Country Life

Positivity during the pandemic

By Matt Niswander, a Farm Bureau member in Tennessee and member of American Farm Bureau Federation’s Grassroots Outreach Team

I’ve been in the medical field for 15 years, and in my medical training I was taught that you should sing happy birthday twice while washing your hands to get off all the germs — high-level stuff that I learned at a very prestigious school. Well, now that we can’t get together for birthday parties then I suppose your next best choice is “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees, because some days it feels like we are just trying to keep going. Even here in rural America, COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses in our homes, our communities and our country.

In the past, I might have taken care of one or two people a day for mental health issues, but now there are days that 90% of my patients want to discuss anxiety associated with the pandemic.… Continue reading

Read More »

Enjoy the autumn outdoors, but watch for ticks

With the great outdoors being a popular destination during the pandemic, it’s important to watch out for another potential threat you might not easily see: ticks. 

Be on the lookout for them through late fall. The warmest months are the most common times these tiny, blood-sucking bugs pass on diseases.

“I always tell people the outdoors is healthy for you. You need to be outdoors,” said Risa 

Pesapane, an assistant professor with the colleges of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University. 

Pesapane researches ticks in Ohio. She actually thrives on going through tick-infested areas and collecting ticks, even off of deer shot by hunters. In January, Pesapane launched a study tracking the frequency of ticks on Ohio deer, and another on stray dogs. 

Pesapane discussed tips on how to avoid tick bites as well as the risks associated with each of the four main ticks found in Ohio.… Continue reading

Read More »

Auctions may look different, but still going strong in 2020

By Matt Reese

The global pandemic hit home for auctioneer Bart Sheridan when Governor Mike DeWine announced plans to ban mass gatherings in Ohio.

“Our first all online auction was sort of an emergency. We do the annual FFA alumni association auction here in Greene County to replenish their scholarship funds. On March 13 we were setting up. We had 82 consigners that had brought equipment into the Greene County Fairgrounds and Gov. DeWine said there could be no more crowds. On the fly, we converted it to an online auction and it went tremendously well. We have been doing online as the situation warrants for the past 12 or 15 years, but we went all online at that time,” said Sheridan, with Sheridan & Associates based in Cedarville. “When COVID raised its head we said, ‘We’d better get moving on this.’ And, to be honest, a lot of our clients prefer online.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA awards $495,000 to support wetland mitigation banking in Ohio

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will award $495,000 for a new wetland mitigation banking project in Ohio through the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program. This program helps conservation partners develop or establish mitigation banks to help agricultural producers maintain eligibility for USDA programs.

“Ohio’s USDA wetland mitigation bank will provide agriculture producers an affordable mitigation option to remain in compliance for USDA Farm Bill programs while establishing banks that support wetland functions and values,” said Terry Cosby, Ohio NRCS State Conservationist. “Healthy wetlands help filter our water, sequester carbon, curb soil loss, and provide habitat for wildlife.” 

The environmental consulting firm EnviroScience, Inc. headquartered in Stow, Ohio is collaborating with the Hondros Family of Companies to restore an approximately 100-acre property ideally suited to wetland restoration located within the Upper Scioto River watershed. Approximately 35 acres of the restored property will be used in the USDA Wetland Mitigation Banking Program.… Continue reading

Read More »

House passes COVID relief bill

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $2.2 trillion COVID-relief bill with numerous provisions sought by the National Pork Producers Council including:

1) Compensation for hog farmers who are forced to euthanize or donate market-ready animals that can’t be processed into the food supply due to COVID-related packing plant capacity reductions;

2) $300 million to support animal health surveillance and laboratory capacity;

3) Amendment of the Commodity Credit Corporation charter so a pandemic-driven national emergency qualifies for funding; and

4) $350 million to address the Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI) program user fees funding shortfall that pay for U.S. agriculture inspectors at our borders and ports.

