Country Life

Easter eggspert recipes

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietitian

The focus on world events may have distracted you from some pressing questions. What’s in your Easter Basket? Hollow or solid chocolate bunny? Plastic or real eggs? Sour, fruity, or traditional jellybeans? Or are you one of those peep lovers? Peep. Peep. Peep! It’s sure to provide stimulating conversation at your next family gathering. 

Fascinating research my fingertips found on the subject shows that we spend around $20 filling our baskets. Lining the pockets of candymakers with over $18 million during the Easter holiday season alone. The research company Pattern shows the top 5 selling candies are Cadbury Eggs (both big and mini), Reese Eggs, Starburst jellybeans, Robin’s eggs, and chocolate bunnies. There were 75,000 consumers who searched for jellybeans on Amazon last year as the clock ticked closer to the bunny’s big hopping delivery day! That is just crazy talk but, what can I say, the Detwilers love jellybeans.… Continue reading

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Funds coming to Grand Lake St. Marys for dredge equipment

State Representatives Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) and Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) announced the release of funds Monday for new dredge equipment for Grand Lake St. Marys. 

The Department of Natural Resources will receive $83,395 to replace dredge equipment that has been in operation on the lake for the past 21 years.

“This is a critical replacement for the lake,” Manchester said. “This updated equipment is needed to help keep the lake healthy.” 

Over the past several years the dredge has been less productive due to failing parts. These funds will be used to replace major functions of the dredge to include the electrical, hydraulic and computer hardware.

“These improvements are not only vital in advancing the lake’s natural habitat, but also protecting a major economical attraction to western Ohio,” Riedel said.

Grand Lake St. Marys over the past decade has been plagued by dangerous algae blooms that have affected the water quality and aquatic animal life.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s beginning farmer tax credit bill moves forward

State Representative Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) announced the General Assembly has approved House Bill 95, her bipartisan legislation that creates a beginning farmer tax credit to assist one generation of farmers to the next.  

The legislation will also allow for an income tax credit for established farmers as they sell or rent their agricultural assets to beginning farmers who take a qualified financial management course. Agriculture assets include farmland, livestock, buildings or equipment.

“Agriculture is the backbone of Ohio’s economy and with the average age of Ohio farmers at 58-years-old, we must do something to get the next generation to look at farming as a career choice,” Manchester said. “This legislation not only gives existing farmers a financial reason to pass on their trade, but also keep agriculture strong in the state.”

 Under the bill, the credit is limited to five years and allows up to $10 million for the total amount of tax credits awarded for the life of the program.… Continue reading

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Bipartisanship allows lawmakers to make positive impacts

By Brooke Appleton, Vice President of Public Policy for the National Corn Growers Association 

When John Enns climbed up on his rye wicker on a beautiful day in 2004, he was looking forward to spending time in the field. Excited about riding his recently purchased equipment, he didn’t know he was moments away from having his life change forever.

As Enns drove the tractor out of a ditch, it flipped over, trapping him under the weight of the machinery. He had two broken vertebrae, five broken ribs and was paralyzed from the waist down. Enns found himself going through hours of physical therapy and trying to navigate a world that often turns a blind eye to those who live with disabilities. Suddenly, Enns was trying to get his wheelchair over steep curbs, trying to climb on top of his tractor without use of his legs and trying to make it up flights of steps at public buildings.… Continue reading

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Ohio NRCS announces second round of Conservation Stewardship Program funding

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Ohio has announced a second round of funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Private landowners interested in building on existing conservation efforts to improve production and reduce overall input costs are encouraged to apply by the May 13, 2022 deadline.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land.

“NRCS conservation programs are good for natural resources and for your operation’s bottom line,” said John Wilson, NRCS Ohio State Conservationist. “The Conservation Stewardship Program allows you to address resource concerns like nutrient management, soil quality and energy use, which can really impact a farmer’s margins.”

