Country Life

Managing risks and opportunities in 2022

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

Ohio agriculture is facing a time of great risk and great opportunity.

“This year has certainly presented a lot of different challenges. We started off with a lot of wet weather then hit a dry spell, but yields will be decent. There are rising interest rates, inputs are increasing if you can even find them. Equipment is hard to find and if you can find it can you get it bought? Risk management has taken on a whole new light,” said Evan Hahn, vice president of agricultural lending for Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA). “We need to be thinking longer term with that. Risk management goes beyond crop insurance and making sure inputs get bought right. I think there were many opportunities for producers to lock in profitability this year too.”

A risk management topic of significant current interest is, well, interest.

“With the ag customers we have, everyone is affected by interest rates.… Continue reading

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Marketplace Pavilion to promote local agriculture at FSR

For the first time ever, Farm Science Review will feature the Marketplace Pavilion, a point-of-sale area dedicated to local producers of agricultural goods, at the 2022 show, Sept. 20-22.

“We see this as an opportunity to support local farm economies,” said Nick Zachrich, Farm Science Review manager. “It’s our hope that the Marketplace Pavilion will allow producers to not only market their products to show visitors, but also the many local and regional grocery retailers in the area.”

Direct marketing of produce and other agricultural products continues to be an important sales outlet for producers across the state. Both individuals and retailers will be able to source quality local products from the Marketplace Pavilion exhibitors.

“We know that most of these producers don’t have the same marketing budget as a global equipment manufacturer, so the Marketplace Pavilion will give them a dedicated space at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center to market their unique goods to our show visitors,” Zachrich said.… Continue reading

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Three decades of focus on Ohio agriculture

By Tim Reeves, initial editor of Ohio’s Country Journal

            While the first edition of Ohio’s Country Journal was unveiled in September of 1992 at the Farm Science Review, the seeds of the OCJ were actually planted in spring 1976 in the Agri-Broadcasting Network offices on Riverside Drive, Upper Arlington. The late Ed Johnson had been operating the ABN for several years and had built the ABN into Ohio’s premier radio farm and agricultural news network. I was just getting ready to graduate from The Ohio State University in March 1976 with a dual degree in agricultural economics and journalism. Since The Ohio State University did not have an agricultural communications major at the time, those of us interested in a career in ag communications had to major in something else and take journalism/communications courses as our “minor.” I actually graduated with as many journalism/communication courses as I had ag econ courses!… Continue reading

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Mental Health First Aid training this fall

In response to our nation’s mental health crisis, Ohio State University Extension has been offering statewide opportunities for Mental Health First Aid training.

This groundbreaking skills-based course gives people tools to identify, understand and respond to someone who might be struggling with a mental health or substance use challenge and connect them with appropriate support and resources when necessary. 

One in five Americans has a mental illness, and the pandemic has dramatically increased depression and anxiety, but many are reluctant to seek help or don’t know where to turn for care. Unlike physical conditions, symptoms of mental health and substance use problems can be difficult to detect. Friends and family members may find it hard to know when and how to step in. As a result, those in need of mental health services often do not receive care until it is too late.

Just as CPR helps even those without clinical training assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person experiencing a mental health crisis.… Continue reading

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Groundbreaking for new fertilizer facility near Defiance

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA

Under a bright and sunny, late August sky in Defiance, Ohio, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc. fertilizer production facility. 

Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc. (TKI) is a Belgian based company with its North American headquarters in Phoenix AZ. 

“It is an 80-year-old company pioneered by the Kerley brothers who worked in projects like the Manhattan project. They discovered how to take hazardous waste and convert it into fertilizer products. We were sustainable before sustainability was cool,” said Russell Sides, Executive Vice President of TKI. “We primarily are a sulfur-based liquid fertilizer company.” 