NPPC appreciates inclusion of these provisions, designed to help hog farmers weather this crisis. In particular, NPPC is grateful to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) for his continued efforts to ensure hog farmers receive much-needed assistance during this unprecedented crisis. While the bill has passed the House, its chances in the Senate remain uncertain.… Continue reading

Read More »

Farm Office Live scheduled for Oct. 7, 2020

David Marrison, Ohio State University Extension

Join the OSU Extension Farm Office team for discussions on the latest agricultural law and farm management news. The next session will be held on October 7, 2020 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.

Farm Office Live will be back for a review of the latest on round two of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), 2020 crop enterprise budgets, new custom rates and Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents survey summary, Ohio’s COVID-19 immunity legislation, and other current issues in farm management.

Join our experts for quick presentations and Q & A. Go to to register or view past webinars and PowerPoint slides.… Continue reading

Read More »

Virtual Farm Science Review still adding content

Neither too hot nor rainy, this year’s virtual Farm Science Review allowed viewers to nestle into a recliner or tractor seat to learn about canning soups, butchering meat on the farm, and operating new technology to better manage their crops.

This was the 58th annual Farm Science Review, but the first one held solely online because of health concerns.

Overall, turnout was a success, FSR manager Nick Zachrich said. The FSR website recorded 40,000 visits, initial statistics show. That figure does not include visitors who were sharing their screens on their devices, Zachrich said.

“I do know of teachers who attended sessions and played them live to their class, so we know that one device could realistically have the potential of 20 views,” he said.

On social media, more than 33,000 users engaged with the FSR channels, and the show’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram accounts have reached more than 300,000 users in the month of September, Zachrich said.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA designates three Ohio counties as primary natural disaster areas

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designated three Ohio counties as primary natural disaster areas. Producers who suffered losses due to recent natural disasters may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.

This natural disaster designation allows FSA to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.

Polar vortex and extreme cold

Producers in Fairfield and Licking counties who suffered losses due to a polar vortex and extreme cold that occurred May 7 through May 13, 2020, may be eligible for emergency loans. Producers in the contiguous Ohio counties of Coshocton, Delaware, Franklin, Hocking, Knox, Muskingum, Perry and Pickaway are also eligible to apply for emergency loans.

Excessive moisture and rainfall

Producers in Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties who suffered losses due to excessive moisture and rainfall that occurred during March 1 through May 22, 2020, may be eligible for emergency loans.… Continue reading

Read More »

Harvest weather outlook

By Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension

Ohio’s weather has been dominated by high pressure of late, bringing with it a pattern of warm, sunny days and cool nights for the last couple of weeks. During this time, little to no rain has fallen across the state. As daylight hours are growing shorter, evaporation is not as strong as it is during the summer. Therefore, drought conditions are not rapidly expanding across Ohio. However, persistent dryness is evident across areas of northwest, southwest, and far northeast Ohio, where soils remain dry. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor indicates about 18% of Ohio is still experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions. For more information on recent climate conditions and impacts, check out the latest Hydro-Climate Assessment from the State Climate Office of Ohio.

The first in a series of cold fronts is crossed Ohio on Monday evening, with light to moderate rain showers.… Continue reading

Read More »

OABA seeking emerging leaders for ninth LAUNCH Class

Tomorrow’s agribusiness leader will need to be nimble and lead change in addressing workforce pressures, consumer demands, and governmental challenges, all while fostering networks and collaborative work styles. Emerging agribusiness leaders can build their skills through LAUNCH — Leaders Achieving Unexpected New Career Heights — to rise to the challenges and opportunities facing agribusinesses today and tomorrow.

Hosted by the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, in partnership with Shift-ology Communication, the LAUNCH program is geared to help Ohio agribusinesses Elevate People, Elevate Ideas and Elevate the Industry.

The program is designed for emerging leaders with a desire to meet higher level goals than the scope of their current position. The course is designed for leaders with all levels of experience — from entry level to seasoned employees — who seek to rise within their company.

“Agribusinesses continually compete with all industries to recruit and retain the best talent, but there is also a need to invest in those who are already passionate about agriculture,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO.… Continue reading

Read More »

Grand opening for new biosolid storage facility at Molly Caren Agricultural Center

The Molly Caren Agricultural Center (MCAC) and City of London held a grand opening reception for a new Biosolid Storage Facility, a result of the long-time partnership between the two entities.