CSP encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rates, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.… Continue reading

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USDA’s role in climate initiatives

As the process to write the 2023 farm bill begins, the agriculture committees should address climate policy in a producer-focused way, said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) and a co-chair of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA). Conner’s remarks came during testimony at a House Agriculture Committee hearing to review the role of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs in addressing climate change.

“As the Committee begins work on the next farm bill, we recommend that the process align with FACA’s guiding principles. We believe that policies should be voluntary, and market- and incentive-based; that they should advance science-based outcomes; and that they should promote resiliency and help rural economies better adapt to climate change,” Conner testified.

Conner noted that FACA released a comprehensive list of recommendations related to agriculture and climate in November 2020. Several of these, he said, should be considered during the farm bill process, including strengthening USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, expanding broadband access in rural America, and bolstering energy programs such as the Rural Energy for America Program.… Continue reading

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Farm Income Enhancement Program studies accuracy of agricultural baseline

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) long-term agricultural baseline projections give farmers, agribusinesses, and policymakers a 10-year look into the future of farming and global trade. Researchers at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) recently looked at the informativeness and accuracy of these projections, which many rely on when making business and government policy decisions.

The Farm Income Enhancement Program studied more than two decades of baseline projections and actual realized values of major agricultural indicators to determine the accuracy of the projections. Examples of indicators included commodity prices, yields, farm income, acres harvested, etc. 

Their studies focused primarily on corn and soybean figures, two prevalent crops in Ohio. 

The results suggest that most of the baseline projections are informative for the future only up to four to five years. However, the report shows that some projections are quite accurate for an extended period.… Continue reading

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Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week, April 4-8

Ryan Mitchell participates in the Waldo Firefighters Association training program for its volunteer firefighters on a new Grain Rescue System.

Grain flowing inside a bin can trap and engulf a worker in seconds, and makes for a sobering fact: nearly six of every 10 workers trapped in a grain bin don’t survive. 

For the past six years, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Grain Handling Safety Coalition, Grain Elevator and Processing Society and National Grain and Feed Associationhave been working together to address hazards, reduce risks and improve safety and health management systems to help prevent life-altering injuries and fatalities. 

In 2022, the alliance will hold its annual Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week from April 4 to April 8 with a focus on making small changes for a big impact to improve safety in this high-hazard industry.

“Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week will bring industry professionals together to focus on how small changes can eliminate dangerous hazards and protect workers from serious injuries” said Doug Parker, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health.… Continue reading

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Senate passes Ocean Shipping Reform Act

Last week the Senate unanimously passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.

“AFBF appreciates the unanimous vote in the Senate to pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. Farmers have lost out on up to $4 billion in agricultural exports because of lack of access to export containers, record shipping costs and harmful surcharges,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Limited trade has also hampered farmers’ ability to get crucial supplies like fertilizer at a time when supply chains are already stressed. AFBF encourages lawmakers from both chambers to work quickly to reconcile differences in each version of the legislation and get it to the president for his signature so farmers can continue putting dinner on the table for families in America and overseas.”… Continue reading

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USDA encourages producers to enroll grasslands into special Conservation Reserve Program signup

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages producers and landowners to enroll in the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) through May 13, 2022. Grassland CRP provides a unique opportunity for farmers, ranchers, and agricultural landowners to keep land in agricultural production and supplement their income while improving their soils and permanent grass cover.   The program had its highest enrollment in history in 2021 and is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader effort to equip producers with the tools they need to help address climate change and invest in the long-term health of our natural resources.  

Grassland CRP is a federally funded voluntary working lands program. Through the program, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides annual rental payments to landowners to maintain and conserve grasslands while allowing producers to graze, hay, and produce seed on that land.  Maintaining the existing permanent cover provides several benefits, including reducing erosion, providing wildlife habitat and migration corridors, and capturing and maintaining carbon in the soil and cover. … Continue reading

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A spring of war

By Matt Reese

Retired Ohio State University Extension agronomist Harold Watters has been working with Ukrainian farmers and agronomists for over a decade. He has traveled to Ukraine many times to teach agronomics in person, but had switched to virtual teaching since 2020. Watters was finally set to return in person late last year.

