Country Life

Is a recession coming?

By Jeff Fichtelman, partner in JP2 Risk Management

If you polled the average American, most would agree we are likely to enter a recession. Thanks to the loose monetary policy from the Fed and the White House, we are now dealing with rapid inflation. This inflation has increased corporate costs, reduced their margins and is hurting consumer’s ability to spend. What does this translate to? Lower revenue and income for many corporations and therefore lower stock prices. 

Jeff Fichtelman

Why should the U.S. farmer care about the stock market? In most cases, the price of corn and soybeans move independent to fluctuations in equities. However, in those rare circumstances that the equity market is “in free fall” all markets suddenly move together. In the 2008/09 recession, the stock market fell 20% while corn and bean prices actually went higher. Then, equities fell another 30%, which ended up dragging corn and bean prices down sharply.… Continue reading

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Walleye outlook is excellent for 2022

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

Based on Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) trawl surveys, it appears that another excellent Lake Erie walleye hatch may be underway as we speak. In research presented to the Ohio Wildlife Council, fisheries biologists reported the 2021 walleye hatch was the fifth largest recorded over the past 35 years and there’s every reason to think this spring’s may top that. 

The 2021 walleye hatch index was 90 fish per hectare (a standard measure of area), well above the rapidly increasing prior 20-year average of 34 fish per hectare. The young walleye averaged just over 4 inches long and were caught at every site sampled.

“Our fisheries biologists survey nearly 40 locations between Toledo and Huron by dragging a large, concave net along the bottom of the lake,” said Travis Hartman, Division of Wildlife Lake Erie Fisheries Program manager.… Continue reading

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USDA video showcases key partnerships driving conservation in Lake Erie

A new USDA video provides a closer look at the collaborative partnerships driving innovative water quality assessment and conservation in the Western Lake Erie Basin. The video, Science-Based Solutions: Leveraging Partnerships to Protect the Western Lake Erie Basin, shows how USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) watershed studies in the Western Lake Erie Basin bring researchers, farmers, government agencies and nonprofit organizations together to develop science-based solutions and strategically place them where they can deliver the greatest conservation benefits. 

“This video demonstrates the importance of regional partnerships, both in developing and encouraging the adoption of conservation practices that have been scientifically proven to be effective.” said John Wilson, NRCS State Conservationist in Ohio, “This collaborative approach is informing our conservation strategies and making tangible improvements in the Western Lake Erie Basin watershed.” 

Under CEAP, a network of researchers, from government agencies to universities, work together to monitor the impact of conservation practices on the landscape.… Continue reading

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Weighing in on the future of the Ohio State Fair

By Matt Reese

To say it has been a challenging stretch for the Ohio State Fair and Ohio Expo Center in the last couple of years is probably an understatement. The extended period of having no events, or only partial events, labor shortages, supply chain issues, and skyrocketing costs has taken a very heavy toll.

Prior to these extensive hardships for the Ohio State Fair, in the summer of 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced the creation of a task force to develop and recommend a long-term vision for the Ohio Expo Center.
“At the Ohio State Fair and other events that occur here, there are countless ways to have fun. We need to find ways to keep that excitement going all year long,” DeWine said in 2019. “I am announcing the formation of a task force, called ‘Expo 2050,’ to take stock of all of the great things going on at the Ohio Expo Center, as well as the Ohio History Connection and Mapfre Stadium, and to develop a strategic vision for the entire area.”… Continue reading

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A look at the weather now that spring has sprung

By Matt Reese

Many months of preparation have gone into preparing for Ohio’s planting season that will finally be taking place throughout the next few weeks. Farmers will be working hard to make the most of planting opportunities in what has so far been a cold, soggy spring.

Ohio’s soils remain on the wet side after an unusual winter.

“The winter was kind of strange. There was a lot of variability,” said Aaron Wilson, Research Scientist with the Byrd Center and State Climate Office of Ohio and Ohio State University Extension climate specialist. “We had a very warm December with record highs on Christmas Day. Cincinnati hit 69 degrees for the warmest Christmas day ever back to 1871. We had soil temperatures in Central and Southern Ohio in the low to mid 50s by Jan. 2, but then January got really cold. It was the 35th coldest January on record. It was a fairly dry January as well.… Continue reading

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Career Fair at Farm Science Review

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) and The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) will partner to hold the Career Exploration Fair at the 2022 Farm Science Review. The event will be held on Wednesday, September 21 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Tobin Building.

