Country Life



Get your fair food fix

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietitian

Caution: What you are about to read is not healthy.

I am guessing the stay at home order found you along with me, with increased TV time. I love the game show Family Feud. I love the answers, the questions and Steve Harvey. It just hits my funny bone. Richard Dawson kicked off this popular game show when it first aired in 1976. It has been running for 19 seasons with six different hosts and close to 2,500 episodes. Paul and I love to see where our answers fall on the survey.

Summer is in full swing and one of the hot topics in the Ag world is: will fairs happen? The Ohio State Fair has cancelled, and fate of many county fairs is still up in the air. Fairs are communal, a social gathering of the local community to share in their love, passion and celebration of 4-H, food, agriculture, and down-home country entertainment.… Continue reading

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Declining farmland tax values expected

There’s a bit of good news for Ohio farmers to counter the ample bad news caused by COVID-19, as well as by last year’s historic rain.

In counties scheduled for property value updates in 2020 — about half of Ohio’s 88 counties — the average value of farmland enrolled in the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) program should be about 40% lower than 2017–2019, or about $665 per acre.

That’s according to projections by researchers at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The same projections say that in counties due for property value updates in 2021 —another quarter of Ohio’s counties — average CAUV values should be about 25% less than 2018–2020, or about $760 per acre. The declines should mean lower property taxes, on average, for most of the farmers in those counties.

The projections were published in a May report by postdoctoral researcher Robert Dinterman and Ani Katchova, associate professor and farm income enhancement chair, both of CFAES’ Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics.… Continue reading

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2020 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge winners

A team of two Ohio high school students took first place in the 2020 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge finals for their policy proposal about creating a statewide database of verified volunteers.

Sponsored by Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio 4-H and Ohio FFA, the challenge brings together youths ages 14 to 18 from around the state to discuss community concerns and then work together to propose policies and programs to solve the issues.

The 2020 winning team members are Evan Stuart of Richland County and Halle Miller of Wayne County.

The challenge started in the spring when groups met to learn about public policy issues and began planning their proposals. Nine teams presented their proposals in the finals in June, and the top four teams received scholarships.

The teams were judged on their public policy proposals dealing with a specific issue or problem. In the final competition, the teams described the steps necessary to have their public policy proposal adopted by the appropriate government authorities.… Continue reading

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Empty fairgrounds in 2020 do not stop learning experiences for youth

By Sarah Noggle, Extension educator, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, Paulding County

This week (the week of June 15) is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Usually, it is the week of the first county fair in the State of Ohio, but our fairgrounds are sitting empty. You won’t hear the laughter of 4-H and FFA members from the barns.

Our hats go off to the Paulding County Sr. and Jr. Fairboards as this tough decision was made a few weeks ago. The economic impact on the fair board with social distancing and other guidelines made it almost economically impossible to hold the fair. This situation is tough, especially because fair is where my heart is personally every summer because of the many connections I have developed over the years. While this year’s pandemic has put a wrench in the county fair plan, the plan was already in another person’s hands that we have learned to live with by faith.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Council announces postponement of Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame Induction Breakfast

The Executive Committee of the Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC) announced the postponement of the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame Induction Breakfast that is held during the Ohio State Fair. Due to the fair’s cancellation and the many unknowns surrounding large events, the annual induction has been postponed until Aug. 6, 2021.

“The strength and resiliency of Ohio’s farm community is admirable. That resolve shines brightest during our annual Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame breakfast, when we honor the legacies and achievements of Ohio’s agriculture leaders,” said the group in a statement. “Inherent in our celebration is the opportunity for families, friends and supporters of our inductees to recognize their accomplishments and to enjoy the agriculture offerings of the Ohio State Fair. Without the fair, and the ability to bring together all those that want to celebrate our inductees, and in the context of continuing health and safety concerns, cancelling this year’s breakfast event is appropriate.… Continue reading

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USDA issued first Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has already approved more than $545 million in payments to producers who have applied for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. FSA began taking applications May 26, and the agency has received over 86,000 applications for this important relief program.

