Country Life

Farm Science Review 2020: Online and free

Farm Science Review will be on a laptop or smartphone this year, and for free, virtual attendees can watch livestreamed talks and recorded videos featuring the latest farm equipment and research.

From Sept. 22 through Sept. 24, people from across the Midwest and the world can learn tips for increasing farm profits and growing crops from soybeans to hemp. Beginning in September, virtual visitors can find out about the show’s offerings by going to and clicking on an image of the show’s site. Within that image, people can click on the various icons to find the schedules for talks and demos they’re most interested in, such as field demonstrations or “Ask the Expert” talks.

Among the livestreamed talks will be Ask the Expert presentations that feature the advice of staff from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) on various topics in agriculture. Viewers will enter the talks through a Zoom meeting link and be able to post their questions in chat boxes.… Continue reading

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Deaf farmer finds ways to overcome

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

Riding next to his dad in the tractor, a young Matt Fry could tell there was a problem with the machine. He and his father were working ground on their farm in Bellville when Matt noticed a difference in the way the tractor was running. He could feel it in the vibrations of the engine that something was not right, even before the beeping alarms let his dad know there was an issue. Although Fry was unable to hear the alarms, his other senses alerted him to the problem.

Growing up, Fry never let his deafness discourage him from enjoying life on the farm. Today, he’s a husband, father and full-time farmer. Matt still works alongside his dad, Robert, as the fourth generation on their family farm, where they no-till oats, wheat, hay, corn, and soybeans. He also has his own small herd of beef cows.… Continue reading

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OAC to release Hall of Fame videos Aug. 7

In lieu of an in person event, the Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC) will release the 2020 Hall of Fame inductee videos on Aug. 7 to recognize the four outstanding individuals of the 2020 induction class: Joe Cornely of Westerville, Dr. Tony Forshey of Hebron, Larry R. Gearhardt of Covington and Wendell L. Waters of West Lafayette.

The OAC invites everyone to visit the Ohio Agricultural Council website — — on Aug. 7 to view the 2020 videos. The videos will also be made available on the OAC YouTube channel ( and Facebook page ( On June 9, the OAC Executive Committee of the Ohio Agricultural Council announced the 55th annual Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame induction ceremony had been postponed to August 6, 2021.… Continue reading

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ODA asks Ohioans to send in unsolicited seeds

After increasing reports of Ohio citizens receiving packages of unsolicited seeds in the mail, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is again urging the public to report and submit any unsolicited seed packets to ODA. In partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine Office, ODA is working to investigate the number of seed packets sent to Ohio, what type of seeds they are, and where they were mailed from.

The USDA-APHIS and ODA are asking Ohioans who have received these unsolicited packages not to open, plant, or throw them away. Instead, citizens should report receiving seeds here and then submit the packages to USDA using one of the following methods:

If possible, place the materials including the seeds, original packaging material and your contact information in a resealable plastic bag and mail them to USDA-APHIS at the following address:
8995 East Main Street, Building 23
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068


2.Place… Continue reading

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Climate and hydrology pattern to relax in August

By Jim Noel, NOAA

The overall drier pattern in many but not all places in Ohio this summer appears like it will relax closer to normal in August. The greatest uncertainty with the outlook will center around how the tropical moisture impacts the eastern United States.

The August outlook for temperatures indicates 1 to 2 degrees F above normal but a lot closer to normal than what we have seen this summer with the heat. The last time we have seen this much hot weather was 2015 and 2012. The good news is the worst of the heat for 2020 appears to be over. What this means is we should see a lot more maximum temperatures in the 80s with some 90s thrown in. Expected minimum temperatures mostly in the 60s to lower 70s.

