Country Life

Dailey: Kasich’s Fracking fee is “fair”

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

It was a who’s who of Ohio Agriculture joining Governor John Kasich at a mid-July press conference in Columbus. Alongside Ohio’s top official were three men who have served in the Director’s chair at ODA — Fred Daily, Jim Zehringer and current leader David Daniels.

The reason for the pow-wow was to show support of a plan that Kasich has put on the table for Ohio’s legislature to contemplate. This plan would lower the state’s income tax by raising taxes on shale drillers, ultimately creating a tax cut that could be worth $500 million annually.

“It’s a two-part program that would modernize Ohio’s 40-year old severance tax law that begs to be updated,” Dailey said. “Those funds would then be used reduce income tax for everybody in Ohio, across the board.”

Dailey said that will balance out the current “extremely low” severance taxes and “extremely high” income taxes.… Continue reading

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Kubota farm safety coloring contest for kids

In the summer months, rural-American families spend more time making memories outdoors and, in many cases, on a farm or ranch. Did you know that according to the Progressive Agriculture Foundation, each year an estimated 15,000 children who visit, live or work on farms or ranches are injured and more than 100 children die of agriculture-related injuries in the U.S. alone?

These statistics are simply too high, and Kubota is dedicated to helping families make sure summer memories are as safe and happy as possible. To help spread the word about the importance of farm safety, Kubota has launched a Family Safety Coloring Contest for a chance to win fun prizes!

Here’s how families can get involved:
·         Now through October 1, 2012, visit the Safety tab on Kubota.com to download Kubota’s “Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety” coloring book.
·         Each child, 12 and under, can select one page to color as his or her contest entry.… Continue reading

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What are GMOs?

 

The term GMO, or genetically modified organism, refers to “a plant or animal altered using modern techniques of genetic modification,” commonly termed genetic engineering. Since crops have been genetically modified by classical methods for centuries, a more accurate term for the foods and crops created with the technologies used today might be GE or genetically engineered (from Best Food Facts).

U.S. commercially grown genetically modified crops (accurate for 2010) include corn, soybean, cotton, canola, sugar beets, papaya, squash, and alfalfa. In addition, small amounts of GE tomatoes and sweet peppers are grown in China. In terms of our diets, most of the GM crops that are consumed for food are used in making processed food ingredients included in cereals, soy cooking oil (vegetable oil) and other types of processed food products that contain soy or corn ingredients. In other words, if you see corn or soy ingredients included on the food label, chances are the product was partially made with GM-crop ingredients.… Continue reading

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House passes youth labor regulation

The Obama Administration’s Department of Labor (DOL), April 26, 2012, withdrew its proposed rule regarding youth in agriculture. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), along with an overwhelming majority of congressional leaders, doesn’t believe pulling back the proposed rule does enough to provide certainty to America’s farm and ranch families. Consequently, Congressman Tom Latham (R-Iowa) introduced the Preserving America’s Family Farm Act (H.R. 4157), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a voice vote.

NCBA President J.D. Alexander commended passage of the legislation. He said the administration’s proposed rule could have restricted, and in some instances totally prevented, America’s youth from working on family farms and ranches.

“This is a victory for farm and ranch families throughout the country. This ridiculous rule would have prevented the next generation of farmers and ranchers from acquiring skills and passion for this very noble profession. It also would have restricted urban kids from working on farms and acquiring a solid work ethic and enthusiasm for this very diverse industry,” Alexander said.… Continue reading

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USDA drought measures will help farmers

The American Farm Bureau Federation expressed appreciation for a series of emergency actions announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to provide much-needed assistance to America’s farm and ranch families suffering from the drought gripping much of the nation.

While the announcement will help many farmers and ranchers, there are areas of the United States that may require expedited assistance due to established grazing prohibitions. These prohibitions would prevent grazing until the nutritional value of the grazing plants has totally been diminished by the drought, according to AFBF.

