Country Life



USDA announces loan program and Organic Program Handbook

USDA announces loan program and Organic Program Handbook

USDA has made two recent announcements regarding tools to help U.S. farms.

The launch of a Conservation Loan (CL) program that will provide farm owners and farm-related business operators access to credit to implement conservation techniques that will conserve natural resources.

“This will give farmers who want to implement conservation measures on their lands a chance to do so by providing assistance with their up-front costs,” said Vilsack. “In return, these producers will help to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and promote sustainable and organic agricultural practices.”

CL funds can be used to implement conservation practices approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), such as the installation of conservation structures; establishment of forest cover; installation of water conservation measures; establishment or improvement of permanent pastures; implementation of manure management; and the adaptation of other emerging or existing conservation practices, techniques or technologies.… Continue reading

Read More »

Wind energy becoming a breeze

Wind energy could supply about 20% of the nation’s electricity, according to the federal research lab, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, which in turn could lessen dependency on fuels and reduce emissions in the air. Although much of the wind resources in the U.S. are still largely untapped, the American Wind Energy Association estimates that wind is the fastest growing energy source in the world – expanding at a rate of 25-30% every year.

Closer to northwest Ohio, wind energy remains a popular point of discussion. Homes, cabins, boats and farms are utilizing systems to produce electrical power for on-site use. Of course, there are numerous factors to consider before generating such power: different characteristics of wind turbines, net metering agreements, sizing the right turbine, permits needed, and even available grants to fund a turbine.

Glen Ginesi, president of Engineered Process Systems (EPS), will present “Understanding Distrbuted Wind Systems” on Thurs., Sept.… Continue reading

Read More »

Trade safeguards would hurt, not help, developing countries

Allowing developing countries to increase import tariffs based on price and supply triggers under proposed World Trade Organization rules would actually harm those countries, according to a Purdue University economic analysis.

A major factor in the breakdown of the Doha Development Agenda, which aimed to set new rules for agricultural trade under the WTO, was disagreement over whether a special safeguard mechanism should be included to allow developing countries to increase tariffs if imports surged or world prices dropped past certain trigger points. Developing countries lobbied for those safeguards, believing the measures would protect producers from cheap commodities flooding their markets.

But Thomas Hertel, a Purdue distinguished professor of agricultural economics and executive director of the Global Trade Analysis Project, said those safeguards actually would increase price volatility with developing countries faring the worst.

“Rather than stabilizing domestic producers’ incomes, it could destabilize them. It would also raise food prices faced by the poor,” said Hertel, who ran an economic analysis on the effects of the proposed safeguards.… Continue reading

Read More »

MIchigan State Fair cancelled

The Michigan State Fair had been a state tradition for 160 years and held at Eight Mile and Woodward, within Detroit city limits, since 1905. But the fair had been running deficits and needed $360,000 from the state in 2008 to cover losses. Fewer than 220,000 people passed through last year. At its peak in 1966, the fair drew 1 million.… Continue reading

Read More »

OSU ag professor honored for global commitment


On his way home from work every evening, Herbert Ockerman makes it a habit to stop at three outlets of Half-Price Books to purchase textbooks, literature or “anything that would fit into a school or university library.”

He boxes them up with other books he collects, including donations from retiring faculty members, and stores them in his garage, basement and living room. When he has enough for a shipment, he has a shipping container delivered to his neighborhood in northern Columbus and enlists the help of friends, family, students and other volunteers to fill it up. Then it’s ready to send overseas, primarily to universities where former international students are now faculty members or administrators. Ockerman, professor of animal sciences with Ohio State University’sCollege of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, has done this since 1984, coordinating more than 1,500 shipments to thousands of educational institutions in more than 350 locations around the world.… Continue reading

Read More »

The Belmont County Fair finds a new home

By Matt Reese

“It is the same old thing, but this time it is all new.”
Jerry Campbell, president of the Belmont County Fair Board is excited, nervous and scared all at the same time as he leads the effort for yet another Belmont County Fair beginning on Sept. 7. In many ways, it will be the same as past fairs in the county, with junior exhibitors, events, and a community that is always supportive of the event. But this year, it will be the first time at a new location.
The Belmont County Fair long called a 17-acre site in St. Clairsville home, but the location offered no room to grow. This year will be the first fair at the new 162-acre location just outside of East Richland, 5.5 miles west of the previous site.
“That is a huge difference,” Campbell said. “We sold the former fairgrounds four years ago and had the fair there through last year while we worked on the new site.… Continue reading

