Country Life



Ohio Camp Muskingum receives a FCS grant

Todd Davis knows a lot about the history of Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum. He should —after all, he’s been its director for 15 years, and before that he grew up there during the 28 years his dad (John) was the director.

“Dad farmed part-time, and during his tenure the camp evolved from a summer-only to a year-around program,” said Davis, who earned his degree in ag education from Ohio State University. “When Dad retired and the board decided to go to a full-time director, I jumped at the opportunity to come back to the camp and the hills of Carroll County. I just love it here.”

Davis stated that Camp Muskingum, which is nestled on beautiful Leesville Lake in northeast Ohio, was originally built during the Great Depression by FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps to teach young men vocational skills like welding, carpentry, or plumbing. The camp was later purchased by the Ohio FFA, and since then facilities and programming have both advanced steadily.… Continue reading

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OFBF urges Ohio to call for an end to the death tax

The White House announced “a framework for a bipartisan agreement” Monday night over the impending expiration of the Bush tax cuts that includes Farm Bureau supported Estate Tax Relief of a $5 Million exemption and a 35% tax rate.

Your phone calls and e-mails to Congress are critical in making sure that the $5 million exemption and 35 percent top rate are included in the final agreement for all farmers and ranchers in order for this to become law!  Time is running short for Congress to act, and House and Senate Democrats, especially Progressives, have not yet announced support for the agreement.

Contact your members of Congress today using Farm Bureau’s On-line Legislative Action Center.

The future of American agriculture depends on the Estate Tax exemption, and whether or not farmers can afford to stay on the land they farm and can afford to purchase the land they need!  Because Estate Taxes influence the sale of land, this tax can interfere with the orderly transfer of farmland to the next generation of farmers and ranchers.… Continue reading

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Nanoparticle gives antimicrobial ability to fight Listeria longer

A Purdue University research team developed a nanoparticle that can hold and release an antimicrobial agent as needed for extending the shelf life of foods susceptible to Listeria monocytogenes.

Yuan Yao, an assistant professor of food science, altered the surface of a carbohydrate found in sweet corn called phytoglycogen, which led to the creation of several forms of a nanoparticle that could attract and stabilize nisin, a food-based antimicrobial peptide. The nanoparticle can then preserve nisin for up to three weeks, combating Listeria, a potentially lethal foodborne pathogen found in meats, dairy and vegetables that is especially troublesome for pregnant women, infants, older people and others with weakened immune systems.

Controlling Listeria at deli counters, for example, is especially problematic because meat is continually being opened, cut and stored, giving Listeria many chances to contaminate the food. Nisin alone is only effective at inhibiting Listeria for a short period – possibly only a few days – in many foods.… Continue reading

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National Ag Day Essay Contest announces Feb. 4 deadline

The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) calls on ninth- to 12th-grade students to submit an original, 450-word essay or a two-minute video essay about the importance of agriculture. This year’s theme is “American Agriculture: Your Food. Your Farmer.” and the deadline is Feb. 4, 2011. The ACA asks teachers and parents to encourage student participation.

The theme, “American Agriculture: Your Food. Your Farmer,” presents an opportunity for students to address how the agriculture industry continues to feed a growing population. Entrants may choose to either write an essay or create a video that acknowledges the many ways today’s growers are providing a safe, stable food supply and sustaining the significant role agriculture plays in everyday life.

“CHS believes in the mission of Ag Day,” said Linda Tank, vice president, marketing and communications, CHS Inc. “The company is proud to help support the 2011 essay and video contest for students. Today’s youth are vibrant and resourceful.… Continue reading

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OSU Extension offers new farm finance workshop for women

An intensive farm finance workshop for women will be offered by Ohio State University Extension in Knox, Ross, Wood and Erie counties in early 2011.

The “Farm Finance for Women” workshop addresses cash flow, balance sheet and income statement development, Quicken basics for farm recordkeeping, and benchmarking. The goals of the workshop are to help participants:

Become more aware of resources available to assist farmers with financial analysis and recordkeeping.

Gain a better understanding of their farm business’s financial position, increasing their ability to assist in making educated management decisions.

Use recordkeeping as a resource for their whole farm decision-making process instead of solely for tax purposes.

Increase their knowledge of using Quicken to organize farm records.

Prepare and analyze balance sheets.

Improve their recordkeeping system.

