Country Life

Vilsack on the U.S.-Mexico Agreement to resolve the cross-border trucking dispute

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on the agreement signed by Mexico and the United States to resolve the cross-border long-haul trucking dispute:

“The agreement signed today between the governments of Mexico and the United States to resolve the cross-border long-haul trucking dispute is a major win for U.S. agriculture, American jobs and our nation’s economic prosperity. President Obama and President Calderon announced a path forward in March to resolve the dispute, and today the U.S. Department of Transportation — after months of hard work with Mexican counterparts — closed a deal that will provide tariff relief for numerous U.S. agricultural products and manufactured goods.

“This dispute has cost U.S. businesses more than $2 billion. For U.S. farm exports to Mexico, exports of affected commodities were reduced by 27%. But today, thanks to the persistent work of the Obama Administration, we have an agreement that not only will ultimately eliminate punitive tariffs, but it also provides opportunities to increase U.S.… Continue reading

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No death tax is not a reason to avoid farm transition planning

Many in Ohio agriculture fought hard for the elimination of the estate tax, commonly referred to as the “Death Tax” by critics. While they can celebrate success, it is important to remember that even with no estate tax, there is still a need for careful farm transition planning.

Ohio’s version of this tax provision is set to expire due to a provision in the state’s biennial budget — a prospect that concerns financial planning professionals.

“The primary concern is that the repeal, along with changes in the federal estate tax will serve as a disincentive to doing farm transition, business and estate planning,” said Peggy Hall, director of the Agricultural and Resource Law Program of The Ohio State University Extension. “That’s the concern I’m hearing from many attorneys.”

The estate tax is a potentially confusing and burdensome issue; critics claim the tax forces farmers and small business owners to liquidate assets simply to pay the tax.… Continue reading

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Ice cream is big business in Ohio

During one of the hottest months of the year, it would be hard to find a cold treat more popular than ice cream. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a world-leading 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream are made every year in the U.S. – which is enough to fill more than 2,200 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Home to several large scale ice cream makers, Ohio is one of the states largely responsible for fueling the nation’s appetite for frozen desserts. In celebration of National Ice Cream Month, the monthly Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum will host John Gauthier of Lesniewicz Associates (marketers of Toft’s Ice Cream), to present “Ice Cream’s Impact in Ohio,” Thurs., July 21 from 7:30 – 9 a.m. The program begins at 8 a.m. with informal networking prior, hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation, north of Bowling Green, OH.… Continue reading

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Kinnamon joins Ohio State as Industry Liaison Director for Ag Biosciences



Bryan Kinnamon, an executive with more than three decades of experience in marketing and manufacturing technology at global businesses, has joined Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) as Industrial Liaison Office Director.



In this capacity, Kinnamon will lead efforts to identify and foster connections with industry for one of Ohio State’s largest and most comprehensive colleges – which includes the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and OSU Extension. He is based on OARDC’s Wooster campus.



Kinnamon’s position is an expansion of the university’s Industry Liaison Office (ILO), aimed at establishing and growing a dedicated presence at OARDC and CFAES. A similar Industrial Liaison Office (led by Dan Kramer) was established last year in the College of Engineering.



“We are excited to have Bryan join us as he brings a wealth of talent and business knowledge to our College and to Ohio State University,” OARDC Director Steve Slack said.… Continue reading

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OFBF celebrates success at the Statehouse

Impressive Results at the Statehouse

“Powerful” is a fitting description of Ohio Farm Bureau’s legislative successes in 2011. In a time when many advocacy organizations are fighting to remain relevant, farmers are working together through Farm Bureau to achieve impressive results at the Statehouse.

These are the dividends of engaging government in the Farm Bureau way. Years of relationship building, civil communication and grassroots cooperation resulted in a remarkable string of accomplishments.

Here’s a look at how Farm Bureau put its members’ policies into action:

Eliminated the state estate tax. The state death tax is dead. For more than 25 years farmers have explained the unfairness of this tax that was an impediment to passing the farm on to the next generation. The tax is gone, effective Jan.  1, 2013.

