Country Life

Log Cabin Days coming mid-September

Shorter days, cooler temperatures and sweet apple cider usher in the fall season, and with it Log Cabin Days at Hochstetler Log Homes in Loudonville, at 552 State Route 95, Loudonville, OH 44842. Join in the family friendly fun Friday, Sept. 16 and Saturday, Sept. 17. One of the highlights of the event will be the log home tour, where visitors are able to go through up to 8 log homes and discover the casual, relaxing lifestyle that characterizes log home living. This self-guided tour is available for a small donation which supports the American Cancer Society.

   The two-day family oriented event has something for everyone and will also include:

  • Demonstrations of lumberjack skills, ax throwing, wood chopping and cross cut sawing
  • 19th century log home related trades such as hand hewing, wood carving, furniture making, gun building, spinning and rug braiding
  • Log home building.

Many activities will encourage audience participation as well as offer a lineup of excellent seminar speakers.… Continue reading

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Ag Hall of Fame inductees recognized at Ohio State Fair

Four Ohioans who have committed their lives to working in, promoting and advocating for Ohio’s farm community were honored Friday, Aug. 5, by the Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC), when they are inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame. 

The Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC) inducted Leon Boucher of Dublin, Steven C. Drake of Colorado Springs, CO, Lisa Hamler-Fugitt of Lancaster, and Duane Stateler of McComb, into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame. The 56th annual event normally attracts more than 600 guests to honor the four professionals for their lifetime of service and dedication to Ohio’s agriculture community.

“We are pleased to recognize this impressive class of Hall of Fame inductees,” said Chris Henney, president of the Ohio Agricultural Council and president and CEO of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association. “Through their advocacy, mentorship and conservation efforts, the contributions to the agricultural industry of the 2022 class have been recognized across local, state, national and international levels.” … Continue reading

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Non-livestock 4-H exhibitors shine too at the Ohio State Fair

By Matt Reese

Despite the traffic delays, parking challenges and big crowds to navigate, it was wonderful to have a “full” Ohio State Fair again. And, once again, 4-H exhibitors rose to the occasion to represent the next generation of Ohioans well to the general public. This, of course, took place in the livestock barns and the show rings, but it also took place in project judging of the many non-livestock projects at the Ohio State Fair. We love to highlight livestock exhibitors, and in a tradition started by Kyle Sharp years ago, I wanted to dedicate a little space here to recognize the success of some Ohio’s top non-livestock 4-H exhibitors. Thanks to Randall Reeder for getting me these photos and captions and for his work with the youth. Congrats to all of those young people who enjoyed success at the 2022 Ohio State Fair! 

More photos from the 4-H Welding, Woodworking, and Engineering Excitement contests are on reading

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Rib-off returns to Ohio State Fair

Fairgoers gathered at the 24th annual Pork Rib-Off competition to watch as barbecue chefs competed for top honors in the ribs, pulled pork and barbecue sauce categories at the Ohio State Fair on Tuesday, August 2, 2022.  Ohio Eats of Lewis Center, Ohio was awarded Grand Champion Pork Ribs and Bark Brothers BBQ of Cheviot, Ohio was awarded Grand Champion Pulled Pork. Ohio Eats was one of six contestants from across the state to compete in the annual event.

Ohio Eats and their competitors were scored by a group of five judges, including: Virgil Strickler, Ohio Expo Center & State Fair General Manager; Ohio Senator Bob Peterson (R-17); Jerry Happy, Ohio Pork Promoter of the Year; Matt Reese, Ohio Ag Net; and JD Vance, U.S. Senate Candidate (R).

“This is like heaven,” a fairgoer said, sampling pork ribs for the People’s Choice Award. “This event alone is worth the entry into the fair.”… Continue reading

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Farmers support Farm Bureau Foundation with Gift of Grain

As farmers deliver their harvested crops to market, more of them are choosing to donate a portion of their commodities to support the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation through the Gift of Grain program.
“It is a simple way to make a lasting difference,” said Kelly Burns, executive director of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation. “The value of the grain can be used to support the future of Ohio agriculture.”
One such donation came in the form of nearly 90 bushels of soft red winter wheat at Heritage Cooperative’s Marysville location, from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
“Donating some of my grain and knowing that what my family has been able to grow on our farm can directly benefit the future of our industry through the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation means a lot to me,” the farmer said. “I would encourage other farmers to consider doing the same.”
In addition to supporting the Foundation’s commitment of inspiring and educating the next generation of farmers, gifting grain directly, rather than selling first and making a gift from the proceeds, may also provide a more significant tax savings.… Continue reading

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USDA looking for innovations in soil health and climate-smart agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will invest $25 million this year for the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials program.  