The FSR Career Exploration Fair is an opportunity for career seekers, from high school and college students to mid-career professionals, who are looking to start or change their career path to connect with agribusiness employers. All FSR attendees are invited to browse the event, which is included with show admission. 

Vendor booths are available to employers for the career fair. Free vendor space is an exclusive opportunity for current OABA members and FSR exhibitors. Any interested company can indicate their interest when registering as an FSR exhibitor or by contacting the Ohio AgriBusiness Association. 

For interested vendors, additional details and an interest form are available at oaba.net/eventsContinue reading

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Science continues to move food production forward

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Please allow me to enlighten you, in case you’re not aware of the great work of Norman Borlaug, the American Nobel Prize-winning plant scientist of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Borlaug was the scientist who developed rice with high vitamin A content to prevent hundreds of thousands of children from going blind in third world countries because of vitamin A deficiency. He also developed seed barley strains that required half of the usual amount of water to grow in semi-arid countries. He taught third world villagers to plant corn in rows for weed control, rather than casting the seed around randomly like you were feeding the birds.  

His list of accomplishments to improve food security go on and on (https://www.cast-science.org/celebrating-norman-borlaug-man-who-fed/).

In 1972 he and 18 other scientists founded the nonprofit Council for Agriculture, Science and Technology (CAST). Its mission is to disseminate information about new science and technology to Congress and governmental agencies, the mass media and the public.… Continue reading

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The animal rights elephant in the room

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

Once upon a time, nearly two decades ago, a puppy was dumped on our farm. 

Kent named him Barney, and he was a wonderful creature. With one exception. He had some hunting genes in his DNA which caused him to lose all sense of reason when his scent hound genetics took over. We had a difficult time keeping him safe. He was hit on the road during a snow storm one wintry morning.

            We were sad and experienced the unbearable silence when a beloved pet has gone. A few weeks after the accident, Kent went to K&L in Fort Recovery, for their annual March Chopper School. I went to a nearby humane society and brought home the perfect companion for Kent (never mind the plan was to find the ultimate dog for me). Chopper was part Blue Heeler and part Labrador Retriever and completely adorable. For over 10 years, he spent every waking moment he could by Kent’s side.… Continue reading

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USDA watershed infrastructure funding brings $7.4 million investment to Ohio

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest $420 million in 132 infrastructure projects in 31 states, including Ohio. These projects include rehabilitating dams, flood prevention, and watershed restoration projects, and they are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), building on a $166 million nationwide investment announced earlier this year. In total, more than $7.4 million will be invested in five Ohio watershed infrastructure projects through the USDA Watershed Rehabilitation Program (REHAB) and the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) Program. 

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild our infrastructure, create good-paying jobs and build new economic opportunity here in Ohio,” said John Wilson, State Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “Our watershed programs help communities rebuild after natural disasters and prepare for future events. These projects exemplify why this historic investment in our watersheds was needed and the adeptness of our agency to act swiftly.” … Continue reading

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Ohio’s Victory Garden program returns for 2022

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio State University Extension offices are kicking off the third year of the Ohio Victory Gardens program. Due to high demand, the program is expanding to include 42 counties, up from 25 counties last year. Thousands of seed sample kits will be available for free to the public to get people planting.

“In the third year of our Victory Gardens program, we are proud of the ground we have covered in reigniting Ohioans’ love for backyard gardening, while lifting people’s spirits and re-teaching an important life skill of growing your own food,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “We’ve gone from distributing 3,000 seed kits in six counties in 2020 to distributing more than 20,000 free seed kits in 42 counties across the state this year. Next year, we plan to expand again to reach even more Ohioans who want to grow a Victory Garden.”… Continue reading

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Ethanol against the world!

