Country Life

County Fair fun from around Ohio

There are so many great sounds, sights and smiles at Ohio’s fantastic county fairs. Send us some of your favorite photos to feature in the OCJ and on the Web. Send your favorites to and we’ll pick a winner at the end of the year who will get a pass to every county fair in the state for 2012! Be sure to check out our photos from the Ohio State Fair as well.… Continue reading

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Financial crises has indirect effects on ag

While the uncertainty on Wall Street directly affects the financial sector, a Purdue Extension agricultural economist says it’s the indirect consequences coupled with weather concerns that has the agriculture industry on edge.
Agriculture, with the exception of livestock, has been more resistant to recession, said Mike Boehlje. Much of the demand for U.S. grain comes from the mandated use of ethanol and in the form of exports, which have recovered more quickly in recent years than has domestic demand.
“The Chinese economy is growing, and that has increased demand for U.S. grains, especially soybeans,” he said. “We’ve also had short supply problems with grains.”
High demand means higher grain prices. While that benefits crop farmers, livestock producers tend to suffer. More expensive grain means higher feed costs and tighter profit margins for animal agriculture.
Boehlje also said because now is not the borrowing season for grain farmers, they’re unlikely to see much increase in interest rates.… Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Agriculture preserves 41 farms using Clean Ohio Funds

After reviewing and scoring landowners’ applications for the tenth funding round of the Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (AEPP), the Farmland Preservation Advisory Board has recommended 41 farms for funding to Ohio Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer. A total of $6.4 million from the Clean Ohio Fund will be used to purchase agricultural easements on these farms to preserve them in perpetuity.
The AEPP is the farmland preservation component of the Clean Ohio initiative to protect rural greenfields and reclaim brownfields. The Clean Ohio Fund was originally approved by Ohio’s voters in 2000, and further supported at the ballot for continuation in 2008. A total of $25 million from the $400 million Clean Ohio Fund is dedicated to preserving farmland by purchasing agricultural easements on farms.
This year, the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Office of Farmland Preservation received 190 applications from 35 counties competing for the limited money available through the Clean Ohio Fund.… Continue reading

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Lamb Jam at Ohio State Fair

While many Ohio State Fairgoers prepare their taste buds for corn dogs, elephant ears and other traditional fair fare, visitors have something new to try this year. Delicious, American raised lamb prepared by some of the top chefs in Ohio will be the feature of the first Ohio Lamb Jam competition on Aug. 5. Fairgoers can stop by for free samples of delicious lamb and some great recipes for preparing lamb and a chance to see the chefs in action.
We are seeing strong demand as more people are re-discovering the delicious and diverse qualities of cooking with lamb,” said Roger High, executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association. “Whether ordering at a restaurant or preparing a recipe at home, more consumers are choosing lamb.”
The Lamb Jam with start at 11:30 near the west side of the Brown Sheep Building. Celebrity judges will evaluate the lamb dishes prepared by the chefs.… Continue reading

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USDA makes funds available to meet urgent credit needs of producers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that a high demand for guaranteed farm ownership and direct farm operating funds has prompted USDA to transfer appropriated funds between programs as authorized by law, to meet the urgent credit needs of producers, including beginning and minority farmers and ranchers.

“Demand is strong for direct operating loans and guaranteed farm ownership loans, while demand for subsidized guaranteed operating loans has stabilized,” Vilsack said. “With these funds, we can help thousands of producers establish and maintain their family farming operations and obtain long-term credit assistance through a commercial lender.”

The transfer will make an additional $100 million in loan funds available for the direct operating loan program, providing 1,600 small, beginning and minority farmers with resources to establish and maintain their family farming operations. In addition, $400 million in loan funds will be made available for the guaranteed farm ownership loan program giving an additional 1,000 family farmers access to commercial lending backed by USDA.… Continue reading

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Report confirms flaws in government Chesapeake Bay analyses

An updated report on the science surrounding Chesapeake Bay water quality confirms that serious and significant differences exist between the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Bay Model” and the model authored by the Agriculture Department. Left unchanged these differences could lead to farmers in the watershed paying a steep price for nutrients and sediments that have been mistakenly attributed to them, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The analysis, conducted by LimnoTech and commissioned by the Agricultural Nutrient Policy Council, shows there are vast differences between the EPA and USDA Chesapeake Bay models in the areas of land use, total acreage of the Bay watershed and data and assumptions about farmer adoption of conservation and farming practices.

