Country Life

Program to protect privately-owned agricultural grasslands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages people and groups wanting to protect agricultural lands, and grasslands to consider enrolling their property into conservation easements. This year, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest $77 million in financial assistance to help private landowners, land trusts, and other groups protect these valuable working lands.

Through Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE), NRCS provides funds to partners to purchase conservation easements on private working lands. This program helps keep agricultural viability in areas experiencing development pressure.

“This valuable program helps keep working lands working,” said John Wilson, NRCS Acting State Conservationist in Ohio. “Easements are an important tool for people who want to preserve the land for future generations.”

Through ACEP-ALE, landowners continue to own their property, but voluntarily enter into a legal agreement with a cooperating entity to purchase an easement. Landowners do not apply directly to NRCS for funding under this program.… Continue reading

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When life gives you carp, make…Dog food?

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

A Montreal-based company released a new dog food formula that includes Asian carp, an invasive species in North American waters. Philippe Poirier, a co-founder of Wilder Harrier (, said the company started experimenting with adding Asian carp into the food because it saw the environmental threats the fish posed.

“We use insect and plant protein, which releases less greenhouse gases [than meat], but we knew there was more we could do for the environment,” explained Poirier “More recently we started looking at invasive species because they are harming the local ecosystem and killing off native fish populations.”

There are four species of invasive Asian carp — grass carp, bighead carp, silver carp and black carp. Each impacts wildlife differently, and are an immediate threat to Ohio’s inland waters and Lake Erie. The carp have actually been a problem in the U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s drainage law updates

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

Ohio’s “petition ditch laws” are at last receiving a major revision. The Ohio General Assembly has passed H.B. 340, updating the laws that address the installation and maintenance of drainage works of improvement through the petition process. Some of Ohio’s oldest laws, the drainage laws play a critical role in maintaining surface water drainage on Ohio lands but were in serious need of updating.

An updating process began over seven years ago with the Ohio Drainage Law Task Force convened by the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO). CCAO charged the Task Force with the goals of clarifying ambiguous provisions in the law and embracing new technology and processes that would result in greater efficiencies, fewer misunderstandings and reduced legal costs for taxpayers. Task Force members included county commissioners, county engineers and staff, county auditors, Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) professionals, Ohio Farm Bureau staff, and Ohio State University faculty.… Continue reading

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Whole farm planning

By David Marrison, Ohio State University Extension Educator

We have all heard the saying “plan your work and work your plan.” 

Planning is one of the most important aspects of managing any business. This is especially true for farms and agribusinesses due to their complexity and the inherent uncertainties associated with agriculture.

Ohio State University Extension encourages farm families to adopt a whole farm planning approach as they develop strategies for the future success of their business. The whole farm approach allows families to examine the internal structure of their business and then develop business, retirement, transition, estate, and investment plans that work in harmony.

The farm business

At the center of most farms and agricultural businesses is the family unit. Each family, individually and collectively, has its own history, values, and goals. It is valuable for the business to begin the planning process by reflecting on family and farm history.… Continue reading

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U.S. farm profits projected to fall in 2021

By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension Educator, ANR in Tuscarawas County

The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS) on February 5th released their projection for U.S. farm income in 2021. Farm income is projected to fall this year primarily because government payments received by farmers are expected to decline $21.8 billion (46.3%) after increasing $24 billion (104%) in 2020.

Net cash farm income (NCFI) is calculated by subtracting cash expenses from gross income. This figure is expected to grow 23.7% in 2020 but drop $10.4 billion (7.5%) in 2021. Net Farm Income (NFI) is considered a broader measure of profitability that includes changes in inventories, depreciation, and gross imputed rental income. Like NCFI, the U.S. NFI is expected to increase in 2020 and decline 9.7% to $111.4 billion in 2021. If this happens, it will be the first time since 2016 that NFI has fallen. However, NCFI and NFI would remain above their respective averages during the 2000 – 2019 period.… Continue reading

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Heritage Cooperative, Inc. offering TruCarbon Program

Heritage Cooperative is now offering growers in Ohio access to TruCarbon, a transformational new carbon program that will help farmers generate and sell carbon credits. As the first and only farmer-driven carbon opportunity, TruCarbon focuses on maximizing farmer value of stewardship practices while maintaining an on-farm profitability focus.

