Country Life

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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The Country Chaplain

By Tim Reeves

In 1835, a Frenchman named Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States of America. A historian, philosopher, writer and an early social scientist, de Tocqueville wanted to discover what made America America. For nearly a year, he traveled across the country, interviewing and studying Americans of all races, classes, ethnicities, etc.

After all that work, he wrote a compilation of what he learned, titled “Democracy in America,” which has been described as the most comprehensive analysis of the character and society of America ever written. He painted a true picture of America that went far beneath the red, white and blue of patriotism, the “green” of commerce, the spectacular vistas of natural beauty that grace this land, and the popular images.

Alexis de Tocqueville created a true picture of what embodied the American spirit.

His introduction bears reading. “Upon arrival in the United States of America, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention.… Continue reading

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A feather in agriculture’s cap: A surprising way to fight foreign oil dependence

By Doc Sanders

A new raw material has been discovered for making thermoplastics — and it comes from a source you may not expect. When I tell you what it is, you may say, “Horsefeathers!”

Traditionally, crude oil is the key ingredient of thermoplastics, which can be molded into any shape when heated. You find thermoplastics around home in everything from toothbrush bristles to car bumpers. It can be made tough enough to manufacture armor plating for a military tank — not that you’re likely to find one of those at home.

So, what’s the new raw material for making thermoplastics? Here it is: chicken feathers. Honest!

Chicken feathers have had few practical uses, except to keep chickens warm. And to stuff pillows. And they used to come in handy for chickens when they escaped my mother’s chicken house and evaded my grasp by flying up into a nearby tree. Plus, our old rooster seemed to take great pleasure strutting around and waiting for an opportune time to “flop” me as a little kid with his massive wings.… Continue reading

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AFBF applauds FTA progress

Statement from Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation president: “The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased both the Senate and House committees have approved the Korea, Colombia and Panama free trade agreements through the mock markup process. The process toward finalizing these important trade deals is heading in the right direction.

“The next step is for the administration to send the implementing legislation to Capitol Hill for a Congressional vote. It is imperative that the process promptly move forward to ensure the agreements will be completed by August recess. Inaction on these trade agreements over the last four years has opened the door to our competitors in these markets. Further delay will only exacerbate the losses for U.S. agriculture and the U.S. economy.

“Combined, the three FTAs represent nearly $2.5 billion in new agriculture exports and could generate support for up to 22,500 U.S. jobs. These gains will only be realized if the three agreements are passed by Congress and implemented.”… Continue reading

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New Orleans set to sample Toledo-based sauce

It all started from just one unique, tasty bottle of barbeque sauce. That was two

years ago, and now has expanded to an impressive seven varieties located in dozens of stores across Ohio and Michigan. Taking a step even further as they prepare to move their product nationally, the northwest Ohio creators of Black Swamp Gourmet Barbeque Sauce are headed to a place where they know a thing or two about sauces: New Orleans, Louisiana.

They will join other vendors from across the country at the New Orleans Hot Sauce and Gourmet Food Show, July 16-17, 2011, which happens to be one of only a few such hot sauce conventions held in the U.S.

Originally from Lima, Ohio, Bob and Karen Basel have been Toledo, Ohio residents for nearly 20 years – and their love for northwest Ohio is far reaching. Not only does their Black Swamp Gourmet Barbeque Sauce contain a name with ties to the area’s history, but the frog caricature on the bottle’s label is a nod to their affection for Toledo.… Continue reading

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Vilsack on the U.S.-Mexico Agreement to resolve the cross-border trucking dispute

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on the agreement signed by Mexico and the United States to resolve the cross-border long-haul trucking dispute:

“The agreement signed today between the governments of Mexico and the United States to resolve the cross-border long-haul trucking dispute is a major win for U.S. agriculture, American jobs and our nation’s economic prosperity. President Obama and President Calderon announced a path forward in March to resolve the dispute, and today the U.S. Department of Transportation — after months of hard work with Mexican counterparts — closed a deal that will provide tariff relief for numerous U.S. agricultural products and manufactured goods.

“This dispute has cost U.S. businesses more than $2 billion. For U.S. farm exports to Mexico, exports of affected commodities were reduced by 27%. But today, thanks to the persistent work of the Obama Administration, we have an agreement that not only will ultimately eliminate punitive tariffs, but it also provides opportunities to increase U.S.… Continue reading

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No death tax is not a reason to avoid farm transition planning

Many in Ohio agriculture fought hard for the elimination of the estate tax, commonly referred to as the “Death Tax” by critics. While they can celebrate success, it is important to remember that even with no estate tax, there is still a need for careful farm transition planning.

Ohio’s version of this tax provision is set to expire due to a provision in the state’s biennial budget — a prospect that concerns financial planning professionals.

“The primary concern is that the repeal, along with changes in the federal estate tax will serve as a disincentive to doing farm transition, business and estate planning,” said Peggy Hall, director of the Agricultural and Resource Law Program of The Ohio State University Extension. “That’s the concern I’m hearing from many attorneys.”

