Country Life

2050: The Year of the Vegetarian?

By Donald “Doc” Sanders

Naturally, this year’s drought conditions have brought concerns of water shortages to the surface. Some are predicting that a shortage of water, coupled with continuing increases in the world population, will cause large food deficits and increased hunger. The experts from the Stockholm International Water Institute in Sweden go so far as to say water shortages will force everyone to become a vegetarian by 2050.

It’s been widely reported that the world population will increase by two billion people to total nine billion by 2050. This prospect and the concern that we might run out of water has made water conservation the new buzz.

The Stockholm International Water Institute is concerned that livestock require too much water. And Newsweek magazine once reported it takes as much water to raise a steer to 1,000 pounds as it does to float a destroyer. Leave it to the media. Unless they are referring to a child’s bathtub toy, they are full of hyperbole.… Continue reading

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Farm bill failure not unexpected

The 2008 Farm Bill expired this week, a move that was not unexpected by many in the industry, an Ohio State University farm policy expert said.

It’s not surprising the 2012 Farm Bill didn’t pass before the current farm bill expired in such a politically divided Congress, which in turn reflects a divided country and a divided farm bill constituency, said Carl Zulauf, also an agricultural economics professor at Ohio State.

And the drought of 2012,which is one of the worst in the last 50 years, may have played a role in the bill’s failure to

pass, he said.

“The drought didn’t begin until relatively late into the (farm bill debate) process,” Zulauf said. “Disagreement may exist as to what kind of disaster assistance programs should be added into the bill or passed in separate legislation.”

Zulauf noted that it is not unusual for an existing farm bill to expire before the new farm bill is passed.… Continue reading

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Disaster designation reminder

Steve Maurer, the State Executive Director for the USDA Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers about the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretarial designation on Sept. 5, 2012. All of Ohio’s counties were designated as primary or contiguous agricultural natural disaster areas due to drought and excessive heat that occurred from February 1, 2012 and continuing.

This gives all qualified farm operators in the designated areas the opportunity to file an application for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s FSA, provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

USDA FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the emergency loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity. … Continue reading

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Expiration of the 2008 Farm Bill

Today dairy farmers have lost a safety net because the 2008 farm bill expired without Congress passing a new Farm Bill, according to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).

Members of the House left Washington last month without completing work on the 2012 Farm Bill. Although Congress is expected to return to Capitol Hill after the November elections, the status of many farm and food programs is in limbo until then, along with the rest of the pending farm bill that contains a new and better safety net for dairy farmers.

“Dairy is among the first sectors in agriculture to feel the impact of Congress’s inability to reach accord on most anything, including a new Farm Bill,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. “Had the House leadership brought the bipartisan farm bill to the floor, I believe we could have passed a bill containing the Dairy Security Act. Instead, we are in uncharted waters, and one of our life rafts has disappeared.”… Continue reading

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OABA opposes Issue 2

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Board of Directors has voted to oppose State Issue 2.

Issue 2 is a Constitutional amendment that, if passed, would change the way that Ohio draws legislative and congressional districts, and ultimately would remove the right of Ohio voters to have a voice in this process.

“OABA opposes Issue 2 because it creates, through the Ohio Constitution, a new, unelected, bureaucratic commission that is not accountable to Ohioans, not subject to fiscal oversight and not a true bipartisan approach to redistricting,” said OABA President and CEO Chris Henney. “There are better solutions.”

Issue 2 would establish a 12-member commission to draw legislative and congressional districts. The commission can demand funding to operate, and if they wish, to pay staff, lawyers, consultants, etc. Under the proposal, new districts would be created for the 2014 election and then under each census.

Other Ohio organizations opposing Issue 2 include the Ohio Farm Bureau, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Ohio Right to Life and leading members of the Ohio Court of Appeals Judges Association.… Continue reading

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Microalgae culture in raceway open ponds for bioenergy production

By Yebo Li

In recent years, microalgae have gained considerable interest in research and development efforts due to their ability to be grown in areas noncompeting with food crops, high growth rates, potentially limited environmental impact, and high lipid (oil) content. The primary advantage of microalgae as a feed stock for biofuel production is its photosynthetic nature, or ability to use sunlight and carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce energy when provided with primary nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorus. The nutrients can be provided from wastewater streams. Current systems for algae biomass production include photobioreactors and raceway open ponds.

 

Raceway open ponds – The benefits and costs

Open raceways are typically made of a closed loop, oval shaped recirculation channels, filled with large water volumes at low depths over high surface areas, with adequate mixing and circulation to maintain microalgae growth productivity. Mixing and circulation is usually provided via paddlewheel systems.… Continue reading

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FFA project leads to lifetime showing draft horses

By Kim Lemmon

If you have ever watched Gary, Greg and Mike Rowe of Bellevue show their Flat Rock Draft Horses six-horse hitch of Percheron draft horses, you’d never guess that they weren’t born into showing and hitching draft horses.