“This workshop is designed to be a ‘next step’ for women who have participated in Annie’s Project,” a risk-management program for farm women, said Julia Woodruff, OSU Extension educator and co-coordinator of the workshops.… Continue reading

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Technology, sustainability and ag in 2020

A decade from now, farmers will rely on the marriage of agronomic, information and process control technologies to grow thousands of acres of crops in ways that create smaller carbon footprints, predicts a Purdue University agricultural economist.

Crop farming could become both simpler and more complex by 2020, said Mike Boehlje.

“There will be challenges and opportunities for agriculture 10 years down the road,” Boehlje said. “Those will involve the continued change in the size of the agricultural industry at the farm sector level, the sustainability issue, challenges associated with productivity and resource utilization, and the increasing demands our urban society is making on farming.”

Large farms with vast acreages of corn, soybeans and wheat could become the norm in the years ahead, Boehlje said. Consolidation within the agriculture industry has been ongoing since at least 1980, he said.

“If you look at farms with 1,000 acres or more, that comprises about 6% of the farmers.… Continue reading

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Happier holidays with Ohio wines

By Matt Reese

The holidays are here and so are the countless parties and get-togethers with family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. All of these events can be very fun, but they can also be stressful, especially for the host. The decorations, the preparations, the guest list, the food and the entertainment are plenty to think about. The inclusion of wine can add a whole new set of challenges, but a fine Ohio wine can also make the party.

“All of the holidays and celebrations get people thinking about sparkling wines, ice wines and dessert wines which are great for holiday parties and meals and are also done very well in Ohio,” said Bruce Benedict, with the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “Wines are meant for consumption with food and these great wines are even better when they are matched with great food.”

For those who are less than wine savvy, these pairings can be daunting, so Benedict offers some advice on how to dazzle guests and partygoers with Ohio wines.… Continue reading

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USDA seeks applications for grants to help farmers improve rural environmental quality and energy efficiency

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is seeking proposals for grants to improve water quality, air quality and promote energy conservation. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is making available $25 million through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program to address natural resource concerns nationwide with a special emphasis on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the Mississippi River Basin.

“The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring private lands are conserved, restored, and more resilient to environmental challenges, like climate change,” Vilsack said. “USDA is seeking grant applications from farmers, ranchers and our conservation partners to solve America’s natural resource challenges.”

Now in its eighth year, the CIG program offers funding dedicated to the adoption of technologies to address a broad range of agricultural issues. For example, the Michigan Department of Agriculture worked with Michigan State University and agricultural landowners to establish conservation practices for high-risk erosion areas, with a goal of reducing sediment and nutrient runoff. … Continue reading

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2010 is the 500th Anniversary of the first decorated Christmas tree

By Matt Reese

Little is known about the first decorated Christmas tree in Riga, Latvia, other than the tree was placed in the public marketplace and decorated by members of a merchants guild to honor the birth of Christ. A ceremony was held and the tree was burnt at its conclusion.

The year of that first decorated Christmas tree was 1510, 500 years ago. A plaque now marks the spot where the first Christmas tree stood. This year, Christmas tree growers from around the world are commemorating the 500 years of the beloved holiday tradition.

“Christmas tree growers from Ohio are proud to be a small part of this long and cherished Christmas tradition,” said Dave Reese, president of the Ohio Christmas Tree Association. “Many of the Christmas tree farms in the state will being doing special activities and promotions to commemorate this occasion. It is not every year you get to be a part of a 500-year anniversary.”… Continue reading

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Animal Agriculture Alliance encourages people to prevent HSUS from capitalizing on Pepsi's generosity

The Animal Agriculture Alliance is dismayed that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been deemed eligible to compete to win $250,000 in the online Pepsi Refresh Project.  


Pepsi began the project in January of 2010 with the goal of awarding grants to “innovative and inspiring causes”. Ideas are submitted by individuals, groups, non-profits and businesses with no more than $25 million in revenue. Each month, up to 10 grants are awarded for each denomination of $5,000, $25,000 and $50,000. Two grants of $250,000 are also given. Winners of the grants are selected by public votes on the Pepsi Refresh Project website and text messages. Each month, the projects and organizations competing change and voting restarts.

Past winners of $250,000 grants include the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation, AIDS Research Alliance, Homes of Hope for Children, Inc., Teach for America and the American Legion.  Fourteen of the past 17 grants of $250,000 have specifically benefited children and eight of the 17 grants have gone toward medical research.