Farmers can begin the information and enrollment process by visiting

TruCarbon is available through a partnership between Heritage Cooperative, Inc. and Truterra, the sustainability business and subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, Inc., one of America’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives. Through Truterra’s best-in-class sustainability data platform, the Truterra Insights Engine, TruCarbon provides farmers a powerful soil health planning suite of tools to help determine what is best for their business while optimizing their fields’ carbon credit potential. TruCarbon also maximizes the value and return for farmers with premium carbon credit value.

“We are excited about the additional revenue opportunity TruCarbon can provide to our members for their stewardship effort,” said Greg Spears, Heritage Cooperative’s Chief Operating Officer.… Continue reading

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Take-out trends in food

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

We Americans love to eat out! states the average American eats out over four times a week. I’m betting that doesn’t even include takeout and delivery.   Pandemic chaos has hit the restaurant industries like an unpredicted blizzard in the Carolinas. Many panicked consumers were mandated to stop dining out. Amongst the chaos and the fear of the unknown, consumers also stopped takeout and delivery in the first few months. In the state of Ohio thousands of restaurants have gone out of business. Local eateries are still struggling but with confidence and fear improving, drive-thru, delivery and take out, sales have recovered and surged. states that takeout and delivery service originated in the 1920s in Los Angeles. The fascinating story goes that the visionary Kin-Chu Café placed an ad proclaiming how it was “the only place on the West coast making and delivering real Chinese dishes.”… Continue reading

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Farmers receive first H2Ohio incentive payments

Initial payments are going out to farmers enrolled in Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative for improved water quality. The first incentive payments will be distributed to 154 farmers for completed and approved Voluntary Nutrient Management Plans (VNMP).

“The Voluntary Nutrient Management Plans are an important component of our H2Ohio initiative because they lay the groundwork to begin to reverse the serious water quality issues in Lake Erie,” said Governor Mike DeWine.  “It is great to see farmers’ commitment and enthusiasm about reducing phosphorus runoff into Ohio’s waterways through this science-based approach.”

Through the H2Ohio program, farmers are incentivized for implementing proven conservation practices to help reduce phosphorus runoff. A completed and approved VNMP is one of the seven identified practices and is required for all farmers enrolled in the program.

Local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Boards must review and approve VNMPs before incentive payments are distributed. Of the 14 counties involved in H2Ohio, Putnam, Hancock and Auglaize SWCD Boards have approved 154 VNMPs which include 98,000 acres, totaling approximately $197,000 in payments.… Continue reading

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Ohio Fairs’ Queen Contest transitions for 2021

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

Every year in January, around 80 of Ohio’s finest young junior and independent fair queens gather in Columbus for a chance to win the ultimate title of the Ohio Fairs’ Queen at the Ohio Fair Managers Association (OFMA) Convention. While the 2020 Ohio Fairs’ Queen Contest went on just as previous years had (three months before the pandemic hit), the 2021 Ohio Fairs’ Queen contest is going to look fairly different than years past and feature changes allowing the candidates to participate in person, all while optimizing social distancing requirements. 

The 2021 OFMA Virtual Convention went on as planned, starting in early January with a variety of events on Zoom. Virtual OFMA workshops and seminars continue through February and into March. For a schedule see the OFMA December Newsletter at While most of the convention is being held virtually, for the safety of the queen candidates and an effort to provide an in-person event, the OFMA pushed back the to contest closer to spring.… Continue reading

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Northeast Counties buying Local Directory opportunities

The directories will be distributed at all of the Farm Bureau events throughout the year in each of the counties, including county fairs, annual meetings, trade shows, health fairs, and more. The directory will also be available online and will be mailed to approximately 4,000 Farm Bureau member families in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull Counties.  

Goods and services listings 

Farm Bureau members in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull Counties can list their goods and services in the directory. The first three categories are FREE and additional categories are $5 each. These listings are for Farm Bureau members only.

Paid advertising spaces 

These advertisements provide additional space to promote your business and are available in quarter page increments (¼ page, ½ page, or full page). Ad space is limited and will be accepted on a first-come, first served basis.  You do not need to be a Farm Bureau member for paid advertising, however, Farm Bureau members save at least $100.  … Continue reading

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More funding committed to continue H2Ohio efforts

Gov. Mike DeWine announced the investment of $100 million for the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s share of the H2Ohio program in his recent budget proposal. These funds will help farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin continue to implement best management practices that prevent nutrient runoff and help protect water quality for all Ohioans.