By Matt Reese and Dusty Sonnenberg

Those reading this likely have more interest in bushels per acre than grams of CO2 per megajoule. But, when applied to biofuels, the number attached to this unit of measure has the potential to make or break massive domestic biofuels markets for corn and soybeans. 

Jan tenBensel, a Nebraska farmer and president of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, has spent a fair amount of time looking at grams of CO2 per megajoule because it is an important standard in the ongoing debate about the sustainability of biofuels. 

“In a life cycle analysis of ethanol and electric vehicles, you have to look at the base load of carbon intensity. Right now, that number is 114 grams of CO2 per megajoule for the U.S. on average. If you took a Tesla 3, you’d be at about 144 grams of carbon per mile. If you were to take an E98 vehicle that was ethanol optimized you would have 114 grams of carbon per mile,”  tenBensel said.… Continue reading

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NEPA changes signal return to outdated, cumbersome regulations

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented on the final phase 1 revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“AFBF is disappointed that the Biden administration has decided to reverse commonsense reforms to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Farmers and ranchers share the goal of caring for the natural resources they’ve been entrusted with and were pleased that the updated 2020 regulations allowed them to protect the environment while meeting the demands of a growing nation,” he said. “Continued challenges from the pandemic, supply chain issues and the drought in the West are impacting farmers, ranchers and the American public in the form of increased food and fuel prices. The situation will now be made worse by the return to a slow and cumbersome NEPA review process that, in many cases, takes years to complete.”

NEPA also can impact the vital infrastructure system of the country.

“President Biden has also made improving the nation’s infrastructure a priority, and a modernized NEPA review process would help deliver projects to communities across the country.… Continue reading

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Beginning farmer tax credit signed into law

On April 18, HB 95 was signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine. The law establishes an income tax credit for beginning farmers who participate in a financial management program, administered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. It also constructs an income tax credit for established farmers who sell or rent agricultural assets to beginning farmers. 
“The idea for HB 95 all started because younger Ohio Farm Bureau members who were working their way into agriculture, along with more experienced members looking to step away from the industry, were facing many obstacles when it came to working on a transition plan,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “Through their recommendations, our organization worked through the policy development process to successfully add incentives for new and beginning farmers to the list of important issues Farm Bureau advocates for every day. Those grassroots efforts have now come to fruition and we appreciate Governor DeWine signing this legislation into law to allow a path forward for the next generation of agriculturalists in Ohio.”… Continue reading

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Asian Longhorned Beetle quarantine lifted at East Fork State Park

The Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) quarantine has been lifted in parts of and its campground, a sign of exciting progress in the overall ALB eradication process.

ODA, ODNR and USDA held a joint press conference on Friday, April 15 at the East Fork State Park north shore boat ramp to announce the milestone. 

ODA’s ALB Eradication Program surveyed more than 66,000 trees, performed multiple rounds of campground surveys, and conducted in-person outreach for continued education on the ALB. With the cooperation from the local community and support from government partnerships, 7.5 square miles of East Fork State Park just north of the lake have been deregulated. This declaration lifts certain restrictions, including the movement of firewood out of the campground.

The Asian Longhorned Beetle can cause serious damage to Ohio’s trees. ALB adults emerge from the trees throughout the summer, with the chances of seeing adult beetles peaking in August. Checking trees for the beetle and damage it causes is one way residents can protect their own trees and help the efforts to eliminate this invasive beetle from the United States.… Continue reading

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Ohio rural communities receive over $1.3 Million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grant funds

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the establishment of a program under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to expand rural hospitals and providers’ access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and supplies, while helping rural health care providers stay financially solvent in the long-term. The initial awards of the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants total $43 million and will benefit 2.2 million peoplewho live and work in rural America. Awardees include 93 rural health care organizations and community groups across 22 states.

“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA mobilized our staff and resources to respond in record time to improve the long-term viability of rural health care providers and services across this nation,” Vilsack said. “USDA used an all-hands-on-deck approach to create the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program to address a variety of immediate health care needs and services in rural communities. The American Rescue Plan Act and this program are examples of the government’s ability to respond quickly to ensure every person and family has access to high-quality health care no matter their zip code.”… Continue reading

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Ohio legislature passes statutory farm lease termination and beginning farmer bills

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Bills establishing new legal requirements for landowners who want to terminate a verbal or uncertain farm lease and income tax credits for sales of assets to beginning farmers now await Governor DeWine’s response after passing in the Ohio legislature this week. Predictions are that the Governor will sign both measures.

