Country Life



Demonstration farms offering educational tours

The Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network is once again offering tours for business, organizations and students interested in learning about the latest water quality technology. The three northwest Ohio farms have been testing new and innovative conservation practices that reduce and prevent nutrient runoff since the project launched in 2016.

“There continue to be so many concepts being tested on our farms, and the results are coming in real time throughout the year,” said Aaron Heilers, Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network project manager. “With such a wide variety of practices on all three farms, we have valuable real-world data to share with anyone interested in water quality and nutrient management efforts being made in Ohio.”

Ohio Farm Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service recently signed a new agreement to continue research on the demo farms in the areas of edge-of-field monitoring, drainage water management, cover crops and economic analysis and will begin new research on precision agriculture, subsurface nutrient placement, application timing and strip tillage.… Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Agriculture now accepting new applications for H2Ohio Program

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is currently accepting new enrollments for the H2Ohio Program.

Producers in the original 14-county targeted area of the Maumee River Watershed can sign up for the years 2022 and 2023. That area includes: Williams, Defiance, Paulding, Van Wert, Mercer, Fulton, Henry, Putnam, Allen, Auglaize, Lucas, Wood, Hancock and Hardin counties.

Farmers are required to submit a Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan (VNMP) at the time of application. Enrollment is open until Jan. 15, 2022, and no practices can be started prior to March 15, 2022.

Under Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio plan, ODA is leading efforts to reduce phosphorus runoff. Producers are being incentivized to implement proven, cost-effective best management practices.

Please contact the local Soil and Water Conservation District for more information.… Continue reading

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Farm Science Review battles wind and rain, still draws a crowd

A deluge of rain might have shortened this year’s Farm Science Review by a day, but the show still drew a strong crowd to see the latest farm techniques and technology.

Farmers have to contend with sudden shifts in the weather. So do outdoor farm shows.

Predictions of constant rainfall and powerful wind gusts that toppled some show tents and signs led to the show’s closure on the second day of what’s typically a three-day event. On the other two days, Sept. 21 and Sept. 23, a crowd persevered through wind and intermittent rain for a total turnout of 70,850 people.

“There have been so many events canceled in the last 18 months that people were really happy to be outside at a large event with others,” said Nick Zachrich, manager of FSR.

“The first day I saw people out in the rain without jackets on, and they all had smiles on their faces.”… Continue reading

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Prioritizing mental health brings global benefits, saves local lives

By Matt Reese

Andi Blaylock just got another call for help.

“It was a human resources partner who was working with someone who was struggling with thoughts of suicide. I get the question a lot from people in human resources. What more can I do? There is not more. I tell them to just be supportive, listen and don’t be judgmental. Just be there,” Blaylock said. “People put a lot of pressure on themselves to offer some pearl of wisdom that will change someone’s life. That is not usually how it works. People don’t usually remember what you said. They just remember you were there. If you were there, you did everything you could. You may think you did nothing, but you did a lot.”

Andi Blaylock

Blaylock has been in the field of mental health for 17 years as a licensed clinical social worker. In 2014, she started her work with Cargill as the internal mental health subject matter expert and employee relations program senior consultant.… Continue reading

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USDA to host special virtual data users’ meeting to gather public input on statistical programs

one-of-the-computers-hooked-up-to-robotic-milker

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will hold its biannual Data Users’ Meeting virtually Oct. 13 and 14 from noon-3 p.m. ET. The meeting is free and open to the public.

The Data Users’ Meeting is held to share recent and pending statistical program changes with the public and to solicit input on these and other programs important to agriculture. The event is organized by NASS in cooperation with the World Agricultural Outlook Board, Farm Service Agency, Economic Research Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, Foreign Agricultural Service and U.S. Census Bureau.

“This is an excellent opportunity for data users to be informed and involved in guiding the agricultural information USDA produces, both now and into the future,” said Joe Parsons, Chair, Agricultural Statistics Board. “NASS believes in transparency and continual process improvement. This venue provides an important opportunity for stakeholder input into USDA’s coordination of agricultural data products that both expand knowledge and create a cooperative environment to the benefit of all who attend.… Continue reading

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Ohio farm safety statistics

By Dee Jepsen 

Have you ever had to describe “agricultural work” to anyone not familiar with the day-to-day, season-to-season functions of a farm? It is difficult to explain the types of tasks, the type of equipment, and the varying schedules that farm life demands. The occupational pressures of tending to the land, crops and livestock is different than other workplace pressures. The same can be true for describing the variation in the workforce, including different occupational hazards that other industry workers do not experience.

