Country Life

OSCF announces scholarship winners

The Ohio Soybean Council Foundation (OSCF) is pleased to announce the scholarship recipients of the OSCF Scholarship Program for the 2011-2012 academic year. Undergraduate scholarships of $3,000 each will be awarded to Dustin Homan, Andrew Klopfenstein, Rhiannon Schneider and Brent Stammen.  The first annual $3,000 Farmer, Lumpe + McClelland (FLM) Scholarship was awarded to Emily Krueger, and the annual $5,000 Bhima Vijayendran Scholarship was awarded to Rachel Yoho.  Graduate scholarships of $5,000 were awarded to Sasiwimon Buddhiranon and Andika Gunadi.

This is the fourth year for the OSCF Scholarship Program, which was created to encourage undergraduate students to pursue careers in agriculture, as well as to support ongoing graduate-level research.  All OSCF scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis to full-time students enrolled at an Ohio college or university.

“There were many scholarship applicants this year and they were all very impressive students to make it a tough competition,” said Tom Fontana, OSCF director of programs and development.… Continue reading

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Truck weight reform introduced in Senate

The U.S. Senate recently introduced the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2011 (SETA). The bill, S 747, sponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), with co-sponsoring Senators Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), would give any state the option to allow semi-trucks weighing up to 97,000 pounds access to its Interstate highways, provided owners equip trucks with a sixth axle, to preserve braking distances and pavement wear patterns, and agree to pay a supplemental user fee.

An identical bill, HR 763, introduced February 17 in the House by Reps. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) and Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), has already attracted 27 co-sponsors.

“The haulers of raw agricultural and forest products are pleased that a bipartisan group of Senators has recognized the importance of improving truck productivity and safety on our nation’s Interstate system, by introducing Senate Bill 747,” stated Richard Lewis, President of the Forest Resources Association. “We must now move quickly to ensure that the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill adopts the terms SETA sets forth.… Continue reading

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Nine new AgrAbility fact sheets are now available online

The Ohio AgrAbility Program has produced nine new fact sheets designed to assist disabled farmers who may be dealing with paralysis, arthritis, diabetes or who have developed age-related issues.

“Once someone gets back to farming after experiencing an injury, they’re at higher risk because of issues regarding range of motion, mobility or reaction time,” said Kent McGuire, Ohio AgrAbility program coordinator. ” Most of the new fact sheets are designed to help those farmers prevent secondary injuries, although they include important safety information for any farmer.”

Fact sheet topics came from the organization’s work with farmers who have asked for information on these issues.

This group is the first in a series of 40 new fact sheets the Ohio AgrAbility Program plans to produce over the next year. This first set is available for download now as PDF files at http://ohioline.osu.edu/lines/farm.html#FSAFE.

Fact sheet topics are:

* Secondary Injury Caused by Lifting, AEX-981.1-10: About 25 percent of Ohio work-related injuries are caused by overexertion when lifting objects.… Continue reading

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Columbia FTA progresses

There are three free trade agreements that, if implemented, would represent nearly $2.5 billion in additional U.S. exports. The stalling trade agreements with Panama, Columbia and South Korea are costing U.S. agriculture huge losses in potential exports and lost market share. For this reason, there was cause for celebration with the recent progress in the FTA with Columbia.

President Barack Obama and his team of negotiators successfully completed an Action Plan to resolve the issues that have been holding up the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This will now allow Congress to move forward with consideration for approval. The FTA will create new opportunities for American farmers and ranchers in the Colombian market.

“U.S. farmers and ranchers have been losing market share in Colombia to our competitors who have trade agreements with the country. It’s time to turn the tide and recoup our losses. Colombia has duty-free access to the U.S.… Continue reading

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Ag Credit borrowers celebrate record $14.5 million return

Ag Credit is distributing a record $14.5 million in profit sharing to stockholding borrowers.

The refunds amount to about 27 cents on every dollar of loan interest accrued last year. At an average rate of 5.29 percent, that would reduce a borrower’s interest for 2010 to 3.86 percent.