Read More »

Win Your Community $2,500 Through Monsanto's Farmers Grow Communities Project

The America’s Farmers Grow Communities Project sponsored by Monsanto gives eligible farmers the opportunity to win $2,500 for their local community. If the farmer is selected as a winner, Monsanto Fund will make a $2,500 grant to the community nonprofit organization they choose, such as FFA, 4-H, schools, fire departments and other civic groups.

For every farmer who registers, Monsanto Fund will donate $1 to the local United Way to help food banks, food pantries, Meals On Wheels and other charitable organizations dealing with hunger in that farmer’s county.

Registration begins August 31, 2010, and ends December 31, 2010. Apply and see rues and eligibility at www.growcommunities.com or call 1-877-267-3332.

America’s Farmers Grow Communities Project Details

Eligible Counties

See previous Ohio winners

Continue reading

Read More »

Win Your Community $2,500 Through Monsanto’s Farmers Grow Communities Project

The America’s Farmers Grow Communities Project sponsored by Monsanto gives eligible farmers the opportunity to win $2,500 for their local community. If the farmer is selected as a winner, Monsanto Fund will make a $2,500 grant to the community nonprofit organization they choose, such as FFA, 4-H, schools, fire departments and other civic groups.

For every farmer who registers, Monsanto Fund will donate $1 to the local United Way to help food banks, food pantries, Meals On Wheels and other charitable organizations dealing with hunger in that farmer’s county.

Registration begins August 31, 2010, and ends December 31, 2010. Apply and see rues and eligibility at www.growcommunities.com or call 1-877-267-3332.

America’s Farmers Grow Communities Project Details

Eligible Counties

See previous Ohio winners

Continue reading

Read More »

USDA and FFA team up to create lesson plans just in time for school

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the National FFA Organization have partnered to develop new educational tools to help promote agricultural and statistical literacy among kindergarten through 12th-grade students.

“By including these materials in the classroom curriculum, teachers can help students better understand statistics and their importance to the farming community, rural America and society as a whole,” said Dr. Cynthia Clark, NASS administrator. “These lesson plans contain relevant information to give students a realistic view of statistical processes used to track trends and changes in U.S. agricultural production, economics and demographics.”

The classroom-ready resources, which include lesson plans and supporting materials, are aligned with national curriculum standards for science, math and social studies.

The materials use current Census of Agriculture data to teach a variety of concepts including discovering new trends in population subsets and evaluating diversity among farmers.

The materials are available online via the NASS website (http://www.nass.usda.gov/Education_and_Outreach/index.asp)… Continue reading

Read More »

U.S. Agriculture Paying Price for Inaction on Mexican Trucks

Mexico’s trade retaliation against the United States is expanding in size and scope due to the U.S. government not meeting obligations to allow Mexican trucks to operate in the United States. Due to this inaction, America’s farmers and ranchers are paying a steep price and the American Farm Bureau Federation is calling for immediate action to correct the matter.

The updated retaliation list published by Mexico includes tariffs that take effect today against U.S. pork, certain types of U.S. cheese, pistachios, a wide range of U.S. fruits and vegetables and other farm and non-farm goods.

“Mexico is one of our best trading partners and allowing this retaliation to continue for a provision we are obligated to meet is simply unacceptable,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “The economic impact from this growing list will be significant to many farmers and ranchers.”

Mexico has taken this action because under NAFTA, Mexican motor carriers are allowed to transport international cargo within the U.S.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Projects Receive an Additional $118 Million in Broadband Recovery Act Awards

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland today welcomed the announcement by Vice President Biden that three Ohio broadband projects received more than $118 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to extend broadband access throughout Ohio and create more than 430 jobs, and likely many more through indirect job creation.

“These awards support our plan to create a seamless broadband infrastructure throughout Ohio,” Strickland said. “Comprehensive Internet access is one part of our strategy to lay the groundwork for Ohio’s long-term economic growth and improve Ohio’s business environment. Because access to high-speed Internet is increasingly essential for businesses and is a gateway to connecting our students with the world. I want to thank the Obama administration and our Ohio Congressional leaders for their continued support of our goal to make sure that every part of Ohio has access to high-speed Internet services.”

