Country Life

OFBF delegates set policy for 2013

By Matt Reese

The 94th Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) Annual Meeting recently concluded and there were a number of hot topics being discussed in the meeting rooms and hallways during the event. Policy guidelines for the next year were set as Ohio Farm Bureau members from around the state gathered to discuss pertinent issues for agriculture.

Tax issues were an important part of the discussion — most notably, Gov. John Kasich’s idea of increasing the severance tax (which taxes the production of a natural resource) in Ohio to cash in on Ohio’s oil and gas boom. Currently, Ohio’s production tax rates of 20 cents a barrel on oil

and 3 cents per 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas are among the lowest in the country.

Kasich wants to raise severance taxes up to 4% over time on the highest-producing oil and gas wells and use the proceeds for modest statewide income tax cuts.… Continue reading

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Senate looking at Russian trade legislation

A Senate vote on the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012 may happen as early as Wednesday of this week.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) is encouraging all senators to vote yes on the House-passed version of the bill without amendment. The bill, if passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Barack Obama, would graduate Russia from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to the Trade Act of 1974, and establish permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with the world’s ninth-largest economy.
The House overwhelmingly passed its version of the bill, H.R. 6156, on November 16.
“We call on the Senate to vote yes on the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act as quickly and in the same bipartisan fashion as their counterparts in the House of Representatives,” said Steve Wellman, ASA resident. “By establishing PNTR with Russia, American soybean farmers can reap the benefits of more than 140 million consumers and a fast-growing economy, which last year imported more than $770 million in American meat, poultry, egg and dairy products, each of which require soybean meal as feed in the production process.
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Ohio farmer gets to “Come on Down” on Price is Right

By Hannah Thompson, OCJ staff reporter

Farmers are known for keeping a close eye on prices. From reading auction results to paying attention to the markets, finances play a big role in their daily lives. Knowing

what things cost paid off in a big way for Cameron James, a Delaware County farmer who found himself in the spotlight on the game show “The Price is Right.”

James, a fifth-generation farmer, took a trip in July to Southern California with his grandmother, who grew up in the area. The pair, both long-time fans of “The Price is Right,” attended a taping near the end of their trip. While they enjoyed the show, they were not selected to compete. The next day, James was determined to use his Ohio and agricultural background to capture the producers’ attention and get the call of “come on down!”

“I’m from Ohio, I’m a farmer…I’ve watched the show for years, and I’ve never seen a farmer on it,” James said.… Continue reading

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Farm bill and the fiscal cliff

With the election of 2012 over, it may be a good thing that the forthcoming debate over the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic budget cuts and tax increases coincides with the ongoing debate over the farm bill, an Ohio State University farm policy expert said.

The debate over the 2012 Farm Bill involves many aspects of the broader policy discussions currently occurring in the U.S., said Carl Zulauf, who is also a professor in Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics.

In a paper written the day after the election, Zulauf said that while it is risky to simplify the policy environment in any country as large and diverse as the U.S., “many issues confronting the U.S. at present can be viewed as a debate over the components, administration, and funding of a U.S. safety net modernized for the 21st century,” he said, noting health care.

“Debate is occurring over both the form and cost of the farm safety net, as well as whether the safety net should be delivered through private agents, (for example via) crop insurance, or via government agencies, (such as) the Farm Service Agency,” Zulauf said.

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USDA crop and livestock surveys

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is asking approximately 85,000 producers across the country to respond to important surveys involving corn, soybeans, sorghum, rice, cotton, and hogs. From November 29 to December 17, NASS will be gathering final information about the 2012 U.S. row crops focusing on harvested acreage, as well as crops produced and stored.  There will also be a hog survey that will capture  current inventory figures.

“It is important to note that responses to these surveys will be included in the County Agricultural Production Survey data and used in calculating county yields,” said Bob Bass, director of NASS’s data collection and processing center. “Producers should not underestimate the importance of their participation in these surveys because USDA uses county yields to evaluate and administer vital farm disaster and insurance programs.”