… Continue reading

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Animal Agriculture Alliance encourages people to prevent HSUS from capitalizing on Pepsi’s generosity

The Animal Agriculture Alliance is dismayed that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been deemed eligible to compete to win $250,000 in the online Pepsi Refresh Project.  


Pepsi began the project in January of 2010 with the goal of awarding grants to “innovative and inspiring causes”. Ideas are submitted by individuals, groups, non-profits and businesses with no more than $25 million in revenue. Each month, up to 10 grants are awarded for each denomination of $5,000, $25,000 and $50,000. Two grants of $250,000 are also given. Winners of the grants are selected by public votes on the Pepsi Refresh Project website and text messages. Each month, the projects and organizations competing change and voting restarts.

Past winners of $250,000 grants include the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation, AIDS Research Alliance, Homes of Hope for Children, Inc., Teach for America and the American Legion.  Fourteen of the past 17 grants of $250,000 have specifically benefited children and eight of the 17 grants have gone toward medical research.

… Continue reading

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OARDC establishes tornado relief fund for graduate student losses, landscaping

The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) has established a relief fund to assist graduate students affected by the Sept. 16 tornado that hit its Wooster campus and to help with landscaping and other beautification projects.

Individuals or businesses interested in contributing to this fund can mail their gifts to the Ohio State University Office of Development, 1625 Wilson Road, Wooster, OH 44691; or donate online at http://www.giveto.osu.edu. Please refer to the “OARDC Campus Tornado Relief Fund,” No. 313533. All gifts to the university are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

“We have been overwhelmed and pleased with the many offers of assistance we have received since the day of the tornado,” said OARDC Director Steve Slack. “This fund provides an opportunity for people at the university and in the community at large to help us get back on our feet.”

On Nov. 12, Newell Rubbermaid made the first gift to the fund, presenting OARDC with a $5,000 check.… Continue reading

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Deer gun season is almost here

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman

Deer hunters: break out the guns!

Each year about this time, as the popular deer gun season arrives, I am goaded by my 10-year-old son into telling about my first deer harvest, which he finds hilarious.

Me, not so much.

I was a late-blooming hunter, entering the fold as a 30-something nimrod who was quickly bitten by the sport. I was invited to hunt deer during my first season afield by a group of farmers about my age who met each morning of the hunt in a low-ceilinged, wood-stove-heated corner of a weathered pig barn. One had allowed me to hunt rabbits and pheasants earlier in the season, and invited me to join their daily deer drives during gun week.

I carried a Stevens side-by-side 12-gauge I had purchased new that autumn at the JC Penney Outlet in Columbus for $150, and wore a cheap cotton camo jumpsuit intended to hide me from waterfowl as well as whitetails.… Continue reading

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USDA issues wildlife habitat incentive program final rule

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) issued a final rule for the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) that adds a new national priority for restoration and enhancement of wildlife habitat.

“WHIP helps our nation’s landowners address one of the biggest challenges of our day — restoring fish and wildlife habitats, and benefitting at-risk species,” said NRCS Chief Dave White. “In keeping with our new national priority, we’ll be focusing our efforts on filling in habitat areas to provide continuous habitat for migrating species.”

Read more about the WHIP final rule…Continue reading

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Thankfulness with the Country Chaplain

By Tim Reeves

Back in 1989, a movie was made starring Kevin Bacon called “The Big Picture.” Bacon played a young man named Nick Chapman who graduated from high school and made a short film, which won a special prize. The award gave Chapman a lot of publicity; enough publicity that he thought he could go to Hollywood, make a big splash and create the movie of his dreams. But when he got to Hollywood, he finds he has to begin making compromises and soon he becomes totally lost in the glitz and glamour of the movie industry. Rather quickly, his dreams of making “his” movie are swept away and lost.

Like the main character, the movie never made much of a splash, either. Produced at a cost of about $5 million, it barely generated $1 million in revenue.

Also, like the title of this movie and its main character, it is so easy to miss “the big picture” of life.… Continue reading

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OSU Extension Tax Webinar available

Ohio farmers are invited to attend a free webinar on managing income taxes in a prosperous agriculture climate many may be currently experiencing.