“The coronavirus has hurt America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers, and these payments directed by President Trump will help this critical industry weather the current pandemic so they can continue to plant and harvest a safe, nutritious, and affordable crop for the American people,” said Secretary Perdue. “We have tools and resources available to help producers understand the program and enable them to work with Farm Service Agency staff to complete applications as smoothly and efficiently as possible and get payments into the pockets of our patriotic farmers.”

In the first six days of the application period, FSA had already made payments to more than 35,000 producers.… Continue reading

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The 4 Hs in the light of a pandemic

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

Any former 4-H member surely remembers the pledge of the youth organization covering the four Hs: Head to clearer thinking, heart to greater loyalty, hands to larger service, health for better living…

The challenges of 2020 have not changed the importance or meaning of the four H’s but have provided new opportunities to carry them out. Sally McClaskey, the program manager at the state 4-H office for education and marketing, encourages 4-H’ers to look at their project books and work on them with the challenges of today’s situation and the 4-Hs in mind. She said Ohio 4-H Extension has 20 printable project books online at ohio4h.org.

“The important thing about any 4-H project is what the youth learns from it,” she said. “The responsibility of taking care of an animal or completing a project all the way through, seeing it through to completion and what they take away from it — that’s really what’s most important thing.”… Continue reading

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Tips for selling and shopping at farmers markets

At this year’s farmers markets, Ohio’s farmers will be selling fresh foods. However, there won’t be any farm-fresh food samples to taste, and the music and children’s activities that typically accompany the markets will likely be canceled.

Ohio farmers markets, farm markets, and you-pick operations are open, they’re taking precautions to keep consumers safe from COVID-19, and they’re fully stocked with locally grown and produced foods.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted growers, local farmers, and livestock producers, these groups are continuing to plant, harvest, and market foods directly to the public, said Shoshanah Inwood, assistant professor of community, food, and economic development at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

That’s allowing consumers to maintain access to locally produced fruits, vegetables, poultry, meats, and other food products during this growing season. However, there will be changes in how consumers interact with these farmers at farmers markets, farm markets, and you-pick operations, Inwood said.… Continue reading

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New law provides more PPP flexibility

President Trump signed into law, legislation which provides businesses with greater flexibility in how they use Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and still have their loans forgiven: H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020.

Specifically, the legislation expands the amount of time businesses have to spend the money from eight to 24 weeks; reduces the minimum that businesses need to spend from 75% to 60% if they want the full loan amount to be forgiven; extends the time period to rehire employees from June 30, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020 and eliminates rehiring requirements; and clarifies that employers in the PPP program can also benefit from the CARES Act payroll tax delay.… Continue reading

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Back to the Future: A miraculous journey in Parkinson’s research (Part I — Cellular time travel)

By Don “Doc” Sanders

You probably remember the movie “Back to the Future,” starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. The story I share with you in this column, how an imaginative, daring, life-impacting research project, brought that movie to my mind.

Late one summer night in 2017 four researchers were planning to transport brain cells for a transplant from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to the Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. Bin Song, a stem cell biologist based at McClean Hospital outside Boston, headed up the team. He and his colleagues had spent years developing the protocol for creating these special human stem cells that would develop into dopamine-producing brain cells.

Like Doc’s DeLorean in “Back to the Future,” their research allowed them to time travel. Bin Song and his fellow scientists took a snippet of a Parkinson’s patient’s skin cells and reversed their embryological development back to when the cells were rudimentary, before they matured and developed into the tissues and organs that make up our bodies, like the heart, lungs, brain, GI tract, skeleton, etc.… Continue reading

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Don’t roll your eyes at the discussion of force majeure

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

Twenty-nine years ago I recall sitting in my contracts class rolling my eyes at the discussion of force majeure. It seemed like such an impractical, academic concept that I doubted I would ever use it in practice. Wrong.