In addition to row crops, NASS is asking hog producers about their fall pig crop, farrowing intentions for the next six months and current inventory for the quarterly Hogs and Pigs report.… Continue reading

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USDA conservation survey important for Midwest

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reminds producers that the agency is conducting a survey for the 2012 National Resources Inventory (NRI) – Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) about farming and conservation practices on cultivated cropland in the Des Moines River and Western Lake Erie basins. Producers in these areas have the opportunity to participate in the survey, to help evaluate on-farm conservation programs, which help protect the soil and water within their communities. The survey will help ensure these voluntary programs are successfully maintained and improved when necessary.

“The CEAP survey matters because it helps to tell us about current farming and management activities that help protect soil and water resources,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The information gathered from the survey will help us improve and strengthen technical and financial programs that help landowners plan and adopt on-farm conservation practices. I encourage all of those contacted to participate in this important effort.”… Continue reading

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USDA coordinates long-term drought response in Northwest Ohio

Nearly 100 agricultural producers, rural stakeholders, and federal and state officials gathered in late November at Northwest State Community College in rural Henry County, Ohio, to discuss the impact of this summer’s drought and sow the seeds for future collaboration.

“These meetings provide an opportunity for federal representatives to work with local and regional leaders to learn about drought-related impacts in the region and determine how to best use existing programs to help speed recovery efforts,” said Colleen Callahan, the USDA’s disaster recovery coordinator for drought.

Recognizing that recovery from the drought that affected much of the farm belt will be a lengthy process, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack scheduled several regional meetings to outline available resources to assist local, regional and state recovery efforts. USDA coordinated with federal partners, working closely with the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to facilitate these meetings. The meeting in Northwest Ohio also drew stakeholders from Michigan and Indiana.… Continue reading

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Award winners at the Ohio Farm Bureau Harvest Banquet

More than 800 Ohio Farm Bureau members and their closest friends gathered for dinner at the annual Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) Harvest Banquet to honor award winners and celebrate agriculture.

Erik Scott, from Brown County, was the Outstanding Young Farmer and Greg McGlinch, from Darke County, won the Excellence in Agriculture contest. Brad Heimerl, of Licking County, won the Discussion Meet Competition.

Distinguished Service Awards were presented to former legislator Steve Maurer and no-till farmer Dave Brandt from Fairfield County. William Diley was presented with the Ag/Cooperative Educator Award. Pat and Bobby Moser were honored for their service to Ohio agriculture as well.

County Farm Bureaus were recognized for their achievements and a number of individuals were honored as well. County Farm Bureau programming in the areas of Communications, Food and Animal Issues, Organization and Public Policy were judged by county Farm Bureau member-volunteers from throughout the state in early November.… Continue reading

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Ag groups push for presidential emergent declaration for Mississippi

The American Farm Bureau Federation has urged President Barack Obama to issue a presidential declaration of emergency for the Mississippi River. In a letter this week to the president and top administration officials, AFBF, and nearly 20 other national organizations, said there could be an economic catastrophe in America’s heartland as soon as mid-December if the administration does not take emergency action to ensure that water levels do not fall below the level needed to support commercial navigation.

Because of this year’s severe drought, waterborne commerce on the middle Mississippi River is in danger, especially now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun to implement plans to reduce the release of water to the river from dams on the upper Missouri River.

“The Mississippi River is a critical national transportation artery, on which hundreds of millions of tons of essential commodities are shipped…,” stated the letter. “Substantial curtailment of navigation will effectively sever the country’s inland waterway superhighway, imperil the shipment of critical cargo for domestic consumption and for export, threaten manufacturing industries and power generation and risk thousands of related jobs in the Midwest.”… Continue reading

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Agricultural Tax Issues Workshops to be held across Ohio on Dec. 17

Tax practitioners with an interest in farm income taxes will have an opportunity to attend a one-day farm tax workshop scheduled for Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in 10 locations across Ohio. This workshop will be taught by Dr. Phil Harris, Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin via teleconference.

This program has been designed for tax practitioners who have a significant number of farm clients and therefore need a substantial amount of information on agricultural tax issues. Participants will hear an audiotape of a live lecture given by Phil Harris, supplemented with a showing of the slide presentation Harris used during his lecture. Harris will be available for questions during two conference calls during the day, and OSU faculty will be in the meeting rooms to answer questions. Registrants will receive a valuable 203-page supplemental book.