Agriculture is one of the three top hazardous industries.

In the U.S., agriculture is considered one of the most hazardous industries to work. The data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics consistently lists agriculture, along with construction and mining, as the top three hazardous industries. Agriculture is broadly defined and includes occupations of farming, fishing and forestry in the statistical counts. With approximately 2% of the U.S.… Continue reading

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Farm Science Review rain delay

By Matt Reese

On Wednesday Sept. 22, 2021 the Farm Science Review was postponed due to inclement weather. Rain swamped the parking lots, harvest demonstration sites and exhibit areas. High winds and potential lightening were also a concern. The show will resume Thursday Sept. 23, 2021 at 8 a.m. as scheduled.

This is the first time the show has ever been postponed.

“This was a really tough decision, but it is best for everyone involved that we wait until tomorrow to open the gates. It did not start raining here onsite until 6 a.m. (on Wednesday) and we thought we may get lucky and miss it. Then we started getting some heavy rain,” said Nick Zachrich, FSR manager. “We were already starting to think about closing some of the parking lots and once we did that we decided at what point we’d need to close the show. We got to that point by 7 a.m.… Continue reading

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Qualified entities can apply to preserve local farmland

Counties, Soil & Water Conservation Districts, land trusts, cities and townships are invited to apply to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Office of Farmland Preservation for local sponsor certification from Sept. 20 to Oct. 22, 2021. 

Local sponsors that complete the certification application and qualify will be allocated a portion of the $6.5 million in Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program 2022 funds. These funds are used to purchase agricultural easements on Ohio farms, preserving productive agricultural farmland in perpetuity.

Certified local sponsors will then accept local landowner applications and help secure easements through ODA’s Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program. Once the easement is secured, the local sponsor visits the farm once a year to complete a monitoring report to ensure the land is being used for agricultural purposes.

The application is available on ODA’s local sponsor page. Any organization interested in being a local sponsor for the 2022 landowner application year must apply during this time period.… Continue reading

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New Ohio initiatives to address farm stress

A new federal grant awarded to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) will support and enhance several initiatives that address farm stress in Ohio.

In partnership with Ohio State University Extension, training will be provided to mental health and other health care professionals in Ohio on the unique stressors and factors that influence agricultural producers, other individuals working in the agricultural sector, and farm and rural households. 
Titled “Bridging the Gap for Agricultural and Rural Mental Health Training in Ohio,” the $500,000 grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network.

“Our farmers and producers are facing incredible stressors,” said Cathann A. Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). “Many farmers are faced with unpredictable issues and concerns daily involving personal health and injuries, equipment and parts, animal health, weather, and crops.… Continue reading

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Farm safety yields real results

By Dee Jepsen

National Farm Safety and Health Week is Sept. 19 through Sept. 25, 2021. This annual promotional week commemorates the hard work, diligence and sacrifices made by our nation’s farmers and ranchers. The promotion reminds us to take time for safety as we head into the fall harvest season. 

The 2021 theme is “Farm Safety Yields Real Results.” This positive message implies safety practices not only protect lives but also yield profitable results for the farm. Effective safety practices can also save the operation money in the long term. Like any business plan, there are input costs that help operators yield a profit. Implementing an effective safety program takes forethought, training and a budget to put recommendations into practice. 

Direct costs of a safety program

Direct costs appear on your balance sheet. These can include:

• Worker’s compensation or group rating program fees

• Safety training programs

• Personal protection equipment (PPE)

• Facility and equipment costs — includes scheduled maintenance of farm buildings and implements, machine guarding, sensor detection systems, fire extinguisher maintenance 

• Consultant fees for specialized training programs or paid inspections

• Liability fines or legal fees in cases of regulatory compliance situations

Each farm operation will vary in the scope of these direct costs, depending on the size and scope of the commodities farmed.… Continue reading

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Taxing concerns

The American Farm Bureau Federation, along with 46 state Farm Bureaus and 280 organizations representing family-owned agribusinesses, sent a letter in September to congressional leaders urging them to leave important tax policies in place as they draft legislation implementing President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda. The letter addresses four key tax provisions that make it possible for farmers and ranchers to survive and pass their businesses on to the next generation: estate taxes, stepped-up basis, 199A small business deduction and like-kind exchanges.

