Country Life

ODA offering export seminar for Ohio companies to provide insight on South American market

Ohio companies can learn more about pursuing or expanding their export sales in the South American markets at a seminar offered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA on Dec. 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Food Export Association South American Market Representative Sonia Amadeo will familiarize Ohio companies with the market by providing an overview of the economy, export requirements, entry strategies and market opportunities. Food Export Helpline Manager Dennis Lynch will also speak about pricing and logistics, and he will answer exporting questions.

The seminar will take place at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Bromfield Administration Building, Auditorium A, 8995 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg. The cost to attend is $50 per company or $25 for Ohio Proud partners. Those who are interested must RSVP to the Office of International Markets at 614-728-4760 by Nov. 24.

The Food Export Association of the Midwest USA is a private, non-profit association of the Midwestern state agricultural promotion agencies that use federal, state and industry resources to promote the export of Midwestern food and agricultural products.… Continue reading

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Workshop will help farmers meet the growing demand for organic food

The strong demand for organic food presents a growing opportunity for Ohio farmers. The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), a non-profit education organization, and the Ohio State University Organic Food & Farming Education and Research (OFFER) Program, a nationally recognized leader in organic farming research, will present “Organics 101: An Introduction to Organic Crop Production.” This educational workshop will be held at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation, in Bowling Green, Ohio, on December 10, 2010, from 9:00am to 4:00pm. The Agricultural Incubator Foundation is located at 13737 Middleton Pike, Bowling Green, Ohio 43402.

All Ohio farmers who are looking for information on organic crop production are encouraged to attend this workshop. The program will include presentations by OSU research scientists and extension educators, organic farmers and organic certification representatives.

Participants will learn about the organic certification standard, the certification process, organic crop production practices, the economics of organic crop production, and the marketing opportunities for organic crop producers.… Continue reading

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Students help local award-winning distillery go green

This quarter, two groups of Ohio State University students are helping a new local microdistillery “go green.”

One group of students is in Victoria Chen’s “Green Building and Sustainable Construction” class, which takes on a special project each quarter. The class is helping Middle West Spirits, in the Short North, determine how much electricity the business could generate by putting solar panels on its roof.

The company, located at 1230 Courtland Ave., sold its first bottle of OYO Vodka in July 2010, made from soft red winter wheat from northern Ohio. Already, the product has met with success: The Beverage Tasting Institute recently rated OYO vodka as “Exceptional” in its 2010 International Review Of Spirits. With 92 points, OYO scored seventh in a category of 140 vodkas from around the globe.

Distillery owners Ryan Lang and Brady Konya decided early on to use electricity, rather than more economical gas, for the steam heat and cold chilling needed to make the spirits.… Continue reading

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Ohio farm boy goes from Casstown to Columbus to DC to… Dakar, Senegal

A conversation with…

Russell Knight, assistant agricultural attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal

OCJ: You are originally from Casstown, Ohio. What is your Ohio farm background and how did you end up in Senegal?

Russell: I showed cattle and hogs as 4-H projects in Miami County and I was involved in my high school FFA program and eventually received my American FFA Degree.  Most importantly, since 1994, my family has been raising and showing Shorthorn club calves and I participated in several Shorthorn Junior National shows during my years of competition.  Even from Africa, I still try to maintain some connection with the activities that pertain to our Shorthorns.  But I’ve been involved in the agricultural community ever since I could swing a hammer working for my dad’s business, Knight Fence Company. I went to Ohio State and was in the Alpha Gamma Sigma Fraternity.

OCJ: What are your duties as the assistant agricultural attaché at the U.S.… Continue reading

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Expanded tax options give farmers more flexibility

New and expanded tax incentives for farmers and small businesses provide more flexibility in tax management this year, said Purdue Extension agricultural economist George Patrick.

The “Creating Small Business Jobs Act of 2010” offers a larger Section 179 expensing deduction of up to $500,000 for tax years 2010 and 2011.

“Section 179 allows a taxpayer to deduct or expense part or all of the cost of an asset in the year of purchase, rather than depreciating the cost over several years,” Patrick said. “The Section 179 deduction is typically limited by the amount of qualifying assets acquired or the taxable income of the taxpayer, but it provides great flexibility in managing taxes.”

Most depreciable assets qualify for the 50% additional first-year depreciation, which was extended to include qualifying property placed in service between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2010.