Preserved agriculture’s budget priorities. Faced with an $8 billion budget deficit, Gov. John Kasich and lawmakers had to prioritize how to invest limited dollars.  … Continue reading

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The death of Ohio’s estate tax

The Ohio House of Representatives voted to approve the Conference Committee report of House Bill 153, the State Operating Budget which includes the repeal of the Ohio estate tax. The Ohio Senate approved the Conference Committee report on June 28. The bill will now be sent to Gov. John R. Kasich for his signature.

Ohio agriculture has long been pushing for the repeal of the Ohio estate tax because it disproportionately affects Ohio’s farmers and small business owners. According to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, approximately 84% of farmers’ assets are real state-based.

Currently the estate tax exemption for Ohio is set at 338,333 dollars, and the highest taxation rate is 7%. Even a family farm of only one hundred acres valued at approximately four thousand dollars per acre is subject to the tax. Many Ohio residents have lost significant portions of their family farm due to the burden of the tax and the inability to liquidate the means needed to pay for the farm after the loss of a loved one.… Continue reading

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The death of Ohio's estate tax

The Ohio House of Representatives voted to approve the Conference Committee report of House Bill 153, the State Operating Budget which includes the repeal of the Ohio estate tax. The Ohio Senate approved the Conference Committee report on June 28. The bill will now be sent to Gov. John R. Kasich for his signature.

Ohio agriculture has long been pushing for the repeal of the Ohio estate tax because it disproportionately affects Ohio’s farmers and small business owners. According to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, approximately 84% of farmers’ assets are real state-based.

Currently the estate tax exemption for Ohio is set at 338,333 dollars, and the highest taxation rate is 7%. Even a family farm of only one hundred acres valued at approximately four thousand dollars per acre is subject to the tax. Many Ohio residents have lost significant portions of their family farm due to the burden of the tax and the inability to liquidate the means needed to pay for the farm after the loss of a loved one.… Continue reading

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EPA announces E15 pump labeling requirements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued fuel pump labeling and other requirements for gasoline blends containing more than 10 and up to 15% ethanol, known as E15.  These requirements will help ensure that E15 is properly labeled and used once it enters the market.

The new orange and black label must appear on fuel pumps that dispense E15. This label will help inform consumers about which vehicles can use E15. This label will also warn consumers against using E15 in vehicles older than model year 2001, motorcycles, watercraft, and gasoline-powered equipment such as lawnmowers and chainsaws.

Over the past year, EPA issued two partial waivers under the Clean Air Act that in sum allow E15 to be sold for use in model year 2001 and newer cars and light trucks.  EPA based its waiver decisions on testing and analysis showing that these vehicles could continue to meet emission standards if operated on E15. … Continue reading

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Progress on FTAs in the Senate

The National Corn Growers Association and American Soybean Association (ASA) is very pleased that the Senate Finance Committee will hold a “mock” markup of the draft implementing bills for the South Korea, Colombia, and Panama Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) later this week. The ASA has been working for a number of years toward passage of these trade agreements because increased exports of U.S. soy and soy-fed meat and poultry will benefit soybean farmers and rural economies. Passage of these three trade agreements combined represents nearly $3 billion of additional agriculture exports to these trading partners.

“This is a critical step in the right direction,” said ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Ind. “Now that an agreement on Trade Adjustment Assistance has been reached, we call on Congress and the Administration to quickly advance these trade agreements in order to boost our economy.”

The Finance Committee will consider the draft implementing bills during a “mock” markup because Congress cannot offer amendments to the final implementing bills submitted by the Administration under the Trade Promotion Authority Act – also known as “fast track” – procedures.… Continue reading

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USDA invites applications for value added producer grant to assist farmers

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that applications are being accepted for grants to provide economic assistance to independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives and agricultural producer groups through the Value-Added Producer Grant Program.

“By creating value-added products, farmers and ranchers can expand economic opportunities, create jobs and keep wealth in rural communities,” Merrigan said. “These funding opportunities will promote business expansion and entrepreneurship by helping local businesses get access to capital, technical assistance and new markets for their products and services.”