“I was supposed to go in December and it got canceled because of impending disaster. Then I was supposed to go Feb. 18 but that got canceled too,” Watters said. “We were basically in the middle of a virtual class when it got canceled. They were saying, ‘We’re under attack and we’re shutting down.’ I am so worried about my friends there. I have met so many farmers across that country and they are very resilient. They are survivors. This country has been beat up on before. I am not surprised they are fighting back.

“They are wondering what they should do.… Continue reading

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Ocean shipping reform progressing

Last week, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved the “Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022” (S. 3580) to address longstanding supply chain issues and shipping port disruptions. The bill now moves to the full Senate; the House approved a similar measure late last year. Agriculture was well represented among 89 business groups that expressed support for the Senate bill in a late February letter to bill sponsors Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD). 

The groups noted that supply chain problems are expected to continue throughout 2022 and will “have a significant effect on inflation as well as continued economic recovery.” They pointed out that one of the biggest issues facing cargo owners and other supply chain stakeholders is detention and demurrage fees charged by shipping ports, terminal operators and common carriers on exporters and importers. S. 3580, among other actions, would formalize a Federal Maritime Commission interpretive rule on detention and demurrage charges and define the parameters for using them.… Continue reading

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Farm Credit lenders expanding online lending platform

Farm Credit lenders in 28 states announced they are collaborating to nearly triple in size the area where their shared online land loan application service will be available. FarmLend.com, the online service, will accelerate and simplify the farm and ranch loan process across more than 300 million acres. 

FarmLend.com allows borrowers to apply for land financing 24/7, when and where it’s convenient for them. Within three business hours, applicants are contacted by a financing expert who answers questions and helps guide their loan application through their Farm Credit association’s review and approval process. 

“The FarmLend experience has been especially well-received by customers who value online convenience paired with quick access to financing and ag expertise,” said Carl Horne, vice president of digital loan products and services at Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica). “Making financing experts who understand the ag real estate market accessible soon after someone applies online has allowed FarmLend to provide a unique ‘best of both’ experience that customers highly value.”… Continue reading

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U.S. and United Kingdom progressing with tariff talks

The United States and the United Kingdom agreed to drop retaliatory tariffs on each other’s products as part of trade talks between the two countries. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.K. Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan met last week in Baltimore to discuss a U.S.-U.K. trade and investment agreement. A second round of talks will take place in the U.K. in the coming months.

Trevelyan also met with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to work out the tariffs issue, with the United States agreeing to rescind tariffs on British steel and aluminum imports and the U.K. dropping retaliatory duties on U.S. goods. The first Joint U.K.-U.S.Dialogues on the Future of Atlantic Trade included senior representatives from government and the business sectors. The two sides are seeking to boost trade between the countries and were expected to discuss how they can work together on digital and green trade. The National Pork Producers Council has been pressing the White House to negotiate new FTAs, including with the United Kingdom, and has been a supporter of closer trade relations with the U.K.… Continue reading

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SEC requiring firms to report GHG emissions

The Securities and Exchange Commission voted 3-1 to propose regulations mandating that publicly traded companies report their carbon emissions and other climate-related information, providing risk analyses, goals and other potentially sensitive business data.

In addition to detailing their direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, firms would be required to report on the GHGs from partner companies, suppliers and distributors. One research and advisory company with experience in environmental, social and governance reporting estimates the cost of complying with the rule would be $6.7 billion over the next three years.

A public comment period of at least 30 days will follow the proposed rule’s publication in the Federal Register. The National Pork Producers Council and other agricultural organizations are reviewing the 570-page regulation and will submit comments on a number of concerns.… Continue reading

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The Agriculture Education Foundation offers scholarships for future agri-science educators

The Agriculture Education Foundation is accepting applications for five $1,000 scholarships to be issued to college students enrolling in Ohio’s agriculture educator programs for the fall semester 2022.