TKI produces familiar agricultural products such as Thio-Sul, KTS, and K-Row 23. The new 50,000 square foot production facility will occupy 50 acres and is set to be operational in 2024. The facility will service the Eastern Great Lakes Region through its distribution partners and will include terminal loadouts or rail cars and tanker trucks.… Continue reading

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Unique Non-livestock Sale a popular offering at Richwood Independent Fair

By Matt Reese

There is something special about paring youth and livestock at the fair, but livestock is not necessarily a fit for every fair exhibitor. Some young people may not have the interest or ability to take livestock projects to the fair, but that does not mean they are eliminated from the learning, hard work and pursuit of excellence to produce a high-quality end product worth celebrating and supporting.

With this in mind, the late DeLynn Kale of Kale Marketing in Richwood made a push for a way to support young people involved with 4-H in the community outside of the livestock sale ring at the fair. 

“DeLynn Kale had seen the wood working projects and the other different projects from these young people and he felt they needed a way to be rewarded going through a sale the same as the livestock kids. He was met with resistance for a while from the Senior Fair Board and sale committee because they felt it might take away from the livestock auction.… Continue reading

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Harvest weather outlook

By Jim Noel, NOAA

The September to November timeframe still looks warmer than normal, somewhat like last year but not as warm in September into October as last year with a medium to high confidence in the outlook. Rainfall looks generally close to normal through November. Confidence in the rainfall is not as high and is considered medium as there is some uncertainty in the preferred tropical moisture flow. Like last year the first freeze looks to be normal to later than normal in October.

For September, the first half looks slightly warmer and drier than normal. Uncertainty grows in the second half of September as it might turn wetter than normal. The second half will completely depend on tropical moisture return from the south. Therefore, a near normal rainfall pattern is currently anticipated when you average out the two September periods. 

For October and November above normal temperatures will persist with precipitation somewhat variable around normal with a slight lean toward drier than normal.… Continue reading

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OSU study focused on carbon farming

Taking excess carbon out of the atmosphere, where it is driving climate change, and locking it into the soil, where it improves its health and agronomic productivity, is the impetus behind a new five-year, $15 million project at The Ohio State University. 

Funding for the project comes from a $5 million grant from the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research and about $10 million in matching contributions from Ohio State, commodity groups, industry and other donors. The project will measure how much organic and inorganic carbon gets sequestered in the soil under different farming practices in key regions across the western hemisphere.

What science knows about carbon sequestration, says Rattan Lal, Ohio State Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science, has mostly come from simulation modeling carried out on computers, along with a limited number of experiments in the field.

Lal, who is a faculty member in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), will help to change that.… Continue reading

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Shelby County Women in Ag event

The Shelby County Growing Women in Agriculture committee is back again with the Empowerment Celebration in 2022. The committee’s goal is to grow women involved in the agriculture community in our area. Since 2007 the number of women in agriculture has increased by 7% in the United States. With this evolving statistic in the industry, many new avenues for our community and state have developed in order to take advantage of these rising agriculture leaders.

As a part of their efforts to grow the agriculture community in Shelby County would like to support local women in agriculture by holding our seventh annual “Growing Women in Agriculture, an Empowerment Celebration” event on Sept. 15, 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m., with a special early make and take session that starts at 4:30 p.m. The event will be held at St. Michael’s Hall, 33 Elm Street, in Fort Loramie, and will include an evening of a blend of educational and fun agriculture information, specifically targeted to the women in our community.… Continue reading

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The road is all…

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

Willa Cather said, “When people ask me if it has been a hard or easy road, I always answer with the same quotation, the end is nothing, the road is all.”    

            Shirley Boley lived on the same road her entire 87 years, in the same farmhouse. Rural Route 2 Box 38 became 3815 Kuhn Road, but the road remained the same. Seasons came and went, and agriculture became more and more mechanized, and the farm prospered on Kuhn Road.

            My grandmother, Shirley’s mother, Doris, loved to tell about the wonderful spring of 1935 when Shirley was born. She recalled there were new lambs, new pigs, new calves, new kittens, new bunnies and new chicks on the farm, as well as a new daughter. This was the middle of the Great Depression.

