Country Life



Tips for purchasing firewood

As winter quickly approaches and more Ohioans look to firewood to help heat their homes, the Ohio Department of Agriculture officials ask Ohioans to be aware of some basic tips to help when purchasing wood.

Prior to purchasing, the following firewood rules and regulations are helpful to know:

  • If firewood is advertised and sold as “seasoned,” it must have a moisture content of less than 50 percent. “Unseasoned” wood will only produce two-thirds of the heat of “seasoned” wood.
  • If the firewood is advertised and sold as a certain type of wood, the load must contain at least 90 percent of that species.
  • Non-packaged firewood must be sold by the cord or by fractions of a cord. One cord, when properly stacked, should be 8 feet long by 4 feet high and 4 feet wide (128 cubic feet).
  • If sold in bulk, firewood must be purchased by the weight in ton measurements.
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How will Ohio’s vote affect agricultural issues?

By Matt Reese

After the wild changes in Tuesday’s election, many Ohioans are left wondering how their new candidates will be able to shape important agricultural issues moving forward. Few places saw more of a wild swing towards Republicans than the state of Ohio, with John Kasich leading the way to beat Democrat Ted Strickland for Governor and Republicans dominating the list of winners in the Ohio Congress.

“Agriculture has a history of strong bipartisan support and I think we’ll continue to see that. We had some great folks elected and we lost some great folks on both sides of the aisle,” said Beth Vanderkooi, with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) public policy. “In Ohio, 80% of the elections in the Ohio Senate 85% in the Ohio House were won by Farm Bureau’s ‘friends of agriculture.’”

Also of interest to Ohio Farm Bureau is the success of Bob Peterson and Bob Gibbs, both former presidents of the organization.… Continue reading

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How will Ohio's vote affect agricultural issues?

By Matt Reese

After the wild changes in Tuesday’s election, many Ohioans are left wondering how their new candidates will be able to shape important agricultural issues moving forward. Few places saw more of a wild swing towards Republicans than the state of Ohio, with John Kasich leading the way to beat Democrat Ted Strickland for Governor and Republicans dominating the list of winners in the Ohio Congress.

“Agriculture has a history of strong bipartisan support and I think we’ll continue to see that. We had some great folks elected and we lost some great folks on both sides of the aisle,” said Beth Vanderkooi, with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) public policy. “In Ohio, 80% of the elections in the Ohio Senate 85% in the Ohio House were won by Farm Bureau’s ‘friends of agriculture.’”

Also of interest to Ohio Farm Bureau is the success of Bob Peterson and Bob Gibbs, both former presidents of the organization.… Continue reading

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2010 election results

By Matt Reese

Nov. 2 was a momentous day for Republicans as they made great gains at the Federal level and re-gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Most political pundits agree that the nation sent a clear message to its legislators that the current course of the federal government needs to be altered.

Few places saw more of a wild swing towards Republicans than the state of Ohio, a well-documented political battleground and an important state for determining the outcome of Presidential elections. In the two key statewide races, Republican John Kasich won a narrow victory for Governor and Republican Rob Portman won George Voinovich’s vacated Senate seat.

“Ohio needs a leader who isn’t afraid of tough decisions, has the strength to take on entrenched interests in both parties and is experienced in delivering the change our state desperately needs,” said Kasich in response to the question, “Why should Ohio’s agricultural community vote for you?”… Continue reading

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Research shows Ohio Ag Net is most listened to farm radio network in the state

Ohio Ag Net Reaches the Most Farmers in Ohio

A recent media study conducted by Ag Media Research (AMR) reveals that the Ohio Ag Net radio network reaches more Ohio farmers than any other farm broadcast network or radio station in the state.  The Ohio Ag Net has a 35% higher average quarter hour share (AQH) than the closest competitor. In addition the AMR research reveals that the Cume rating for soybean farmers is 50.9, corn farmers 50.8 and wheat farmers 54.1.

The AMR study in Ohio is conducted every other year and is considered the standard of audience measurement by the agrimarketing community.

“This is a result of the Ohio Ag Net actively partnering with local affiliate radio stations to reach farmers in Ohio,” said Bart Johnson, president and founder of the Ohio Ag Net. “We worked with stations to develop programming they could deliver at farmer friendly listening times.”… Continue reading

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New wildlife/hunting area open in Marion County

Pheasants Forever and partners have added 300 acres of quality wildlife habitat in Ohio that will be open to public hunting and recreation with the creation of the new Beaver Wildlife Area in Marion County.