Ag Credit, part of the national Farm Credit System, is a financial co-op that provides loans to farmers, agricultural businesses and rural communities. As a cooperative, Ag Credit’s borrowers are its stockholders. When the cooperative earns a profit, it puts a portion back into the pockets of its stockholders. Each receives a check twice a year containing their share of annual profits.

“Profit sharing is a key part of the value proposition of our cooperative,” said Ag Credit President Neil Jordan. “By focusing on sound lending and strong capital we continue to be a reliable financial partner to farmers and agricultural community in 18 Ohio counties.”… Continue reading

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AgChat celebrates one year of connecting through social media

AgChat Foundation celebrates one year of connecting consumers
with farmers and ranchers using social media

Americans may have noticed a new social media trend this past year: more Facebook posts from the farm, more tweets from the tractor and more blogs from the back forty.

The timing of this social media “stampede” couldn’t be better, says Jeff Fowle, president of the AgChat Foundation. Celebrating its one-year anniversary today, the AgChat Foundation is a 100-percent volunteer organization formed to empower farmers and ranchers to effectively tell their stories using social media. He says in one 2010 study1 conducted by the Hartman Group, 59 percent of consumers purchasing local said they wanted a “connection to the farmer.”

In just 12 months, AgChat Foundation has successfully inspired farmers to add tweets and posts to their daily chores. It even earned a coveted spot on the 2011 SXSW® Interactive Festival program, last month, presenting alongside the country’s brightest in emerging technology.… Continue reading

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Faith & Farming

By Heather Hetterick

I don’t live inside what’s referred to as God’s country or the “Land of Seven Steeples” (Darke & Mercer Co.), I do live on the outskirts, though (Shelby Co.).

Therefore it was no surprise that in this week’s church bulletin was the announcement of the annual farm mass. I believe it rotates around the area and this year will be held May 10, at 6:30 pm at Lehman High School in Sidney. It’s a program of  Catholic Social Action, which is a division of the Cincinnati Archdiocese.

In years past I’ve heard of these masses taking place on farms. In fact I see that even the Archbishop himself presided over one of these. Can you image the Archbishop coming to your farm? I bet those people had really good crops that year.

This reminded me of the time a mere 20 years ago when our priest came to my family’s farm.… Continue reading

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Faith & Farming

By Heather Hetterick

I don’t live inside what’s referred to as God’s country or the “Land of Seven Steeples” (Darke & Mercer Co.), I do live on the outskirts, though (Shelby Co.).

Therefore it was no surprise that in this week’s church bulletin was the announcement of the annual farm mass. I believe it rotates around the area and this year will be held May 10, at 6:30 pm at Lehman High School in Sidney. It’s a program of  Catholic Social Action, which is a division of the Cincinnati Archdiocese.

In years past I’ve heard of these masses taking place on farms. In fact I see that even the Archbishop himself presided over one of these. Can you image the Archbishop coming to your farm? I bet those people had really good crops that year.

This reminded me of the time a mere 20 years ago when our priest came to my family’s farm.… Continue reading

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OSU conference on state budget's impact on local government

As the ongoing debate about Ohio’s economy intensifies during the legislature’s budgeting process, Ohio State University is hosting a conference focusing on the budget’s impact on local government.

“Death by Deficit? Is the Future of Local Government Really All Bad?” is planned for Thursday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sponsored by Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, the conference will be held at the university’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive.

“We are receiving many questions related to the impact of Ohio’s budget woes on local government, infrastructure and related programs,” said Stan Ernst, Ohio State University Extension outreach program leader for the department. “We thought this was a natural topic for our annual educational session about public policy and the economics behind it. We’ll be looking at the economic challenges to local government as well as to state programs.”… Continue reading

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OSU conference on state budget’s impact on local government

As the ongoing debate about Ohio’s economy intensifies during the legislature’s budgeting process, Ohio State University is hosting a conference focusing on the budget’s impact on local government.

“Death by Deficit? Is the Future of Local Government Really All Bad?” is planned for Thursday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sponsored by Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, the conference will be held at the university’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive.

