Country Life

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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OSU Extension launches ask an expert

Ohioans who have questions — on everything from personal finance to agricultural enterprise budgets, from gardening to crop production, from nutrition to producing fruits and vegetables safely — have a new way to find answers.

County websites of Ohio State University Extension now have an “Ask a County Expert” tool where Ohioans can ask questions related to the educational programs Extension offers.

“The Ask an Expert tool makes it much easier for clientele to ask us questions directly,” said Jerry Thomas, leader for Innovation and Change for OSU Extension who helped develop the tool. “And, it will help speed up our response time and find the right person to answer their questions. If a county doesn’t have that particular expertise, we can access Extension personnel across the state and across the country. It will really help us leverage our resources.”

OSU Extension’s county websites are easy to find: Just type the name of the county in a browser, followed by “”… Continue reading

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Farm Bill markup delayed

Late last night, an announcement was made about a delay for today’s scheduled Senate Agriculture Committee’s 2012 farm bill markup.

“The National Corn Growers Association is disappointed with the delay in the Senate Agriculture Committee’s markup of the 2012 farm bill,” said Garry Niemeyer, National Corn Growers Association president. “Our organization is committed to working with members of Congress and other organizations on this vital piece of legislation.  The process needs to be done responsibly and judiciously but it needs to be done as soon as possible.”… Continue reading

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USDA announces assistance for 13 wetlands

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding for 13 partnership agreements for high-priority wetland restoration and conservation work in 12 states, including the Ohio River Watershed Initiative. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and a network of partners have nearly $15 million in financial and technical assistance available for these projects in 2012 and will enter into long-term agreements to deliver additional assistance over the next four years.

“These projects were selected because of their significant contribution towards wetlands restoration, enhancement or protection,” Vilsack said. “This partnership effort combines Federal resources with the funding and expertise of others needed to improve water quality, prevent flooding, and enhance wildlife habitat on more than 16,500 acres of wetlands.”

The Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) is a special component of the NRCS’ Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). Through WRP, private landowners can restore and permanently protect wetlands. WREP works differently — partners, such as nongovernmental organizations and state agencies, contribute technical and financial assistance to leverage NRCS’ funding.… Continue reading

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Energy audits can lead to significant farm savings

By Matt Reese

When it comes to energy use on the farm, there is always a better way of doing something with newer technology, changing practices or taking a different approach. And, as costs continue to climb, saving energy on the farm means saving money.

With this end goal in mind, the 2008 Farm Bill included provisions for the use of Environmental Quality Incentives Program to assist producers with addressing energy conservation through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The last sign up period for the year, and maybe for the current farm bill, ends on June 1.

The NRCS EQIP On-Farm Energy Initiative offers assistance to producers in two ways: it enables the producer to identify ways to conserve energy on the farm through an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP) conservation activity plan (CAP), also known as an on-farm energy audit, and provides financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices recommended in the energy audit, such as residue and tillage management, and Farmstead Energy Improvement.… Continue reading

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New ODA Director sees bright future for Ohio ag

A conversation with…David Daniels, Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

OCJ: First, could you share some of your background and the path that led you to your current position as Director?

Director Daniels: I grew up on my family’s farm in Highland County and knew from the time I was 12 years old I was going to be a farmer for the rest of my life. Later on I felt called to public service and served a total of 18 years in local government and nine years in the Ohio General Assembly. The great thing about this job is that it allows me to continue in public service while getting me back into agriculture and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

OCJ: You have big shoes to fill in your new role and are facing some very challenging situations that required you to hit the ground running. What was the most challenging aspect of shifting from State Senator to Director?… Continue reading

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Every day is Earth Day on a farm

With Earth Day celebrated around the world this Sunday on April 22, Ohio agriculture will once again point out that, in order to ensure a healthy way of life and to sustain the environment for future generations, every day is Earth Day for Ohio’s farmers. Ohio’s farmers understand that providing a safe, wholesome food supply for consumers is a great responsibility – and one that must take into account many factors, including the impact on the environment.