Located just southwest of the town of Marion, the new Beaver Wildlife Area is named after the Beaver family (Dave Beaver, Mark Beaver, Alex Beaver and Janis Beaver Loch), which owned and operated the farm for five generations. Thanks to the family and additional partners, the mix of tallgrass prairie, wetlands and oak savanna will be open in perpetuity. The Beaver family donated a percentage of the land value back to Pheasants Forever to manage and maintain the farm. Other funding sources included the Clean Ohio Fund and the Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW). The property will be owned by The Forever Land Trust, a subsidiary of Pheasants Forever, and managed in cooperation with the DOW, which will annex it into the 5,722 acres Big Island Wildlife Area.… Continue reading

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USDA announces assistance to Ohio ag

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is providing help to Ohio farmers through multiple programs.

First, USDA is offering loan guarantees and grants to agricultural producers and business owners across Ohio to enable them to reduce energy use and increase efficiency.

“These loan guarantees and grants will generate and save energy for Ohio’s farmers and businesses for decades to come,” Vilsack said. “Renewable energy systems like the biodigester that generates electricity for this research center are among the many ways USDA is helping the country become more energy independent.”

The $6 million in funding announced today is authorized through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) and is administered by USDA Rural Development through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

Some farm owners have been selected to receive funding to replace older grain dryers with energy efficient models. Others are installing renewable energy systems.  For example, French Creek BioEnergy, LLC has been selected for a $500,000 REAP grant and a $1,650,000 guaranteed loan to construct an anaerobic digester that will produce 6.7 million kilowatts of energy annually. … Continue reading

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2010 candidates’ positions on Ohio agriculture

Editor’s note: With the 2010 election on our doorstep, Ohio’s Country Journal recently asked Ohio’s two leading candidates for governor and two leading candidates for U.S. Senate to answer the following question in 400 words or less: “Why should Ohio’s agricultural community vote for you?” Here are their responses.

Governor Ted Strickland

Growing up in rural Scioto County, I understand the vital role agriculture plays in Ohio. I am proud of my record as governor and the many accomplishments my administration has been able to achieve with the support of Ohio farmers and the agricultural community. These are tough times but together we’ve overseen the largest tax cut in Ohio history, continued to tighten the belt of state government by reducing its size and cost, and cut burdensome regulations so businesses and farms can grow and expand.
It is essential that the next generation of Ohioans have the skills they need to succeed, so we have made record investments in K-12 education and expanded access to affordable higher education.… Continue reading

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2010 candidates' positions on Ohio agriculture

Editor’s note: With the 2010 election on our doorstep, Ohio’s Country Journal recently asked Ohio’s two leading candidates for governor and two leading candidates for U.S. Senate to answer the following question in 400 words or less: “Why should Ohio’s agricultural community vote for you?” Here are their responses.

Governor Ted Strickland

Growing up in rural Scioto County, I understand the vital role agriculture plays in Ohio. I am proud of my record as governor and the many accomplishments my administration has been able to achieve with the support of Ohio farmers and the agricultural community. These are tough times but together we’ve overseen the largest tax cut in Ohio history, continued to tighten the belt of state government by reducing its size and cost, and cut burdensome regulations so businesses and farms can grow and expand.
It is essential that the next generation of Ohioans have the skills they need to succeed, so we have made record investments in K-12 education and expanded access to affordable higher education.… Continue reading

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NOAA: Another Winter of Extremes in Store for U.S. as La Niña Strengthens

The Pacific Northwest should brace for a colder and wetter than average winter, while most of the South and Southeast will be warmer and drier than average through February 2011, according to the annual Winter Outlook released today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. A moderate to strong La Niña will be the dominant climate factor influencing weather across most of the U.S. this winter.

La Niña is associated with cooler than normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, unlike El Niño which is associated with warmer than normal water temperatures. Both of these climate phenomena, which typically occur every 2-5 years, influence weather patterns throughout the world and often lead to extreme weather events. Last winter’s El Niño contributed to record-breaking rain and snowfall leading to severe flooding in some parts of the country, with record heat and drought in other parts of the country. Although La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, it also has the potential to bring weather extremes to parts of the nation.… Continue reading

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Urban agriculture grants at work in Cuyahoga County

Economic opportunity, beautification, new jobs and access to fresh, local produce are being wrapped into one pretty package for the Greater Cleveland community.

Ohio State University Extension in Cuyahoga County has received more than $840,000 in grants to help new farmers get started on small tracts of land in the city, with a special focus on training for women, minorities, refugees, immigrants and limited resource adults with developmental disabilities.

Projects supported by the grants will address several key city issues at once, said Marie Barni, director of the Cuyahoga County office for OSU Extension, including urban blight, food deserts, and unemployment.

The Beginning Entrepreneurs in Agricultural Networks (BEAN) and the Urban Agriculture Innovation District (UAID) projects will turn vacant tracts into lush, productive gardens and farms, Barni said.