For example, in Caroline County, Md., Richard and Wenfei Uva owners of Seaberry Farm received a Value-Added Producer Grant to expand their processing capacity to produce beach plum jams and jellies, juice, and puree for retail and wholesale markets. The Beach plum, Prunus maritime, is a native fruiting shrub that grows in coastal sand dunes from southern Maine to Maryland. Seaberry Farm planted three acres of Beach plum in 2006 and will double the acreage in 2011.… Continue reading

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ODA working to demonstrate that “Ohio Means Agribusiness”

By Matt Reese

If you ask the Governor, or the Director of Agriculture, in the state, they’ll tell you that “Ohio Means Agribusiness.” Since Governor John Kasich was elected the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), along with the Ohio Department of Development (ODD), has made concerted effort to work with attracting and expanding agribusinesses to Ohio to boost Ohio’s struggling economy.

“If you take a look, the ODD and the ODA are following about $1.3 billion of proposed new ag facilities and expansions in Ohio, and those are just the larger facilities that the ODD has identified for possible assistance,” said Rocky Black, ODA deputy director. “There are a number of different projects we are working on.”

One example is Pioneer Hi-Bred that set up a temporary research station in Plain City and is now looking for a site for a permanent facility in western Ohio.

“We are working with Pioneer Hi-Bred on bringing a permanent seed research facility to Ohio,” Black said.… Continue reading

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USDA-funded research aims to reduce food-borne illnesses

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded research, education and extension grants to 24 institutions, including Ohio State University, to reduce food-borne illnesses and deaths from microbial contamination.

“While the U.S. food supply is generally considered to be one of the safest in the world, approximately 48 million Americans become sick each year due to food-borne illnesses,” said Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “These grants support the development of a more complete understanding of the sources and implications of microbial contamination and will promote the adoption of new food safety strategies and technologies. The goal is to greatly improve the safety of our food supply and ultimately save lives.”

Ohio State University got $500,000 for conducting research to advance our understanding of the interactions between viruses and leafy greens with hopes of improving measures to reduce or eliminate virus-related outbreaks of foodborne illness and enhance public health.… Continue reading

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Executive order helps prevent spread of Asian longhorned beetle

Gov. John R. Kasich signed an Executive Order restricting the movement of hardwood logs, firewood, stumps, roots and branches out of Tate Township in Clermont County to help prevent the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB).

The executive order is effective immediately and also restricts the sale of nursery stock, green lumber, and logs of the following trees: maples, horse chestnut, buckeye, mimosa, birch, hackberry, ash, golden raintree, katsura, sycamore, poplar, willow, mountain ash, and elms.

Working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the US Department of Agriculture APHIS confirmed on Friday, June 17 the presence of ALB in Tate Township in Clermont County, which is located about 30 miles southeast of Cincinnati.

Executive Order 2011-11K can be viewed here: http://governor.ohio.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=t_kiJ0piYM0%3d&tabid=69Continue reading

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Director of Ohio's Field Office for USDA/NASS to Retire

Jim Ramey, Director of the Ohio Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is retiring on July 2 after more than 46 years of service to NASS and its predecessor agencies. Ramey has been the Ohio Field Office Director for nearly 23 years. Prior to that he served in Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., Ohio, Minnesota and Wyoming.

Wayne Matthews, Deputy Director of the Ohio Field Office will serve as Acting Director until Ramey’s replacement is named later this summer.Continue reading

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Director of Ohio’s Field Office for USDA/NASS to Retire

Jim Ramey, Director of the Ohio Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is retiring on July 2 after more than 46 years of service to NASS and its predecessor agencies. Ramey has been the Ohio Field Office Director for nearly 23 years. Prior to that he served in Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., Ohio, Minnesota and Wyoming.

Wayne Matthews, Deputy Director of the Ohio Field Office will serve as Acting Director until Ramey’s replacement is named later this summer.Continue reading

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Lightning Safety Awareness Week

In the annual coordinated effort with the National Weather Service and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, Governor John R. Kasich recognizes June 19-25, 2011 as Lightning Safety Awareness Week, and encourages all Ohioans to practice lightning and severe weather safety and preparedness during this week and throughout the summer.