“It is clear to us that the EPA’s TMDL water regulations are based on flawed information,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Due to the fact that farmers and others in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed are being directed to incur extreme costs and even take land out of production to comply with EPA’s harsh new regulations, those regulations must be based on reliable information.… Continue reading

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Ohio egg farmers help fight hunger at Ohio State Fair

For the second year, Ohio’s egg farmers are using the Ohio State Fair, which runs July 27-August 7, as an opportunity to help combat hunger in the Buckeye state.

During each day of the fair, the Ohio Poultry Association (OPA) will donate one dozen eggs to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank for each kid’s meal that is purchased at the poultry booth in the Taste of Ohio Café. In addition, OPA will hand out a free incredible backpack for each purchased kid’s meal.

“Ohio’s egg, chicken and turkey farmers are committed to giving back and helping those who are in need,” said Jim Chakeres, OPA executive vice president. “We encourage fairgoers to stop by the Taste of Ohio Café and enjoy a nutritious, affordable meal while helping Ohioans who are less fortunate.”

Ohioans can give back to those in need by purchasing a kid’s meal at the poultry booth at the Ohio Taste of Ohio Café, which is open from 10:30 a.m.… Continue reading

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OSU ACT top in the nation

By Lyndsey Murphy, ACT president

Last night in New Orleans there was reason for celebration, even though it isn’t Mardi Gras season. The Ohio State chapter of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow was once again deemed top chapter in the nation. Ohio State ACT has won this prestigious award 3 of the past four years and also had the opportunity to host the national conference this past February.
ACT continues to be a strong force on the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Science campus at Ohio State as well, putting on several charity events, hosting an Adobe training session for professionals and staying involved in college wide efforts throughout this past year.… Continue reading

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National FFA receives nearly $1.9 million from Microsoft for Agricultural Career Network

Microsoft has donated nearly $1.9 million of software, training and support to the National FFA Organization for the creation of a new online network to help students track educational successes, pursue awards and scholarships and ultimately obtain careers in the agriculture industry.

The Agricultural Career Network will be an online portal that students can use starting in middle school, through college and beyond to track their educational accomplishments, activities and awards. It will also allow students to build resumes and online portfolios, apply for awards and scholarships, prepare for college, pursue internships, connect with potential employers and pursue employment opportunities.

Agriculture teachers will also be able to manage FFA member information in the network, which will provide key data for Perkins plans and reports, produce local impact reports for advocacy efforts, compile information about available grant and scholarship applications and create tools that teachers can use to gauge the relevance and successes of their individual agricultural education curricula.… Continue reading

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Food price factors

Growing demand for corn to use in biofuels and for soybeans to help feed a booming Chinese economy are among key forces driving commodity prices higher this year, according to a report by three Purdue agricultural economists.

A weak U.S. dollar, high oil prices, declining grain supplies and poor harvests in 2010 also contributed, they wrote in the report, which predicts that high prices will continue beyond the 2011 crop year.

The economists – Phil Abbott, Chris Hurt and Wally Tyner – detailed their findings in “What’s Driving Food Prices in 2011,” commissioned by Farm Foundation, NFP, and released Tuesday (July 19). Costs of commodities influence retail food prices as do general inflationary pressures such as transportation, packaging and food processing.

The report follows their analyses for Farm Foundation, NFP, in 2008 and 2009, when retail food prices also peaked.

For commodities prices in 2011, it comes down to world food and fuel demands exceeding supply in recent years.… Continue reading

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Weather update? It’s hot

In case you haven’t noticed, it is hot. Really hot. Here is a weather update from Jim Noel, with the National Weather Service.

No changes from last week. A hot week with some scattered storms and severe weather can be expected.