“The policies Congress enacts now will determine agricultural producers’ ability to secure affordable land to start or expand their operations,” the letter states. “Regardless of whether a business has already been passed down through multiple generations or is just starting out, the key to their longevity is a continued ability to transition when a family member or business partner dies. For this reason, we firmly believe the current federal estate tax code provisions must be maintained.”… Continue reading

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The biggest whoppers about climate change

By Don “Doc” Sanders

You’ve probably seen panic-inducing headlines about climate change. I think the wildest one I have read is: “Code Red for Humanity.” The article it accompanied reported that we can’t turn the clock back to reverse the environmental damage that humankind has caused. We are doomed if we don’t take immediate and drastic action to implement the “green movement.”

Thankfully, most of this Code Red stuff is baloney. Centuries, if not thousands of years, show that as far as our climate and environment are concerned, this is the best time ever to be alive. 

Every time that a well-researched good news climate analysis is reported, the United Nations moves the goal posts farther back so that the state of the environment still appears discouraging. It isn’t that the environmental science is bad. Rather it’s the shoddy reporting by our friends in the media who nitpick what to report. … Continue reading

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POET pledges carbon neutrality by 2050

POET, the world’s largest producer of biofuels and a leading producer of bio-based products, is proud to announce the release of its inaugural sustainability report, which outlines the company’s focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives. 

POET established several ESG goals, including the achievement of net-zero carbon at its bioprocessing facilities by 2050. In addition, POET pledges to ensure that its renewable, plant-based bioethanol reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 70% compared to gasoline by 2030. According to a recent study, today’s bioethanol reduces carbon emissions by 46% compared to gasoline.

Sustainability has always been at POET’s core. We recognize that our planet urgently needs bolder solutions and better results if we hope to restore harmony between human and nature and sustain Earth’s fragile balance for future generations,” said Jeff Broin, POET Founder and CEO. “Now more than ever, it is critical that we embrace the bioeconomy, significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and harvest our energy from the surface of the Earth.”… Continue reading

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New book gives kids glimpse of a “Barn at Night”

A new children’s book is now available for families searching for a captivating agriculture story to share. “Barn at Night,” featuring lyrical poetry and glowing watercolors, is now available from Feeding Minds Press, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s publishing venture.

“In ‘Barn at Night,’ readers discover the certain magic of a farm in the quiet predawn hours,” said Foundation for Agriculture executive director Daniel Meloy. “It is our hope that this book will illustrate the dedication of farmers and ranchers in caring for their animals, day in and day out, long before the rest of the world springs to life.”

This heartwarming yet true-to-life tale, written by Ohioan Michelle Houts and illustrated by Jen Betton, invites readers along as a father and daughter go out to the barn on a cold winter night and are welcomed with an enchanting scene. The pair discover who is awake, who is asleep, and who is just making their first appearance in the barn.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau and Farm Credit Mid-America announce enhanced partnership

Ohio Farm Bureau is pleased to announce Farm Credit Mid-America as a major contributor to Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Ag Professionals programing and sponsor of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting.

Ohio Farm Bureau and Farm Credit Mid-America have played a significant role in the agriculture community for generations, serving the needs of farmers and rural residents across Ohio for more than a century. This enhanced partnership will empower both organizations to leverage their common goals and values to deepen their roots and broaden their reach in the ag community across the state.

“Our partnership with Ohio Farm Bureau has always been a natural match,” said Tara Durbin, Senior Vice President Agricultural Lending Farm Credit Mid-America, who also serves as vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation. “When it comes to addressing the needs of Ohio agriculture, whether it be for farm loans, crop insurance, policy issues or outreach efforts, both of our organizations care deeply and work hard for those we serve.”… Continue reading

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Infrastructure bill moving forward

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

From the local bridge just around the corner to the locks and dams on the nation’s river system, agricultural viability depends heavily on infrastructure. After months of across-the-aisle negotiations, the Senate voted to pass the bipartisan infrastructure package (H.R. 3684) in August.

