Country Life

Confined spaces, teen challenge highlight FSR safety demos

Helping farmers and rural youth understand the implications of farm safety is the goal of several demonstrations, displays, and interactive events at Farm Science Review, Sept. 20-22 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center outside London.

“We provide relevant safety education opportunities to farmers attending the Review,” said Kathy Henwood, Ohio State University Extension program coordinator for Agricultural Safety and Health. “We try to have something new each year that highlight current concerns in production agriculture.”

This year, two demonstrations deal with management issues in confined spaces on farms, including combustible dust explosions and manure storage ventilation.

Combustible dust in grain handling and storage facilities can be extremely dangerous. Extension and industry experts will discuss the causes of dust explosions, as well as tips and techniques for prevention. Sessions, occurring daily on the half-hour between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., include explosion demonstrations of various types of agricultural products.

In addition, a new demonstration this year focuses on how to deal with ventilation issues in manure storage facilities.… Continue reading

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Farm women share their message through CommonGround

Thanks to a program called CommonGround, three Ohio farm women are sharing their personal stories and experiences about farming and the food it provides.

“The lack of knowledge about America’s agricultural system has caused some confusion and distrust among people who are concerned about feeding their families safe, healthy food,” said Rachel Heimerl, CommonGround volunteer from Licking County. “As a mother myself, I understand their concerns. CommonGround is all about trying to rebuild the confidence in our food system.  To do that, we are working to show the commonalities between real farm families and consumers who benefit from all that farmers grow — to show there is, in fact, CommonGround.”

While it started as a national program, CommonGround is coordinated state-by-state. Ohio has now joined this movement and recently held a kickoff dinner August 11 at the historic Amelita Mirolo Barn in Upper Arlington.

Local business and community women leaders were invited to the dinner to have conversations about food and farming while enjoying a delicious meal of locally-produced foods.… Continue reading

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Conversion Program is saving FCS customers $13.6 million annually

Thanks to a program, which allows farmers and rural residents to convert their existing loans to lower interest rates, almost 15,000 Farm Credit Services of Mid-America customers have saved significant interest dollars in 2011. That’s the number of customers who took advantage of FCS’s Conversion Program, converting $2.72 billion in loans to lower interest rates, and slicing an average of .50 percent off their interest costs. Estimated customer savings is $13.6 million annually.

“More than 50% of our conversion activity has occurred in August,” said Bill Johnson, president and chief executive officer stating that interest rates have once again dropped to near all-time lows. “This month alone, staff has converted almost 7,500 customer loans.”

That represents $1.37 billion in loan volume saving customers an estimated $6.8 million annually. The Loan Conversion Option gives customers the ability to quickly and easily change the interest rates on their Farm Credit loans during the term of those loans.… Continue reading

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Win up to $1,000 in the “My Ohio Ag” contest

Ohioans can demonstrate their connection to Ohio agriculture and win up to $1,000 cash in the “My Ohio Agriculture” video contest. Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) Center for Food and Animal Issues invites farmers, county Farm Bureaus, 4-H and FFA youth and all Ohioans to submit a video, which communicates a positive and informative message about Ohio agriculture and food.

Contestants must record and submit an original 1- to 3-minute video that must be uploaded to by Oct. 14. The video also must be submitted on the official contest site featured at between Sept. 30 and 5 p.m. on Oct. 14.

Winners will be chosen in two categories. The People’s Choice winner will be determined based on the amount of views a submitted video has on YouTube. This winner will receive a $500 cash gift card. Multiple Judges’ Choice winners will be selected by judges with each receiving a $500 cash gift card.… Continue reading

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Three USDA conservation grants will improve Ohio’s natural resources

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Terry Cosby announced three 2011 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) involving Ohio today. An investment of over $2.5 million to three organizations will advance innovative conservation technologies and approaches that address a broad array of existing and emerging natural resource issues.
“I’m very excited about the opportunities these grants bring for addressing some of Ohio’s most pressing natural resource issues,” Cosby says. “Water quality degradation from excessive nutrients has had a major impact on Grand Lake St. Marys. The $1 million grant to the Quasar Energy Group to construct an anaerobic digester in the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed has great potential to benefit all of the people who depend on the land and the lake for their livelihood.”
The Quasar Energy Group grant will demonstrate the effectiveness of cutting edge technology to remove phosphorus from manure and export the concentrated phosphorus recovered in the process from the watershed.… Continue reading

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American Chopper Dekalb bike to be auctioned for Red Cross

DEKALB® brand will kick off its 100th anniversary celebration with the design, build and auction of a custom-built, commemorative DEKALB 100th Anniversary Bike by Paul Jr. Designs of Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper- Senior v. Junior.” All proceeds from an auction of the bike will go to the American Red Cross.

The DEKALB 100th Anniversary Bike, which will be unveiled at the 2011 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., will travel across approximately 10 states on a 14-20 stop Chopper Tour around rural America following the Farm Progress Show reveal. Stops along the tour include farm shows and industry meetings and conventions where attendees can see the DEKALB 100th Anniversary Bike first-hand. The internet auction for the DEKALB 100th Anniversary Bike will launch in January 2012 to coincide with the DEKALB brand anniversary month, and the DEKALB 100th Anniversary Bike will be presented to the winner at the 2012 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa.… Continue reading

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Julie and the crop duster

Enjoy this not-so-good video of my Percheron mare, Julie, and the visiting crop duster. I really needed to be a calmer and record better video but it was kind of a traumatic experience. Maybe I’ll do better next year.

Last year, my co-worker Heather Hetterick had a similar experience with a crop duster. She recorded much better video and you can even hear her screaming in the background. Feel free to go take a look at her video for comparisons.

For my complete column, read page 50 in the September issue of Ohio’s Country Journal or view it online inside the September issue on this website under OCJ Online Edition.… Continue reading

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Rocking the Defiance County Fair

By Matt Reese

In the past, when there was a major event really rocking the grandstand at the Defiance County Fair, the grandstand was really rocking, and not is a positive way.

“The stands creaked and groaned. People were actually scared to go in them, and if you saw what it looked like underneath them, you’d have been scared too,” said Earl Klepper, Defiance County Fair Board member. “It was around 135 years old and it was on its last legs. It had been condemned by the state multiple times and every year we were trying to patch up the old grandstands.”

The aged structure with hand-hewn beams held together with pegs had plenty of memories tied to it, but it was time for it to go according to Klepper and many in the community.

To quantify the growing concern about the old grandstand, the Defiance County Fair Foundation took a community poll to determine where to focus their fund raising efforts.… Continue reading

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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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