“Many people in our county live without ready access to fresh produce. Infusing agriculture throughout our county provides healthy foods in our neighborhoods.… Continue reading

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TSC program supports 4-H

From now through November 21, 2010, Tractor Supply Company stores will support local 4-H youth and their families, volunteers, staff, and alumni with the exclusive TSC Clover Card, a loyalty card that gives periodic discounts to folks affiliated with 4-H and offers clubs the opportunity to win a monthly $500 TSC gift card. In addition, from November 5-14th, all TSC stores will be running a Paper Clover fundraiser in their stores to raise funds for their local 4-H programs. Can you help support 6 million 4-H youth by spreading the word about this exciting campaign?

In addition to the benefits for 4-H families to sign up for the excusive TSC Clover Card, all funds raised through this local TSC Paper Clover Promotion will be donated to 4-H, and will support local camps, after-school programs and other 4-H youth development program activities.

What is the TSC Clover Card?
As part of National 4-H Council’s partnership withTractor Supply Company (TSC), TSC has created a pilot loyalty card program for 4-Hers, their families, and staff involved in 4-H—it is called the TSC Clover Card!… Continue reading

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Cross country meet held “Down on the Farm”

By Kyle Sharp

Hundreds of people gathered at the Ross County farm of Larry and Betsy Moore on Sept. 29, but it wasn’t for an early harvest party. They’d come to watch and participate in the 2010 “Down on the Farm Run,” a low-key cross country meet that has become quite popular among six area schools.

The event is the brainchild of the Moore’s daughter, Jennifer Johnston, who is an agricultural education teacher and cross country coach at nearby Zane Trace High School.

“I started coaching cross country at Zane Trace in fall 2000, and I would take some of our runners out to the farm to run as practice,” Johnston said. “It became tradition and the kids really liked it. Then one of them said it would be neat if we had a meet here. She thought it would be fun to run around the cow pasture.”

That got the creative juices flowing, and plans were soon underway to hold the first “Down on the Farm Run” in 2004.… Continue reading

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FCS helps rebuild grandstand at Defiance County Fairgrounds

Anyone who grew up or lives in rural America likely has a pretty good feel for how county fairs — complete with 4H Club members, livestock judging, demolition derbies, tractor pulls, elephant ears, and much more — are an integral part of the fabric of their local communities.

“County fairs are really an annual celebration of agriculture and rural America,” said Defiance County native Nick Sheets recently of his county’s fair at Hicksville.

Those annual celebrations are also an opportunity to share agriculture’s story with a population increasingly removed from farming traditions and practices. However, in Defiance County fewer people are attending than in years past, which has had some community leaders concerned.

“At one time this was a great county fair, but over the past few years interest and attendance have dwindled,” said Tom Breininger, a retired school principal and farmer who agreed to chair a foundation board to raise funds to help rejuvenate the fair.… Continue reading

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OARDC tornado damage video on the Web

Ohio State University tree experts show tornado damage to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and its Secrest Arboretum in Wooster in a new video posted Oct. 1 on YouTube.

The images come from areas that continue to remain off-limits to the public — the main OARDC campus and its 120-acre arboretum — following a Sept. 16 tornado strike.

Part one is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVMjWhx7TA&feature=player_embedded.

Part two is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdfKJZ0u1aY&feature=related.

Narrators Jim Chatfield, an Ohio State University Extension horticulture specialist based in Wooster, and Bruce Cubberley, an assistant professor of horticulture technologies at Ohio State’s Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI), also in Wooster, look at which trees were lost, which ones survived, how to know if a damaged tree can be saved and more.

“It’s about mourning, but it’s also about learning and looking to the future,” Chatfield says in the video.

“We will put this material to use” — with ATI horticulture students, in OSU Extension outreach programs — “because that’s what we’re about: bringing knowledge to life.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Agriculture Preserves 37 Farms 
Using Clean Ohio Funds

The Ohio Department of Agriculture today announces that nearly 6,200 acres from 37 farms are preserved through its Agricultural Easement Purchase Program using Clean Ohio funds.

The Clean Ohio Fund bond initiative won support from Ohio’s voters in 2008 to preserve farmland and green space, improve outdoor recreation and to encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities by cleaning up brownfields.

This year, the Ohio Farmland Preservation Advisory Board reviewed 203 applications from 37 counties competing for the limited money available through the Clean Ohio Fund. Applicants had the opportunity to earn up to 150 points based on a two-tiered scoring system. Section one of the application focused on development pressure, soils, proximity to other agricultural land, use of best management practices and local comprehensive land-use plans. Section two included narrative questions regarding the farm and its unique appeal to the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program.