“This is a very notable move forward. It passed through the Senate with a very bi-partisan vote of 69-30, 19 Republican Senators voted for the legislation. Early on this year, the topic of infrastructure was really expansive. There were a lot of things being discussed that really don’t have a lot to do with what most Americans regard as infrastructure. It has tightened up and we think that is a good thing,” said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “We appreciate there are a number of categories within this legislation that, if they come to fruition, would be beneficial to agriculture. There is funding directed at roads and bridges, many in rural areas.… Continue reading

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#HeresToTheFarmer campaign kicks off again with Luke Bryan

After donating close to 5 million meals across the United States, Bayer will continue its partnership with five-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan in 2021 to celebrate America’s farmers and help fight hunger by encouraging use of the hashtag #HerestotheFarmer on social media to help families in need.

‘Here’s to the Farmer’ supports Bayer’s vision of Health for All, Hunger for None and asks fans across the United States to share the hashtag #HerestotheFarmer on their social media channels to show their gratitude to America’s farmers. For every share, Bayer will provide one meal to a person in need through Feeding America with the goal of helping  to provide 1 million meals.

Bryan, the son of a peanut farmer from Georgia, has a long-time commitment to the American farmer, launched his annual Farm Tour in 2009 as a way to highlight and celebrate the contributions of America’s farmers. In 2015, Bayer partnered with Luke Bryan and launched its campaign to help fight hunger throughout the country.

“I know the important role farmers play in our everyday lives and understand the hard work it takes for them to help feed America and the world,” Bryan said.… Continue reading

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No days off: Stover puts in work to prepare for football and the farm

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

The field is where Cade Stover feels the most at home — not just on the football field, donning his No. 16 Ohio State jersey, but also the hay field, and in the driver’s seat of a tractor. Stover may be known for his athletic career, but his farming background is what sets him apart. 

The 6-foot 4-inch 255-pound tight end is poised for big things this season (and this weekend against Oregon) for the Buckeyes. In 2020 he moved into the role from the linebacker position. He also played a key role on special teams. He made three tackles in 2020, including two against Michigan State, and also forced a fumble. Stover played in four games as a true freshman for the Buckeyes in 2019 and redshirted.

Stover made an impression on the coaching staff with his work ethic this summer, which will hopefully translate into more playing time in 2021.… Continue reading

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Tribute to Ohio barns

While staying at a bed and breakfast in Licking County, Ohio, in the early 2000s, a deteriorating barn captivated the eye of Cincinnati artist and retired dentist, Robert Kroeger. This first barn would ignite Kroeger’s “Ohio Barn Project,” which has taken the artist to Ohio’s 88 counties to paint, research, and write about historic barns. In nearly every county he’s painted barns, Kroeger has donated the proceeds from the sale of his paintings to a local historical organization. He is a self-taught painter and uses the impasto oil technique. He applies the paint quickly and in very thick layers with a palette knife, creating texture and dimension.

“A Tribute to Historic Barns of Ohio: 88 Counties, 88 Paintings, 88 Essays” will be held Sept. 29. at Muhlhauser Barn, located at 8558 Beckett Road in West Chester Township. The event will feature nearly 100 of Kroeger’s original paintings that will be will be auctioned off.… Continue reading

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Bob-bob where?

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

Bobwhite quail fell off my target list two decades ago, when numbers were plummeting and I didn’t want to contribute to the decline of the popular upland gamebirds that once thrived in the Buckeye State. That’s why I was glad to hear that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has designated a new priority area in Ohio focused on improving and creating northern bobwhite quail habitat. Private landowners and producers can apply for funding through the NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and interested landowners in the selected townships are encouraged to contact their local NRCS service center, ODNR private lands biologist or Pheasants Forever biologist to learn more. 

“Private landowner involvement is such an important part of preserving this iconic species,” said Lori Ziehr, Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service Acting State Conservationist.… Continue reading

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