What this means, for example, is that farmers who purchased property for $50,000 can take $25,000 as additional first-year depreciation.… Continue reading

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4 months’ worth of electricity from … manure?

Ohio State University’s Nov. 18 Renewable Energy Workshop in Wooster includes a firsthand look at quasar energy group’s new anaerobic biodigester at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).

Located in OARDC’s BioHio Research Park, the system turns unused waste — manure, food scraps, sewage sludge and the like — into clean, renewable, useful energy. It came on line in April.

It can process up to 33,000 wet tons of biomass every year. In
doing so it can produce and capture enough methane gas to generate 750 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power the OARDC campus for the equivalent of four months out of the year.

Quasar is headquartered in Cleveland. In addition to the biodigester, it has lab and engineering facilities on the OARDC campus.

The workshop features presentations by fifteen Ohio experts on wind power, solar power, biofuels, bioenergy and green transportation, including electric cars. It ends with a tour of the quasar system.

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2010 Agricultural Tax Issues Workshops

by David Marrison, OSU Extension Educator

Tax practitioners with an interest in farm income taxes will have an opportunity to attend a one day farm tax workshop scheduled for Monday, December 13, 2010 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in eight locations across Ohio. This workshop will be taught by Dr. Phil Harris, Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin via tele-conference.

This program has been designed for tax practitioners who have a significant number of farm clients and therefore need a substantial amount of information on agricultural tax issues. Participants will hear an audiotape of a live lecture given by Phil Harris, supplemented with a showing of the slide presentation Dr. Harris used during his lecture. Dr. Harris will be available for questions during two conference calls during the day, and OSU faculty will be in the meeting rooms to answer questions. Registrants will receive a valuable 236 page supplemental book.Continue reading

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Tips for purchasing firewood

As winter quickly approaches and more Ohioans look to firewood to help heat their homes, the Ohio Department of Agriculture officials ask Ohioans to be aware of some basic tips to help when purchasing wood.

Prior to purchasing, the following firewood rules and regulations are helpful to know:

  • If firewood is advertised and sold as “seasoned,” it must have a moisture content of less than 50 percent. “Unseasoned” wood will only produce two-thirds of the heat of “seasoned” wood.
  • If the firewood is advertised and sold as a certain type of wood, the load must contain at least 90 percent of that species.
  • Non-packaged firewood must be sold by the cord or by fractions of a cord. One cord, when properly stacked, should be 8 feet long by 4 feet high and 4 feet wide (128 cubic feet).
  • If sold in bulk, firewood must be purchased by the weight in ton measurements.
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How will Ohio's vote affect agricultural issues?

By Matt Reese

After the wild changes in Tuesday’s election, many Ohioans are left wondering how their new candidates will be able to shape important agricultural issues moving forward. Few places saw more of a wild swing towards Republicans than the state of Ohio, with John Kasich leading the way to beat Democrat Ted Strickland for Governor and Republicans dominating the list of winners in the Ohio Congress.

“Agriculture has a history of strong bipartisan support and I think we’ll continue to see that. We had some great folks elected and we lost some great folks on both sides of the aisle,” said Beth Vanderkooi, with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) public policy. “In Ohio, 80% of the elections in the Ohio Senate 85% in the Ohio House were won by Farm Bureau’s ‘friends of agriculture.’”

Also of interest to Ohio Farm Bureau is the success of Bob Peterson and Bob Gibbs, both former presidents of the organization.… Continue reading

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How will Ohio’s vote affect agricultural issues?

By Matt Reese

After the wild changes in Tuesday’s election, many Ohioans are left wondering how their new candidates will be able to shape important agricultural issues moving forward. Few places saw more of a wild swing towards Republicans than the state of Ohio, with John Kasich leading the way to beat Democrat Ted Strickland for Governor and Republicans dominating the list of winners in the Ohio Congress.

“Agriculture has a history of strong bipartisan support and I think we’ll continue to see that. We had some great folks elected and we lost some great folks on both sides of the aisle,” said Beth Vanderkooi, with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) public policy. “In Ohio, 80% of the elections in the Ohio Senate 85% in the Ohio House were won by Farm Bureau’s ‘friends of agriculture.’”

Also of interest to Ohio Farm Bureau is the success of Bob Peterson and Bob Gibbs, both former presidents of the organization.… Continue reading

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2010 election results

By Matt Reese

Nov. 2 was a momentous day for Republicans as they made great gains at the Federal level and re-gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Most political pundits agree that the nation sent a clear message to its legislators that the current course of the federal government needs to be altered.

