Country Life

OABA Industry Conference highlights award winners

The 2022 Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference is underway and members from around the state heard a wide array of diverse presentations. 

In addition, OABA presented 2022 Industry Excellence Awards:

  • 2022 Excellence in Customer Service — Holly Cotter, Centerra Co-op  
  • 2022 Achievement as an Emerging Leader — Brian Spangler, Centerra Co-op  
  • 2022 Excellence in Safety & Stewardship — Tim Flock, Central Ohio Farmers Co-op, Inc.

Winners received a plaque and $1,000 cash award, sponsored by Assured Partners — J.H. Ward Agency. OABA has a distinguished history of serving the agricultural industry and its members through advocacy, policy leadership and educational programs. The Industry Excellence Awards honor excellence, professionalism and achievement among OABA member companies and their employees, and thereby encourage that same excellence in others.

“Now more than ever, it is important to take time to recognize outstanding individuals in our industry,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO. “These leaders set a high standard that agribusiness employees across all levels should aspire to achieve.” … Continue reading

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OSHA withdraws vaccine mandate

On Jan. 25, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration withdrew its emergency vaccine mandate order for businesses with 100 or more employees that was issued on Nov. 5, 2021. 

“Our case was about the limits of power, not about the vaccine. Today, the President of the United States bowed to the rule of law, even if it was forced upon him,” said Dave Yost, Ohio Attorney General. “It will not be the last time.”

Yost led a coalition of 27 attorneys general in seeking an immediate stay of the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate issued by OSHA. The decision to withdraw by OSHA follows a decision earlier this month by the United States Supreme Court to uphold Yost’s request for a stay of the vaccine mandate. … Continue reading

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Supreme Court to hear Waters of the U.S. case

The U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear a case involving “waters of the United States.”
The case stems from a 2004 order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stopping Michael and Chantell Sackett from building on their Idaho land because of the presence of “wetlands.” The Supreme Court is being asked to clarify EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

“AFBF is pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed to take up the important issue of what constitutes ‘Waters of the U.S.’ under the Clean Water Act. Farmers and ranchers share the goal of protecting the resources they’re entrusted with, but they shouldn’t need a team of lawyers to farm their land. We hope this case will bring more clarity to water regulations,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “In light of today’s decision, we call on EPA to push pause on its plan to write a new WOTUS rule until it has more guidance on which waters fall under federal jurisdiction.”… Continue reading

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Pharmacy loses in opioid case ruling

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

Just this past November, a federal jury in Cleveland delivered the first jury verdict in an opioid case and the first verdict against a pharmacy. In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. Increased prescription of opioid medications led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive. In 2017, HHS declared a public health emergency. 

All I know about the opioid epidemic I learned from Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones. I highly recommend this book that deftly recounts how a flood of prescription paid meds, along with black tar heroin from Nayaril, Mexico, transformed the once-vital blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio and other American communities into heartlands of addiction.… Continue reading

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Deerfield Ag Services Fair Funding Starter Scholarship Program

Deerfield Ag Services has launched their Fair Funding Starter Scholarship Program. 

As a family-owned, full-service agricultural service provider, Deerfield Ag Services has supported 4-H and FFA youth exhibitors at county fairs for decades through participation in county fair livestock auctions. During the 2022 fair season, they are launching a new initiative that will grant funding to individual youth exhibitors at the start of their projects, intended to

offset some of the initial investments associated with fair livestock projects. While these scholarships will not likely offset the full cost of getting started, they hope to help make it more attainable for junior fair participants to take part in exhibiting the livestock of their choice. The scholarship amounts vary by project, and are as follows:

● Rabbit & Poultry — $25

● Goat and Lamb — $75

● Horse — Up to $100

● Swine — Up to $250

● Beef — Up to $350

The scholarship is eligible to students in Portage, Stark, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull

Counties.… Continue reading

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Mental Health First Aid training series

First Aid isn’t always a band-aid, CPR, or the Heimlich Maneuver. Sometimes people just need you! 

Learn more about the warning signs and symptoms of mental health issues in the Mental Health First Aid training series. The next training is April 14 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Future trainings will be held May 6, June 3, July 18, and Aug. 12. 