The term is French and means “superior force”or “unavoidable accident.” Force majeure is a common clause in contracts, including agreements for production agriculture, contract growers and custom feeding. The provision essentially frees both parties from performance when an extraordinary event or circumstance, beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, epidemic, pandemic or an event described by the legal term act of God, prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligation under the contract. The effects of the coronavirus on the food chain are likely force majeure under many legal situations.

Pillsbury Company, Inc. v Wells Dairy, Inc.Continue reading

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Ohio’s historic canal reservoirs provide present day recreational opportunities

By Mike Ryan, OCJ Field Reporter

During the heyday of Ohio canal construction, commerce, and travel in the middle 1800s, several feeder reservoirs were built to supply enough water to maintain a constant depth of 4 feet needed in the canals. As the era of the great canals waned, these feeder lakes lost their original purpose as water sources for canal traffic and were transformed into popular vacation and recreation destinations. These feeder lakes — Buckeye Lake, Indian Lake, Grand Lake, Lake Loramie, and Guilford Lake — are rich in human and natural history and offer diverse adventures for contemporary visitors.

 

Buckeye Lake

Ohio’s oldest state park is located at Buckeye Lake, a former feeder reservoir for the Ohio-Erie Canal. Spanning three separate counties — Fairfield, Perry, and Licking — this 3,100-acre lake was completed in 1830 and many vestiges of its history remain today.

On the lake in Millersport, Weldon’s Ice Cream, family owned and operated since 1930, still serves up old fashioned flavors from its quaint historic storefront.… Continue reading

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State to financially assist fairs, relaxes guidelines

By Dusty Sonnenberg

On Tuesday, June 9, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, along with Ohio Senate President, Larry Obhof (R-Medina) and Ohio Speaker of the House of Representatives, Larry Householder (R-Glenford) sent a letter to Ohio Fair Board members acknowledging the challenges COVID-19 has presented in conducting junior fair activities in a safe manner, and doing it in a way that “works financially.”

To help offset the expense of necessary health and sanitation practices that must be implemented due to the coronavirus, each fair that conducts a junior fair this year will receive $50,000. Fairs that do not conduct a junior fair this year will receive $15,000 that can be used towards next year’s fair to help offset the cost of conducting it safely. They also announced that if a fair has been canceled, they can apply for a new date with the Ohio Department of Agriculture.… Continue reading

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Celebrate June Dairy Month with yogurt

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietitian

Milk it’s what’s for dinner! Oops! I love slogans or catchy phrases and the marketing of commodities is no exception. Got Milk? was one of my favorites. It was created in 1993 and kicked off with a commercial named “Aaron Burr.” Google it if you are too young to remember. This nerdy guy is eating a peanut butter sandwich and gets a call from the radio station asking a $10,000 trivia question. He is a guru on the subject, knows the answer but cannot talk due to the dreaded sticky peanut butter mouth. Worse yet…he is out of milk. He has nothing to wash it down. The slogan took off with ads featuring sticky situations needing of course, milk!

“Got Milk” started a new campaign in 1988 with celebrities wearing milk mustaches. Celebrities from the music, TV, film, athletes as well as Batman, The Simpsons and other fictional characters starred in these fantastic ads.… Continue reading

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Farm Office Live Webinar slated for June 11 at 9:00 a.m.

Ohio State University Extension is pleased to be offering the a “Farm Office Live” session on Thursday morning, June 11 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. Farmers, educators, and ag industry professionals are invited to log-on for the latest updates on the issues impact our farm economy.

The session will begin with the Farm Office Team answering questions asked over the two weeks. Topics to be highlighted include:

• Updates on the CARES Act, Payroll Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), and Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Update
• Other legal and economic issues
Plenty of time has been allotted for questions and answers from attendees. Each office session is limited to 500 people and if you miss the on-line office hours, the session recording can be accessed at farmoffice.osu.edu the following day. Participants can pre-register or join in on Thursday morning at https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive.… Continue reading

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See something, say something: how to help someone that may be struggling with mental illness

By Brittany Olson, a Wisconsin Farm Bureau member, dairy farmer, writer, photographer and mental health advocate

Agriculture is commonly noted as being the last industry to make transactions on a handshake and an individual’s good word. Relationships are paramount, and — in general — we look out for each other. When tragedy strikes one of our own in the form of death, disability, or disease, we’re right there with a hot dish, a hug, and harvesting equipment depending on the time of year.