Few places saw more of a wild swing towards Republicans than the state of Ohio, a well-documented political battleground and an important state for determining the outcome of Presidential elections. In the two key statewide races, Republican John Kasich won a narrow victory for Governor and Republican Rob Portman won George Voinovich’s vacated Senate seat.

“Ohio needs a leader who isn’t afraid of tough decisions, has the strength to take on entrenched interests in both parties and is experienced in delivering the change our state desperately needs,” said Kasich in response to the question, “Why should Ohio’s agricultural community vote for you?”… Continue reading

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Research shows Ohio Ag Net is most listened to farm radio network in the state

Ohio Ag Net Reaches the Most Farmers in Ohio

A recent media study conducted by Ag Media Research (AMR) reveals that the Ohio Ag Net radio network reaches more Ohio farmers than any other farm broadcast network or radio station in the state.  The Ohio Ag Net has a 35% higher average quarter hour share (AQH) than the closest competitor. In addition the AMR research reveals that the Cume rating for soybean farmers is 50.9, corn farmers 50.8 and wheat farmers 54.1.

The AMR study in Ohio is conducted every other year and is considered the standard of audience measurement by the agrimarketing community.

“This is a result of the Ohio Ag Net actively partnering with local affiliate radio stations to reach farmers in Ohio,” said Bart Johnson, president and founder of the Ohio Ag Net. “We worked with stations to develop programming they could deliver at farmer friendly listening times.”… Continue reading

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New wildlife/hunting area open in Marion County

Pheasants Forever and partners have added 300 acres of quality wildlife habitat in Ohio that will be open to public hunting and recreation with the creation of the new Beaver Wildlife Area in Marion County.

Located just southwest of the town of Marion, the new Beaver Wildlife Area is named after the Beaver family (Dave Beaver, Mark Beaver, Alex Beaver and Janis Beaver Loch), which owned and operated the farm for five generations. Thanks to the family and additional partners, the mix of tallgrass prairie, wetlands and oak savanna will be open in perpetuity. The Beaver family donated a percentage of the land value back to Pheasants Forever to manage and maintain the farm. Other funding sources included the Clean Ohio Fund and the Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW). The property will be owned by The Forever Land Trust, a subsidiary of Pheasants Forever, and managed in cooperation with the DOW, which will annex it into the 5,722 acres Big Island Wildlife Area.… Continue reading

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USDA announces assistance to Ohio ag

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is providing help to Ohio farmers through multiple programs.

First, USDA is offering loan guarantees and grants to agricultural producers and business owners across Ohio to enable them to reduce energy use and increase efficiency.

“These loan guarantees and grants will generate and save energy for Ohio’s farmers and businesses for decades to come,” Vilsack said. “Renewable energy systems like the biodigester that generates electricity for this research center are among the many ways USDA is helping the country become more energy independent.”

The $6 million in funding announced today is authorized through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) and is administered by USDA Rural Development through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

Some farm owners have been selected to receive funding to replace older grain dryers with energy efficient models. Others are installing renewable energy systems.  For example, French Creek BioEnergy, LLC has been selected for a $500,000 REAP grant and a $1,650,000 guaranteed loan to construct an anaerobic digester that will produce 6.7 million kilowatts of energy annually. … Continue reading

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2010 candidates’ positions on Ohio agriculture

Editor’s note: With the 2010 election on our doorstep, Ohio’s Country Journal recently asked Ohio’s two leading candidates for governor and two leading candidates for U.S. Senate to answer the following question in 400 words or less: “Why should Ohio’s agricultural community vote for you?” Here are their responses.

Governor Ted Strickland

Growing up in rural Scioto County, I understand the vital role agriculture plays in Ohio. I am proud of my record as governor and the many accomplishments my administration has been able to achieve with the support of Ohio farmers and the agricultural community. These are tough times but together we’ve overseen the largest tax cut in Ohio history, continued to tighten the belt of state government by reducing its size and cost, and cut burdensome regulations so businesses and farms can grow and expand.
It is essential that the next generation of Ohioans have the skills they need to succeed, so we have made record investments in K-12 education and expanded access to affordable higher education.… Continue reading

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2010 candidates' positions on Ohio agriculture

Editor’s note: With the 2010 election on our doorstep, Ohio’s Country Journal recently asked Ohio’s two leading candidates for governor and two leading candidates for U.S. Senate to answer the following question in 400 words or less: “Why should Ohio’s agricultural community vote for you?” Here are their responses.

