Country Life

Agriculture needs to renew its social license

By Matt Reese

It is easy to romanticize agriculture’s past. The water was clean, the air was fresh and the sun always shone (except when a rain was needed). There were pigs, geese, horses, cattle, sheep and chickens all residing in a quaint red barn that offered no unpleasant odors. All creatures lived in harmony and farmers had a nearly unlimited social license with the general public to run their operations with freedom from excessive regulations.

Well, times have changed for the reality (or the perception) of the farm and in the minds of the general public with regard to the general public’s social license for agriculture. This social license long granted the privilege of operating with minimal formalized restrictions based on maintaining a trust with the public; if people think farms are doing the right things, then there is no need to regulate them more formally.

Though people may used to think that way, it seems that they do not any longer.… Continue reading

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Jason the mechanic: Air brakes and the simple explanation

When we get in our semis and straight trucks to haul grain, we are glad when we hit the brake peddle to stop and we stop. The air brake system on our trucks is actually pretty simple and works the same on almost all trucks.

All air brake systems use air pressure to apply the brakes when you step on the pedal. The air is stored in a series of pressure tanks on the truck. The air is pressurized by the air compressor on the

truck’s engine. The pressure is regulated by the air governor on the air compressor. Most, if not all systems, work on 120 psi of pressure.

Some systems have an air dryer, which dries the moisture out of the air to keep it from freezing in the winter time.

The air dryer has a cartridge in it that should be changed once per year. The air is pressurized by the compressor,

passes through the air dryer and into the tanks.… Continue reading

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OSU Seeks Proposals for Ag Economic Development Grants

Ohio communities seeking to promote the viability of local farms and agricultural economic development are encouraged to apply for grant funding from Ohio State University’s Center for Farmland Policy Innovation.

Proposals are due by Sept. 24, 2010. The center expects to disburse $50,000 for two or three innovative projects that promote community-based agricultural economic development priorities in local communities, said Jill Clark, the center’s director. In addition, the center also expects to disperse a total of $10,000 for two or three smaller planning grants. These grants focus on community-based agricultural economic development specifically through the community planning process, including creating or revising a community plan to address local agricultural needs and facilitate solutions.

Community-based agricultural development involves community planning, organizing and acting to enhance the health of a community through viable local agriculture. It is a collaborative local effort to retain and grow the benefits of food and agriculture, and to advance sustainable farming.… Continue reading

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ODA Photography Contest

The Ohio Department of Agriculture today announced its third annual photo contest. Participants will have until Dec. 31, 2010, to capture their personal interpretation of this year’s theme “Life of a Farmer.”

“Life of a Farmer” can be interpreted in many ways. Entrants are asked to show the department their unique definition of the life of an everyday farmer, which could include photos of farmers at work, with their animals or enjoying life on the farm.

Following the Dec. 31 deadline, an independent judging panel will rank the photo submissions. The winning photographers will be invited to join Director Boggs and other invited guests for a reception and unveiling of the top photos. The top photos will be placed on display at the Ohio Statehouse. All photos may be used by the department for educational or promotional incentives.

General photography contest rules:

  • Entrants must be at least 16-years-old and the original photographer.
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