Country Life

The inside scoop on spring vaccinations

By Kevin Hankins, senior field veterinarian, Pfizer Animal Health

Any preventative health program should begin with core vaccinations, such as those recommended by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). The organization’s guidelines state that Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, West Nile, Tetanus and Rabies are considered core vaccinations for horses. Horses in high risk groups, such as those that are competing and traveling, or those that live in an area that has prolonged mosquito activity may benefit from vaccinations against risk-based diseases such as Equine Influenza Virus (FLU) and Equine Herpes Viruses 1 & 4 (EHV 1&4), which can cause serious respiratory disease.

With a recent rise in cases of mosquito-borne diseases, regular vaccinations for horses are necessary to help prevent the spread of diseases such as West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Unvaccinated horses are at serious risk of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses, even in areas where the disease may not be common.… Continue reading

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Do you have Horse Sense?

Welcome to a new feature of Ohio’s Country Journal, “Horse Sense.” This section is meant to educate and entertain farm families in Ohio that keep a horse or two around to enjoy. Some of you may be experienced horse folks and some of you may just love horses, but probably all of you realize these “hay burners,” as many non-horse loving farmers like to call them, will constantly surprise you.

Whether you are the horse lover in the family or the significant other who “puts up” with the horses, you are likely to find something useful and interesting in “Horse Sense.” It is my hope that the articles featured on these pages will educate, entertain and inspire you.

My credentials are listed at the bottom of this page, but I think I can justifiably say that I have made and witnessed enough mistakes with horses to have earned my “horse sense.”… Continue reading

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Saving lives by teaching farm safety

Farm safety will be a point of discussion at the Farm Science Review on Tuesday, Sept. 20 in London, Ohio. Megan Buechner, the Ohio Farm Safety 4 Just Kids outreach coordinator, will present various farm safety topics to the group in the Cargill booth.

According to the National Safety Council, agriculture is the nation’s most dangerous industry. Nearly one year ago a 10-year-old in Mercer County died of suffocation in a grain wagon. Three months later, a 16-year-old Darke County boy died after a piece of his clothing caught in a piece of machinery.

“The tragedies in Ohio the past year have really stressed the importance of farm safety, especially for kids,” Buechner said. “They don’t always see things on the farm as potentially dangerous.”

September 18-24 is National Farm Safety and Health Week and serves to raise awareness of the dangers in rural areas. Wednesday, Sept. 21 is devoted to farm safety for youth.… Continue reading

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Food prices on the rise

Food prices will continue to rise for the remainder of this year and well into 2012 because processors now are beginning to pass along higher costs of commodities to consumers, a Purdue University agricultural economist says.

While world grain stocks diminished amid growing demand, drought and flooding, food prices did not significantly increase for most of 2009 and 2010 even though prices that processors pay for raw ingredients such as corn and soybeans did, Corinne Alexander said.

That is changing.

“The question is not whether costs at the grocery store will increase, it’s when,” she said.

Higher commodity prices do not always immediately result in higher food prices, Alexander said. The prices of finished food products abundant in the marketplace might not increase substantially, as has been the case this year with cheese.

But when grain supplies are tight as they are now, grocery shoppers eventually will see the increases at the cash register.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farmers Union supports efforts to repeal S.B. 5

The Ohio Farmers Union came out in support of efforts to repeal S.B. 5 — the unfair attack on Ohio public worker rights.

“I would urge every Ohio voter to vote ‘no’ on State Issue 2 in the fall. Senate Bill 5 was an over-reach on the part of the governor and the Ohio General Assembly. Police, fire fighters, teachers, and other public workers are not the source of Ohio’s economic problems,” said Roger Wise, OFU president. “It’s really incredible that supporters of S.B. 5 would use economic arguments to attack the rights of workers to collectively bargain when we live in the context of an American economy that has been brutal on workers and the middle class for the past several years. Our state and our nation suffer from a complex set of challenges, including destructive trade policy, inadequate regulation of Wall Street, and the general failure of multinational corporations to reinvest in America.”… Continue reading

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Farm income looking up in 2011

High worldwide grain demand coupled with lower-than-expected yields means U.S. farmers can look forward to a record-high farm income total from the 2011 crop, according to a new U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

In the Farm Sector Income Forecast released in late August, USDA’s Economic Research Service projected the total U.S. farm income will reach $103.6 billion – up 31% from last year’s total. The previous farm income record was $84.7 billion in 2004.

