Country Life

Local Sponsor Certification now open through Oct. 9

Counties, Soil & Water Conservation Districts, land trusts, cities, and townships are invited to apply to the Office of Farmland Preservation for Local Sponsor Certification. The application for Local Sponsor Certification is open from August 19, 2020, through October 9, 2020. Any organization interested in being a local sponsor for the 2021 landowner application year must apply during this time period. The application and FAQs are available on the local sponsor page.

Local sponsors who complete the Local Sponsor Certification application and qualify will be allocated a portion of the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP) 2021 funds. These funds are used to purchase agricultural easements on Ohio farms. Refer to the attached timeline for a list of upcoming dates and deadlines for this funding round.

If you have questions, please contact the Farmland Preservation Office at 614-728-6238 or… Continue reading

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Federal legislation update

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

Despite the fact that most of us haven’t seen much besides the inside of our homes lately, the world still turns, which is also true for the gears in Washington D.C. Here is a review of some recently introduced and passed federal legislation, as well as a proposed federal rule.

Great American Outdoors Act is a go

The Great American Outdoors Act, one of the last pieces of legislation introduced by the late Representative John Lewis, was signed into law by the President on August 4. The new law secures funding for deferred maintenance projects on federal lands. The funding will come from 50% of the revenues from oil, gas, coal, or alternative energy development on federal lands. The funding will be broken down between numerous agencies, with 70% to the National Park Service each year, 15% to the Forest Service, 5% to the U.S.… Continue reading

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I do it for the kids

By Katie Wells, Ohio State University Extension Educator for 4-H, Ross County

In 2019, there were 22,933 Ohio 4-H volunteers. Of those, 16,114 were adult volunteers and 6,819 teen volunteers. Why is it that these people are so willing to invest in kids through 4-H?

Perhaps it is because they see youth learning more about themselves, others or a new project area.

Perhaps it is because adults see courage, compassion, resiliency, tenacity, initiative and personal pride springing up in kids.

Perhaps it is because they realize it takes a village to raise a child and they want to be sure the village is a good one.

Perhaps it is because our community works hard head, heart, hands and health to young people and they want kids in on that message. The reasons are endless and unique, but it’s all wrapped up in doing it for the kids.

I love 4-H because of so many big and little things, but one that stands out is every single adult volunteer who unanimously claims their reason for being involved is, “ I do it for the kids.”… Continue reading

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Trump Administration invests $1.35 million in Ohio Renewable Energy Projects

U.S. Department of Agriculture Ohio Rural Development State Director David L. Hall announced 39 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants totaling more than $1.35 million are being awarded to rural small businesses and agricultural concerns across the state.

“By offsetting a portion of renewable energy project costs, REAP funding helps Ohio’s ag producers and rural business owners control costs and preserve the environment,” Hall said. “This program illustrates that we can successfully do both. That’s important — not just in today’s challenging economy — but also for future generations. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA has been working tirelessly to be a strong partner to rural Ohio in building stronger and healthier communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

In Ohio:

• Milky Way Farms is owned and operated by the Oney Family of Huron County. Project funds totaling $24,750 will be used to purchase and install a milk bulk tank and cooling compressors to help ensure milk quality and cut operating costs.… Continue reading

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Virtual Cultivating a Cure a success

The 10th annual Cultivating a Cure, an event created to support cancer treatment and prevention research, raised over $90,000 in support of the OSUCCC — James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute during its first-ever virtual event.

Cultivating a Cure was started in 2011 by former Ohio Farm Bureau President Brent Porteus and his daughters, Amy and Beth, to support their passion for breast cancer research, cancer prevention and to remember Debbie Porteus, beloved wife and mother, and all of those who have or who are battling cancer. Since its inception, Cultivating a Cure has raised almost $750,000.

“It’s amazing to see the power the agricultural community has by coming together with our partners at OSU, The James and Nationwide,” said Frank Burkett III, Ohio Farm Bureau president. “Ohio Farm Bureau has been proud to be a part of this event from the very beginning. Nothing speaks to our mission of advancing agriculture and strengthening our communities like Cultivating a Cure does.”… Continue reading

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FSR Career Exploration Fair transitions to virtual event

The Farm Science Review Career Exploration Fair, previously planned to be held during the 2020 Farm Science Review, will now be offered as a virtual event. This event is hosted by the Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) and The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The FSR Career Exploration Fair is an opportunity for career seekers, from high school and college students to mid-career professionals, who are looking to start or change their career path to connect with agribusiness employers.

The virtual event will be offered in two parts. Before the event, participating companies will post overview videos for participants to view. The virtual Career Exploration Fair will be held Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., allowing participants time to network with these companies and ask deeper questions regarding available positions and scholarships.

A virtual resource kit will be made available to agriscience education programs to assist students in effectively engaging with the Career Exploration Fair.… Continue reading

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USDA to invest up to $360 million in partner-driven conservation

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on August 6 invited potential conservation partners to submit project applications for federal funding through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). NRCS will award up to $360 million dollars to locally driven, public-private partnerships that improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability.