However, when the wounds are a little less visible — such as the scars that tear us apart on the inside — we clam up. Mental health is an uncomfortable topic both in and of itself, and how to address it. It should make us uncomfortable that our profession has a higher suicide rate than that of veterans and one of the highest overall. It should make us uncomfortable that one in four Americans will experience a major depressive episode at some point in their lifetime.… Continue reading

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$500,000 gift transforms Ohio State ATI’s engineering tech program

A recent $500,000 gift helps Ohio State ATI provide a competitive advantage to students, faculty, and staff through experiential learning with the most up-to-date engineering technology.

The gift, made by an anonymous donor, creates three new current-use funds for the Department of Engineering Technology at ATI, the associate-degree-granting academic unit within The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

In addition, the donation significantly boosts an existing fund that aids students with financial crises. This resource is even more crucial during the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The bulk of this gift is supportive of our engineering technologies. That is a tremendous career field,” ATI Director Kris Boone said. “We have been wanting to attract more students to this area because it’s a great career path. This gift will help us to be able to do that. In addition, it will help us ramp up workforce development training.”… Continue reading

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Restaurant sales fell to their lowest real level in over 35 years

With restaurant dining areas shuttered throughout most of the country, consumers had no choice but to allocate their food spending elsewhere in recent weeks. While takeout and delivery options offered many restaurants a bit of a lifeline, it by no means made up for the mandated elimination of on-premises traffic.

Eating and drinking places registered sales of just $32.4 billion on a seasonally-adjusted basis in April, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This was less than half — or $33 billion — of the $65.4 billion in sales that were rung up just two months earlier.

April’s eating and drinking place sales of $32.4 billion was the smallest volume since March 2005 — in nominal terms. However, adjusting for inflation, consumer spending at eating and drinking places in April plunged to its lowest level since October 1984.

In March, consumers spent only $46 billion in restaurants — or roughly $20 billion short of what would normally be expected.… Continue reading

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New federal funds available for farmers

Good news for farmers dismayed by a drop in prices and demand for what they produce.

New federal payments will be issued to eligible farmers to help offset lower demand and prices for their produce, grain crops, milk, and livestock as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Producers of cattle, hogs, specialty crops, corn, soybeans, and other agricultural goods can apply for the payments through Aug. 28 at their local Farm Service Agency Center. The funding is related to losses farmers have experienced during the first six months of this year.

Market prices for agricultural commodities have plummeted as a result of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus infections among employees at major meat processing plants led to shutdowns at those plants and a backlog of market-ready livestock on the farm that could not be processed.

“This is not meant to fully compensate for all losses,” said Dianne Shoemaker, an associate professor at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) who specializes in dairy production economics.… Continue reading

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Wilmington College receives $13.5 million estate gift

Wilmington College’s largest gift ever received in the 150-year history of the landmark institution will accelerate the ongoing renaissance WC has enjoyed in recent years as a result of enrollment records, new academic programs, major gifts, fiscal stability, and new and renovated facilities.

With the disbursement pending, the College expects to receive $13.5 million from the estate of Catherine (Cathy) Withrow, widow of 1958 alumnus Andrew (Andy) Withrow. They join a fellowship of key supporters who continue to demonstrate their confidence in Wilmington College. The College accepts their gift as a reflection of the couple’s belief in its ongoing commitment to excellence as a Quaker-affiliated institution of higher education that is preparing the leaders of tomorrow, according to President Jim Reynolds.

The Withrows, of Cincinnati, have a long history of supporting Andy’s alma mater. Starting in the 1960s, almost immediately after Andy graduated, they contributed $20 annually to the College phonathon. … Continue reading

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