“These are not just records, but records that are substantially higher than we’ve seen before,” said Chris Hurt, Purdue Extension agricultural economist.

Both crop and livestock revenues are up in 2011, but Hurt said, the income totals don’t tell the whole story. Input costs are on the rise, as well.

“USDA estimates producers have put 15% more into the cost of inputs,” he said. “So, we have crop revenues up 20% and livestock up 16%. That says profit margins expanded in 2011.”… Continue reading

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Scioto County reaches out to family in need

By Matt Reese

This summer Kile “Andy” Hayden was in a terrible car accident with his younger brothers, Jeffery and Michael. Andy was killed and his younger brothers were seriously injured. Prior to the tragedy, they were on their way to care for their 4-H hogs in preparation for the upcoming Scioto County Fair.

Andy was a promising young man who was well known in the hog barn at the county fair for helping out whenever he could and taking the time to help younger 4-Hers with their projects.

“It was the same day as the county skillathon at the fairgrounds. There were a couple hundred people there and word got around pretty quickly,” said Jo Williams, the Scioto County 4-H educator. “People were already talking about how they could help the family that day.”

While dealing with the devastating loss of one son, Carl and Susie Hayden were also facing the stress and medical expenses with two other sons in the hospital as they battled their serious injuries.… Continue reading

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Logan County Top of Ohio ag tour

Mark your calendar for Sunday, September 18, 2011, for the Top of Ohio Drive-It-Yourself Ag Tour to be held in Logan County, Ohio. This is a free event open to the public from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. featuring the southeast quadrant of the county.

Start your day off at the Logan County Farm Bureau’s “Taste of Logan County” which will take place at the Logan County Fairgrounds (Grange Building) between 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Cost of the lunch is $.50 which represents the amount the farmer would receive for production of the food.

From there, feel free to visit as many or all of the stops on the tour. In no particular order, the stops are as follows:

Warne Farms. Jim & Leslie Warne raise registered Shorthorn cattle on their farm, The Oaks, located on County Road 1, Bellefontaine. In the 80’s, they got started in beef cattle by way of their children’s 4-H projects.… Continue reading

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Labor Department updates child labor regulations for young ag workers

The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing revisions to child labor regulations that will strengthen the safety requirements for young workers employed in agriculture and related fields. The agricultural hazardous occupations orders under the Fair Labor Standards Act that bar young workers from certain tasks have not been updated since they were promulgated in 1970.

The department is proposing updates based on the enforcement experiences of its Wage and Hour Division, recommendations made by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and a commitment to bring parity between the rules for young workers employed in agricultural jobs and the more stringent rules that apply to those employed in nonagricultural workplaces. The proposed regulations would not apply to children working on farms owned by their parents.

“Children employed in agriculture are some of the most vulnerable workers in America,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Ensuring their welfare is a priority of the department, and this proposal is another element of our comprehensive approach.”… Continue reading

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FSR events help farmers with finances

The 2011 Farm Science Review, Sept. 20-22 will include a series of presentations to provide financial strategies, tools and resources to help farmers achieve stability and success in the agricultural industry.

One presenter, Ohio State University agricultural economist Luther Tweeten, says continued demand for agricultural products has kept agriculture more financially stable than other sectors of the U.S. economy. “Farmers will play a key role in getting the country back on track,” he said.

But, while he’s optimistic, Tweeten’s presentation, “Income and Employment,” is geared toward helping larger farming operations make cautious decisions in light of recent financial volatility. It will take place Sept. 20 at 11:30 a.m. on the stage in the OSU Area on Friday Avenue.

“The positive agriculture economy yields opportunity for farms to become more profitable and financially stable,” said Chuck Gamble, Farm Science Review manager. “At the same time, farmers will have to be more diligent in their planning and preparation than ever to ensure they get the most out of advantageous market conditions and invest in the right technologies for their operations.”… Continue reading

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Asian Longhorned Beetle the focus of talk at FSR

Ohio State University forestry expert Kathy Smith will present “The New Forest Threat: Asian Longhorned Beetle” at 11 a.m. on Sept. 20 at the university’s Farm Science Review near London.