The following is a list of landowners selected to receive Clean Ohio funds, pending completion of a legal review, title search and any necessary review of third party interests:

Landowner NameFarm AcreageCounty
Ayers82.00Ashland
Yeater452.93Ashland
Geil180.00Ashtabula
Perry103.15Ashtabula
Waris150.49Ashtabula
Bumgardner545.43Clark
Renfrew152.93Coshocton
Thomas, Michael88.91Fairfield
Young, Helen140.28Fairfield
Young, Joe & Cathy125.01Fairfield
Bratton106.00Fulton
Short149.80Fulton
VonSeggern136.68Fulton

Weedon

284.00

Geauga

Wildman473.56Greene
Seidel200.19Huron
Helt92.00Knox
Seitz31.82Knox
Simpson108.91Knox
Thomas, Donald & Alesia110.58Knox
Deeds254.75Licking
Gibson181.33Licking
Morgan71.37Logan
Schlumbohm102.30Logan
Wysong134.60Montgomery
Gang48.13Portage
Tapalman229.00Preble
Welch119.05Preble
Mauch598.82Sandusky
Burks55.16Seneca
Ewald162.94Seneca
Fry33.19Seneca
Riley120.00Seneca
Wise79.19Seneca
Cox101.42Trumbull
Lipps105.51Trumbull
Weygandt78.48Wayne

An agricultural easement is a voluntary and legally-binding restriction placed on a farm.… Continue reading

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4-H offers activities for day off school

In many central Ohio school districts, Friday, Oct. 15, is set aside for teachers’ professional development, giving students a day off. For the first time, Ohio 4-H Youth Development is offering a day of activities at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on Ohio State University’s Columbus campus.

“I remember when my children were younger that I wanted them to have someplace and something to do on that day off when I couldn’t be home, they were too old for day care, but not old enough to be home alone,” said Sally McClaskey, program coordinator for Ohio State University Extension’s 4-H program. “A one-day, structured, supervised activity would have been great.”

McClaskey has planned “4-H for a Day” for Oct. 15 — a day of activities for students ages 8 rough 12 involving games, team-building, crafts — even making ice cream with students in the Buckeye Dairy Club.

The event is limited to 40 children, and registration is due to McClaskey by Wednesday, Oct.… Continue reading

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Social media from the farm

A conversation with Mike “farmerhaley” Haley, a farmer and social media (Twitter and Facebook) user

OCJ: First can you tell us a little about your farm and your background?

Mike: I am a fifth generation farmer from Wayne County, Ohio. My father and I raise corn, soybeans, wheat and hay. My wife, Pam, and I are continuing my grandfather’s love of beef cattle by raising purebred Simmental cattle on our farm.

OCJ: How did you get started with using social media?

Mike: About a year and a half ago I attended an Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professional Conference where one of the sessions was talking about how social media can help connect with the growing amount of people wanting to learn more about how their food is raised. The importance of individual farmers telling their stories rather than leaving it to associations or critics really hit home. Pam and I both decided to get involved.… Continue reading

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Tree farmers promote conservation in NW Ohio

By Matt Reese

In 1966, Walt and Donna Lange moved from Toledo to the rich farm country outside of Swanton. Walt was a Math teacher for the University of Toledo and was looking for a place to relax, enjoy the countryside and do some hunting. Their 33 acres was mostly in cropland, with around 10 acres in trees.

“In the winter, I can remember the blowing sand drifting onto the road instead of snow,” Donna said. “We started planting a windbreak in 1971 to try and stop some of that blowing sand.”

The initial planting of trees apparently appealed to the Langes because they have not stopped since. The couple was named the 2010 Ohio Tree Farmers of the Year by the Ohio Tree Farm Committee, which is sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“We’ve probably planted more than 10,000 trees through the years,” Walt said. “Planting trees is our labor of love and we are planting trees someplace every year.”… Continue reading

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Green policies may not create many jobs

Like many states, Ohio is banking on green energy technology to put residents back to work. Yet, a new Ohio State University analysis examining the economic development impacts of green policies suggests that the state’s current efforts are unlikely to generate large numbers of new jobs.

However, on a more positive front, the analysis also indicates that related proposals such as cap-and-trade are unlikely to be the massive “job killers” that opponents fear.

The analysis is laid out in a policy brief titled, “Green Policies, Climate Changes, and New Jobs: Separating Fact from Fiction.” In the document, Ohio State agricultural economist Mark Partridge and his colleagues Amanda Weinstein and J. Clay Francis discuss why environmental policies, such as green energy subsidies and cap-and-trade, do little to affect job growth.

“The overriding weakness for alternative energy to create jobs, even in the short run, is that virtually all green energy technologies are capital intensive, meaning that they require few workers to get started or maintain,” said Partridge, the Swank Chair in Rural-Urban Policy and a professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics.… Continue reading

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