These brothers and their horses work together seamlessly and have earned several top honors at draft shows throughout the country. It can be argued that for the past several years, this team of brothers and their horses are one of the top hitches in the nation. This feat seems even more amazing when you consider that the family’s interest in showing draft horses all started with an FFA project.

When Gary Rowe joined FFA in 1989, his family had owned draft horses for a few years but they didn’t show them. Soon after Gary joined FFA, his younger brothers Greg and Mike joined as well.

Throughout their FFA career, the brothers’ combined efforts involved serving on their high school horse judging team, earning a couple of state farmer degrees and a state proficiency award in equine.… Continue reading

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4-H mentoring making a difference

Sometimes kids have trouble learning from their mistakes. And sometimes, all it takes is a caring adult teaming up with those kids — perhaps on a project that captures their interest — that can make all the difference.

That’s the premise behind a mentoring project that has taken place in five counties throughout Ohio, thanks to a grant to Ohio 4-H Youth Development from the National 4-H Council and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The project received $82,000 in funding in 2011 and an additional $123,000 to continue through 2012.

Programs in Adams, Butler, Hardin and Lorain counties have focused their projects on “Tech Wizards,” in which 4-H educators and other mentors use Lego Robotics, video production and other technologies to engage youths.

Mahoning County’s program is “Youth and Families with Promise,” in which mentors work with small groups of kids in community projects and other activities.… Continue reading

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Tips for approaching retailers with new food products

National retail chains are generally viewed as the holy grail for aspiring food product entrepreneurs. But many experts believe it isn’t always best to aim so high, so fast. Plus there are more tactical ways to increase chances of success in such a competitive industry.

Through the solid advice from a lifelong grocery store owner, the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) will host a seminar for food entrepreneurs and food-related business owners, Thursday, Oct. 18 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK), focusing on how to approach retailers with a new food product.

Jim Sautter, president, Sautter’s Markets, will discuss such areas as what grocery stores look for when exploring new food products, the right (and wrong) ways to initially approach stores, and how to make the first meeting a success. The Sautter family has a long-standing tradition in the grocery industry, having served several northwest Ohio communities since 1927 – often through providing exceptional locally-based foods.… Continue reading

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Obama and Romney outline ag

President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney recently spelled out their positions on agriculture issues for the American Farm Bureau Federation. In a questionnaire, both candidates went into detail about their positions on energy, environmental regulations, farm labor and more.

Every four years, the American Farm Bureau Federation asks the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees to address the issues that concern farmers and ranchers most. This election, energy issues and farm policy are the driving forces in the candidate’s responses.

“Our rural communities, farmers and ranchers can increase our energy independence and boost the transition to a clean energy economy,” Obama responded. “Last year, rural America produced enough renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel to meet roughly 8 percent of our needs, helping us increase our energy independence to its highest level in 20 years…and the new Renewable Fuel Standard helped boost biodiesel production to nearly 1 billion gallons in 2011, supporting 39,000 jobs.”… Continue reading

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Farm bill failure

By Matt Reese

The farm bill looks like it will most likely expire with the month of September.

“The election is on Nov. 6 and you can look at the scheduled session days and there are no scheduled session days between now and the election, so the farm bill will expire at the end of September,” said Adam Ward, with the Ohio Soybean Association. “After the election, the chances remain slim for a farm bill in 2012 during the lame duck session. For this to happen, things will have to remain the same after the election with the House under Republican control, the Senate under Democrat control and the same President. If things change after the election, they will probably wait until the next session of Congress.”

Despite the loud-and-clear statement from nearly 40 national agricultural organizations in the coalition using the name Farm Bill Now, Congress failed to get the job done.… Continue reading

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OFBF expands membership

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) has increased its membership for 2012. Both total membership, at 214,400, and farmer membership, at 59,754 exceeded last year’s numbers. This is the 44th time in the past 45 years that OFBF has attained overall membership growth.

Credit for the accomplishment is given to the organization’s volunteers and staff as well as to Farm Bureau’s long-standing partner, Nationwide Insurance. Farm Bureau emphasizes its grassroots campaign through which members invite others in their communities to join. In a special promotion this year to recognize the work of volunteers, Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau member Eric Prysi won the grand prize — a 2012 Chevy Silverado pickup truck.

Other Farm Bureau members who won prizes were Ruby Kinsey, Tuscarawas County (lifetime OFBF membership), Jenifer Pemberton, Mahoning County ($1,000 CD from Nationwide Bank), Karin Litvak, Portage County (OSU football experience), Dale Adkins, Clinton County (iPad) and Rose Bell, Jefferson County ($500 Sherwin Williams gift card).… Continue reading

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Farm Science Review by the numbers

The 2012 Farm Science Review celebrated 50 years, while the crops faced the worst drought conditions in that same 50 years. There were two OSU ag deans present at the event as Bobby Moser continued the process of handing the reigns over to Bruce McPheron. One university president (Gordon Gee), two ag secretaries (Tom Vilsak from the USDA and Dave Daniels from ODA), one governor (John Kasich) and one two-time Heisman Trophy winner (Archie Griffin) were also all at the 2012 FSR. Three high achievers were inducted into the FSR Hall of Fame and temperatures ranged from the 40s to the 70s. It also should be noted that there were several very tired ag media representatives when it was all said and done. All of these numbers added up to yet another fantastic Farm Science Review. Here are some more pertinent 2012 FSR numbers.

