Country Life



Game warden opportunities

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

In hindsight, I think I would have enjoyed a career as a “game warden.” That’s what Ohio’s fish and game law enforcers were called before being pegged as Wildlife Officers and, more recently, rebranded as Natural Resource Officers. By any name, I believe the job would be rewarding on many levels. If you have an interest in pursuing such a career, applications are being accepted through January 15 for the next Natural Resources Officer training academy. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is seeking to fill at least 15 positions. Natural resources officer duties include law enforcement and public service, as well as education and public relations for ODNR’s divisions of Parks and Watercraft, Forestry, and Natural Areas and Preserves.

Top scoring candidates will undergo interviews and pre-employment evaluations. Those selected as cadets will attend the officer training academy for about five months.… Continue reading

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2020 Mission Fund grant recipients

AgCredit, one of northern Ohio’s largest lenders for farmers, rural homeowners and agribusiness, is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2020 Mission Fund.

Now in its third year, the grant program was created to support AgCredit’s commitment to investing in the future of agriculture and positively impacting the quality of life in rural Ohio. Applicants were selected to receive funding based on meeting criteria in four focus areas: Education, Environment, Technology, and Quality of Rural Life.

This year’s Mission Fund grant recipients are:

4-H Camp Ohio, Licking County, $5,000.00
Funds will be used to complete the remodeling project for their nature center and to purchase new educational resources for the nature center.

Camden Twp Fire Department, Lorain County, $15,000.00
Funds will be used to purchase a rescue trailer and equipment for inside the trailer. The trailer will carry specialty equipment such as; a grain bin rescue system, technical rope rescue equipment, hazardous material equipment, ice rescue suits and equipment, rescue cribbing and emergency scene lighting.… Continue reading

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Four promoted to senior director positions at Ohio Farm Bureau

Ohio Farm Bureau staff members Adam Carney, Susan Gaughan, Ty Higgins and Kelsie Schwyn have been elevated to senior leadership positions within Ohio’s largest farm and food organization.

Adam Carney has been promoted to senior director of membership sales and marketing for Ohio Farm Bureau. His almost 15 years of sales and sales leadership experience will be used to help grow Farm Bureau by developing and implementing comprehensive membership marketing campaigns. He provides direct sales support and delivers on-going sales training to ensure membership growth. He has been Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of membership sales since 2017.

Susan Gaughan has been named Ohio Farm Bureau’s senior director of human resources. She will provide both strategic and operational leadership with the responsibility for all human resources functions. Gaughan is responsible for setting, enforcing and evaluating legally compliant human resources policies, procedures and best practices, as well as developing and cultivating an organizational culture of integrity, diversity, learning and respect.… Continue reading

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CFAES Wooster new umbrella term for Ohio State location

Wooster, Ohio has long played an important role for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Two of its major components, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), and the two-year associate degree-granting program, the Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI), got their start there in 1892 and 1968, respectively.

While in past years, the research and student pieces have operated separately, new changes are afoot to unify the campus. A first step in ensuring this evolution is a name change to CFAES Wooster.

Changing the name of the campus will also produce shared resources, infrastructure, personnel, and equipment. “It allows us to think about this location as a full campus, rather than simply two components,” said Cathann A. Kress, vice president of agricultural administration and dean of CFAES. “It will brand the location as an integral part of CFAES and provide a gateway for Ohio State in northeast Ohio.”… Continue reading

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Katherine Tai selected to be U.S. Trade Representative

President-elect Joe Biden announced Katherine Tai to be the U.S. Trade Representative. Since 2017, she has been the chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee and previously served in the Office of the United States Trade Representative as chief counsel for China Trade Enforcement.

“We’re pleased President-elect Biden will reportedly nominate Katherine Tai to be the next U.S. Trade Representative. America’s farmers and ranchers rely on a fair marketplace to compete globally and it’s more important than ever for them to have an ally fighting on their behalf,” said Zippy Duvall American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Ms. Tai has deep trade experience and a solid understanding of the need to enforce existing trade agreements while working with our trade partners to expand market access for America’s farmers as they lead the world in growing healthy, affordable food.”

The North American Meat Institute supports the decision as well.