Statutory termination requirements for farm leases – H.B. 397

Ohio joins nine other states in the Midwest with its enactment of a statutory requirement for terminating a crop lease that doesn’t address termination. The legislation sponsored by Rep. Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) and Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) aims to address uncertainty in farmland leases, providing protections for tenant operators from late terminations.

The bill states that in either a written or verbal farmland leasing situation where the agreement between the parties does not provide for a termination date or a method for giving notice of termination, a landlord who wants to terminate the lease must do so in writing by September 1.… Continue reading

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Nominations open for 2023 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year Contest

Farmers are invited to submit nominations for the 2023 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year contest, supported by Purina. This is the fifth year of the contest, which celebrates farm dogs and the many ways they support farmers and ranchers in producing nutritious food for families and their pets across America.

The grand prize winner — Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year — will win a year’s worth of Purina dog food and $5,000 in prize money. The winner will be recognized at a Farm Dog of the Year award ceremony at the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in January 2023. Up to four regional runners-up will each win $1,000 in prize money.

The 2023 Farm Dog of the Year will also be featured in a professionally produced video. The profile of 2022 Farm Dog of the Year Fit can be viewed at https://www.fb.org/land/fdoty.

“It’s a pleasure to host this popular contest again and provide a glimpse into daily life on the farm,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president.… Continue reading

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New framework guides conservation action on America’s grasslands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has unveiled a new plan to help guide voluntary conservation work over the next five years across 25 states, including more than 7 million acres of new conservation practices on productive, working lands.

The plan, which will be implemented in Ohio, will accelerate voluntary conservation efforts for the Northern bobwhite quail and the grassland and savanna landscapes that the species calls home.

“When we manage for bobwhite habitat, we’re creating healthier forests and forage, which is good for livestock producers, landowners, and natural resources,” said John Wilson, NRCS State Conservationist in Ohio. “This new framework builds on what we know — that America’s agricultural producers using conservation practices are helping declining species like the bobwhite while also providing food and fiber and conserving our resources for future generations. In the face of climate change, as well as habitat loss and fragmentation, expanding efforts to conserve landscapes and wildlife communities is more important than ever.” … Continue reading

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Ohio legislators pass beginning farmer tax credit and statutory farm lease termination bills

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Bills establishing new legal requirements for landowners who want to terminate a verbal or uncertain farm lease and income tax credits for sales of assets to beginning farmers now await Governor DeWine’s response after passing in the Ohio legislature. Predictions are that the Governor will sign both measures.

Statutory termination requirements for farm leases – H.B. 397

Ohio joins nine other states in the Midwest with its enactment of a statutory requirement for terminating a crop lease that doesn’t address termination. The legislation sponsored by Rep. Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) and Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) aims to address uncertainty in farmland leases, providing protections for tenant operators from late terminations.

The bill states that in either a written or verbal farmland leasing situation where the agreement between the parties does not provide for a termination date or a method for giving notice of termination, a landlord who wants to terminate the lease must do so in writing by Sept.… Continue reading

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Vultures in effigy

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

I recently hosted USDA’s Tom Butler on my radio show, “Buckeye Sportsman,” (@buckeyesportsmanradio; buckeyesportsman.com) to discuss Ohio’s burgeoning black vulture numbers. It’s no secret to many OCJ readers that Ohio’s black vulture population, birds that often prey on young livestock, causing injury and sometimes death, creating major economic losses for some livestock producers, has increased in recent years. As migratory birds, black vultures are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, state laws and regulations, which means they can’t be killed or destroyed without a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) Migratory Bird Depredation permit. 

Well, recently the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) obtained a statewide depredation permit for black vultures from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and will work with USDA Wildlife Services to issue sub-permits to livestock producers who are experiencing issues with black vultures.… Continue reading

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