For many farmers and ranchers, however, the USDA actions will result in immediate flexibility in the nation’s major conservation programs, related to haying, grazing and livestock watering. The actions will help provide crucial assistance to hard-hit livestock producers. Vilsack also said he has additional plans to call on crop insurance companies to provide “a short grace period” since some farmers may struggle to pay insurance premiums at the close of this crop year.… Continue reading

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Near normal rainfall in the forecast

By Jim Noel, National Weather Service

There is some good news going forward. Above normal temperatures will continue for the rest of July into August but the hottest weather is behind us. Rainfall will see some improvement with near normal rainfall possible the next two weeks. Drought conditions appear to have bottomed and some improvement is now possible.

Outlook Week 1 through July 28: Above normal temperatures with near normal rainfall. Normal highs are in the 80s and normal lows in the 60s. Normal rainfall is near 1 inch. Most of this week will see highs in the 80s northeast to 90s southwest. There is a chance of above normal rainfall with the preferred area in the east half of the state where 1 to 3 inches is forecast. Normal to below normal rainfall will occur in the west with 0.50 to 1.50 inches for a state average of near normal.… Continue reading

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Interpreting equine classified ads

By Kim Lemmon

One of my favorite pass times is horse shopping. Because Mark and I owned our own riding lesson business for several years, we have bought and sold many horses through the years. At times the process can be frustrating, but it is always an adventure. Often experience in creative writing or an advanced understanding of interpretation of the English language can be helpful.

Lately, I’ve been shopping for another miniature horse. Mike and Ike didn’t work out for me. They were will broke but spunkier than what I needed since I’m a beginning and fair weather driver. They needed a more experienced handler who was going to drive them more often and that is where they went. I of course lost money on the deal but that’s the horse business.

I’m very happy with my draft mare, Julie, and so far I like my miniature appaloosa horse, Harley, but I still have a desire to own a miniature horse team.… Continue reading

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Ohio State Agencies launch the Ohio Clean Lakes Initiative

Three state agencies jointly launched the Ohio Clean Lakes Initiative, a program geared to improve water quality and reduce Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in the Western Basin of Lake Erie. HABs are threatening the ecological integrity and economic impact of Lake Erie, one of Ohio’s most precious natural resources.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) developed this initiative based on the findings of a report the agencies released in March.

“Agriculture is important to Ohio — it is the No. 1 industry in our state,” said ODA Director David Daniels. “The Ohio Clean Lakes Initiative focuses on reducing excess nutrients in our waterways resulting not only from agriculture, but from a variety of urban and residential sources, such as sewage overflow. Together our agencies believe we can address the challenges facing Ohio’s waterways through this program.”

The Directors’ Agricultural Nutrients and Water Quality Working Group report includes recommendations for the implementation of a 4R Nutrient Stewardship program, which promotes using the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time, with the right placement.… Continue reading

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PTNR with Russia moves forward

The American Soybean Association (ASA) congratulates the Senate Finance Committee on its unanimous passage today of a draft bill that would establish permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia, the world’s sixth largest economy. ASA now encourages the Senate to take up the bill as quickly as possible, and calls on the House to move forward with a companion bill in order for the U.S. to capitalize on Russia’s accession package to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Importing more than $770 million in meat, poultry, egg and dairy products in 2011, Russia is an important market for the U.S. soy industry.
“Today’s unanimous passage of the draft bill establishing PNTR with Russia is a very encouraging move by the Senate Finance Committee, and we congratulate Committee Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch on their work to solidify U.S. business opportunities abroad,” said ASA President Steve Wellman, a soybean farmer from Syracuse, Neb.
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Will widespread drought affect food prices?

Matt’s answer: Yes, but not as much as you might think. The reduced supply of corn and soybeans that results from the drought will increase prices for those commodities, but commodity prices account for a very small portion of the food cost in the grocery store or a restaurant. The amount of corn in a box of corn flakes costs less than a dime. The bulk of food costs come from transportation, packaging and processing.