“Tai, who would become the first Asian American to hold the role of USTR, speaks fluent mandarin and has past experience as a China enforcement head with the USTR.… Continue reading

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H2Ohio, looking back and looking ahead

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

In spite of a global pandemic during a majority of 2020, nearly 1.2 million acres of farmland have been enrolled in voluntary nutrient management plans by close to 2,000 producers in Northwest Ohio, along with several other Best Management Practices (BMPs), as a part of the H2Ohio program. This was all done in a 14-county area, in an effort to improve water quality in Lake Erie, and represents 43% of the total cropland in those counties.

“H2Ohio is Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. John Husted’s policy initiative for investing in clean and safe water for Ohio,” said Joy Mulinex, executive director of the Lake Erie Commission. “It is a statewide initiative that addresses multiple clean water challenges.”

H2Ohio funds were spread across three agencies, including the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), to address issues specific to their areas of oversight.… Continue reading

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Conservation opportunities for new farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, as the deadline to submit applications for Ohio’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for beginning farmers.

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program which helps beginning farmers make conservation work for them. Beginning farmers can receive enhanced or higher level EQIP incentive payments for conservation practices to help reduce the risk and financial burden of implementing new conservation practices.

Ohio dedicates a portion of its total EQIP allocation specifically to beginning farmers. EQIP gives no preference to the size of the operation; small agriculture operations compete equally with larger ones. 

NRCS offers a wide variety of practices for beginning farmers interested in livestock, forestry, pasture/grazing operations and specialty, organic and row crop production. These practices help beginning farmers meet their goals to improve their operations, commodity production and environmental improvement. Beginning farmers are those who have not previously farmed or have not operated a farm for more than 10 years. … Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau recognizes excellence with 2020 honorees and award winners

A number of individuals and county organizations were recognized in this week’s virtual Ohio Farm Bureau annual meeting.

Three individuals were recognized for their lifetime achievements to agriculture during the 102nd Annual Meeting of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, held remotely this year.

Long-time Ohio Farm Bureau and Nationwide board member Tim Corcoran and Ohio Farm Bureau Vice President of Public Policy Yvonne Lesicko were both honored with Ohio Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Awards, while Becky Cropper was honored with OFBF’s Cooperative/Agriculture Educator Award. Farm Bureau volunteers, county organizations and state leaders nominated candidates for the awards.

Tim Corcoran

Corcoran of Ross County, was a member of the Ohio Farm Bureau board of trustees beginning in 1994, where he also served as treasurer and first vice president. He joined the Nationwide board of directors in 2001, served as board chairman beginning in 2014 and retired as chairman of the board this year.… Continue reading

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Registration open for virtual 2020 OEFFA Conference

Registration is now open for an interactive educational online conference for ecological farmers, backyard growers, and others committed to sustainable agriculture, local food, and green living. 

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 42nd annual conference, Our Time: Essential Links for a Strong Food Chain, will run Wednesday, February 10 to Monday, February 15, 2021 and be accessible anywhere by phone and computer.

“Through these challenging times of physical distance, more than ever, we need to be socially close,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “In that spirit, the online conference will be different, but with the same intent and result: sharing information so that we can all succeed, moving our food system toward greater resilience and equity, and forging a strong and dynamic community.” 

OEFFA’s popular conference will feature: 

February 10 keynote speaker Will Harris is a fourth-generation cattleman at White Oak Pastures in Georgia. A leader in humane animal husbandry and environmental sustainability, he’ll share his story of building a successful, job-creating certified organic farm committed to regenerative land management and multi-species rotational grazing.… Continue reading

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Vilsack to return as USDA Secretary

President-elect Joe Biden Jr. has selected Ohio Representative Marcia L. Fudge to serve as the secretary of housing and urban development and selected Tom Vilsack as USDA Secretary. Vilsack served as the secretary of agriculture for eight years under President Barack Obama.

“The American Farm Bureau Federation welcomes the news that Tom Vilsack will be nominated to be Secretary of Agriculture. His leadership as the 30th Secretary of Agriculture and as Governor of a state reliant on agriculture is evidence of his qualification to serve in this role,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau president. “Tom Vilsack understands that the agriculture sector is far more complex than most people understand. He believes in a ‘big tent’ philosophy that supports all types of production and understands the importance of respecting farmers and ranchers as partners worthy of support in the race to achieve sustainability goals.