Governor Ted Strickland

Growing up in rural Scioto County, I understand the vital role agriculture plays in Ohio. I am proud of my record as governor and the many accomplishments my administration has been able to achieve with the support of Ohio farmers and the agricultural community. These are tough times but together we’ve overseen the largest tax cut in Ohio history, continued to tighten the belt of state government by reducing its size and cost, and cut burdensome regulations so businesses and farms can grow and expand.
It is essential that the next generation of Ohioans have the skills they need to succeed, so we have made record investments in K-12 education and expanded access to affordable higher education.… Continue reading

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NOAA: Another Winter of Extremes in Store for U.S. as La Niña Strengthens

The Pacific Northwest should brace for a colder and wetter than average winter, while most of the South and Southeast will be warmer and drier than average through February 2011, according to the annual Winter Outlook released today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. A moderate to strong La Niña will be the dominant climate factor influencing weather across most of the U.S. this winter.

La Niña is associated with cooler than normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, unlike El Niño which is associated with warmer than normal water temperatures. Both of these climate phenomena, which typically occur every 2-5 years, influence weather patterns throughout the world and often lead to extreme weather events. Last winter’s El Niño contributed to record-breaking rain and snowfall leading to severe flooding in some parts of the country, with record heat and drought in other parts of the country. Although La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, it also has the potential to bring weather extremes to parts of the nation.… Continue reading

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Urban agriculture grants at work in Cuyahoga County

Economic opportunity, beautification, new jobs and access to fresh, local produce are being wrapped into one pretty package for the Greater Cleveland community.

Ohio State University Extension in Cuyahoga County has received more than $840,000 in grants to help new farmers get started on small tracts of land in the city, with a special focus on training for women, minorities, refugees, immigrants and limited resource adults with developmental disabilities.

Projects supported by the grants will address several key city issues at once, said Marie Barni, director of the Cuyahoga County office for OSU Extension, including urban blight, food deserts, and unemployment.

The Beginning Entrepreneurs in Agricultural Networks (BEAN) and the Urban Agriculture Innovation District (UAID) projects will turn vacant tracts into lush, productive gardens and farms, Barni said.

“Many people in our county live without ready access to fresh produce. Infusing agriculture throughout our county provides healthy foods in our neighborhoods.… Continue reading

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TSC program supports 4-H

From now through November 21, 2010, Tractor Supply Company stores will support local 4-H youth and their families, volunteers, staff, and alumni with the exclusive TSC Clover Card, a loyalty card that gives periodic discounts to folks affiliated with 4-H and offers clubs the opportunity to win a monthly $500 TSC gift card. In addition, from November 5-14th, all TSC stores will be running a Paper Clover fundraiser in their stores to raise funds for their local 4-H programs. Can you help support 6 million 4-H youth by spreading the word about this exciting campaign?

In addition to the benefits for 4-H families to sign up for the excusive TSC Clover Card, all funds raised through this local TSC Paper Clover Promotion will be donated to 4-H, and will support local camps, after-school programs and other 4-H youth development program activities.

What is the TSC Clover Card?
As part of National 4-H Council’s partnership withTractor Supply Company (TSC), TSC has created a pilot loyalty card program for 4-Hers, their families, and staff involved in 4-H—it is called the TSC Clover Card!… Continue reading

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Cross country meet held “Down on the Farm”

By Kyle Sharp

Hundreds of people gathered at the Ross County farm of Larry and Betsy Moore on Sept. 29, but it wasn’t for an early harvest party. They’d come to watch and participate in the 2010 “Down on the Farm Run,” a low-key cross country meet that has become quite popular among six area schools.

The event is the brainchild of the Moore’s daughter, Jennifer Johnston, who is an agricultural education teacher and cross country coach at nearby Zane Trace High School.

“I started coaching cross country at Zane Trace in fall 2000, and I would take some of our runners out to the farm to run as practice,” Johnston said. “It became tradition and the kids really liked it. Then one of them said it would be neat if we had a meet here. She thought it would be fun to run around the cow pasture.”

That got the creative juices flowing, and plans were soon underway to hold the first “Down on the Farm Run” in 2004.… Continue reading

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