Ohio State University Extension will host “Tax Management 2010” on Dec. 2 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The workshop will feature University of Illinois Extension tax specialist Gary Hoff. Host sites for the workshop include OSU Extension offices in Clinton, Fairfield, Fulton, Morrow, Muskingum, Portage, Putnam, and Shelby counties, plus Fisher Auditorium at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wayne County.

Hoff will focus on the “good, bad and ugly of 2010 tax legislation.” Tax issues that will be addressed include estate taxes, the impact of health care legislation, retirement benefits, preparing for an IRS audit, 1031 exchanges, concerns surrounding delaying farm income and prepaying expenses.

For more information, or to register log on to http://fairfield.osu.edu/events/tax-management-2010, or contact the OSU Extension office at which you plan to attend.… Continue reading

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Happy holiday snacking



By Jo Ellen Helmlinger

Visions of sugar plums, pumpkin pie, frosted cookies, latkes and cream cheese dips dance through our heads and across buffet tables during the holiday season. Even those who are strongly committed to healthy eating are tempted to over indulge in foods they don’t normally choose.

With a few tips and tricks, you can enjoy holiday eating now without feeling guilty in January. The most important tips are to eat moderate amounts and get plenty of exercise. Ideas to help you reinforce your good habits include:

• Time Out — Take time to read, exercise and just relax. Stress hormones have been tied to weight gain. Be sure you are getting plenty of sleep. This also keeps “hunger” hormones in check.

• Share the Load — Break big tasks down into smaller segments and delegate the work. Determine what’s important. Just because your grandmother baked 20 different cookies for the holidays doesn’t mean you need to do the same.… Continue reading

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Thanksgiving spotlight shines on real farm families

Real Midwestern farm families, like the Matthews family, will be featured in upcoming holiday broadcast messages designed to thank the American farmer. These messages will be projected larger-than-life next week onto several downtown Cincinnati buildings.

“Thanksgiving is the perfect time to spotlight the real people behind the business of agriculture and to thank farming families throughout Ohio and the United States for the work that they do,” said Mark Halton, Monsanto’s Corporate Marketing and Communications Lead. “We look forward to showcasing modern American agriculture through the perspectives of the people who live it every day, and to using an innovative medium to reach new audiences.”

The Matthewes’ farm is featured in Monsanto’s Thanksgiving television message and will also be featured in an upcoming webisode series, which is available for download and viewing on AmericasFarmers.com. This series will introduce viewers to several real farm families and tell their stories at key points throughout the farming season.… Continue reading

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Ohio State receives $1.1 million grant to support ag research, outreach in Senegal

Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences will partner with Senegal’s Université Gaston Berger (UGB) to build up that West African nation’s agricultural research and outreach capabilities, thanks to a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Higher Education for Development (HED).

The project resulted from two highly competitive grant selection processes of the Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative — a collaborative effort started in 2007 by a number of higher education associations and other organizations and led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to advocate for increased engagement in African higher education development.

Last year, Ohio State successfully competed for a $50,000 planning grant (there were 20 recipients out of 300 applicants nationwide). In phase II of the initiative, the Ohio State-UGB partnership was one of 11 projects chosen out of 33 applications nationally. The $1.1 million award provides support for two years, with the possibility of an additional three-year renewal.

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Crawford County firefighters receive funding for grain rescue equipment

The Crawford County firefighters have taken a proactive role in farm safety with emphasis on grain handling and grain rescue issues.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor suffocation is the number one cause of death relating to grain handling on U.S farms.  The firefighters have recognized the urgency for better preparedness in assisting with grain rescue emergencies.

Local Bucyrus farmers, John and Norman Schiefer, applied for a grant on behalf of the Holmes Township Volunteer Fire Department from the Monsanto Fund, America’s Farmers Grow Communities Project, to acquire grain rescue equipment.  Local Monsanto DEKALB and Asgrow seed dealers Donovan Scott and Steve Reinhard assisted the Schiefers in the application process with the Monsanto Fund.

Under this pilot program, farmers throughout 298 eligible counties from seven states with heavy grain production could enter to win a $2,500 award for a local no-profit community group of their choice.  “We are pleased to present a check for $2,500 on behalf of the Monsanto Fund to the Holmes Township Volunteer Fire Department for their outstanding application with a worthwhile cause,” commented Keith Buckingham, Account Manager, Monsanto Company.… Continue reading

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