“We thank Governor DeWine and his team for their commitment to farmers as we continue to prioritize water quality,” said Ryan Rhoades, Ohio Soybean Association president and Marion County soybean farmer. “So far, the H2Ohio program has been successful in promoting the best practices for nutrient management on over a million acres of farmland and we look forward to building on that success in the coming years.”

The H2Ohio phosphorus reduction plan has focused first on reducing runoff into the Maumee River Watershed and Lake Erie and will eventually be offered to other parts of the state in the future.… Continue reading

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OABA Safety Day

Join the Ohio AgriBusiness Association Feb. 3, for Safety & Risk Management Day, included in the Industry Conference registration. Details on the day’s sessions are available under the Feb. 3 – Safety Day tab in the Agenda. We’ll hear from Matt Beal and Ryan King, Ohio Department of Agriculture; Kim Nelson, OSHA; Marlene Eick; and Steve Davis and Nate Boerger, ABIS/JH Ward – Assured Partners.

The Industry Conference is available on demand until April 30. To access on-demand content, navigate to the session’s description and click the on-demand link. On-demand allows you to see sessions you missed, or re-experience the sessions you loved. You may also earn the associated CCA credit by scanning the QR code upon completion of the video. 

Finally, please take time to complete the brief Industry Conference Evaluation on the event platform. With a new event format, your feedback is more important than ever. We ask that you complete the “Event Evaluation” at the top of the page, as well as evaluations for any sessions you attended. … Continue reading

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Woodland Wednesdays presents “A virtual walk through working woods”

Join us on Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. for this virtual field tour of Working Woods. Making decisions about land management can be difficult if you haven’t seen what the results actually look like in the woods. Join us for this virtual field tour of Working Woods, the demonstration forest at the Holden Arboretum, where you’ll get to experience management sites through 360 photos, videos, and maps. Whether you have an interest in conserving your woods, performing a timber harvest, or managing invasives, gain a vision for your own management by seeing these real-world demonstrations.

This online program is free, but registration is required by Feb. 16. To register visit or for more information contact Geauga SWCD at or 440-834-1122.

Collaborators include Natural Resources Conservation Service, Geauga, Lake, Ashtabula, Portage, and Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation Districts, ODNR Division of Forestry, Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Trumbull, and Portage County Farm Bureaus, and ODNR Division of Wildlife.… Continue reading

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YAP virtual conference embraces progress and change

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s virtual Young Ag Professionals Winter Leadership Experience this weekend was an opportunity to build personal and professional experience while networking with agricultural leaders. 

The theme for the 2021 Winter Leadership Experience was “Cultivating Progress in Times of Change.” The event, thanks to the support of Heritage Sponsor Nationwide and Platinum Sponsor Farm Credit Mid-America, offered participants the capability to connect with industry leaders and see several exciting new opportunities to engage and network with others from around the state.

“Just as in past years there will be a lot of great ideas and lessons to take away from the Winter Leadership Experience,” said Charlie and Casey Ellington, chairs of the Young Agricultural Professionals State Committee heading into the meeting. “The engaging speakers and diverse sessions that are lined up will give everyone a chance to learn from others as they look to grow personally and professionally.”… Continue reading

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Planning for the future of your farm

By David Marrison, Ohio State University Extension

OSU Extension will host a virtual three part “Planning for the Future of Your Farm workshop on February 15, 22 and March 1, 2021 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. via Zoom. This workshop will challenge farm families to actively plan for the future of the farm business. This workshop is designed to help farm families learn strategies and tools to successfully create a succession and estate plan that helps you transfer your farm’s ownership, management, and assets to the next generation. Learn how to have the crucial conversations about the future of your farm.

Topics discussed during this series include: Developing Goals for Estate and Succession; Planning for the Transition of Control; Planning for the Unexpected; Communication and Conflict Management during Farm Transfer; Legal Tools & Strategies; Developing Your Team; Getting Affairs in Order; and Selecting an Attorney.