“Tom and I built a good relationship during his first term as Ag Secretary and we’ve built on that relationship in his current role with the U.S.… Continue reading

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Odd fishing baits

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

What’s the weirdest thing you ever used for fishing bait? Fishbrain, a social media app for people who like to fish, called on its seven million users in the USA to share the strangest baits they have used in the past, and what they managed to catch with their odd offerings.

According to Johan Attby, CEO of Fishbrain “The odd slow day on the water is an unfortunate reality of some fishing trips, but the beauty of fishing is how successful improvisation can be! The most primitive fishing rods need only a stick, string, and bait, so you may be surprised with what you can catch when you have to adapt to missing gear.”

Here are the top five improvised lures and what they can catch, as suggested by Fishbrain users.

Candy

“I caught a trout on Swedish Fish” Igrindathodges, California

 “Bass on red Gummy Worms” John.womack,… Continue reading

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Shelby County SWCD partners with USDA to improve water quality

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced priority watersheds for 2021 including Loramie Creek Watershed. Ohio producers in this targeted watershed will receive focused financial and technical resources through NRCS Ohio Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI).

MRBI promotes the use of key conservation practices, such as nutrient management, cover crops, animal waste storage structures, and tillage management, to address critical water quality concerns of the region. These practices optimize nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiency in agricultural fields and minimize runoff while improving soil health.  The impact of these practices reduces nutrient loading in local water bodies, and eventually, the Gulf of Mexico.

“Farmers recognize the importance of water quality,” said State Conservationist for Ohio Terry Cosby. “These voluntary initiatives provide them with the tools to implement and accelerate on-farm conservation practices to improve the watershed. Local partnerships, like the one that Ohio NRCS has fostered with the area SWCDs, are invaluable in getting farmers the resources they need to deliver the greatest benefits for clean water.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau kicks off 2020 online annual meeting

By Matt Reese

For the first time in more than 100 years, Ohio Farm Bureau’s annual meeting will largely be held remotely in across the state Dec. 7-11, 2020.

“We know for so many of our members the annual meeting is much more than just a meeting. It’s a celebration of our organization,” said Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president. “This year will be much different than our delegates and members have enjoyed over the past century, but like many things happening this year, we had to adapt to today’s challenges.”

The virtual event kicked off Monday Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. with comments from Frank Burkett, III, Ohio Farm Bureau President and Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President. The event wraps up on Friday with the business portion of the annual meeting where Farm Bureau policy will be set for the coming year.

“While the delegate and business sessions will be done remotely through secured systems, we will work hard to have full engagement with everyone involved through this crucial democratic process for our organization,” Burkett said.… Continue reading

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Congressman David Scott Named Chairman of House Agriculture Committee

Congressman David Scott (GA-13) was approved by the Democratic Caucus to serve as the first African American Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. The committee is empowered with legislative oversight relating to the U.S. agriculture industry, forestry, nutrition, and rural development.

“I am honored to have been chosen by my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus to serve as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee,” Scott said. “I was born on my grandparents’ farm in rural Aynor, South Carolina, during the days of segregation, and the hardships, of those, on whose shoulders I now stand. I owe this historic selection as the first African American Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee to a diverse coalition of members from across our nation. And I will use this critical opportunity to represent the values of our entire caucus and advance our priorities for trade, disaster aid, climate change, sustainable agriculture, SNAP, crop insurance, small family farms, specialty crops, and rural broadband.… Continue reading

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Tips for keeping holiday expenses under control

With all the expenses that typically occurs during the winter holiday season, avoiding overspending can be hard. In fact, many struggle to stay within normal spending limits during the holidays, often taking months into the next year to pay off the resulting debt.

While this has become an annual issue for many consumers, the economic stress many are already dealing with now as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the issue to take on even more significance this year.

Already, some 49% of consumers say the pandemic has negatively impacted their holiday budgets, according to the 2020 Holiday Outlook by PwC, formerly Price Waterhouse Coopers. The international accounting firm’s survey of more than 1,000 consumers found that total holiday spending will be 3% less this year, with the average consumer planning to spend $1,248 this year compared to last year’s total of $1,284.

Additionally, more consumers are looking for money-saving deals on gifts, with 67% of respondents planning to wait to finish shopping until Black Friday week or the week after, the survey found.… Continue reading

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Mask or no mask?

By Judit E. Puskas, Ph.D., P. Eng

They are uncomfortable; they are hot; they become wet; glasses fog over….and the list continues. As Stephen Nash wrote: Up until the COVID-19 pandemic, I used to think people wearing masks were hiding something.