The August outlook for rainfall indicates somewhat improving conditions. There is uncertainty here due to tropical moisture and where it flows.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation awards Action and Awareness grants

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently awarded grants to fund efforts in agriculture-related programming.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation funds programs that create a positive, measurable impact in four core areas of giving through its Action and Awareness grant program:

Education – Providing grants for professional development programs allowing individuals to advance their knowledge of agriculture, share ideas and improve people’s lives.
Environment – Funding sensible solutions that contribute to a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable Ohio by focusing on increased care for land and water.
Economic Development – Capturing opportunities that build prosperity, create jobs and enhance the quality of life for Ohioans by funding projects that spur economic growth in local communities.
Human-Animal Bond – Promoting the proper care of animals and the many ways they bring quality to human life.

Grant amounts can be awarded up to $3,000 and are provided for a one-year period.
Following are those organizations awarded grants in the spring 2020 grant cycle:

Breaking Free Therapeutic Riding Center
Dreams on Horseback
Friends of Aullwood, Inc.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s farming community and Ohio State Fair release Digital Recipe Guide

Today, a day known by many as the opening day of the Ohio State Fair, Ohio’s farming community and the Ohio State Fair are pleased to release the Ohio State Fair Favorites Digital Recipe Guide. Organizations from Ohio’s agriculture community, including: American Dairy Association Mideast, Ohio Beef Council, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Poultry Association and Ohio Sheep Improvement Association have joined together with the Ohio State Fair to commemorate fair traditions during an unprecedented year.

“There are many reasons people come to the Ohio State Fair – animals, tradition, rides, and of course, food. Whether fairgoers are visiting the Taste of Ohio Café for a farm-fresh meal, sampling something deep-fried, or walking around with a food served on a stick, they are likely to leave with a full stomach and a smiling face,” said Virgil Strickler, CFE, General Manager, Ohio Expo Center & State Fair.

The digital recipe guide, which includes over 20 fair-inspired recipes and fan-favorites from the beloved Taste of Ohio Cafè, allows fairgoers to get a taste of the Ohio State Fair from the safety of their home, all while highlighting the work of Ohio’s farmers.… Continue reading

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DeWine order limits Ohio fairs to junior fair only

By Matt Reese

Though there has been a decrease in emergency department visits and Ohio’s COVID-19 numbers are showing signs of starting to plateau, Governor Mike DeWine announced that all county fairs after July 31 must be junior fair only events.

“We have great fairs in the state of Ohio — independent fairs, county fairs — and our goal this summer was in spite of COVID-19 to try to hold these fairs. Our goal was to focus on the young people,” DeWine said. “To do that, we asked the fairs to discourage the congregation of large groups on the fairgrounds. We laid out some specific guidelines. We also provided each fair $50,000 to help them put on a much safer fair. We have worked with the fairs. We have also worked with the local health departments. Some fairs have done a very good job. As we head into the busiest part of the year with county fairs, it has become increasingly clear that we simply cannot have a safe fair.”… Continue reading

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Ava Shroyer | OYLE Champion Market Goat Exhibitor

Ava Shroyer of Logan County exhibited the Grand Champion Market Goat at the 2020 Ohio Youth Livestock Expo. Our Matt Reese caught up with her moments after being named champion via video conference.
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U.S. EPA administrator visits Ohio demonstration farms

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler recently visited the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms in northwest Ohio. Administrator Wheeler learned about all of the testing being done to improve water quality for the Western Lake Erie Basin and all of Ohio.

“It’s impressive to see how farmers are taking a proactive approach to try to reduce nutrient runoff,” Wheeler said. “Our agency is working cooperatively with farmers instead of hitting them with a hammer, and I think that farmers have proven that they know their land and they know what it takes to reduce phosphorus loading. These demonstration farms have shown me how they can save money on nutrients with new technologies while, at the same time, producing greater yields.”