Through CIG, partners work to address our nation’s water quality, water quantity, air quality, soil health and wildlife habitat challenges, all while improving agricultural operations. The On-Farm Trials component of CIG supports widespread adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches in partnership with agricultural producers. This year’s funding priorities are climate-smart agricultural solutions, irrigation water management, nutrient management and soil health. 

“Through science and innovation, we can develop solutions to tackle the climate crisis, conserve and protect our water, enhance soil health, and create economic opportunities for producers,” said Terry Cosby, Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “Through On-Farm Trials, partners can work directly with farmers and ranchers to test and adopt new strategies on agricultural lands, accelerating the development and application of conservation that works for producers and the land.”… Continue reading

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Farm Bureau Foundation YAP seat open

In 2020, the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation created a 16th seat on its board of directors, specifically for an active Young Ag Professional member who is passionate about Ohio agriculture, has an interest in the foundation and fundraising, and who would like to further develop their own leadership skills. 

This position is for a one-year term, voting member of the foundation board with the opportunity to serve a second year as recommended by the foundation board of directors. Apply today for the YAP foundation board position. Applications are due Aug. 1 by 5 p.m.Continue reading

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Water quality update for Ohio

By Matt Reese

The agal bloom predictions are again coming in low for Lake Erie in 2022, good news for the Lake, the people who rely upon it and the farmers who often get the blame for its problems.

The 2022 algal bloom is expected to have a low severity index of 3.5, according to the final forecast from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration released June 30. This forecast uses an ensemble of different models, which consider phosphorus loading into the lake during the spring and early summer.

If realized, this will be the fourth year out of the past seven that the algal bloom will be rated less than 4 on a scale of 1 (mild) to 10 (severe). NOAA will release the final algal bloom statistics for 2022 in September.

“For years the farmer’s work has been judged on whether a body of water is green or not, but it doesn’t represent the improvements being made year over year,” said Jordan Hoewischer, director of water quality and research with Ohio Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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Urban ag meeting with USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages urban producers and others to attend the second public meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production on August 5.  The Committee will discuss new urban conservation practices, focus areas and priorities for the Commission, and the new Farm Service Agency (FSA) urban county committees, among other topics. 

“This Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production is giving USDA valuable insights, feedback and guidance on how USDA can better serve producers in urban areas,” said Brian Guse, Director of USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP). “Working with the Committee, USDA will develop strategies to address the needs of  urban agricultural producers and promote innovative production, strengthen local food systems, and increase equity and access to healthy, local food.”  

The Committee is part of USDA’s efforts to support urban agriculture, creating a network for feedback. Membersinclude agricultural producers, and representatives from the areas of higher education or extension programs, non-profits, business and economic development, supply chains and financing.… Continue reading

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Using scents to fool the noses of predatory varmints

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Animals, especially at night, rely on their noses to lead them to a broad range of food sources. Hunters take advantage of this concept to attract deer and elk that are searching for their next dinner.

Famous University of Sydney ecologist Catherine Price, PhD, and her colleagues have published a study that details how animals use their sense of smell to find food. She also researched how animal owners may be able to use odors to lead astray fox, coyotes, and other predators, to prevent them from killing their livestock and pets.

This study really hits close to home for me. A raccoon got into the chicken coop my late wife Kristen maintained. Her chickens were all wiped out in one night.

The study also brings back memories of my parents, who every year planted a half-row each of marigolds and chrysanthemums in their large garden. These flowers weren’t for decoration.… Continue reading

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Planning for the future of your farm workshop

By Taylor Dill, Ohio State University Extension Extension Educator

Many farms are lost in the modern farm community because of an unsuccessful transition from one generation to the next. The farm transition is a difficult task to plan for financially and can be even more difficult to just talk about between family members. It is estimated that more than half of farmers and ranchers do not have an estate plan. Estate planning is crucial for a successful transition to the next generation, while also keeping the family together. Ohio State Extension has many farm management specialists to assist in this undertaking.