            My mother was a tomboy, likely due to being a younger sister to her brother, Bud.… Continue reading

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Invasive DNA found in Lake Erie

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

Trace amounts of genetic material from an invasive fish species known for leaping errantly from the water has been detected in Lake Erie. On July 21, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) disclosed that environmental DNA, or eDNA, from silver carp — an invasive fish formerly known as one of four different types of Asian carp — was found in routine sampling around Presque Isle Bay in Erie, Pennsylvania.

The sample was collected in May by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), which notified the state on July 11. The genetic material was found at only one of 100 sample sites around the bay. No live fish were found and the DNA presence doesn’t automatically mean a fish is present. However, the detection triggered an electrofishing search around the bay which did not turn up any silver carp.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau hosts roundtable with Senator Brown on farm bill

Ohio Farm Bureau hosted a roundtable discussion about the 2023 Farm Bill with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown. Area Farm Bureau members and stakeholders discussed the development of the next farm bill and what policies should be considered for the farm bill to help farmers across Ohio through the current challenges facing the state’s agriculture sector.

“The farm bill is about the most bipartisan thing we do in Washington because it is really unique in that it represents everybody,” said Senator Brown. “This bill has always been designed to deal with the risks in agriculture and with high capital costs the risks are even greater.”

Issues covered during the roundtable included the importance of crop insurance, dairy and conservation programs, cattle market transparency, specialty crops and urban agriculture.

“With all of the unique challenges facing agriculture today, the next farm bill will be of utmost importance for Ohio farmers,” said Ohio Farm Bureau President Bill Patterson, who hosted the event at his family’s fruit farm in Geauga County.… Continue reading

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Research could turn too much sunshine and heat into more resilient plants

By Don “Doc” Sander

Our world depends on the sun. But you’ve probably already heard that you can get too much of a good thing. That includes exposure to sunshine. Too much time soaking in the rays can cause adverse effects, even death, in people, animals and plants. We hear time and again that without sunscreen, we can break out in freckles and suffer sunburn, which can raise our risk of skin cancer. 

Mild exposure to the sun, though, can be good. It stimulates our skin to produce Vitamin D, which strengthens our immune system. Excessive exposure, on the other hand, stokes production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), also known as free oxygen radicals. With strong or prolonged sun exposure, ROS are damaging to people, animals and plants. Severe exposure can even be, I repeat, fatal. 

Severe environmental conditions such as drought, excessive heat and bright sunlight can produce damaging levels of ROS in plants as well.… Continue reading

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Implications of the Ukrainian grain export deal

By Ian Sheldon, Professor and Andersons Chair of Agricultural Marketing, Trade, and Policy, Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, Ohio State University and Chris Zoller, Associate Professor and Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension – Tuscarawas County

A grain export deal was finally signed by Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, and the United Nations (UN) on July 22 (USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service, Grain: World Markets and Trade, August 2022). With much media fanfare, the first shipment of Ukrainian corn left the Bosphorus strait headed for Lebanon on August 3 (Financial Times, August 3, 2022). The agreement, set to last for 120 days with potential for renewal, provides for the safe passage and inspection of grains from three Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea — Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pyvdenny — shipments following a route to Turkish ports approved by the Russian navy, with an agreed 10 nautical mile buffer zone (Reuters, August 8, 2022).… Continue reading

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The importance of a farm employee safety manual

By Aaron Bickle, CEO, Bickle Farm Solutions

Safety is a topic every farmer can get behind.

Aaron Bickle

As your most critical resource, employees need to be safeguarded through training, provision of appropriate work surroundings and procedures that foster protection of health and safety. Like most farmers, you want to do everything possible to prevent workplace accidents because you value your employees not only as employees, but also as human beings critical to the success of their families, the local community, and your operation. 

But, if you’re like most farmers or other small businesses it’s hard to put safety on paper, it’s hard to know exactly where to start, and it’s hard to find the time. That’s why we recommend contacting your farm risk advisor or your farm insurance agent to help develop a manual that is specific to your operation. Your operation does things your way, which could be different than the farm your newest employee came from.… Continue reading

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State’s Ag-LINK program offers options for farm borrowers

Higher interest rates and inflation are taking a toll on the U.S. agricultural sector, but AgCredit borrower-owners can better weather the uncertainty of shifting economic conditions with financing assistance through the state’s Ag-LINK program.