The Ohio awards are below:

Horizon Telecom, $66.5 million: The project, with nearly $28.5 million in matching contributions, will allow Horizon Telecom, a Chillicothe company, to offer affordable middle-mile broadband service in 34 southern and eastern Ohio counties.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame inducts eight new members

Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame inducts eight new members

The Ohio State Fair inducted eight new Hall of Fame members on July 29 in the Rhodes Center Auditorium. Inductees are: Charles Cox, Columbus; Dennis Elliott, Columbus; Richard Falter, Osprey, Fla.; Opal Holfinger, Troy; Richard Indoe, Lodi; David Madison, Bexley; Jeff Milgrom, Columbus; and Rose Stough, Galion.

Charles Cox has been involved with the Ohio State Fair for approximately 50 years as a concessionaire. Beginning with the operation of ice cream concessions during the fair, Cox’s involvement has grown to provide year-round concessions and catering services at the Ohio Expo Center through Concessions by Cox, Inc.

Dennis Elliott has supported 4-H youth development for more than 50 years in the state of Ohio. He is a tireless supporter of fairs and 4-H. A past president and an active member of the State Fair 50 Year Club, Elliott contributes his time and financial support to Ohio State Fair 4-H and Junior Fair activities.… Continue reading

Read More »

Strickland, State Directors Announce Action Plan for Grand Lake St. Marys

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, joined by several state agency directors, announced both short- and long-term action plans to help restore Grand Lake St. Marys, Ohio’s largest inland lake.

The governor announced the State’s latest efforts to assist the area from the Wright State University Lake Campus, and he and the directors emphasized the action plan can only be implemented thanks to the good partnerships the State has developed with the local community and the federal government.

“We know that our businesses and families have struggled with the loss of activity at the lake this summer. This crisis has been generations in the making, and it will take all of us working together to try to restore this lake to health and prosperity,” Strickland said. “This action plan provides a clear direction forward, and I want to thank this community for working with us as we all search for ways to bring this lake back to health.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio State Fair Junior Fair Board announced

A team of exceptional individuals has been announced to represent Ohio’s renowned Junior Fair program at the 157th Ohio State Fair. Ohio State Fair Junior Fair Board (JFB) members are nominated by their respective youth organizations to serve a two year term as an ambassador for the Fair assisting with daily activities. At the conclusion of the Fair, officers are elected from those who will be serving a second term to lead the board’s activities in the following year. Responsibilities of the JFB include assisting with the daily parade, delivering awards, the Monster Mural, assisting in the WCOL Celeste Center and providing support to Junior Fair programs and other events as needed. The JFB is made up of some of the most active Junior Fair members in the State. Below you can find out what keeps them busy when they’re not at the Fair. Cambell Parrish of Edon, Ohio, represents the Ohio FFA Association as this year’s JFB president.… Continue reading

Read More »

4-H Camp Counselors Gain Workforce Skills

Adults who work with 4-H camp counselors have always suspected that the experience provided teenagers with the workforce skills that 21st century employers are looking for. Now they have strong evidence that supports the idea.

In a 2009 pilot project, “Camp Counselor Work-based Learning,” 11 counties received Ohio 4-H Foundation Sauder grants to participate in the program and include self- and supervisor assessments similar to work-based performance appraisals. In addition, counselors completed a series of questions about their camp experience, and 4-H professionals participated in a focus group to assess the program. In the pilot counties, 275 teens were trained as camp counselors, and data were collected from 168, for a 61-percent response rate.

“We’ve always done training for camp counselors,” said Theresa Ferrari, youth development specialist for Ohio State University Extension’s 4-H program. “But for the pilot project, we asked the adults conducting the training to talk specifically about how certain skills being taught were also workforce skills that employers value.… Continue reading

Read More »

Pond Turning Green? Learn How to Help It July 24

Too much green is making some Ohio farm ponds blue, and not in a good way.

Invasive aquatic plants, filamentous algae and harmful algal blooms, or HABs, are growing threats in the state, said Bill Lynch, program specialist in aquatic system management with Ohio State University Extension.