 

Yields

Corn yields were averaging 100 to 105 bushels going into the final afternoon of harvest demonstrations.… Continue reading

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Mercer County farmers looking for ODNR compensation

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

In early September, lawyers representing 87 farmers in Mercer County filed a contempt court order against the Kasich administration and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). This was a move hoping to compel ODNR to comply with a ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court last year to compensate farmers, families and business owners along Grand Lake St. Marys whose lands flood during rain storms.

The reason for this case dates back to 1997, when ODNR installed a horseshoe-shaped dam in the hopes that the lake would become more self-sustaining and no longer require ODNR to drain the lake once a year to prevent flooding.  However, that goal was never realized and the residents and business owners of the area have suffered significant floods almost every year for the last 15 years. Flooding was bad enough to damage crops and temporarily evacuate homes.

According to Joe Miller with Vorys, Sater, Seymore and Pease LLP the law firm representing the farmers in Mercer County, farmers downstream from the then newly constructed dam as well as the County Engineer and public officials warned ODNR that this project would cause extensive flooding.… Continue reading

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Authorities available to answer ag, veterinary questions at Farm Science Review

The direction of farmland cash rents has been a popular question in recent years as farmland rental rates have more than doubled in many places, and it is one Barry Ward, Ohio State University Extension production business management leader, expects to hear at Farm Science Review.

“I expect cash rent price movement to be mixed,” Ward said. “I expect farmland rental rates to be fairly flat in areas that may have experienced significant drought.

“In areas that enjoyed better moisture, I expect rents to continue to trend higher. Higher crop prices will put upward pressure on rents in general, but severe drought in many areas of Ohio may temper landowners’ expectations for higher rents.”

To help reduce any potential uneasiness between landowners and farmland renters in 2013, Ward recommends a flexible cash lease option. Flexible leases can lower the rental rate if crop production is somehow stunted during the year, or potentially increase the rate if conditions are favorable and crops thrive.… Continue reading

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Farm Science Review: Ohio 4-H, OSU Extension offer STEM demos, activities to spur career interests

Hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities and demonstrations will be offered daily by Ohio State University Extension and 4-H Youth Development Extension Educators during Farm Science Review as part of an effort to “bring science alive,” organizers say.

The goal of the STEM activities and demonstrations is to spark young people’s interests in science, engineering and technology careers to help fill the growing demand for these jobs, said Patty House, 4-H Youth Development Extension educator.

“Seeing is believing and the wow factor helps also in capturing one’s interest in science, math, engineering and technology,” House said. “Ohio 4-H seeks to connect STEM to the world of agriculture for youth and adults in attendance.”

The demonstrations will be in the OSU Agriculture Education, Extension and Research Tent, daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The experiments are available through the support of the Ohio 4-H Foundation and the Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.… Continue reading

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Growing the Cure highlighted at Farm Science Review

By Matt Reese

The Farm Science Review was the perfect place for an announcement about the progress of “Growing the Cure,” which is a collaborative effort among five Ohio and Indiana farmer-owned agricultural cooperatives working to find a cure for cancer.

“We are creating an endowment fund at the Ohio State James Cancer Hospital in collaboration with the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and we are trying to promote research for the prevention of cancer through foods,” Thad Dixon, regional sales manager for Trupointe Cooperative. “Ohio State asked us if there was any way to engage our customers on this and this was a natural fit. The program will be funded through the sale of seed. For every bag of corn sold, 10 cents will be donated and for every bag of beans, five cents will be donated.”

The group presented a check for over $103,000 to kick off the endowment at the FSR.… Continue reading

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USDA clarifies extension of emergency grazing

The Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced a two-month extension for emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres, freeing up forage and feed for livestock producers. FSA will allow all Ohio farmers to continue emergency grazing on CRP land through Nov. 30, 2012, without incurring an additional CRP rental payment reduction. The period normally allowed for emergency grazing lasts through Sept. 30. This extension of emergency grazing to November 30, 2012 is only applicable to producers who request emergency grazing under Fiscal Year 2012 emergency grazing authority before Sept. 30, 2012.

The extension of emergency grazing on CRP acres does not apply to these practices: CP8A – Grass Waterway-Non-easement; CP23 — Wetland Restoration; CP23A —Wetland Restoration-Non-Floodplain; CP27 — Farmable Wetlands Pilot Wetland; and CP28 — Farmable Wetlands Pilot Buffer.

Under emergency grazing at least 25% of each field or contiguous CRP fields must be left ungrazed for wildlife, or graze not more than seventy-five percent of the stocking rate as determined by NRCS.… Continue reading

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