Masks have been around for thousands of years. However, masks protecting against a disease were born in response of the plague (Black Death) in Europe. In the 5 years following the first case in 1347, more than 25 million people (one third of Europe’s population) passed away. Later more waves came, killing a total of 200 million people, and protective masks were developed. Nash called the the plague mask from 17th-century Italy “the single most terrifying mask I’ve ever seen.” He also quotes a 2019 article, “The Plague Doctor of Venice,” describing this medieval PPE designed by French medical doctor Charles de l’Orme (1584–1678). It was a a leather hat with a bird-like mask with goggles and a beak, a leather robe, and a baton with a handle on which “time flies” (tempus fugit in Latin) was written.… Continue reading

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Farmer’s tax guide

By Barry Ward, Director, Ohio State University Income Tax Schools & Leader, Production Business Management

Do you need a resource to answer those tough farm tax questions? If so, you can access the Farmer’s Tax Guide (IRS Publication 225) online at: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p225.pdf  The 2020 Farmer’s Tax Guide explains how federal tax laws apply to farming. This guide can be used as a guide for farmers to figure taxes and complete their farm tax return.

The explanations and examples in this publication reflect the Internal Revenue Service’s interpretation of tax laws enacted by Congress, Treasury regulations, and court decisions. However, the information given does not cover every situation and is not intended to replace the law or change its meaning.

Some of the new topics for the 2020 tax year which are included in this publication are: Tax treatment of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments, Payroll Protection Program (PPP) Loans and Forgiven Debt, Increased section 179 expense deduction dollar limits, COVID-19 related employment tax credits and other tax relief, Redesigned Form W-4 for 2020, New Form 1099-NEC, and much more.… Continue reading

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Ohio Attorney General creates scientific advisory council

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has created a scientific advisory council to advise his office on current environmental issues and alert him on potential future issues. The 12-member council is made up of researchers from nine Ohio universities, with expertise ranging from harmful algal blooms to environmental law, and co-chaired by Chris Winslow, Ohio Sea Grant & Stone Lab director, and Jon Sprague, the Attorney General’s director of science and research.

“This council includes academics that are actively conducting essential research on important environmental questions,” Winslow said. “I applaud Attorney General Dave Yost for convening these scientists to inform environmental policy decisions.”

The scientific advisory council is tasked with anticipating problems and proposing solutions before negative environmental effects can play out, according to a release from the Attorney General’s office. They will also bring the latest scientific knowledge to the table as the Attorney General and his staff discuss environmental issues, regulations and enforcement.… Continue reading

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Several Ohio USDA Service Centers open for business by phone appointment only

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is temporarily restricting in-person visits for numerous Service Centers in Ohio because of elevated rates of coronavirus community spread, but USDA employees will continue to assist agricultural producers with programs and services.

USDA is using a phased, data-driven approach to determine which Service Centers are open for in-person appointments. Field work, including conservation planning assistance, will continue with appropriate social distancing.

“While many of our FSA Service Centers across Ohio will be physically closed to visitors, we remain open for business,” said Leonard Hubert, State Executive Director for USDA’s Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA).

All USDA Service Centers are for open for business, and Service Center staff members from FSA and NRCS will continue to work with producers by phone, email, and digital tools like Microsoft Teams, Box, and OneSpan. Producers can learn more about how to leverage these digital offerings by visiting https://www.farmers.gov/mydocs .… Continue reading

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Ag lender survey reveals concerns

By Mike Estadt, Ag/NR Educator, Pickaway County and Chris Zoller, Ag/NR Educator, Tuscarawas County

The American Bankers Association is a membership association comprised of small, regional, and large banks that account for nearly $11 trillion in loans and $17 trillion dollars in deposits. Member banks working with Farmer Mac provide the agricultural industry with low-cost financing and risk management tools. Farmer Mac has been delivering capital to rural America for over 30 years.

The American Bankers Association and Farmer Mac have collaborated on a national survey of ag lenders since 2016 to gauge lender sentiment of the farm economy, expectations of land values and an outlook for the agricultural economy for the coming year.

Nearly 500 loan officers responded to a survey via email between August and September each year. Responses represent lending institutions that range in assets of less than $50 million to large institutions with assets in excess of $5 billion.… Continue reading

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