AgCredit, one of northern Ohio’s largest lenders for farmers and agribusinesses, is proud to be a participating Ag-LINK lender. Administered by the Ohio Treasurer’s office, Ag-LINK offers farming operations and agribusinesses discounted, fixed interest rates on new or existing operating loans for up to one year. Farmers can use the program to help offset the cost of feed, seed, fertilizer, equipment, fuel and other upfront expenses. The program does not cover land purchases.

In the first quarter of 2022, Ag-LINK supported 530 loans to Ohio agricultural businesses across 54 counties totaling more than $103 million.

To qualify, farm operators and agribusinesses must:

  • Be organized for profit.
  • Have headquarters and 51% of operations maintained in Ohio.
  • Use the loan exclusively for agricultural purposes.
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Keep agriculture Growing Forward

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

In rural Ohio and agriculture, individual farm success is a benefit to everyone. This is the impetus behind the Growing Forward program offered by Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA) since 2014.

“FCMA’s purpose is to secure the future of rural communities and agriculture. In order to achieve that, we have to support the next generation of farmers,” said Brock Burcham, regional vice president of agricultural lending. “We take this responsibility to heart and make every attempt to engage the next generation of agriculture in a number of ways, including educational efforts in farm finance and risk management. The Growing Forward program is one of the ways we provide important education to young and beginning farmers.” 

The program is designed to provide sound and constructive credit to meet the needs of young, beginning and small farmers through individualized credit programs and products.  

“Growing Forward is one of my favorite programs we offer at FCMA,” said Amy Weaver, FCMA senior financial officer. “Getting… Continue reading

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Hartford Junior Fair donate pork to Ohio Association of Foodbanks

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks received a donation of processed pork from the Hartford Junior Fair youth livestock auction. The donation of nearly 6,500 pounds of pork, will benefit the clients of the Food Pantry Network of Licking County. The donation comes from the annual 4-H and FFA junior fair exhibitors’ livestock auction, where Englefield Oil Company and Duchess Shops, Heartland Bank, Licking County Farm Bureau and Intel purchased livestock from the auction and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) processed the meat. 

“We are so grateful to see so many organizations coming together to support the youth involved in 4-H and the FFA and turning it into a generous protein donation for our network of food pantries in Licking County,” said Chuck Moore, executive director of the Food Pantry Network of Licking County. “This year the donation comes during a time where we are seeing an increased demand for food assistance due to inflation putting a strain on family budgets.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s new beginning farmer tax credits

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

The idea to use income tax incentives to help Ohio’s beginning farmers gain access to agricultural assets floated around for several years in the Ohio General Assembly. The idea became a reality when the Beginning Farmer Bill sponsored by Rep. Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) and Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) passed the legislature, was signed by Governor DeWine and became effective on July 18, 2022. The law is now in the hands of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), charged with implementing its provisions.

The new law sets initial eligibility criteria for certifying “beginning farmers,” directs ODA to establish the certification program, and authorizes two types of income tax credits for certified beginning farmers and those who sell or lease assets to certified beginning farmers. According to ODA, the income tax credits will be available for 2023, once the certification program is up and running. … Continue reading

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Boating accidents decline

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

With the pandemic putting more people than ever on the water and consequent rise in boating accidents and fatalities, there’s some better news in the newly released 2021 U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics.

The latest Coast Guard report shows double-digit declines year-over-year across the board in the main boating safety indicators. Boating accidents dropped 15.7%, injuries decreased 17.2%, and fatalities dropped 14.2%. The 2021 fatality rate decreased to 5.5 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels, a 15.4% reduction from 6.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2020.

“The new report shows a dramatic decrease in injuries and fatalities, more than I can recall in recent memory,” said Chris Edmonston, BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water president. “However, even with COVID restrictions lifted and boating no longer one of the few ways to recreate with the family, operator inexperience remains one of the top risk factors contributing to accidents.” … Continue reading

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