The theme for this year’s Earth Day is “Mobilize the Earth.” More details on Earth Day 2012 are available on the Earth Day Network’s website at While Earth Day offers an opportunity to talk with others about agriculture, such conversations should not be limited to April 22. General talking points that may be useful in

responding to inquiries about Earth Day (or any day) include:

• While farm and ranch productivity has increased dramatically since 1950, the use of resources (labor, seeds, feed, fertilizer, etc.)… Continue reading

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Biodiesel car giveaway kicks off

This week, the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and soybean checkoff launched the “Biodiesel Car Giveaway” as part of their ongoing effort to raise consumer awareness and enthusiasm for biodiesel — America’s advanced biofuel.

Ohioans who register for the promotion will be eligible to win a one-year lease for a new fuel-efficient, diesel-engine Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age and a legal resident of Ohio. To enter the contest, participants must visit the OSC Facebook page (, “like” the page and enroll.

The promotion ends May 27, 2012.

“OSC is very excited about this promotion and the chance to tell Ohioans about the benefits of biodiesel,” said John Motter, OSC chairman and soybean farmer from Hancock County. “Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning, environmentally friendly fuel and is commonly made from soybeans grown and processed right here in Ohio. That offers significant value to consumers, brings revenue to our local and state economies and reduces our country’s dependence on foreign oil.”… Continue reading

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2012-2013 Ohio AgriBusiness Association Board Members announced

Appointed members of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Board of Directors counted ballots for the election of 2012-2013 OABA Board of Directors and the results are as follows:

  • Grain: Paul Riehm, Commodity Representative with Bunge North America. Riehm was re-elected to a second term for his Board position, and brings more than 30 years of experience in Ohio agribusiness to the OABA Board. He is currently a member of the OABA Grain Committee and views OABA as a valuable resource of information, education and a political voice for Ohio agribusiness.
  • Seed: Nathan Louiso, Regional Sales Manager with AgriGold Hybrids, covering all of Ohio and Southeast Michigan. Louiso has been a member of the OABA Seed Committee for the last four years — and Chairman for the past two years, and serves as a member of the alumni board of The Ohio State University’s Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity.
  • Member-At-Large: Jim Collins, Vice President of GVM West.
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Movie "Touchback" features ample Ohio farm connections

By Heather Hetterick, Ohio Ag Net

The movie Touchback, that was released this past weekend has bushels of ties to Ohio agriculture and the Buckeyes.

Touchback tells the tale set in Coldwater, Ohio about a former high school football star turned farmer and family man. Scott Murphy (Brian Presley) finds himself with a unique opportunity to revisit his glory days during the Ohio State championship game where he permanently injured his knee in a game-winning play. Given a second shot at his destiny, Scott seeks counsel from Coach Hand (Kurt Russell), Scott’s longtime mentor on and off the field, to help him decide whether to let his fate unfold, or follow a path that will change his future. 

The film was written and directed by Dan Handfield, an Ohio State University graduate. That explains the Ohio State football tie-in. But, why Coldwater, Ohio? Handfield spent time in college working on a film near Miami University.… Continue reading

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Movie “Touchback” features ample Ohio farm connections

By Heather Hetterick, Ohio Ag Net

The movie Touchback, that was released this past weekend has bushels of ties to Ohio agriculture and the Buckeyes.

Touchback tells the tale set in Coldwater, Ohio about a former high school football star turned farmer and family man. Scott Murphy (Brian Presley) finds himself with a unique opportunity to revisit his glory days during the Ohio State championship game where he permanently injured his knee in a game-winning play. Given a second shot at his destiny, Scott seeks counsel from Coach Hand (Kurt Russell), Scott’s longtime mentor on and off the field, to help him decide whether to let his fate unfold, or follow a path that will change his future. 

The film was written and directed by Dan Handfield, an Ohio State University graduate. That explains the Ohio State football tie-in. But, why Coldwater, Ohio? Handfield spent time in college working on a film near Miami University.… Continue reading

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OSU seeking new ways to manage pests

Scientists at Ohio State University are in a multi-year research project to find ways to help growers, producers and just about any Ohioan who has a problem with pests find sustainable and ecological ways to manage them.

Because of a renewed three-year, $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, experts from Ohio State, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio State Integrated Pest Management program are researching sustainable ways to manage pests and help people use methods that minimize environmental, health and economic risks.