They’re popping up in places they’ve never been before; can turn waters slimy, pea-soupy and sometimes even poisonous; and can ruin a pond’s value to wildlife, fish and people.

The good news: You can learn ways to stop them in an upcoming workshop.

“Ponds with a Purpose” takes place on Saturday, July 24, at Ohio State University’s Molly Caren Agricultural Center — home of Farm Science Review — near London.

Lynch and Marne Titchenell, OSU Extension program specialist in wildlife, will teach it. OSU Extension’s Ohio Woodland Stewards Program is the sponsor.

“I’ll be spending time, for the first time, educating on HABs, which have become a major problem in ponds and small lakes the past two summers,” Lynch said.… Continue reading

Read More »

Succeeding in critical conversations about agriculture

By Matt Reese

It is inevitable. Anyone who is involved in any type of agricultural production will be asked questions about farming and the food system at some point.

“Hi I am Jim,” the man says sitting next to you on the airplane. “I am an attorney in Chicago. What is it that you do?”

“Oh you’re a farmer, huh? Do you raise livestock with all of those steroids and antibiotics?”

Whether the farmer in question here raises corn and soybeans, chickens, cattle or backyard tomatoes, this critical conversation on a plane will help shape lawyer Jim’s perception of agriculture. This may be the only farmer Jim has ever met.

If the conversation goes well, Jim gains insight into modern agriculture and appreciation for the tremendous amount of work that goes into the food he enjoys every day. This positive impression will encourage Jim to be more willing to be supportive of farmers when he talks to his friends about his conversation on the plane, makes his food purchasing decisions or votes on an ag-related issue down the road.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Lamb & Wool Queen applications due July 5

The Ohio Lamb and Wool Queen serves as a spokesperson for the industry throughout her year of reign at numerous promotional events and activities around the state. The queen is selected by judges at the Ohio State Fair on August 1, 2010. Contestants will attend an interview and answer an impromptu question from a panel of judges live at the conclusion of the Guys and Gals lead competition. The selection of the queen is based on personality, presentation, poise, knowledge of the Ohio Lamb and Wool industry and participation in the Guys and Gals Lead competition. If you or someone you know is interested in applying for the 2010-2011 Ohio Lamb and Wool Queen please download the application by visiting http://www.ohiosheep.org/OSIA/Queen.html.

We encourage all ladies between the ages of 17-21 who are involved in the industry to consider applying for this position. This is a terrific opportunity to build a wealth of knowledge of the Ohio Lamb and Wool Industry and expand communication skills and network within Ohio agriculture. … Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Lamb & Wool Queen applications due July 5

The Ohio Lamb and Wool Queen serves as a spokesperson for the industry throughout her year of reign at numerous promotional events and activities around the state. The queen is selected by judges at the Ohio State Fair on August 1, 2010. Contestants will attend an interview and answer an impromptu question from a panel of judges live at the conclusion of the Guys and Gals lead competition. The selection of the queen is based on personality, presentation, poise, knowledge of the Ohio Lamb and Wool industry and participation in the Guys and Gals Lead competition. If you or someone you know is interested in applying for the 2010-2011 Ohio Lamb and Wool Queen please download the application by visiting http://www.ohiosheep.org/OSIA/Queen.html.

We encourage all ladies between the ages of 17-21 who are involved in the industry to consider applying for this position. This is a terrific opportunity to build a wealth of knowledge of the Ohio Lamb and Wool Industry and expand communication skills and network within Ohio agriculture. … Continue reading

Read More »

New tool for retiring farmers to transition CRP land

The State Executive Director for Ohio’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), Steve Maurer, would like to announce a new program available for retired or retiring owners and operators who are willing to sell or lease Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres to beginning or minority farmers.  The Transition Incentive Program (TIP) provides annual rental payments to the retired or retiring landowners for up to two additional years after the date of the expiration of the CRP contract, provided the transition is not to a family member.  Sign-up for the new TIP program began in May, at your local FSA office.
To be eligible, TIP requires that the retired or retiring farmer:
§  Have land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that is in the last year of the contract.
§  Agree to allow the beginning or minority farmer to make conservation and land improvements.
§  Agree to sell, or have a contract to sell, or agree to long-term lease (a minimum of 5 years) the land under CRP contract to a beginning or minority farmer by Oct.
Continue reading

Read More »