“We are receiving many questions related to the impact of Ohio’s budget woes on local government, infrastructure and related programs,” said Stan Ernst, Ohio State University Extension outreach program leader for the department. “We thought this was a natural topic for our annual educational session about public policy and the economics behind it. We’ll be looking at the economic challenges to local government as well as to state programs.”… Continue reading

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Farm Safety Day camps

Spring has officially arrived and as planting season approaches, Ohio State Farm Safety Day camps will help rural youth learn the value of on-farm safety.

“Children tend to be curious by nature and often are unsuspecting of lurking danger,” said Kathy Henwood, agricultural safety and health program coordinator for the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “These are two characteristics that can cause harm to young people on farms, whether they live there or are visitors, and in Ohio, incidents are more likely to occur to children during the spring and summer months.”

The day camps offer lessons about farm dangers with a focus on rural safety. Beginning April 12, seven Ohio locations will host the workshops:

* April 12-13: Putnam County, Ruth Gerding Farm. Contact Joan Kline, 419-523-5608.

* May 6: Morrow County Fairgrounds. Contact Becky Barker, 419-947-1070.

* May 10: Auglaize County, Four Seasons Recreation Complex & Park.… Continue reading

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Fewer meals and lean protein can curb obesity

Eating fewer, regular-sized meals with higher amounts of lean protein can make one feel more full than eating smaller, more frequent meals, according to new research from Purdue University.

“We found that when eating high amounts of protein, men who were trying to lose weight felt fuller throughout the day; they also experienced a reduction in late-night desire to eat and had fewer thoughts of food,” said Heather J. Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri who was a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue for this study.

“We also found that despite the common trend of eating smaller, more frequent meals, eating frequency had relatively no beneficial impact on appetite control. The larger meals led to reductions in appetite, and people felt full. We want to emphasize though that these three larger meals were restricted in calories and reflected appropriate portion sizes to be effective in weight loss.”… Continue reading

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What can ag learn from Food, Inc.?

By Matt Reese

The 2008 movie Food, Inc. has been critically acclaimed and reached millions of viewers at the theater and through movie rentals with its the half-truths and misinformation about food production. The movie, along with related films and books, has led the charge to undermine centuries of consumer trust and goodwill with regard to the origins of their food.

From the Web site for the film: “In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.”

Regardless of what viewers think of the film, it has successfully created concerns among some consumers with regard to their food.… Continue reading

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"Food, Faith and a Sustainable Future" talk at OSU

Jewish environmental educator Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb of Bethesda, Md., and Rabbi Benjamin Berger of Ohio State University Hillel will present “Food, Faith and a Sustainable Future: Eco-Judaism from the Ground Up,” a free community forum, from 7-9 p.m. this Wednesday (3/30) in the Barbara Tootle Room of Ohio State’s Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St., Columbus.

Ohio State philosophy professor Tamar Rudavsky will moderate.

There will be free organic tapas and local food samples at 6:30 p.m. plus free tomato and lettuce plants for participating.

The program is the first in the three-part “Abrahamic Faiths and the Environment” series sponsored by Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), the Ohio Council of Churches, and Ohio Interfaith Power and Light.

For more information, contact Ohio State’s Greg Hitzhusen at 614-292-7739 or hitzhusen.3@osu.edu or go to http://go.osu.edu/CWn.

SENR is part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.… Continue reading

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“Food, Faith and a Sustainable Future” talk at OSU

Jewish environmental educator Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb of Bethesda, Md., and Rabbi Benjamin Berger of Ohio State University Hillel will present “Food, Faith and a Sustainable Future: Eco-Judaism from the Ground Up,” a free community forum, from 7-9 p.m. this Wednesday (3/30) in the Barbara Tootle Room of Ohio State’s Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St., Columbus.

Ohio State philosophy professor Tamar Rudavsky will moderate.

There will be free organic tapas and local food samples at 6:30 p.m. plus free tomato and lettuce plants for participating.

The program is the first in the three-part “Abrahamic Faiths and the Environment” series sponsored by Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), the Ohio Council of Churches, and Ohio Interfaith Power and Light.

For more information, contact Ohio State’s Greg Hitzhusen at 614-292-7739 or hitzhusen.3@osu.edu or go to http://go.osu.edu/CWn.