Native to China, the Asian longhorned beetle, which kills trees, was found for the first time in Ohio this spring.

“ALB poses a huge threat to our trees, both rural and urban, since it attacks so many different species,” Smith said. “That’s why we hope to be able to eradicate it from the infestation site,” which is in Clermont County in southwest Ohio.

Smith, who’s part of a multi-agency effort to stop the pest, will speak on how to identify it, what it does and how to help spot infestations.

“Landowners should always be concerned when new threats are on the horizon,” she said. “Paying attention to what’s going on with your trees is always a good thing.”

Her talk, which is free with paid admission to the Review, takes place in the Gwynne Conservation Area. … Continue reading

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OFBF supports passage of Issue 2

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) has announced its support for passage of State Issue 2. The measure, which will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, will retain the reforms to public employee collective bargaining laws passed by the General Assembly in March. OFBF’s board of trustees announced its endorsement following extensive study and deliberation.

OFBF determined that Ohio taxpayers, families and communities would be best served by passage of Issue 2, according to John C. (Jack) Fisher, Farm Bureau’s executive vice president. Provisions of the issue are consistent with the policies established by Farm Bureau’s grassroots membership.

“If we are to preserve jobs and services, local governments need flexibility to manage ever increasing labor costs. Issue 2 allows public employees to collectively bargain for hours, salaries, terms and conditions, just like they have for more than 25 years,” Fisher said. “But now, taxpayers have equal footing when it comes to the negotiating process.”… Continue reading

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Confined spaces, teen challenge highlight FSR safety demos

Helping farmers and rural youth understand the implications of farm safety is the goal of several demonstrations, displays, and interactive events at Farm Science Review, Sept. 20-22 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center outside London.

“We provide relevant safety education opportunities to farmers attending the Review,” said Kathy Henwood, Ohio State University Extension program coordinator for Agricultural Safety and Health. “We try to have something new each year that highlight current concerns in production agriculture.”

This year, two demonstrations deal with management issues in confined spaces on farms, including combustible dust explosions and manure storage ventilation.

Combustible dust in grain handling and storage facilities can be extremely dangerous. Extension and industry experts will discuss the causes of dust explosions, as well as tips and techniques for prevention. Sessions, occurring daily on the half-hour between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., include explosion demonstrations of various types of agricultural products.

In addition, a new demonstration this year focuses on how to deal with ventilation issues in manure storage facilities.… Continue reading

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Farm women share their message through CommonGround

Thanks to a program called CommonGround, three Ohio farm women are sharing their personal stories and experiences about farming and the food it provides.

“The lack of knowledge about America’s agricultural system has caused some confusion and distrust among people who are concerned about feeding their families safe, healthy food,” said Rachel Heimerl, CommonGround volunteer from Licking County. “As a mother myself, I understand their concerns. CommonGround is all about trying to rebuild the confidence in our food system.  To do that, we are working to show the commonalities between real farm families and consumers who benefit from all that farmers grow — to show there is, in fact, CommonGround.”

While it started as a national program, CommonGround is coordinated state-by-state. Ohio has now joined this movement and recently held a kickoff dinner August 11 at the historic Amelita Mirolo Barn in Upper Arlington.

Local business and community women leaders were invited to the dinner to have conversations about food and farming while enjoying a delicious meal of locally-produced foods.… Continue reading

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Conversion Program is saving FCS customers $13.6 million annually

Thanks to a program, which allows farmers and rural residents to convert their existing loans to lower interest rates, almost 15,000 Farm Credit Services of Mid-America customers have saved significant interest dollars in 2011. That’s the number of customers who took advantage of FCS’s Conversion Program, converting $2.72 billion in loans to lower interest rates, and slicing an average of .50 percent off their interest costs. Estimated customer savings is $13.6 million annually.

“More than 50% of our conversion activity has occurred in August,” said Bill Johnson, president and chief executive officer stating that interest rates have once again dropped to near all-time lows. “This month alone, staff has converted almost 7,500 customer loans.”