July 18-25 – Temperatures will average 5-10 degrees above normal with rainfall averaging 0.5 to 1.0 inches. Normal rainfall is near 1 inch per week. Due to the nature of thunderstorms, this means some places will receive 2+” while others get 0.25 inches. Due to the very hot weather ahead this week, thunderstorms will be capable of producing severe weather with damaging winds a real threat. Expect this week to feature highs in the 90s and lows in the 70s.

July 25-August 1 – Temperatures will relax some next week to average 0-2 degrees above normal with rainfall again at or below normal in the 0.5 to 1 inch range with a high degree of variability.… Continue reading

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Weather update? It's hot

In case you haven’t noticed, it is hot. Really hot. Here is a weather update from Jim Noel, with the National Weather Service.

No changes from last week. A hot week with some scattered storms and severe weather can be expected.

July 18-25 – Temperatures will average 5-10 degrees above normal with rainfall averaging 0.5 to 1.0 inches. Normal rainfall is near 1 inch per week. Due to the nature of thunderstorms, this means some places will receive 2+” while others get 0.25 inches. Due to the very hot weather ahead this week, thunderstorms will be capable of producing severe weather with damaging winds a real threat. Expect this week to feature highs in the 90s and lows in the 70s.

July 25-August 1 – Temperatures will relax some next week to average 0-2 degrees above normal with rainfall again at or below normal in the 0.5 to 1 inch range with a high degree of variability.… Continue reading

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Ohio State Fair Ticket Giveaway!

The 2011 Ohio State Fair is almost here. The fair kicks off July 27th and runs until August 7th. The Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal will be there everyday bringing back the lastest news to share on air, in print and online.

We’re the home of Kalmbach Feeds Feeding You the Results First. We’ll have the latest results from the junior fair goat, chicken, sheep, hog, dairy and steer shows. Plus, we’ll be steaming the Sale of Champions LIVE, here on our site at 2:00 pm on August 7th.

In the comments below, tell us what your most looking forward to at this year’s fair. On Friday, July 22nd at noon we’ll randomly select three people who will each receive a family four pack of admission tickets to the fair!

Congrats to Marylin Fries, the Hiser Family and Suzy Sifrit would one the tickets.… Continue reading

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Woody biomass can help nation meet its energy needs

25x’25 released a Wood-to-Energy Policy Roadmap concluding that the focused use of woody biomass to help meet America’s energy needs could increase the nation’s forest land base and improve the environmental services that land provides. 

The findings are among the principal conclusions developed by a diverse panel of leading forestry, conservation, scientific and energy experts following two years of stakeholder discussion facilitated by 25x’25. The Roadmap offers a series of recommendations for policy makers and stakeholders to enhance the role of our nation’s forestlands in meeting U.S. energy needs while sustaining “forests as forests.”
The Roadmap shows the means by which woody biomass can be an important feed-stock for renewable energy, including:

• Promoting  the sustainable use of biomass with appropriate feedback mechanisms

• Rewarding efficient uses for woody biomass in energy production;

• Using market incentives to help private and public forestlands reach their productive potential for wood and other public benefits;

• Investment in needed research and technology development.… Continue reading

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The Country Chaplain

By Tim Reeves

As just about everyone reading this magazine knows, it’s been a tough year to try and grow anything in Ohio. Patience has been more than a desired virtue; it’s been a way of life. Someone once said patience is the ability to throttle your engine when you feel like stripping your gears. We’ve experienced a great deal of “throttling” this year, haven’t we?

My experience with patiently trying to grow something centered around grass, and I’m talking the legal kind of grass, even though over the past year, Logan County has had more than its share of the illegal kind of grass.

We moved to a different parsonage last year when we were appointed to a different church, and the lawn immediately behind the parsonage was a mess. It appeared that when the house was built, the builders simply backfilled around the rear foundation, not paying any attention to the type of soil or what was in it when they leveled the ground.… Continue reading

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Legal Lingo

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

Once upon a time, there was a Grandma and a Grandpa who retired in Ohio. They owned a farm in Indiana, where their Grandson and another Minor Relative went to ride ATVs. Apparently confusing the agricultural terrain with a demolition derby track, Minor Relative drove her ATV straight at Grandson, failed to turn in time and fractured Grandson’s legs, ankle and skull.