To be more efficient in the storage of Exceptional Quality Biosolids produced by the city’s wastewater plant, London officials met with MCAC staff in November 2018 to propose the idea of constructing a storage facility on the agricultural grounds. MCAC has long used the city’s biosolids in its farming operations, applying the product to its farm ground during the month September, after crops are harvested during the annual Farm Science Review show. Per Ohio Environmental Protection Agency requirements, if these biosolids are not applied to agricultural land within 90 days of the initial storage date, they must be stored at a regional storage facility, where they can remain for up to two years.

Nearly two years after commencement of the project, the Exceptional Quality Biosolid Storage Facility located at MCAC is ready for operational use, with close proximity to the City of London, allowing other approved biosolid applicators to have access to storage facility during normal business hours.… Continue reading

Read More »


With Ohio’s deer archery season beginning Sept. 26, it’s important to realize that Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) typically affects some white-tailed deer in the late summer and is not all that unusual. In fact, EHD is the most common ailment affecting deer in the eastern U.S., and the disease occurs annually in the late summer and fall in deer herds across North America. Ohio has documented some cases of EHD this summer, mostly in northwest Ohio.

The EHD virus is not infectious to people and is not spread from animal to animal, but is transmitted by the bite of small insects called midges, so EHD-associated deaths in deer can occur until the first frost of the year causes a decline in midge activity. Once infected, deer show symptoms within five to 10 days, and many deer die within 36 hours of the onset of symptoms. There is little that can be done to protect wild deer from the virus.… Continue reading

Read More »

Feed and Fuel Your Future showcases careers in agriculture through a virtual learning series

Help students find their future career! is collaborating with the Ohio Department of EducationGrowNextGen, and Ohio Corn & Wheat to connect science and agriculture careers through a virtual learning series for students.  

Presenters will provide live virtual field trips, lessons and career panels each week to help students consider the relevant, abundant STEM careers available in agricultural fields.

Students, parents and teachers can participate throughout this 4-week series to connect science through agriculture and help students find their future career.

  • Week of Oct 5: Finding Flavor in a Food Science Career
  • Week of Oct 12: Time to Eat! Careers in Food Production
  • Week of Oct 19: What’s in Your Water? Careers in Sustainability and Ecosystems
  • Week of Oct 26: Lots of Tech in the Field: Careers in Technology

Visit the ODE website for more information about these events. Participants must pre-register for the virtual field trips.… Continue reading

Read More »

Bacon battle between hog producers

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

It’s been said that a lawsuit is a machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.

That’s an appropriate analogy for the complaint, filed in mid-August 2020, by Maxwell Foods (a subsidiary of Goldsboro Milling of North Carolina) against Smithfield Foods (purchased by the Chinese company, WH Group in 2013), alleging breach of the production sales agreement (PSA) by failing to pay a fair price for hogs as well as purchase output required by the agreement. (This little piggy went to market below price; this little piggy stayed home in violation of the PSA.)

            A few days prior to the initiation of legal proceedings in North Carolina’s Wayne County Superior Court, Maxwell Foods announced it would begin shutting down hog operations and permanently closing by mid-2021 due to “projected financial losses.”… Continue reading

Read More »

American Farm Bureau Foundation launches “Easy Button” for elementary ag education

New at-home learning resources are now available to parents and teachers clamoring for content. The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture unveiled a new webpage featuring weekly lesson plans dedicated to helping students in kindergarten through fifth grade learn where their food comes from while helping parents and teachers keep children engaged.

“We are thrilled to be launching this weekly series of virtual learning tools for parents, teachers and students,” sadi Daniel Meloy, AFBFA executive director. “Providing engaging lesson plans and exciting content helps support our goal at the Foundation for Agriculture to provide an ‘easy button’ for at-home learning during this time so many of us are juggling priorities while trying to ensure kids enjoy virtual learning.”