The first stop for Wheeler was Kurt Farms in Dunkirk, Ohio. There, he learned about how edge-of-field testing units sample the water coming from farm fields to determine the volume of nutrients coming off of the farm and how different nutrient management practices impact the data.… Continue reading

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Part II — The back story: A miraculous journey in Parkinson’s research

Dr. George Lopez had practiced internal medicine in California. But during a procedure, an intravenous catheter slipped out of the patient’s vein. As Dr. Lopez attempted to restore the IV, the patient crashed and subsequently died. Lopez never practiced medicine again.

He rebounded by forming a company and inventing an indwelling IV catheter that locks into place. And he developed several other medical devices, making his company very financially successful.

Then came another setback. An avid outdoorsman, Lopez fished, hunted, surfed and spear-fished — and held the trophy for landing the largest blue marlin off the California coast. But he noticed that he was progressively losing strength in his wrists. Eventually, all of his muscles were weakening. The diagnosis was Parkinson’s Disease. As a result, he had to give up mountain biking, then fishing and his other outdoor activities. Eventually, he could barely get out of a wheelchair. At the same time, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, became terminally ill and died.… Continue reading

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Black Swamp Conservancy to host drive-in theater event

Black Swamp Conservancy is inviting the public to come out for a drive-in screening of films highlighting local and national conservation efforts. The program will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at the Field of Dreams Drive-In Theater, Liberty Center. Gates will open at 8:00 pm, movies begin at 8:45 pm. The screening is free and open to the public. Donations to Black Swamp Conservancy are appreciated and can be made via the Conservancy’s website.

For more information about this event, visit Black Swamp Conservancy’s website at, or call (419) 833-1025.

Resilience: The Story of the American Red Wolf examines the last wild population on the coast of North Carolina of an animal so secretive, many people are unaware that it even exists: the red wolf. Due to the species’ low numbers in the wild, biologists must work quickly to protect it from extinction. Directed by local two-time Emmy nominated wildlife filmmaker and photographer, Alex Goetz.… Continue reading

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Partnerships for better soil health and water quality

By Kurt Knebusch, Ohio State University CFAES

For Rachel Cochran, a typical day involves working one-on-one with farmers, while practicing social distancing, of course.

“It could be contacting them about pulling cores for a soil health study,” she said. “It could be talking to them about potential best management practices that they might be thinking about using.”

For Boden Fisher, his workday could involve being invited to attend a farmer’s wheat harvest, allowing Fisher to measure the crop’s quality, part of a study comparing the use of top-dressed manure and commercial fertilizer.

For Nick Eckel, a typical workday, and every workday in general, means helping farmers successfully implement new conservation practices.

The practices, Eckel said, “hopefully will be sustainable for future generations to build upon.”

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) recently hired six new water quality associates to work in northwest Ohio, and Cochran, Fisher, and Eckel are three of them.… Continue reading

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Governor DeWine to Ohio fairs: What we’ve seen is unacceptable

By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a conference call with Ohio fair directors and managers Wednesday. According to the Governor, after fairs started in June cases of COVID-19 began to rise.

“We are now unfortunately seeing the results of some of these fairs,” Gov. DeWine said. “We’ve had one fair that has had 19 cases come out of that fair alone.”

The fate of Ohio youth returning to school in the fall rests on the operations of Ohio’s fairs the remainder of the season.

“We are really at a crucial stage in Ohio. What you do at your fairs determines if kids are back in school this fall,” DeWine said.

The Governor stressed the importance of the Responsible RestartOhio orders for county and independent fairs.

“We’ve got to get control of this,” DeWine said. “If fairs are going to continue, you all are going to have to control the crowd and make sure everyone is wearing a mask….What… Continue reading

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Five Ohio startups to compete for the next level

The 11th Annual Ohio Signature Food Contest is taking a new spin this year and being held virtually. The event will be hosted by BCAN / Buckeye Broadband reporter, Tim McMahon, and will be aired on Sunday, August 2, 2020 at 7 p.m. on BCAN / Buckeye Broadband.

Sponsored by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), the contest will showcase new, innovative products from across the state.