Two hours of self-paced training needs to be completed prior to the 4.5 hour Zoom training which begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes a lunch break. This course is valued at $170 but is FREE thanks to funding from a USDA FRSAN grant.

This research was supported by the intramural research program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 7 U.S.C 5936, Section 7522 of FCEA of 2008, Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN).

Ohio State university’s CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis.… Continue reading

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Where is the cacao?

By Jeffrey K. Lewis, Attorney and Research Specialist, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program 

A California man (Plaintiff) is suing Costco Wholesale Corporation (Costco) for allegedly mislabeling Costco’s “Chocolate Almond Dipped Vanilla Ice Cream Bars” (the Product). Plaintiff argues that because of the Product’s packaging and name, he expected the Product’s chocolate would have been predominately derived from cacao beans. Plaintiff asserts that chocolate is defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and California law “as prepared from ground roasted cacao bean” and that it must be “made chiefly from cacao beans with a small amount of optional ingredients.” Based on this definition, Plaintiff claims that Costco’s packaging is misleading because the Product’s chocolate contains mostly vegetable oils and small amounts of ingredients derived from cacao beans. In his Complaint, Plaintiff argues that federal regulations require Costco to label the Product as “milk chocolate and vegetable oil coating” rather than just “chocolate.”… Continue reading

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Right to Farm Act upheld in North Carolina

By Jeffrey K. Lewis, Attorney and Research Specialist, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program 

A three-judge panel on the North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of North Carolina’s right to farm law. In 1979, the North Carolina legislature enacted the Right to Farm Act (the Act). In 2017 and 2018 the North Carolina legislature amended the Act by passing House Bill 467 and Senate Bill 711 (collectively referred to as the Amendments). The Amendments sought to clarify and strengthen North Carolina’s right to farm law. The Plaintiffs argued that the Amendments violated North Carolina’s equivalent of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause and that the Act exceeded the scope of North Carolina’s police power. The Court of Appeals disagreed. The Court recognized North Carolina’s interest in promoting and preserving agriculture and that North Carolina has the authority to regulate such an interest. 

The Plaintiffs also argued that the Amendments were “private laws” to specifically protect the swine industry in violation of North Carolina’s Constitution.… Continue reading

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USDA to invest up to $225 million in partner-driven conservation on agricultural and forest land

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced up to $225 million in available funding for conservation partners through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). RCPP is a partner-driven program that leverages collective resources to find solutions to address natural resource challenges on agricultural land. This year’s funding announcements include opportunities for projects that address climate change, benefit historically underserved producers and support urban agriculture.  

“These public-private partnerships are powerful tools that allow us to work together to address challenges such as climate change and supporting producers and communities who have been underserved in the past,” said Jon Bourdon, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting Ohio State Conservationist.

There are two types of funding opportunities under RCPP:  RCPP Classic and RCPP Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFA). RCPP Classic projects are implemented using NRCS contracts and easements with producers, landowners and communities, in collaboration with project partners. Through RCPP AFA, partners have more flexibility in working directly with agricultural producers to support the development of new conservation structures and approaches that would not otherwise be available under RCPP Classic. Project… Continue reading

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“Planning for the future of your farm” workshops

To kick off 2022, OSU Extension will be offering “Planning for the future of your farm” workshops to help farm families actively plan for the future of their farm business. The workshops are designed to help farm families learn strategies and tools to successfully create a succession and estate plan which can be used as the guide to transfer the farm’s ownership, management, and assets to the next generation. Learn how to have the crucial conversations about the future of your farm.

Topics discussed during this series include: Developing Goals for Estate and Succession; Planning for the Transition of Control; Planning for the Unexpected; Communication and Conflict Management during Farm Transfer; Legal Tools & Strategies; Developing Your Team; Getting Your Affairs in Order; and Selecting an Attorney.  This workshop will be taught by members of the OSU Farm Office Team.

Families can choose to attend the workshop virtually or in-person at regional workshops which will be held across the state.… Continue reading

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AFBF sets policy

By Matt Reese

Farm Bureau members from around the country gathered in Atlanta in January for the American Farm Bureau Convention to set policy derived from the county level up. 

AFBF members addressed long-standing frustration over imbalances in the meat industry leading to calls for greater transparency in livestock markets. Delegates also approved measures that build on existing policies regarding the need for employee stabilization and reforms to the guestworker program. 