According to the National Weather Service, the number of annual lightning-strike fatalities is decreasing. Twenty-nine people died of lightning strikes in 2010, including one Ohioan. In 2009, 34 people died.

This year, one person has died from a lightning strike. On May 23, a 31-year-old Missouri police officer was struck while performing search and rescue efforts after a massive tornado destroyed the town of Joplin, Mo. He was one of a dozen emergency responders from Kansas City who volunteered to help with recovery efforts. The tornado killed more than 130 people.

Ohio averages 30-50 days of thunderstorm activity annually. But this year, with the eastern half of the nation experiencing extreme severe storms, flooding and tornadoes, Ohio has already exceeded record rainfall for the months of March, April and May.… Continue reading

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Officials working to find and eliminate Asian longhorned beetle in Ohio

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announce that surveys are under way in Bethel, Ohio, after the June 9 detection and June 17 identification of the Asian longhorned beetle. Bethel is located 30 miles southeast of Cincinnati.

First discovered in the U.S. in 1996, Asian longhorned beetles attack several species of trees including maple, willow, horsechestnut, buckeye, and American elm. While in its larvae stage, the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) kills trees by tunneling into large branches and the trunk.

Ohio is the fifth state to detect ALB, which APHIS confirmed in Bethel after a citizen reported finding unusual damage in three maple trees to an Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry service forester. Previous infestations sites, where the beetles are being successfully contained, include Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

APHIS and ODA inspection crews are surveying the southern portion of Bethel and the surrounding area to determine the extent of the ALB infestation.… Continue reading

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Owens Community College unveils Urban Agriculture & Sustainability Certificate Program

Area residents with aspirations of learning how to grow, maintain, harvest, store and distribute local produce and animal products will now have the opportunity to begin their educational journey at Owens Community College as the academic institution’s Department of Science unveils a new Urban Agriculture and Sustainability Certificate Program. Beginning Fall Semester 2011, the new academic program will be offered on the Toledo-area Campus in Perrysburg Township and at The Source Learning Center in downtown Toledo.

“Owens Community College is excited to expand our academic curriculum specific to the urban agricultural concentration area and offer this region’s first Urban Agriculture and Sustainability Certificate Program,” said Matthew Ross, Owens Faculty Member of Urban Agriculture. “The popularity of community gardening, especially within urban areas, has grown immensely within the last few years as result of increased awareness of our food systems and the desire of local residents to grow their own produce for economic and health reasons.… Continue reading

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Owens Community College unveils Urban Agriculture & Sustainability Certificate Program

Area residents with aspirations of learning how to grow, maintain, harvest, store and distribute local produce and animal products will now have the opportunity to begin their educational journey at Owens Community College as the academic institution’s Department of Science unveils a new Urban Agriculture and Sustainability Certificate Program. Beginning Fall Semester 2011, the new academic program will be offered on the Toledo-area Campus in Perrysburg Township and at The Source Learning Center in downtown Toledo.

“Owens Community College is excited to expand our academic curriculum specific to the urban agricultural concentration area and offer this region’s first Urban Agriculture and Sustainability Certificate Program,” said Matthew Ross, Owens Faculty Member of Urban Agriculture. “The popularity of community gardening, especially within urban areas, has grown immensely within the last few years as result of increased awareness of our food systems and the desire of local residents to grow their own produce for economic and health reasons.… Continue reading

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Local food delivery service offers consumer convenience and market for farms

By Matt Reese

From bison and bacon to bok choy and baby food, consumers from around Ohio and the Midwest now have the chance to get quality, fresh, local foods delivered to their door courtesy of Green BEAN Delivery.

The BEAN acronym stands for Biodynamic, Education, Agriculture and Nutrition, but customers know the business better for its dependable delivery of local, often organic, foods to their door. Green BEAN owner Matt Ewer harnessed his passion for local and sustainable foods to find an effective and efficient way to help farmers capitalize on the true market value of their crops while conveniently providing customers in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Louisville and Ft. Wayne the local foods they want.

“We started our Midwest-based local food network in June of 2007 in Indianapolis and spread out since then. I grew up half in the city and half in the farm so I have always been connected to rural and urban areas,” Ewer said.… Continue reading

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