From farms, vineyards and orchards to schools, nursing homes and consumers’ homes, lawns or gardens, the IPM program works to find sound, economical ways to help people deal with pests, said Joe Kovach, director of the IPM program and a professor of entomology.

Those pests can include weeds, disease, insects and vertebrates such as deer and rabbits, basically anything that can attack people, their homes or their crops.… Continue reading

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Federal grants aim to bring local food to school tables

The United States Department of Agriculture announced new funding that aims to provide fresh, healthy food for children in schools across America, and to bolster and sustain local farmers and ranchers.

The agency said that $3.5 million in new funding will be available to help local school districts organize and implement new Farm to School programs. Those critical initiatives seek to educate children about where their food comes from and improve the quality of school meals. At the same time, they also improve local and regional food systems and create new markets for local food producers.

“The local and regional food sector of agriculture is growing rapidly, as are Farm to School initiatives,” said Helen Dombalis, a Policy Associate for National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “While there is now at least one Farm to School program operating in each state, there is lots of work to be done to deepen and extend these programs, especially in more disadvantaged communities.… Continue reading

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Young and beginning farmers face many hurdles

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

No matter how you look at it, the numbers are staggering when it comes to the age of the American farmer. For every one farmer under the age of 25, there are five farmers who are 75 or older. Still, the fastest-growing group of farmers is the segment

over 65.

To curb the graying of our Nation’s farmers, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is targeting more funding programs toward young and beginning farmers. In fact, in February, the USDA unveiled This is the latest resource for beginning farmers.  The program acts as a clearinghouse database of training and assistance programs and is funded through a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

To some thinking about jumping into the Ag industry, it may sound as easy as buying a tractor, planter and combine and start rolling.… Continue reading

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Ag groups speak out about estate tax

A group comprised from the commodity, dairy, livestock and specialty crop industries in urging the House and Senate to enact legislation before the end of the year to provide permanent and meaningful estate tax relief. The group supports permanently keeping the current exemption at $5 million per person and retaining the top rate of 35%.

The American Soybean Association (ASA), that is a part of the group, believes it is also imperative that the permanent estate tax law index the exemption to inflation, provide for spousal transfers, and include the stepped-up basis.

If Congress does not take action on ASA’s recommendations before the end of the year, the exemption will drop to $1 million and the top tax rate above the exclusion amount will increase to 55%.

“If estate taxes are allowed to be reinstated at the beginning of 2013 with only a $1 million exemption and top rate of 55%, the negative impact on our industry will be significant,” stated the groups.… Continue reading

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Amon Carter knew his audience

By Kirby Hidy

Among my personal heroes is the late Amon G. Carter, president and publisher of the Fort Worth Star Telegram from 1923 until his death in 1955. Carter was the most brash and colorful promoter of Fort Worth, Texas that ever lived. I encourage you to “Google” him one of these days when you get a chance – fascinating story I think. Mr. Carter used to say, “…The further from home a Texan travels, the more Texan they become.”
In 1995, I moved my young family 1,200 miles from our home in Jeffersonville, Ohio, to our new home west of Ft. Worth, Texas. We lived there for nearly 13 years until my daughter was accepted into the Script School of Journalism at Ohio University. We might have stayed there even then but my daughter wasn’t too keen on being 1,200 miles away from Mama and, well, I think Mama felt pretty much the same.… Continue reading

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Purina Ultium Growth Horse Feed

Key components to horse breeding success include strong genetics, thorough management, skilled training, veterinary care and proper nutrition. And, with more than 115 years of setting the standards of equine nutrition, Purina recognizes just how critical certain nutritional advantages can be in supporting the healthy structural growth and development of horses. That’s why through extensive research and field-testing, Purina introduces Ultium Growth horse formula, a premium nutritional feed specially formulated for broodmares and growing horses.
Purina Ultium Growth horse feed’s unique formulation supports equine growth and development through all stages of the gestating mare, allowing for a foal’s best start by providing nutrition at the source. It also helps mares maintain ideal body weight and body condition during lactation and supports steady, consistent foal growth and development.

The making of Purina Ultium Growth Horse Formula

Purina Ultium Growth horse formula was conceptualized after the successful launch of the original Ultium Competition horse formula.… Continue reading

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