fun. Each Thursday between May 3-31, we’ll randomly choose one lucky farmer to receive lunch along with their family and hired hands. If you haven’t already, get entered for Feeding Farmers in the Field.

 


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Even with DOL withdrawal, young farm workers need training

While the U.S. Department of Labor’s decision to withdraw proposed farm youth labor rules means farm families won’t have to take on new requirements for minors to work on their farms, previous legislation still requires young farm workers to have some training, said Ohio State University Extension’s state safety leader.

The proposed rules would have banned children younger than 16 from using most power-driven farm equipment without first taking a specific training course. But even with the legislation shelved, Dee Jepsen said all of the discussion has raised awareness of current regulations and likely will mean organizations such as OSU Extension will see more young people signing up for existing training.

“The people have spoken and they don’t want the new regulations, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have any youth safety regulations,” she said. “Even though the Labor Department rescinded the stronger proposal, there is still legislation for 14- and 15-year-old students wanting to work outside their parents’ farms.… Continue reading

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CSAs on the rise

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of farmers markets nationwide increased by 54% between 2008 and 2011. As the desire for local products grows, the need to help local farmers has also increased. However, farmers markets are not the only way to obtain locally grown products. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a program more than 20 years old, is an additional way to merge these two aspects.

Through a CSA program, customers purchase memberships, or shares, in the farm in exchange for fresh produce throughout the growing season. CSA’s have become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a grower, enabling benefits for both parties.

Jessica Nagel, agriculture project specialist, Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities, will educate and prepare those looking to join (or start) a CSA program during her presentation, “Community Supported Agriculture: Connecting the Producer and Consumer” at the monthly Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum, Thursday, May 17 from 7:30 – 9 a.m.… Continue reading

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J D Equipment donates $10,000 to Spielman Fund

J D Equipment is proud to announce it has already reached a $10,000 commitment to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research for 2012. J D Equipment will donate a portion of each sale of John Deere riding lawn mowers sold during 2012 to the Stefanie Spielman Fund.

J D Equipment began this commitment to the Stefanie Spielman Fund in 2011. A $26,000 check for the company’s 2011 donation was recently presented to Chris Spielman by J D Equipment’s CEO Jeff Mitchell, and Vice President John Griffith.   The Company is anticipating its 2012 contribution will exceed $30,000.

All donations made to the Stefanie Spielman Fund are used to support vital breast cancer research and patient assistance at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. The fund just reached a milestone of $10 million raised amongst the community to support breast cancer research.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau AgriPOWER Institute accepting nominations

Never before in the history of agriculture has there been the urgency there is today for leaders and advocates for agriculture. With that in mind, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) launched an elite program designed specifically for farmers and agribusiness professionals: AgriPOWER. This yearlong program focuses on public policy issues confronting agriculture and the food industry such as animal activists, energy, and trade policies. It helps individuals develop the skills necessary to become effective leaders and advocates for agriculture by learning from experts in these fields. Additionally, the program is respectful of today’s busy farm and family calendar.

OFBF is currently looking for 20 select individuals to participate in this leadership and advocacy development program, which will consist of seven multi-day institutes (17 total days). Topics covered during institute programs will include public policy matters facing local communities, the state of Ohio, the nation and the world. Additionally, specific sessions will help class members develop important skills necessary to become an effective leader and advocate for agriculture.… Continue reading

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Interscholastic Equestrian Association

By Kim Lemmon

Recently, I was asked to steward a horse show for the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA). IEA teams host team-oriented horse shows for students in grades 6 through 12. I am sometimes asked to judge or steward some their western events because of my history as a member and a coach of college equestrian teams. The format of equestrian team shows is very different from that of a traditional horse show.

I am always happy to help with these events because I often see former students, competitors and even my former coaches. It is fun and flattering for me to serve as an official for former coaches and colleagues plus I am always paid for it, which makes it even more inviting.