“RCPP brings an expanded approach to investing in natural resource conservation that empowers local communities to work with multiple partners and agricultural producers to design solutions that work best for them,” said Matthew Lohr, NRCS Chief.

Partners may request between $250,000 and $10 million in RCPP funding through this funding announcement. Partners are expected to offer value-added contributions to amplify the impact of RCPP funding in an amount equal or greater to the NRCS investment.

Eligible lead partners are encouraged to apply. Funding is open to private industry, non-government organizations, Indian tribes, state and local governments, water districts and universities, among others.… Continue reading

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New USDA survey to measure areas for improvement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new annual survey of farmers, ranchers and private forestland owners. The survey will help USDA understand what it is doing well and where improvements are needed, specifically at the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Risk Management Agency (RMA).

A selection of 28,000 producers will receive the survey over the next few weeks, but all farmers are encouraged to take the survey at

“We want to hear from our customers so we can learn what we’re doing right and where we’re missing the mark,” said Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “Good data is critical to good decision-making. The more responses we receive, the better we can understand what we need to do to improve our services to America’s farmers, ranchers and private forestland owners.”

This survey is part of the President’s Management Agenda.… Continue reading

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U.S.-UK trade talks continue

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.K. International Trade Secretary Liz Truss  recently met in Washington, D.C. to continue discussions on a possible bilateral trade agreement between the countries.

In October 2018, the Trump administration first announced its intention to negotiate a trade agreement with the U.K.

The National Pork Producers Council is supportive of negotiations, provided the agreement eliminates tariff and non-tariff trade barriers on pork. Ambassador Lighthizer continues to warn that the two nations are unlikely to reach a deal before the November elections. Under the terms of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, the U.S. needs to finalize a deal by April. TPA expires on July 1, 2021.… Continue reading

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Protecting yourself from heat and sun while working outdoors

By Dee Jepsen, PhD; Pat Brinkman, MA; and Jill Kilanowski, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN

When working outdoors the sun and heat can be our enemies. The heat during these hot summer months adds additional stress to our body’s coolant system, which can cause heat stroke, heat stress or heat exhaustion. Working in extreme heat lowers the body’s reaction time and increases risk to other illnesses or injuries.

Death from excessive heat can be explicit — meaning it is the underlying factor that caused the person to die. Besides the sun and heat, wearing additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can burden our body’s regulatory capacity and place workers at increased risk for heat illnesses. Persons with cardiovascular or respiratory illnesses can also be vulnerable to heat; making heart attacks, strokes and other circulatory system attacks more common during the summer months.

Steps to take reduce heat exposure:

  • Drink fluids before thirsty. During strenuous work, persons should have 1 cup (8 ounces) of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
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Rotisserie chicken addiction

Confession: I am now a member of the Costco Cult and addicted to their rotisserie chicken.

Four years ago, a Costco opened its doors a little over 9 miles from our house. Paul and I had just joined empty nesters and I was not sure we would reap the benefit of the “club.” Succumbing to the local cultural pressure, I joined. Paying a membership for the right to buy Costco stuff is crazy and has a cult like following. I am now a firm believer that I have a cult within my community. I drive by many times a week and it is always super packed with people exiting with their carts piled to overflowing. Even in pandemic times, mask wearing members would wait in line to be able to enter.

Are there deals to be had? Absolutely! The gas is well worth the membership alone. The eyeglasses are an incredible savings.… Continue reading

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Preventive controls for animal food course offers FSMA training for processing facilities

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requires facilities processing any type of animal food (complete feed or ingredients) to comply with new current good manufacturing practices and to implement a written animal food safety plan developed and overseen by a “preventive controls qualified individual (PCQI).” In order to assist businesses in meeting the requirements set by the Food and Drug Administration, the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, in collaboration with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), will offer the FSPCA Preventive Controls for Animal Food Course Sept. 8-10. Open to all facilities impacted by FSMA, this course is the standardized training developed by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA). Led by Gary Huddleston of AFIA, the course content will provide knowledge of the FSMA animal preventive controls rule and training for creation of an effective animal food safety plan. A certificate of completion will be given by the FSPCA to individuals that attend the course in full.… Continue reading

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Farm Science Review 2020: Online and free

Farm Science Review will be on a laptop or smartphone this year, and for free, virtual attendees can watch livestreamed talks and recorded videos featuring the latest farm equipment and research.

From Sept. 22 through Sept. 24, people from across the Midwest and the world can learn tips for increasing farm profits and growing crops from soybeans to hemp. Beginning in September, virtual visitors can find out about the show’s offerings by going to and clicking on an image of the show’s site. Within that image, people can click on the various icons to find the schedules for talks and demos they’re most interested in, such as field demonstrations or “Ask the Expert” talks.