The summer drought caused havoc across Ohio for crop producers.… Continue reading

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OFBF forging policy for the coming year

By Dale Minyo and Matt Reese

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) Annual Meeting is underway and there are a number of hot topics being discussed in the meeting rooms and hallways during the event. Today, many of the policy guidelines for the next year are being set as Ohio Farm Bureau members from around the state gather to discuss pertinent issues for agriculture.

There are several regional topics this year that have important statewide implications, said Jack Fisher, the executive vice president of OFBF.

“Eastern Ohio is very much engaged in the oil and gas industries and the opportunities that have come with it. There are lots of issues to deal with there and there are opportunities to put some money in their pockets,” Fisher said. “In northern Ohio, there is interest in the discussion about whether we privatize the turnpike. Farmers are concerned about the cost of the tolls, access to the turnpike and there are

always drainage issues with roads.… Continue reading

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Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

By Kim Lemmon

We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” As it turns out, what it really means is appreciate a gift for what it is and don’t try to figure out its value. In the middle ages, the age and the value of a horse, was determined by looking at its teeth, thus the saying, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

In general, my husband, Mark, and I try to stay away from free horses and livestock. We have turned down many free horses through the years because we figured that there had to be some serious flaws with the horses that caused them to be free, but in horses and life we have learned there are always exceptions.

About two and half years ago, I closed my riding lesson business in order to pursue my dream of owning and showing a draft horse.… Continue reading

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The ugly truth about equine obesity

By Gina Fresquez, equine nutrition specialist with Purina Horse Feed

Obesity in horses is a growing problem in the United States as horses are eating more and working less. Sadly, it is a serious issue that is linked to a variety of disease conditions. As horse owners, it is important to recognize the distinction between a fat and fit horse. Most don’t realize that obesity carries risks in horses much like it does in humans. The ugly truth is that obese horses are at greater risk for health problems such as laminitis, insulin resistance and joint issues from supporting excess weight.

According to a Virginia Tech and Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine study from 2007, 51% of horses are overweight and 19% of overweight horses have a body condition of 7 or more, making them medically obese. And nearly one-third of obese horses suffer from insulin resistance. Horse owners can refer to the scoring chart provided by Purina to help accurately assess their horse’s body condition by visiting reading

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Feast again with delicious recipes for leftover turkey

By Jo Ellen Helmlinger

Tired of turkey sandwiches and reheated leftovers? Here are some recipes using cooked turkey that make the day after the holiday seem like a second feast.

Turkey Cranberry Encore Salad

From Carnation Evaporated Milk

Makes 8 servings



2/3 cup evaporated milk

½ cup jellied or whole-berry cranberry sauce

¼ cup bottled Italian salad dressing


1 (10-ounce) bag mixed salad greens

2 cups cubed, cooked turkey

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

1/3 cup sweetened, dried cranberries

½ cup chopped, toasted walnuts


  1. For the Dressing: In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine evaporated milk, cranberry sauce and Italian salad dressing; cover jar with lid and shake for 1 to 2 minutes or until well blended.  You also may use a stick blender and a four-cup glass measure to combine ingredients. Dressing can be made 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Shake well before using.
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Thankfulness in America and for America

By Tim Reeves, the Country Chaplain

November is the month of thankfulness. From the first Thanksgiving with Pilgrims and American Indians to 1863 when then President Abraham Lincoln signed an order establishing a national “Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to God Who Dwelleth in Heaven” to the numerous harvest celebrations highlighting town and country life, Americans are a nation of people who aren’t afraid to give thanks for their blessings.

But let me ask, for what are you really thankful?

How about simply being thankful for being an American?

Years ago, while editor at the Farm & Dairy weekly newspaper, I interviewed a professor from Belize (one of the poorest countries in Central America) who was spending a year studying Ohio’s 4-H program. Belize had no similar youth program so he was researching how to set up one up in that impoverished country.