That represents $1.37 billion in loan volume saving customers an estimated $6.8 million annually. The Loan Conversion Option gives customers the ability to quickly and easily change the interest rates on their Farm Credit loans during the term of those loans.… Continue reading

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Win up to $1,000 in the “My Ohio Ag” contest

Ohioans can demonstrate their connection to Ohio agriculture and win up to $1,000 cash in the “My Ohio Agriculture” video contest. Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) Center for Food and Animal Issues invites farmers, county Farm Bureaus, 4-H and FFA youth and all Ohioans to submit a video, which communicates a positive and informative message about Ohio agriculture and food.

Contestants must record and submit an original 1- to 3-minute video that must be uploaded to YouTube.com by Oct. 14. The video also must be submitted on the official contest site featured at http://bit.ly/MyOhioAg between Sept. 30 and 5 p.m. on Oct. 14.

Winners will be chosen in two categories. The People’s Choice winner will be determined based on the amount of views a submitted video has on YouTube. This winner will receive a $500 cash gift card. Multiple Judges’ Choice winners will be selected by judges with each receiving a $500 cash gift card.… Continue reading

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Three USDA conservation grants will improve Ohio’s natural resources

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Terry Cosby announced three 2011 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) involving Ohio today. An investment of over $2.5 million to three organizations will advance innovative conservation technologies and approaches that address a broad array of existing and emerging natural resource issues.
“I’m very excited about the opportunities these grants bring for addressing some of Ohio’s most pressing natural resource issues,” Cosby says. “Water quality degradation from excessive nutrients has had a major impact on Grand Lake St. Marys. The $1 million grant to the Quasar Energy Group to construct an anaerobic digester in the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed has great potential to benefit all of the people who depend on the land and the lake for their livelihood.”
The Quasar Energy Group grant will demonstrate the effectiveness of cutting edge technology to remove phosphorus from manure and export the concentrated phosphorus recovered in the process from the watershed.… Continue reading

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American Chopper Dekalb bike to be auctioned for Red Cross

DEKALB® brand will kick off its 100th anniversary celebration with the design, build and auction of a custom-built, commemorative DEKALB 100th Anniversary Bike by Paul Jr. Designs of Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper- Senior v. Junior.” All proceeds from an auction of the bike will go to the American Red Cross.

The DEKALB 100th Anniversary Bike, which will be unveiled at the 2011 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., will travel across approximately 10 states on a 14-20 stop Chopper Tour around rural America following the Farm Progress Show reveal. Stops along the tour include farm shows and industry meetings and conventions where attendees can see the DEKALB 100th Anniversary Bike first-hand. The internet auction for the DEKALB 100th Anniversary Bike will launch in January 2012 to coincide with the DEKALB brand anniversary month, and the DEKALB 100th Anniversary Bike will be presented to the winner at the 2012 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa.… Continue reading

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Julie and the crop duster

Enjoy this not-so-good video of my Percheron mare, Julie, and the visiting crop duster. I really needed to be a calmer and record better video but it was kind of a traumatic experience. Maybe I’ll do better next year.

Last year, my co-worker Heather Hetterick had a similar experience with a crop duster. She recorded much better video and you can even hear her screaming in the background. Feel free to go take a look at her video for comparisons.

For my complete column, read page 50 in the September issue of Ohio’s Country Journal or view it online inside the September issue on this website under OCJ Online Edition.… Continue reading

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Rocking the Defiance County Fair

By Matt Reese

In the past, when there was a major event really rocking the grandstand at the Defiance County Fair, the grandstand was really rocking, and not is a positive way.

“The stands creaked and groaned. People were actually scared to go in them, and if you saw what it looked like underneath them, you’d have been scared too,” said Earl Klepper, Defiance County Fair Board member. “It was around 135 years old and it was on its last legs. It had been condemned by the state multiple times and every year we were trying to patch up the old grandstands.”

The aged structure with hand-hewn beams held together with pegs had plenty of memories tied to it, but it was time for it to go according to Klepper and many in the community.

To quantify the growing concern about the old grandstand, the Defiance County Fair Foundation took a community poll to determine where to focus their fund raising efforts.… Continue reading

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