Other topics covered in AFBF policy included: transparency to the federal milk pricing system; a more consistent format for milk checks and a review and audit of the producer price differential on milk; biofuel policy updates to include renewable diesel; support in raising the standard for federal broadband projects to be at least 100 Mbps for both uploads and downloads; support of new policy creation for acknowledging agriculture’s (including urban agriculture) economic contributions. Ohio Farm Bureau delegates proposed several policy changes accepted by AFBF.… Continue reading

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Land use planning an underused tool for farmland preservation

By Elizabeth Schuster, Sustainable Economies Consulting LLC

While it is widely acknowledged that land use planning has implications for farmland, county-level land use planning remains an underutilized tool for farmland preservation. The award-winning Land Use Actions project in Wayne County identified several ways to influence land use planning that still use voluntary approaches.

Across Ohio, rural and suburban counties are rapidly losing farmland and open space, which can have a direct impact on quality of life and food security. Typically, the land use projects that move forward the fastest are those with the highest ratio of benefits to costs. The types of benefits that are favored are often new jobs created, total investment in manufacturing or retail, or the number of new housing units. The result is more land use by industrial, urban, and housing and a net loss of farmland.

More community input is needed to ensure that the full benefits that farmland provides are considered in the land use planning process.… Continue reading

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Over $60,000 in Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation scholarships available

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation has more than $60,000 in scholarships available to Ohio students from rural, suburban and urban communities who are pursuing degrees connected in some way to agriculture.

Through 12 scholarship funds, approximately 50 awards will be made to deserving students. The deadline to apply online at is Feb. 28, and all applications require letters of recommendation, an essay, school transcripts and photos.

The Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in honor of Yvonne Lesicko, Ohio Farm Bureau’s vice president of public policy, who passed away in 2020. The Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Scholarship Fund was created to honor Yvonne and provide support for the next generation of student leaders. The income from this endowment provides scholarship assistance in perpetuity to students majoring in agricultural and environmental policy or agriculture related fields, such as food production, scientific research, education/outreach, policymaking, advocacy, or leadership development for women.

In honor of the legacy of Dr.… Continue reading

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Ohio NRCS funding available for wetlands and wildlife habitat

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) continues to accept applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Wetland Reserve Easement Program (ACEP-WRE). The program provides financial and technical assistance to Ohio landowners wishing to protect and restore critical wetlands by enrolling property into conservation easements. Applications for ACEP-WRE are taken on a continuous basis, however, landowners are encouraged to contact their local NRCS Service Center prior to the Feb. 18, 2022 deadline for fiscal year 2022 funding.

Many of Ohio’s landowners can take advantage of this program, as eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can successfully be restored; croplands or grasslands subject to flooding; and previously restored wetlands and riparian areas that connect protected wetland areas.

“Restored wetlands help to improve water quality downstream, enhance wildlife habitat, reduce impacts from flooding and provide recreational opportunities,” said Barbara Baker, Assistant State Conservationist for Natural Resources in Ohio.… Continue reading

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Regional Agricultural Outlook and Policy Meetings set to kick off

Ohio State University Extension will present its 2022 Regional Agricultural Outlook and Policy Meetings starting in late January and ending in late March.

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), and the main sponsor of the meetings. Economists from the CFAES Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, along with other college specialists and invited guests, will serve as speakers.

Held throughout the state, the eight outlook meetings will address agricultural topics of interest not only in Ohio, but across the Corn Belt as well. Programs will include presentations on grain market outlook; agricultural law updates; the dairy industry in 2022; Ohio’s changing climate; farm policy; Farm Bill 2023; Ohio’s Senate Bill 52 related to wind and solar development; farm real estate and cash rent trends; agricultural input price projections; and federal tax updates.

The outlook meetings will be hosted jointly by Union, Madison, and Champaign counties; and also individually by Defiance County; Wayne County; Clinton County; Crawford County; Pickaway County; Muskingum County; and Darke County. … Continue reading

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AFBF Convention underway in Atlanta

The American Farm Bureau Convention was in full swing over the weekend with a full day of keynote addresses, workshops and awards. 

 AFBF President Zippy Duvall opened the convention with an inspirational address in which he discussed the organization’s successes in 2021 and priorities for 2022. 