This workshop will be taught by members of the OSU Farm Office Team featuring Peggy Hall & Jeffrey Lewis, Attorneys from OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program and David Marrison, Extension Educator for Coshocton County.… Continue reading

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CFAP suspended until further review

In accordance with the White House memo, Regulatory Freeze Pending Review, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has suspended the processing and payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program — Additional Assistance and has halted implementation until further notice. Farm Service Agency local offices will continue to accept applications during the evaluation period.

In the coming days, USDA and the Biden Administration intend to take additional steps to bring relief and support to all parts of food and agriculture during the coronavirus pandemic, including by ensuring producers have access to the capital, risk management tools, disaster assistance, and other federal resources.

“The pandemic has taken an unprecedented toll on American agriculture, and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program has provided a lifeline for farmers and ranchers across the country. Many growers who previously did not qualify for assistance continue to suffer losses and need the help CFAP provides,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president.… Continue reading

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OABA announces 2021 Industry Excellence Award recipients

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Industry Excellence Awards:

  • 2021 Achievement as an Emerging Leader — Dustin Ramsier, Tyler Grain & Fertilizer Co.
  • 2021 Excellence in Safety & Stewardship — Becky Williams-Wagner, 3Bar Biologics, Inc.   

Award recipients will be recognized at the 2021 OABA Industry Conference. Winners will receive a plaque and $1,000 cash award, sponsored by ABIS/J.H. Ward – Assured Partners. OABA has a distinguished history of serving the agricultural industry and its members through advocacy, policy leadership and educational programs. The Industry Excellence Awards honor excellence, professionalism and achievement among OABA member companies and their employees, and thereby encourage that same excellence in others.

“It is a great honor to recognize outstanding individuals in our industry,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO. “These leaders set a high standard that agribusiness employees across all levels should aspire to achieve.” 

Achievement as an Emerging Leader

The Achievement as an Emerging Leader Award is presented to an individual who represents the spirit of leadership as a growing agribusiness professional.… Continue reading

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Ag input critical for climate success

President Biden has issued executive order calling on USDA to collect input from farmers and ranchers on climate-related federal programs. This will be important for the agricultural sector moving forward, said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau president.

“The American Farm Bureau Federation appreciates that President Biden has committed to seek input from America’s farmers and ranchers as the administration works on new climate solutions. It’s crucial that as new strategies are implemented our leaders listen to the people who will be affected the most,” Duvall said. “While the president has invited us to the table, we’d like to invite him to the table we’ve already set through the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA). Co-chaired by AFBF, FACA has outlined more than 40 recommendations to guide the development of federal climate policy. We stand ready to work with the administration on science-based, voluntary and market-driven programs. American agriculture already leads the world in climate-smart practices, but we are always looking for new ways to improve.… Continue reading

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Court seeks status report on EPA compliance with order on Renewable Volumes

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to submit a status report every 60 days “on its progress in complying with the court’s remand” stemming from the July 2017 ruling in Americans for Clean Energy v. EPA. The 2017 ruling required EPA to address its improper waiver of 500 million gallons of 2016 renewable fuel blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard. 
The Jan. 27 order from the D.C. Circuit was in response to a motion filed in December 2020 by biofuel and farm organizations, in which the groups asked the court to enforce its 2017 decision by requiring EPA to fully restore the 500 million gallons that were inappropriately waived from the 2016 RFS requirements. While the court denied the motion, the groups welcomed the court’s requirement that EPA provide status reports every 60 days on its progress in responding to the court’s decision. … Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast named in Feedspot’s top 40

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

The new year has already proven to be rewarding for the team here at Ohio Ag Net. Feedspot, an agricultural media database, compiled a list of the top 40 ag and farming podcasts in the U.S. that listeners “must follow in 2021.” The Ohio Ag Net Podcast was named 21st on the list. 

Feedspot used a team of 25 specialists to find and rank the list of podcasts based on the following criteria:

  • Relevancy
  • Industry Blogs — given a high rank than individual brand blogs
  • Post frequency
  • Social media engagement and follower numbers
  • Domain authority 
  • Age of blog
  • Alexa web tracking rank.

Click here for the full Feedspot article!

The Ohio Ag Net Podcast covers a large variety of agricultural topics statewide and nationally. Each week we cover anything and everything related to Ohio agriculture from vomitoxin, ractopamine, and dicamba to FFA happenings, field days and county fairs.… Continue reading

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