Join OSU Extension Darke County in welcoming David Marrison, Coshocton County Extension Educator and Robert Moore OSU Farm Law Attorney for a Planning for the Future of Your Farm event! David and Robert will be covering; developing goals for estate and succession, planning for the transition of control, planning for the unexpected, communication and conflict during the farm transfer, selecting an attorney, legal tools and strategies, developing your team, and getting your affairs in order.… Continue reading

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Holmes County Steam & Engine Show marks 30 years in 2022

Steam engines, antique tractors, threshing machines and more will soon be rolling into Mt. Hope for the 30th annual Holmes County Steam & Engine Show.

“This may be our biggest show yet,” said Melvin Wengerd., Holmes County Steam Engine Association president. “The $10,000 purse featured for our Thursday evening horse pull is the largest in the state and always attracts some of the greatest pulling teams around. A big thank you to Kaufman Realty/JR Miller for their sponsorship.”

The 30th annual, three-day event will be held on the Mt. Hope Auction Grounds/Holmes County Event Center, in Mt. Hope. Dates are Thursday, Aug. 4, Friday, Aug. 5 and Saturday, Aug. 6.

Highlights include Thursday’s horse pull, Friday’s tractor pull and Saturday’s garden tractor and mini rod pull. Visitors won’t want to miss threshing and sawmill demonstrations, tractor games and Saturday’s finale drawing for the pedal tractor. And the kids aren’t left out either, as the event offers daily activities including a pedal tractor pull, a money scramble and arts and crafts workshops.… Continue reading

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Call 988 for a mental health crisis

By Kolt Buchenroth

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a new number designed to be easier to use and remember. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline opens its phone lines and inboxes to Ohioans experiencing a mental health or addiction crisis as well as their family members. According to Ohio’s Mental Health & Addiction Services website, those in crisis will be able to call, text or chat the 988 number and will be connected with a trained counselor that can offer them help and support.

“It’s so much easier to be able to dial three digits versus coming up with the 800 number,” said Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator and member of the Ohio State University Extension Farm Stress team. “If you have an emergency, you dial 9-1-1. If you need to talk to someone, you dial 9-8-8.”

She recommended farmers and agribusinesses place sticky-notes or stickers in their trucks and tractors and windows reminding them that someone is always ready to listen at 9-8-8.… Continue reading

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Cleanup efforts under way in Indian Lake

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

Following a visit from Governor Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) shared information about how residents, business owners, and visitors can find up-to-date information on the ongoing effort to combat the unprecedented aquatic vegetation growth that has impacted boating on Indian Lake.

“ODNR is working hard to control the vegetation at Indian Lake,” said Mary Mertz, ODNR Director. “We will provide regular updates through online and in-person channels to ensure that everyone who loves this lake knows the status of improvement efforts.”

ODNR staff will participate in Indian Lake Watershed Project (ILWP) and Indian Lake Development Corporation (ILDC) and other community meetings to discuss ongoing action and hear stakeholder feedback. ILWP and ILDC meetings are held monthly and are open to the public.

Interested Ohioans will also be able to see weekly plans, photos and videos, and operational reports of vegetation removal posted on the Indian Lake Aquatic Vegetation Management tab of ODNR’s website and on the Indian Lake State Park Facebook page.… Continue reading

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By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Pregnant women crave them, Peter Piper picked them, and Cleopatra even claimed them as a beauty secret. We are talking about pickles and plenty of them. The Pickle Packers Association’s website states Americans eat over 2.5 billion pounds of pickles every year. That’s 20 billion pickles! American’s love their pickles. There are pickle of the month clubs, pickle festivals and the granddaddy of all festivals Picklesburgh! 