SENR is part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.… Continue reading

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Black Swamp Conservancy protects Fulton, Seneca County farms

Black Swamp Conservancy has entered into permanent farmland preservation agreements with four landowners in Fulton and Seneca counties.

Those agreements – known as agricultural easements – will ensure that 451 acres of prime farm ground are devoted exclusively to agriculture, forever. The easements will be co-held by the conservancy and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Black Swamp Conservancy preserves land mostly through perpetual land conservation agreements known as conservation or agricultural easements. Through such an agreement, the landowner gives up the right to develop the property – such as by constructing buildings, putting in roads or driveways or subdividing the land – in order to protect its conservation values, which includes its value as prime farmland or as habitat for native plants and animals.

“Agriculture is the #1 industry in northwest Ohio,“ said Kevin Joyce, the conservancy’s executive director. “In these tough times, it’s important to recognize that farm families’ commitment to keeping their land as farmland is essential to our community’s future economic prosperity.”… Continue reading

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NOAA weather update

By Jim Noel

The weather pattern looks to turn not quite as wet but cool over the next week. We expect some rain especially in the northern half of Ohio later Tuesday into Wednesday with average amounts of 0.5 to 1.0 inches especially in the north half. After that system we expect only minor systems into next week. Temperatures will be above average early this week except in the far north and then turn colder than average into early next week. The next major weather system after early to mid week will not likely occur until late next week.

Longer-range outlooks continue to show, as discussed last autumn, the trend for a cool spring with close to normal rainfall after the wet start. However, the frequency of rain will be quite active at least into the first half of April. It looks like the cooler than average temperatures will last into April with a gradual return to normal during later spring.… Continue reading

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USDA expands access to fresh fruits and vegetables for schools across the nation

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that, as authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill), USDA will expand assistance to state agencies for schools operating USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) in the 2011/2012 school year. The investment is part of the Obama administration’s efforts to improve the health of our children by providing access to nutritious meals in schools and also serves as a valuable resource to schools that continue working to improve the health and nutrition of the foods they serve. The assistance will provide free fresh fruit and vegetables to children throughout the school day.

“Improving the health and nutrition of our kids is a national imperative and by providing schools with fresh fruits and vegetables that expand their healthy options, we are helping our kids to have a brighter, healthier future,” said Vilsack. “Every time our kids eat a piece of fruit or a vegetable, they are learning healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.”… Continue reading

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OFBF presidents make a difference in D.C.

By Matt Reese

The American Farm Bureau once again proved to be among the more powerful forces in Washington, D.C. last year as a number of votes went the way of the grassroots decisions made by members around the country.

The power of Farm Bureau is its people and their efforts with legislators. For the 65th time, Ohio Farm Bureau county presidents congregated in Washington, D.C. to learn and teach, celebrate previous success and pave the way for a successful future in farm-related public policy.

“This is an opportunity for Ohio Farm Bureau to bring its county presidents to D.C. to have that direct one-on-one opportunity to impact and build relationships with not only those who we elect to represent us here but with the agencies that affect what happens on our farms,” said Brent Porteus, Ohio Farm Bureau president. “We had a lot of discussion on the estate tax here last year and we did get a two-year bill achieving our goals.… Continue reading

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Friends of Ohio Barns to hold 12th annual “Ohio Barn Conference” in Fairfield County

Come join barn enthusiasts, barn owners and maybe even a few barn “huggers” at Ohio’s only annual barn tour and conference to be held in the heart of beautiful Fairfield County Ohio on April 29 and 30.

Join Friends of Ohio Barns for another barn adventure starting Friday with a daylong bus tour through Fairfield County to see and explore many wonderful historic barns. One stop will be the recently restored Rock Mill, a gristmill originally built in 1824 located on the Hocking River gorge. Other stops include two working barns, unique double forebay barns and an example of adaptive re-use by converting a barn into a home. Rudy Christian, Larry Sulzer and other barn detectives will be there to explain the barn structures and the unique aspects of the barns chosen for the tour. Lunch will be prepared by the Bremen Area Historical Society and served at the Bremen Museum and Community Center.… Continue reading

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