The higher corn and soybean prices will raise feed costs for livestock, poultry and milk producers. In response, these industries may be forced to cut back on production and that reduced supply could result in higher meat, egg, and dairy prices down the road, but these effects are very speculative at this point and uncertain.

Expert answer: Self-appointed pseudo-scholars use common misperception, not common sense, compiled from the National Corn Growers Association Corn Commentary blog

Lately, articles have flooded the Internet claiming that the drought will cause food prices to skyrocket.… Continue reading

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Prepare to weather the drought

While it is too early to assess the full extent of losses caused by the current drought, officials at Farm Credit Mid-America urge growers in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee to contact their lenders and crop insurance advisors now to discuss short- and long-term drought effects on their operations.

“Farmers in our four-state area are facing drought conditions with the potential to surpass those experienced in 1988,” said Phil Kimmel, senior vice president-credit, Farm Credit. “Fortunately, the farm economy has generally been favorable for the last three years, so many farmers, especially those producing grain, have built liquidity and solvency, which will help them endure current conditions. But each farmer’s situation is different. That’s why at Farm Credit we focus on working with each customer to identify strategic scenarios that will help manage through the crisis without derailing future plans.”

Crop insurance is a financial tool many farmers use to help weather adverse conditions, but claims must be handled correctly, advises Tom Sloma, vice president-crop insurance, Farm Credit.… Continue reading

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Retail prices declining in second quarter

Retail food prices at the supermarket declined slightly during the second quarter of 2012 with protein staples — meats, cheese, milk and eggs — showing the greatest drops in price, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $50.91, down $1.56 or about 3% compared to the first quarter of 2012. Of the 16 items surveyed, 12 decreased and four increased in average price compared to the prior quarter. The cost for the overall basket of foods fell about one-half of 1% compared to one year ago.

Most of the quarter-to-quarter decrease in the marketbasket of foods was due to lower retail prices for sliced meats and dairy products.

“The decline in retail meat prices for the second quarter is not unexpected,” said John Anderson, an AFBF senior economist.… Continue reading

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Budget cuts may cause a short crop of ag professionals

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Big cracks in a ground trying to hold on to a withering crop are getting to be a common sight in fields all across Ohio. It is easy to see how important one component of a growing season can be, and the same can be said for cultivating the next set of ag professionals coming through colleges and universities all over America.

Just as crops needs rain to be productive, universities and Extension programs require funding — a resource necessity for churning out a bumper crop of great ag minds that is becoming as scare as rain in a drought. This is a growing problem in Ohio and around the country. Long time University of Illinois crop physiology professor Fred Below sees challenges for the future of Extension in general.

“We’ve taken at big hit at our Extension programs,” Below said. “It comes down to budget cuts with less and less money and trying to do more with less.”… Continue reading

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Differences between the House and Senate Farm Bills

Ag economists Carl Zulauf (Ohio State University), Gary Schnitkey (University of Illinois) and Nick Paulson (University of Illinois) compiled a list of the key agricultural differences in the final Senate bill and the discussion bill considered and passed by the House Agricultural Committee. Here is their summary:

1. It is important to first note that considerable agreement exists among the House Discussion Bill and the Senate passed Farm Bill.

• Both bills embrace risk management as the focus of the crop safety net, have a Supplemental Coverage Option for insurance, contain a county revenue option as a complement to insurance, eliminate direct payments, and retain marketing loans.

• Both bills also embrace as a foundation theme that it is not a viable policy option to have a single risk management program that is uniformly applied to all crops. This decision reflects the diversity of crops grown in the U.S.… Continue reading

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Table to Farm: Where is the world's grain produced and how is it used?

This week’s Table to Farm questions focus on U.S. corn, soybeans and wheat.

Where is most of the world’s food produced? How much of the world’s grain do we produce? What about China, Brazil and other countries? How is the U.S. grain crop used? How much goes for human food, animal food, and biofuels?