“The demand for locally grown and produced foods is growing every year and we’re fortunate to have a platform to highlight our local entrepreneurs,” said Rebecca A. Singer, President and CEO, CIFT. “Our contestants this year bring a new level of innovation and creativity with their products and we’re excited to find the next signature food item for Ohio.”

June completed the application deadline and five top-notch startups have made it through to compete this year.… Continue reading

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Keep an eye out for the laternfly

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) needs help in keeping an eye out for the late nymphsspotted lanternfly (SLF), an invasive insect that can cause significant damage to some plants and crops. The insect has not yet been confirmed in Ohio but has been spotted in Pennsylvania.

SLF is a great concern to the grape and wine industry. The insect is fond of grape and fruit trees, hops, blueberry, oak, pine, poplar, and walnut. Adult SLF mainly feed on grapevines and tree of heaven, while nymphs feed on a wide range of hosts. Both adults and nymphs feed on stems and leaves, causing sap bleeding and reduced photosynthesis, which can eventually kill the plant.

Now through November is the best time to spot the SLF because it is in its most recognizable stages as adult slf a nymph and a moth. After hatching in the late spring, the SLF goes through four nymph stages.… Continue reading

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From FFA jackets to PPE, Universal Lettering is “Living to Serve”

By Dusty Sonnenberg

The last line in the FFA Motto is “Living to Serve.” That motto is being lived out in real time during COVID-19 by Universal Lettering of Van Wert, maker of the official blue corduroy FFA jacket.

Little has changed from the original FFA jacket that J.H. “Gus” Lintner had Van Wert Manufacturing/Universal Uniform Company design in 1933. The Fredericktown FFA Chapter Band wore the jacket when they played at the national FFA Convention in Kansas City that year. The blue corduroy jackets were later adopted as the official dress for all FFA chapters.

A good deal has changed, though, with the company producing those iconic blue and gold jackets over the years. The original jackets had snaps instead of zippers and embroidered emblems instead of sewn on patches. Today a state-of-the-art process at Universal Lettering, which includes a chenille machine to create the patches and computerized sewing machines to stitch each individual member name on the front of the jacket, replaces hand-operated machines.… Continue reading

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Polymers: Everywhere from DNA to tires and more!

By Carin A. Helfer and Kristof Molnar

Polymers? Do you mean plastics? Many people do not know the term polymer, but this material is literally everywhere and a major part of our daily life. Plastics are polymers, but rubbers and fibers are polymers, too. Probably the most recognized biological polymer (biopolymer) is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Carbohydrates, proteins, cellulose, silk, and cotton are biopolymers, also. Life would not be possible without biopolymers.

Some man-made (synthetic) polymers are silicone rubber, which can be used in caulk; polyethylene (PE), which is used to make milk jugs; nylon, which is used in clothing and parachutes; and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used to make soda and water bottles. Even your white glue and other adhesives are polymers. If you look around, you will find many polymers throughout your day.

Large quantities of both synthetic and natural rubber, usually a combination for optimum performance, are used in tires.… Continue reading

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USMCA benefits agriculture

By Tyler Davis, Arizona Farm Bureau.

On July 1, the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement was officially implemented. The USMCA offers a fair free trade agreement that focuses on modernization and impartiality.

Under its predecessor trade agreement, NAFTA, many agricultural products that were exported from the U.S. to Canada suffered from an unfair pricing scheme, poor market access and protective regulations. The USMCA provides new market access for all U.S. agricultural products, a fair non-discriminatory pricing plan, and improved grading standards for products going forward.

Over the past 20 years, there have been many technological advancements, especially in the agriculture sector. Unfortunately, the provisions in NAFTA were no longer up to date with these advancements and the agreement was quickly becoming obsolete.

USMCA includes provisions that enhance science-based trading standards among the three nations as the basis for sanitary and phytosanitary measures for ag products, as well as progress in the area of geographic indications.… Continue reading

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