“Through even the greatest challenges, we never waver in growing the safest, most sustainable food, fuel and fiber in the world. And Farm Bureau remains true to our purpose — to be that one, United Voice of Agriculture,” Duvall said. “I believe with all my heart that there is reason to be optimistic.” 

Former Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was recognized with the Distinguished Service Award. A Border Collie from Florida, “Fit,” was named the 2022 Farm Dog of the Year. “How to Grow a Monster” by Kiki Thorpe was named the Foundation for Agriculture’s 2022 Book of the Year.

Additionally, several state Farm Bureaus were recognized for exemplary financial support of the Foundation and Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine and Montana Farm Bureaus earned the Pinnacle Award, the highest honor a state Farm Bureau can be awarded for program and membership achievement.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farmland Leasing Update Webinar from OSU’s Farm Office

Is it time to review your farmland leasing situation?  OSU’s Farm Office team will provide helpful leasing resources in its Ohio Farmland Leasing Update webinar on February 9, 2022 from 7 to 9 p.m.

“Winter is a good time to review farm leases, and current information is critical to that process,” said Barry Ward,  Leader of Production Business Management for OSU Extension.  “We’ll provide the latest economic and legal information relevant to farmland leasing in Ohio.”

Speakers for the event include Ward and fellow Farm Office team members Peggy Kirk Hall and Robert Moore, attorneys with OSU’s Agricultural & Resource Law Program.

“We always encourage parties to put their leases in writing,” Hall said. “But we’ll also share other legal information that can help parties deal with conservation practices, a potential new law about notice of termination, and how to use leases in farmland succession planning.”

Topics in the webinar will include:

  • Current economic outlook for Ohio row crops
    • Research on cash rent markets for the Eastern Corn Belt
    • Rental market outlook – fundamentals
    • Ohio’s statutory termination legislation
    • Addressing soil quality and conservation practices in leases
    • Using long term leases in farm succession planning
    • Farmland leasing resources

There is no fee for the webinar, but registration is necessary.  Register… Continue reading

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Multitalented oats!

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Happy New Year! One of the most popular resolutions or goals for the new year is to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Starting your day out with oatmeal may seem B-O-R-I-N-G! Think again. Oats are multitalented. They are shape changing depending on the texture that your tastebuds desire anywhere from the no texture of instant/quick oats and oat bran to the nutty texture of the Irish and Scottish oat. Oats can win an all-around medal for their on and off-label use from desserts to main dishes. One of the most popular recipes on Quaker Oats used to be their Oatmeal Scotch cookies. Today’s labels primarily include other info but check out for many great oat recipes. One of my regular recipes that I make with oats is meatloaf. Several years ago, probably two decades at this point, Paul was in charge of making the meatloaf.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Custom Rate Survey 2022 responses requested

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, Ohio State University Extension, Agriculture & Natural Resources

 The Ohio Farm Custom Rates Survey data collection has launched once again. The online survey for 2022 is available at:

A large number of Ohio farmers hire machinery operations and other farm related work to be completed by others. This is often due to lack of proper equipment, lack of time or lack of expertise for a particular operation.  Many farm business owners do not own equipment for every possible job that they may encounter in the course of operating a farm and may, instead of purchasing the equipment needed, seek out someone with the proper tools necessary to complete the job. This farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply “custom work.” A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider.… Continue reading

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Fort Wayne Farm Show coming soon

The Fort Wayne Farm Show is back and better than ever before Jan. 18 to Jan. 20, 2022 in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Fort Wayne Farm Show will be in full force for its 33rd year. The Tradexpos team works diligently every year to meet the evolving needs of America’s livestock producers, row crop farmers, and other agricultural professionals. The Fort Wayne Farm Show has been distinctively curated to provide real time value and opportunity to the industry. Whether it’s your first time attending the Fort Wayne Farm Show or your thirtieth, you’re certain to love the fantastic variety of exhibitors and educational seminars that the Fort Wayne Farm Show provides as Indiana’s largest indoor agricultural expo

Attendees can expect to enjoy the innovations and wares of over 1,000 booths as well as ample opportunities to attend seminars to learn more about current topics in agriculture from our partners and trusted experts, Purdue Cooperative Extension, and Northeastern Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts.… Continue reading

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