The estate tax is a potentially confusing and burdensome issue; critics claim the tax forces farmers and small business owners to liquidate assets simply to pay the tax.… Continue reading

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Ice cream is big business in Ohio

During one of the hottest months of the year, it would be hard to find a cold treat more popular than ice cream. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a world-leading 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream are made every year in the U.S. – which is enough to fill more than 2,200 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Home to several large scale ice cream makers, Ohio is one of the states largely responsible for fueling the nation’s appetite for frozen desserts. In celebration of National Ice Cream Month, the monthly Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum will host John Gauthier of Lesniewicz Associates (marketers of Toft’s Ice Cream), to present “Ice Cream’s Impact in Ohio,” Thurs., July 21 from 7:30 – 9 a.m. The program begins at 8 a.m. with informal networking prior, hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation, north of Bowling Green, OH.… Continue reading

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Kinnamon joins Ohio State as Industry Liaison Director for Ag Biosciences



Bryan Kinnamon, an executive with more than three decades of experience in marketing and manufacturing technology at global businesses, has joined Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) as Industrial Liaison Office Director.



In this capacity, Kinnamon will lead efforts to identify and foster connections with industry for one of Ohio State’s largest and most comprehensive colleges – which includes the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and OSU Extension. He is based on OARDC’s Wooster campus.



Kinnamon’s position is an expansion of the university’s Industry Liaison Office (ILO), aimed at establishing and growing a dedicated presence at OARDC and CFAES. A similar Industrial Liaison Office (led by Dan Kramer) was established last year in the College of Engineering.



“We are excited to have Bryan join us as he brings a wealth of talent and business knowledge to our College and to Ohio State University,” OARDC Director Steve Slack said.… Continue reading

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OFBF celebrates success at the Statehouse

Impressive Results at the Statehouse

“Powerful” is a fitting description of Ohio Farm Bureau’s legislative successes in 2011. In a time when many advocacy organizations are fighting to remain relevant, farmers are working together through Farm Bureau to achieve impressive results at the Statehouse.

These are the dividends of engaging government in the Farm Bureau way. Years of relationship building, civil communication and grassroots cooperation resulted in a remarkable string of accomplishments.

Here’s a look at how Farm Bureau put its members’ policies into action:

Eliminated the state estate tax. The state death tax is dead. For more than 25 years farmers have explained the unfairness of this tax that was an impediment to passing the farm on to the next generation. The tax is gone, effective Jan.  1, 2013.

Preserved agriculture’s budget priorities. Faced with an $8 billion budget deficit, Gov. John Kasich and lawmakers had to prioritize how to invest limited dollars.  … Continue reading

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The death of Ohio’s estate tax

The Ohio House of Representatives voted to approve the Conference Committee report of House Bill 153, the State Operating Budget which includes the repeal of the Ohio estate tax. The Ohio Senate approved the Conference Committee report on June 28. The bill will now be sent to Gov. John R. Kasich for his signature.

Ohio agriculture has long been pushing for the repeal of the Ohio estate tax because it disproportionately affects Ohio’s farmers and small business owners. According to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, approximately 84% of farmers’ assets are real state-based.

Currently the estate tax exemption for Ohio is set at 338,333 dollars, and the highest taxation rate is 7%. Even a family farm of only one hundred acres valued at approximately four thousand dollars per acre is subject to the tax. Many Ohio residents have lost significant portions of their family farm due to the burden of the tax and the inability to liquidate the means needed to pay for the farm after the loss of a loved one.… Continue reading

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The death of Ohio's estate tax

The Ohio House of Representatives voted to approve the Conference Committee report of House Bill 153, the State Operating Budget which includes the repeal of the Ohio estate tax. The Ohio Senate approved the Conference Committee report on June 28. The bill will now be sent to Gov. John R. Kasich for his signature.

Ohio agriculture has long been pushing for the repeal of the Ohio estate tax because it disproportionately affects Ohio’s farmers and small business owners. According to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, approximately 84% of farmers’ assets are real state-based.

Currently the estate tax exemption for Ohio is set at 338,333 dollars, and the highest taxation rate is 7%. Even a family farm of only one hundred acres valued at approximately four thousand dollars per acre is subject to the tax. Many Ohio residents have lost significant portions of their family farm due to the burden of the tax and the inability to liquidate the means needed to pay for the farm after the loss of a loved one.… Continue reading

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EPA announces E15 pump labeling requirements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued fuel pump labeling and other requirements for gasoline blends containing more than 10 and up to 15% ethanol, known as E15.  These requirements will help ensure that E15 is properly labeled and used once it enters the market.

The new orange and black label must appear on fuel pumps that dispense E15. This label will help inform consumers about which vehicles can use E15. This label will also warn consumers against using E15 in vehicles older than model year 2001, motorcycles, watercraft, and gasoline-powered equipment such as lawnmowers and chainsaws.

Over the past year, EPA issued two partial waivers under the Clean Air Act that in sum allow E15 to be sold for use in model year 2001 and newer cars and light trucks.  EPA based its waiver decisions on testing and analysis showing that these vehicles could continue to meet emission standards if operated on E15. … Continue reading

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Progress on FTAs in the Senate

The National Corn Growers Association and American Soybean Association (ASA) is very pleased that the Senate Finance Committee will hold a “mock” markup of the draft implementing bills for the South Korea, Colombia, and Panama Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) later this week. The ASA has been working for a number of years toward passage of these trade agreements because increased exports of U.S. soy and soy-fed meat and poultry will benefit soybean farmers and rural economies. Passage of these three trade agreements combined represents nearly $3 billion of additional agriculture exports to these trading partners.

“This is a critical step in the right direction,” said ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Ind. “Now that an agreement on Trade Adjustment Assistance has been reached, we call on Congress and the Administration to quickly advance these trade agreements in order to boost our economy.”

The Finance Committee will consider the draft implementing bills during a “mock” markup because Congress cannot offer amendments to the final implementing bills submitted by the Administration under the Trade Promotion Authority Act – also known as “fast track” – procedures.… Continue reading

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