The story begins in 2030 BC when cucumber seeds were brought from India to the Tigris River Valley in Mesopotamia, which is current day Turkey/Syria/Iran. They thrived, producing heaps and heaps of cukes. Pickling in a salt or brine bath was the easiest way to preserve the fruits of their labor, making pickles one of the first “fast” portable foods of the times. Pickles were taken on ships, horseback and even stored for the long winter months.… Continue reading

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Farmers feeling the crunch of supply chain shortfalls

By Daniel Munch, economist for American Farm Bureau

Market access is vital to the operation of any business, including farms and ranches across the United States. The complex system of highways, rail lines, rivers and flight paths crisscrossing the nation, and ocean ports dotted along the coasts allow inputs to reach producers and goods to reach customers — when these systems function effectively and efficiently. Over the past several years, starting with the COVID-19 pandemic and exacerbated by global geopolitical rifts, supply chain fluidity has plummeted, ounwith heavy disruptions across freight delivery. 

Total grain rail cars loaded and billed dipped slightly in the second quarter of 2022 from 381,000 cars in quarter one to 373,000 cars in quarter two. This 8,000-car difference is half the decline from quarter two 2021, a year ago, when 391,000 grain cars were loaded and billed across all carriers. In other words, railways loaded and billed fewer grain cars than last quarter and this time last year.… Continue reading

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Ohio leads the pack in farmland loss potential

Smart growth and investment in Midwest downtowns and main streets must occur now to secure the land that grows our food, according to American Farmland Trust’s new report Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future and the accompanying web mapping tool.  

“It is urgent we safeguard the land that grows our food,” said Mitch Hunter, AFT research director and lead author of the report. “In recent years, the global food system has been severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and widespread drought — pushing millions more people into severe hunger. The mounting effects of climate change and the rising global population will make it ever harder to ensure a stable food supply in the coming decades.” 

AFT’s Farms Under Threat research has shown that by 2040, as many as 3,165,000 acres — nearly 5,000 square miles of farmland may be lost to urban and low-density conversion across the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin).… Continue reading

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The online only advantage

By Matt Reese

Online only auctions can offer some advantages.

Jeff Lentz

“The online auction has really exploded and online only has also really exploded. Nothing against a live auction, but if you’re a farmer and you’re going to have a liquidation sale, a live auction does come with a cost. You’re going to need to be prepared to have 300 to 500 people on your farm and 200 to 300 pickup trucks parking in your field. On a great day, with beautiful weather, it’s great. On a bad day, it can be stressful,” said Jeff Lentz, owner of Buckeye Online Equipment Auctions, LLC. “And sellers do not have to haul their equipment to an equipment yard. It saves them time. For a buyer, it’s the same thing with time-savings. They don’t have to stand at an auction all day long. They don’t have to travel three states away. A lot of the buyers are in their tractor or in their combine bidding on equipment while they’re working, so I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”… Continue reading

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Golf outing raises big money

The 2022 Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Golf Invitational raised a record-breaking $100,000 for foundation scholarships, grants and programs that help enhance agricultural communities and support careers in agriculture.

“Raising a record breaking $100,000 will allow the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation to continue our focus to inspire and educate the next generation of agricultural professionals through scholarships, innovative programming and grants. We had a great day connecting with new and loyal supporters while creating awareness around careers in agriculture.” Tara Durbin, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Board President and Senior Vice President of Agricultural Lending Farm Credit Mid-America.

The event was held June 27 at The Country Club at Muirfield Village and hosted 186 golfers. The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation offers a special thank you to the event sponsors, especially Nationwide, who served as the title sponsor for the event.  This successful day would not have been possible without the generous support of sponsors and participants. … Continue reading

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Food banks face a “long, hot summer of need”

By Matt Reese

Those who know can hear the difference.

The sound of open space echoing around the vast storage facility of the Mid-Ohio Food Collective in Grove City is a growing concern. Heading into the high-demand summer season, supplies were at 25% capacity. 

At a time when food is needed most, it is in increasingly shorter supply at food banks around Ohio, said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. 

“Food scarcity and hunger rates are now elevated above the height of the pandemic, which is hard to believe, but there are many reasons for that. We’re seeing our job market recover, but wages continue to be stagnant in the lower sectors — like the service sector — of the economy,” Hamler-Fugitt said. “We are seeing shortages that are exacerbated by the supply chain issues. This is not just in the grocery store — it is all of the inputs that need to go into food production of everything from livestock to additives or the packaging.… Continue reading

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