The resource page contains free weekly activities, which focus around a central theme and can be done independently of one another. The first lesson, which is live now, is titled “Who is a farmer?”… Continue reading

Read More »

Your guide to virtual Farm Science Review

Find a comfortable seat and charge your device.

Farm Science Review is being held online this year because of COVID-19 concerns.

Although the Molly Caren Agricultural Center is closed to the public, you’ll be able to learn the latest agricultural technology and helpful farming techniques from more than 400 exhibitors—all for free on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

More than 200 free livestreamed and recorded talks and demos will be available online. You will have to provide your own steakburgers, milkshakes, or other FSR fare, though.

To access the content for this year’s show, Sept. 22–24, start at Some videos and other content will be available before the show begins. From inside a large scarlet banner at the top of the FSR homepage, choose from the following topic areas:

• Agronomy
• Ask the expert
• Conservation
• Educational resources
• Exhibitors
• Field demonstrations
• Livestock
• Safety, health, and wellness
• Small farms and gardening
• Youth/4-H
Hover your cursor over any of the topics and click to select.… Continue reading

Read More »

Supply chain, U.S. trade policy, COVID-19 to be discussed during Farm Science Review

The U.S. trade policy, labor and immigration issues, agricultural commodity markets, and the food supply chain will be among the topics addressed at a panel discussion during the 59th annual Farm Science Review Sept. 22–24 at

The previously titled Tobin Talk, now The Talk on Friday Avenue, “Value Chains in Food and Agriculture,” on Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. at, will feature comments from a panel of agricultural economists from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The Talk on Friday Avenue is among a series of presentations at Farm Science Review to address topics relevant to the agricultural industry, from controlling weeds and managing beef cattle to reducing safety hazards on the farm and growing plants indoors in water, without soil.

As a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Farm Science Review will be exclusively virtual, so you can find out about the latest in farm technology and techniques from the convenience of your home.… Continue reading

Read More »

Corn versus soybean storage

By Carl Zulauf, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, Ohio State University, and Sanghyo Kim, Korea Rural Economic Institute

There is an increasing role of storage in marketing with the return of corn and soybean surpluses and the concern that storage is less profitable for soybeans than corn in the U.S. Concern particularly exists when storing beyond the South American soybean harvest. Return and risk to storing soybeans and corn are generally found to be similar. The few exceptions all favor soybeans, not corn.

Five previous studies have examined returns to storing both corn and soybeans. While each study finds returns to storing corn and soybeans differ, none test for statistical significance.

For this study, return and risk to storing corn and soybeans was examined for the two most common types of storage: cash storage and storage hedged with a short futures position that is offset when the stored crop is sold in the cash market.… Continue reading

Read More »

A look at agricultural policies from 2020 presidential candidates

A new look into the priorities for rural America of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is revealed in responses to a questionnaire distributed by the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF asked the Republican and Democratic candidates to respond with their stances on several topics including trade, labor, regulatory reform and sustainability. Here are their responses to the topic of farm policy.

Question: Reliable food supplies and stable prices are critical for the United States’ long-term prosperity and economic well-being. Programs in the farm bill, set to be renewed in 2023, provide key safety net and risk management tools for farmers, as well as critical tools to help farmers implement resource-conserving practices on the farm as well as trade promotion programs that help us build new markets abroad. Sustained, effective and predictable policy through the farm bill is necessary to address the threats that farmers have faced historically and new threats we now face to provide a consistent food supply.… Continue reading

Read More »

Virtual Winter Leadership Experience offers new opportunities

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Ag Professionals Winter Leadership Experience is an opportunity to build personal and professional experience while networking with agricultural leaders. For next year’s event, participants will use a virtual platform to learn leadership skills to further their impact in their communities, Farm Bureau and agriculture.

The theme for the 2021 Winter Leadership Experience, slated for Jan. 29-30, is “Cultivating Progress in Times of Change.” The event, thanks to the support of Heritage Sponsor Nationwide and Platinum Sponsor Farm Credit Mid-America, will offer 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. “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

Read More »