Among the livestreamed talks will be Ask the Expert presentations that feature the advice of staff from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) on various topics in agriculture. Viewers will enter the talks through a Zoom meeting link and be able to post their questions in chat boxes.… Continue reading

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Deaf farmer finds ways to overcome

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

Riding next to his dad in the tractor, a young Matt Fry could tell there was a problem with the machine. He and his father were working ground on their farm in Bellville when Matt noticed a difference in the way the tractor was running. He could feel it in the vibrations of the engine that something was not right, even before the beeping alarms let his dad know there was an issue. Although Fry was unable to hear the alarms, his other senses alerted him to the problem.

Growing up, Fry never let his deafness discourage him from enjoying life on the farm. Today, he’s a husband, father and full-time farmer. Matt still works alongside his dad, Robert, as the fourth generation on their family farm, where they no-till oats, wheat, hay, corn, and soybeans. He also has his own small herd of beef cows.… Continue reading

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OAC to release Hall of Fame videos Aug. 7

In lieu of an in person event, the Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC) will release the 2020 Hall of Fame inductee videos on Aug. 7 to recognize the four outstanding individuals of the 2020 induction class: Joe Cornely of Westerville, Dr. Tony Forshey of Hebron, Larry R. Gearhardt of Covington and Wendell L. Waters of West Lafayette.

The OAC invites everyone to visit the Ohio Agricultural Council website — — on Aug. 7 to view the 2020 videos. The videos will also be made available on the OAC YouTube channel ( and Facebook page ( On June 9, the OAC Executive Committee of the Ohio Agricultural Council announced the 55th annual Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame induction ceremony had been postponed to August 6, 2021.… Continue reading

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ODA asks Ohioans to send in unsolicited seeds

After increasing reports of Ohio citizens receiving packages of unsolicited seeds in the mail, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is again urging the public to report and submit any unsolicited seed packets to ODA. In partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine Office, ODA is working to investigate the number of seed packets sent to Ohio, what type of seeds they are, and where they were mailed from.

The USDA-APHIS and ODA are asking Ohioans who have received these unsolicited packages not to open, plant, or throw them away. Instead, citizens should report receiving seeds here and then submit the packages to USDA using one of the following methods:

If possible, place the materials including the seeds, original packaging material and your contact information in a resealable plastic bag and mail them to USDA-APHIS at the following address:
8995 East Main Street, Building 23
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068


2.Place… Continue reading

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Climate and hydrology pattern to relax in August

By Jim Noel, NOAA

The overall drier pattern in many but not all places in Ohio this summer appears like it will relax closer to normal in August. The greatest uncertainty with the outlook will center around how the tropical moisture impacts the eastern United States.

The August outlook for temperatures indicates 1 to 2 degrees F above normal but a lot closer to normal than what we have seen this summer with the heat. The last time we have seen this much hot weather was 2015 and 2012. The good news is the worst of the heat for 2020 appears to be over. What this means is we should see a lot more maximum temperatures in the 80s with some 90s thrown in. Expected minimum temperatures mostly in the 60s to lower 70s.

The August outlook for rainfall indicates somewhat improving conditions. There is uncertainty here due to tropical moisture and where it flows.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation awards Action and Awareness grants

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently awarded grants to fund efforts in agriculture-related programming.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation funds programs that create a positive, measurable impact in four core areas of giving through its Action and Awareness grant program:

Education – Providing grants for professional development programs allowing individuals to advance their knowledge of agriculture, share ideas and improve people’s lives.
Environment – Funding sensible solutions that contribute to a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable Ohio by focusing on increased care for land and water.
Economic Development – Capturing opportunities that build prosperity, create jobs and enhance the quality of life for Ohioans by funding projects that spur economic growth in local communities.
Human-Animal Bond – Promoting the proper care of animals and the many ways they bring quality to human life.

Grant amounts can be awarded up to $3,000 and are provided for a one-year period.
Following are those organizations awarded grants in the spring 2020 grant cycle:

Breaking Free Therapeutic Riding Center
Dreams on Horseback
Friends of Aullwood, Inc.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s farming community and Ohio State Fair release Digital Recipe Guide

Today, a day known by many as the opening day of the Ohio State Fair, Ohio’s farming community and the Ohio State Fair are pleased to release the Ohio State Fair Favorites Digital Recipe Guide. Organizations from Ohio’s agriculture community, including: American Dairy Association Mideast, Ohio Beef Council, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Poultry Association and Ohio Sheep Improvement Association have joined together with the Ohio State Fair to commemorate fair traditions during an unprecedented year.

“There are many reasons people come to the Ohio State Fair – animals, tradition, rides, and of course, food. Whether fairgoers are visiting the Taste of Ohio Café for a farm-fresh meal, sampling something deep-fried, or walking around with a food served on a stick, they are likely to leave with a full stomach and a smiling face,” said Virgil Strickler, CFE, General Manager, Ohio Expo Center & State Fair.

The digital recipe guide, which includes over 20 fair-inspired recipes and fan-favorites from the beloved Taste of Ohio Cafè, allows fairgoers to get a taste of the Ohio State Fair from the safety of their home, all while highlighting the work of Ohio’s farmers.… Continue reading

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