As a college coach, I taught and readied students between the ages of 18 and 23 for the show ring. IEA is an organization that was created 10 years ago to allow students between the ages of 11 and 19 to compete as individuals and teams against other students.… Continue reading

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Strategic deworming for horses

By Kimberly Cole, Extension Equine Specialist, Ohio State University

Internal parasites can cause a variety of problems in the horse ranging from a dull hair coat and unthriftiness to colic and even death. There are several species of internal parasites that can infect horses — most notably small and large strongyles, ascarids, tapeworms, pinworms and bots. Infected horses shed the parasite eggs in their manure, contaminating pastures, paddocks and pens. The eggs or larvae are ingested while the horse is grazing and mature within the horse’s digestive tract. Some parasites are able to migrate to other areas of the horse’s body, causing significant damage along the way.
In the past, traditional deworming recommendations were to treat horses with a different deworming product every 60-90 days. Research has shown that only about 20% of the horses in a herd shed the majority (> 80%) of parasites on a pasture. Treating horses with low numbers of parasites not only wastes money, but can promote resistance to dewormers.… Continue reading

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Ohio responds to the initial look at the Farm Bill

By Matt Reese

Ohio agriculture is getting its first look at the initial form of the 2012 Farm Bill after the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry passed its proposal. The legislation is now being referred to the full Senate for consideration.

In general, there is fairly broad support for this first step.

“We like the new safety net, but it is a radically different change from the current safety net. We are encouraging farmers to look at this and understand it,” said Adam Sharp, with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. “They are eliminating things like direct payments and consolidating down to a crop insurance-based option and a revenue-based option. These are two programs that have a lot of support from agriculture, especially in the Midwest. We think these are good options.”

OFBF, though, is closely review the support caps that were included in the initial farm bill proposal.

“They are looking to lower the caps of support that an individual farmer can get if there is a problem,” Sharp said.… Continue reading

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Ohio oil and gas interest moves westward

By Matt Reese

As the oil and gas boom is in full force in many parts of eastern Ohio, words like shale, Marcellus, directional drilling, seismic testing and deep wells have almost become part of the regular vocabulary in many of those communities. These terms may sound somewhat more foreign, though, to landowners in other parts of the state as Ohio’s energy resource boom marches westward.

“We are seeing this in the northwest part of the state now and not just the northeast,” said Dale Arnold, director of energy services for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. “We have been seeing this movement quite a bit in the last year or two. A number of farmers have been calling from Delaware, Richland Crawford, Morrow, and Wyandot Counties. We’re seeing a tremendous amount of leasing activity in southwest Wood County as well. Williams, Fulton and Henry are seeing oil and gas land agents talking to farmers about leasing activity.… Continue reading

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Senate Agriculture Committee approves Farm Bill

The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry today voted to approve the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, a bipartisan Farm Bill authored by Committee Chairwoman Senator Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Senator Pat Roberts.

The bill reforms food and agricultural policy by eliminating direct payments and emphasizing the need to strengthen risk management tools for farmers, saving billions of dollars. Overall, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 will reduce the deficit by $23 billion dollars by eliminating unnecessary subsidies, consolidating programs to end duplication, and cracking down on food assistance abuse. These reforms allow for the strengthening of key initiatives that help farmers and small businesses reach new markets and create American jobs. The measure will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

“The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 will save taxpayers billions of dollars while promising a safe and healthy national food supply,” Stabenow said.… Continue reading

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Senate Ag committee moves forward with Farm Bill markup

 

 

The National Corn Growers Association applauds the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry’s decision to promptly reschedule the markup of proposed farm bill legislation for this morning. This decision, which quickly amends yesterday’s postponement, follows a joint letter sent by the National Corn Growers Association and more than 70 other ag organizations to leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee Wednesday night, urging an end to delay and quick movement on passage of the 2012 farm bill.

 

“It is imperative that Congress complete this vital legislation as soon as possible so farmers know what risk management tools will be available and to avoid potential further reductions in funding for farm programs,” the letter states. “The farm program proposals included in the Commodities and Crop Insurance Titles of the bipartisan mark released last week reflect policies that have been debated in both Congressional Agriculture Committees and among farm organizations since early last fall.”… Continue reading

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Clean Ohio Fund suffering from budget cuts

By Matt Reese

The popular programs of the Clean Ohio Fund are feeling the state’s budget crunch, as funding was not included in capital appropriations for the current biennium. Clean Ohio programs include the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program that has preserved more than 20,000 acres of Ohio farmland. In addition, Clean Ohio funds go to various brownfield restoration projects in urban areas and a number of recreational trails around the state.

Clean Ohio was initially passed in 2000 as a $400 million bond program. Voters overwhelmingly approved a Clean Ohio renewal in 2008 and it has the strong support of many Ohio organizations, including the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Nature Conservancy of Ohio.

“The money has dried up and projects are going to start going south unless the General Assembly steps up and funds this program as they have been doing.

It has been very popular, but now it is languishing,” said Josh Knights, executive director of the Nature Conservancy in Ohio. … Continue reading

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