So, Grandson and his parents sued Minor Relative and her mother and stepfather (who were at the farm when the accident occurred). Grandson and his parents also sued Grandma and Grandpa. I assume that holiday gatherings were never the same.

The complaint alleged negligent entrustment regarding Minor Relative’s mother and stepfather. Regarding Grandma and Grandpa, the complaint alleged that they knew of Minor Relative’s “reckless and/or negligent tendencies” and that they had the duty and ability to exercise control over Minor Relative, breached that duty, and as a proximate and foreseeable result of their negligence, Grandson was injured.… Continue reading

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USDA reassures farmers states affected by extreme weather

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers and ranchers in states across the country that USDA offers a variety of resources for those affected by recent extreme weather, including floods, drought, fires and tornadoes. USDA also urges producers in need or those with questions to contact their local county or state USDA Service Center or Farm Service Agency office for assistance. In a recent tour of flooding in Iowa and Nebraska, as well as droughts and wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack promised farmers, ranchers and others that USDA would continue to work hard to deliver assistance to those in need.

“America’s farmers and rural communities are vitally important to our nation’s economy and our values, and my heart goes out to all who are facing hardships because of severe weather and natural disasters,” Vilsack said. “In the past two months alone, I have visited with hundreds of Americans who have had to put their lives and livelihoods on hold to deal with floods, tornadoes, drought and wildfires.… Continue reading

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Crop Production Services Washington Court House honored on Capitol Hill

Crop Production Services, Washington Court House, Ohio, was honored as a Regional Environmental Respect Award winner for 2011, July, 14 at a special ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Building. Winners were selected May 5 in Willoughby, Ohio.

The Environmental Respect Awards, sponsored by CropLife magazine and DuPont Crop Protection, are the agricultural industry’s highest recognition for environmental stewardship among U.S. agricultural retailers, those who serve farmers and ranchers with the nutrients, pest control and agronomic information and services critical to effective crop production.  Each year a panel of industry experts gathers to recognize achievement in environmental stewardship, professional excellence, and community involvement.

Crop Production Services won the award based on excellence in site design, in-plant storage and handling procedures, proper application and leadership in safety and stewardship among customers and employees. Crop Production Services has taken many extra steps to ensure the environmental impact of their business is minimal. Some steps include having full contained indoor loading areas, collecting and field applying rain water runoff, and properly disposing of all pesticide containers.… Continue reading

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Ohio Supreme Court sides with winery in zoning case

By Matt Reese

Growing grapes — even just a few — is still considered agriculture when it comes to zoning exemptions. This is at the crux of a recent decision made by the Ohio Supreme Court that adds a bit of clarity to the often-confusing legalities of the agricultural zoning exemption in the state.

The case addresses a longstanding debate about the role of zoning in regulating agriculture.

“When Ohio legislators granted zoning authority to townships and counties years ago, agricultural interests expressed concern that agricultural land uses would be ‘zoned out’ of many rural areas. The agricultural exemption addresses those concerns by limiting local zoning authority over agricultural land uses,” said Peggy Kirk Hall, Ohio State University senior researcher in Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics. “The problem arises with the statute’s attempt to determine what is or is not an agricultural land use.”

This particular case revolves around the Sperry Family and their Myrddin Winery in Mahoning County.… Continue reading

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A conversation with…Steve Hirsch, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) president

OCJ: First, could you share some background on your family’s fruit farm in Ross County?

Steve: Hirsch Fruit Farm is a diversified, multi generational fruit and vegetable farm. I am the fourth generation to raise fruit on this farm and work with my father, cousin and brother. We raise tree fruit (apples, peaches, nectarines) and small fruit (strawberries, raspberries, grapes) as well as asparagus, pumpkins, tomatoes and peppers. We also have about 50 acres of hay (grass hay and alfalfa/grass mix) and we produce our own apple cider here at the farm. We market most of our products directly to the consumer from an on-farm market and an off-farm market as well as participating in 4 farmers markets throughout the summer and fall.

OCJ: What OFBF experience do you have?

Steve: I started in Farm Bureau by participating in the youth programs while growing up on the farm. After returning to the farm, I became active in the Ross Co.… Continue reading

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