This opportunity is open to any student who meets the minimum qualifications and is enrolled or planning to enroll in an agriculture teaching major or 4-H extension major at any of Ohio’s three Universities offering these programs, another two year or four-year school in Ohio offering a two plus two programs or another pathway to become an agriculture teacher or extension educator.

The five scholarships will consist of two for students at a four-year institution, two for students at a community college with a 2 plus 2 program, and one for an individual using the alternative pathway to become an agri-science teacher. This will be a non-reimbursable scholarship that can be used for tuition, university housing and class materials. All funds will be administered through the institution’s office of billing and or tuition assistance.… Continue reading

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Ohio reaches $80 million settlement with Monsanto over PCB 

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced an $80 million settlement with the Monsanto Co. that forces the company to pay for the long-standing environmental damage it knowingly caused in Ohio with its toxic products.

“Ohio has been absorbing the health and environmental costs of PCB contamination for decades, and the cleanup will likely continue for even longer,” Yost said. “This settlement not only holds Monsanto accountable for its actions but also provides significant financial resources to assist in environmental cleanup.”

The state filed suit against Monsanto in 2018, maintaining that the company had known for decades that it created products with harmful levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a group of man-made chemicals that can cause cancer in humans, are toxic to fish and wildlife, and can damage waterways and soil.

The settlement comes after extended litigation by Yost’s Environmental Enforcement Section, with the money being placed in Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accounts specifically designated to mitigate future environmental hazards.… Continue reading

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OEFFA presents 2022 awards

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has named the 2022 recipients of its Stewardship and Service awards.   

Dean McIlvaine of Wayne County received the Stewardship Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the cultivation of sustainable agriculture community, and Louise Warner of Pickaway County received the Service Award, which recognizes extraordinary service in support of sustainable agriculture. 

2022 Stewardship Award Winner — Dean McIlvaine 

Since 1985, Dean McIlvaine has operated Twin Parks Organic Farm, a 1,200-acre farm in West Salem. When he took over the conventionally farmed land from his father, he began transitioning the farm to organic, a newly emerging trend at the time. Twin Parks was certified organic by OEFFA in 1988. 

McIlvaine made the transition to organic farming on the belief that it is better and healthier not only for the environment, but for people as well. 

Early in his organic career, McIlvaine realized the importance of balancing the agroecological realities of his land and soils with the needs of the marketplace.… Continue reading

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National Ag Day March 22

The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) will celebrate National Agriculture Day on March 22, 2022. This will mark the 49th anniversary of National Ag Day which is celebrated in classrooms and communities across the country. The theme for National Ag Day 2022 is “Growing a Climate for Tomorrow.” 

On March 22, 2022, the ACA will host a virtual Ag Day event and events in Washington, DC. Additionally, the ACA will bring approximately 100 college students to Washington “virtually” to deliver the message of Ag Day to the Hill. A core leadership team of college students will attend events in DC. Another exciting feature of Ag Day 2022 is the Celebration of Modern Agriculture on the Mall, March 21 and 22. 

These events honor National Agriculture Day and mark a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us.… Continue reading

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Problem Solvers Caucus roundtable on supply chain

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) joined the U.S. House of Representatives’ bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in a roundtable to discuss additional steps Congress could take to address the ongoing export supply chain crisis facing American exports, including dairy. 

Jaime Castaneda, executive vice president for policy development and strategy for USDEC and NMPF, spoke during a panel discussion moderated by Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) to identify the challenges exporters are facing in securing container and vessel space, unprecedented congestion, and record fees to ship products to international customers. 

“A conservative estimate of the supply chain challenges for dairy exporters in 2021 is over $1.5 billion in higher direct costs, reduced value, and lost sales,” Castaneda said. “If this continues, we risk losing ground to our competitors in highly competitive foreign markets, which has ripple effects on the paychecks of American dairy farmers and the thousands of workers who support the export supply chain.” … Continue reading

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