We had a great talk and became friends.… Continue reading

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Ohio Proud items make great Christmas gifts

As the holiday season quickly approaches, Ohio Proud announces a special holiday campaign urging Ohioans to celebrate by making holiday dishes and giving gifts featuring Ohio products. Whether you’re spending the holidays at home, entertaining with friends or celebrating at work, make the best of the holidays by shopping Ohio Proud.

Consumers can look for the Ohio Proud logo when buying Ohio made and Ohio grown products.  When you purchase Ohio Proud products you are supporting Ohio farmers, food processors, and your community.  Every dollar spent on Ohio Proud products reinvests in the state’s economy.  From fresh meats, fruits and vegetables, to snack foods, wine and baked goods you will find Ohio Proud products in every aisle of your favorite grocery store.

Online shoppers can visit the Ohio Proud web site at for partner web sites and recipes for holiday meals. Ohio Proud can also be found on Pinterest, sharing home-grown gift, recipe and party planning ideas.… Continue reading

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Agriculture and the “fiscal cliff”: Part 3

In what may be the single most significant factor affecting the very near future of the U.S. economy, the oft-referred to “fiscal cliff” is looming on the horizon. We asked some experts in the field of agricultural economics to provide their take on how agriculture, in particular, could be influenced. We are sharing their responses in a three part series. Here is the final response from Doug Tenney, with Leist Mercantile in Circleville.

Fiscal cliff. By now you have at least heard the term. But what is it? It is not a new sports drink or power bar, or a new sports car. It is not a viewing point along the ocean or the name of a popular diner. “Fiscal cliff” refers to the dual combination of increased taxes and cuts in government spending (both total at least $500 billion) to take place when we click the calendar to 2013. It is not something that suddenly popped out of nowhere to now grasp daily news headlines.… Continue reading

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Agriculture and the “fiscal cliff”: Part 2

In what may be the single most significant factor affecting the very near future of the U.S. economy, the oft-referred to “fiscal cliff” is looming on the horizon. We asked some experts in the field of agricultural economics to provide their take on how agriculture, in particular, could be influenced. We will be sharing their responses in a three part series. Here is the second response from Mike Zuzolo, with Global Commodity Analytics and Consulting, LLC.

Much like the financial markets, commodity markets are primarily driven by risk-takers and international trade, in my view. Further, these two drivers to the markets are intertwined; they should not be separated.

Much of what drives both risk-takers and international trade hinges upon the conviction or confidence of the markets, in my estimation. Increased expectations for stronger global growth and increased capital movement across borders to invest lend the financial and commodity markets to a “risk-on” attitude, whereby these markets are willing to take prices higher, generally speaking, on the idea that both capital an d international trade will continue to increase.… Continue reading

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Agriculture and the “fiscal cliff”: Part 1

By Matt Reese

In what may be the single most significant factor affecting the very near future of the U.S. economy, the oft-referred to “fiscal cliff” is looming on the horizon. We asked some experts in the field of agricultural economics to provide their take on how agriculture, in particular, could be influenced. We will be sharing their responses in a three part series. Here is the first response from Carl Zulauf, a widely respected agricultural economics professor at Ohio State University:

The U.S. fiscal cliff refers to the combination of two events that will occur in late 2012 and early 2013: (1) implementation of federal budget cuts resulting from the compromise to extend the U.S. federal debt ceiling and (2) expiration of many of the tax cuts enacted since 2000. The name, “fiscal cliff,” stems from the widely held concern that these two actions may cause an economic recession. However, the fiscal cliff is actually a symptom, not the problem.… Continue reading

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Wetland park expanding at OSU

Ohio State University’s renowned Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, which opened its doors 20 years ago, is now in the process of opening them wider.

The 52-acre Columbus facility is undergoing $75,000 in renovations to its main teaching and research building as part of a broader effort to increase the park’s access, use and impact.

Programs in the park focus on how wetlands function, how to create and restore them, and how they benefit the environment and people. Water from the adjacent Olentangy River fills two main experimental wetlands at the site, which are each about the size of two football fields. Ohio State officials call it the only facility like it on a university campus.

“The Schiermeier is uniquely positioned to more broadly address problems related to water supply and quality in Ohio and beyond,” said Ron Hendrick, director of Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, of which the park is a part.… Continue reading

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