According to the National Corn Growers Association, the U.S. produced 38.7% of the world’s corn in 2011 with almost 12.5 billion bushels of production. The next closest single country in terms of corn production was China, with 20.6% of the world’s corn. This is followed by the European Union countries that produced 6.8% of the world’s corn and then by Brazil that produced 6.2% of the world’s corn. Japan is the top importer of U.S. corn, followed by Mexico, South Korea and Taiwan.

Livestock feed is the top use for U.S. corn with 5.9 billion bushels of consumption.… Continue reading

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Table to Farm: Where is the world’s grain produced and how is it used?

This week’s Table to Farm questions focus on U.S. corn, soybeans and wheat.

Where is most of the world’s food produced? How much of the world’s grain do we produce? What about China, Brazil and other countries? How is the U.S. grain crop used? How much goes for human food, animal food, and biofuels?

According to the National Corn Growers Association, the U.S. produced 38.7% of the world’s corn in 2011 with almost 12.5 billion bushels of production. The next closest single country in terms of corn production was China, with 20.6% of the world’s corn. This is followed by the European Union countries that produced 6.8% of the world’s corn and then by Brazil that produced 6.2% of the world’s corn. Japan is the top importer of U.S. corn, followed by Mexico, South Korea and Taiwan.

Livestock feed is the top use for U.S. corn with 5.9 billion bushels of consumption.… Continue reading

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House starts farm bill process

By Matt Reese

To say that the farm bill will be an uphill battle in the House may be an understatement, yet agricultural groups are holding out hope for some definitive action this year. Speaker of the House and Ohioan John Boehner does not have a track record of support for farm bills and the list of amendments for the House bill may make the bogged down process in the Senate look like a cakewalk.

With clear challenges ahead, late last night, the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2012 by a vote of 35-11. From here, the bill will hopefully move to the House floor for debate. Then, if it passes the House, the differences will have to be hashed out between the Senate and the House versions of the farm bill in conference before going to the President for a final signature.… Continue reading

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USDA streamlines disaster designation process

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a package of program improvements that will deliver faster and more flexible assistance to farmers and ranchers devastated by natural disasters. Vilsack announced three significant improvements to decades-old USDA programs and processes related to Secretarial disaster designations: a final rule that simplifies the process for Secretarial disaster designations and will result in a 40% reduction in processing time for most counties affected by disasters; a reduced interest rate for emergency loans that effectively lowers the current rate from 3.75% to 2.25%; and a payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012, from 25 to 10%.
“Agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy and it is increasingly important that USDA has the tools to act quickly and deliver assistance to farmers and ranchers when they need it most,” Vilsack said. “By amending the Secretarial disaster designation, we’re creating a more efficient and effective process.
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Pork industry expresses concern about Canada in TPP

The recent decision at the G20 summit to include Canada in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has the United States, New Zealand and Australia up in arms over Canada’s open agricultural subsidy schemes, in particular its programs for Canadian pork production.

The TPP countries — the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam — also voted to include Mexico in the TPP. The inclusion of Canada and Mexico now takes the 11-member TPP group to nearly 30% of global GDP, a substantially larger trading power than the 27-nation European Union (EU) bloc.

While trading power is one element, the TPP goes beyond a traditional trade agreement and deals with behind-the-border impediments to trade and investment. The group serves as a pathfinder to broader regional economic integration, similar to the EU. This ultimately gives it potential to form the basis for free trade across the Asia- Pacific region.… Continue reading

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Tractor safety workshop

Based on the heightened interest due to the recent proposals from the Department of Labor, many people around the state are asking for a tractor training course. Volunteers interested in teaching tractor and machinery certification to teens, as well as secondary ag science teachers and Extension personnel who need to know their obligations for signing the “Certificates of Training,” are encouraged to attend this training.

An in-service training is scheduled for July 25 on the Farm Science Review grounds in London from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participant fee is $25 per person and lunch is provided.

The course will provide a comprehensive overview of the training exemptions teens need to complete prior to working in agricultural environments. Teaching resources are included in the workshop registration fees, and will include print and on-line access to up-to-date training materials. Tractor driving course layouts and skill test evaluations are also part of the hands-on workshop.… Continue reading

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