Country Life

Ohio 2022 Water Quality Status Report released

From trends in soil tests that show marked improvement in water quality over the last 20 years, to the ongoing on-farm best practices research being done in northwest Ohio to help farmers find the best nutrient management solutions for them, water quality is always a literal work in progress for the Ohio Farm Bureau.

The 2022 Water Quality Status Report highlights how signature water quality initiatives and partnerships such as the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network along with H2Ohio, and its farmer certification piece the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative, have had major roles improving and protecting clean water, one of the state’s most valuable resources.

However, further work is done quietly behind the scenes by Ohio Farm Bureau staff and volunteers to help guide the state and region to a healthier future. Ohio Farm Bureau members are represented on multiple advisory boards and committees by staff that ensure the voices of farmers, landowners and agriculturalists are heard.… Continue reading

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Bringing agriculture to the classroom

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

For generations, Ohio agriculture has recognized the valuable learning opportunities for young people who grow up on farms. The vast majority of Ohio’s children, though, do not get that opportunity.

This fact has extensive implications. In the late 90s, Ohio’s soybean growers recognized those implications and decided to try to bring lessons from the farm to Ohio’s young people.

“About 25 years ago, I was at home with my young sons and writing curriculum for Upper Arlington schools with a friend of mine who was also writing curriculum for Worthington schools. We both were educators with years of experience in the classroom,” said Jeanne Gogolski, CEO of Education Projects. “We got a call from a local marketing firm who said, ‘Hey, we have a client who’s interested in a curriculum writer. Can you come and talk with them?’ And we said, ‘sure.’ So we went to the meeting, and it turns out that it was the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) with their checkoff dollars beginning to explore how to educate students in Ohio about modern agriculture, and in particular, soybeans.”… Continue reading

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Depp v. Heard offers some unsettling legal insights

By Leisa Boley-Hellwarth

As I write this column, the jury is deliberating in John C. Depp, II v. Amber Laura Heard, a defamation action in Fairfax County, Virginia. I have no interest in this litigation, but my Google news feed insists on keeping me updated. A quick look at this case, however, can offer some important insights into our legal system.

Defamation is the action of damaging the good reputation of someone through slander (oral) or libel (written). In other words, defamation is a false statement presented as a fact that causes injury or damage to the character of the person it is about. An agricultural example is “Tom Smith stole livestock from his neighbor.” If this is untrue, and if making this statement damages Tom’s reputation or ability to work, it is defamation.

The elements of defamation are (1) a false statement purporting to be fact; (2) publication or communication of that statement to a third person; (3) fault; and (4) damages.… Continue reading

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Luke Bryan set to continue #HeresToTheFarmer Campaign and concert series

Bayer announced it is renewing its multi-year partnership with five-time entertainer of the year Luke Bryan, joining his 2022 Farm Tour as presenting sponsor and continuing their Here’s to the Farmer campaign celebrating America’s farmers and fighting hunger. New this year, Kroger, America’s largest grocer, joins the campaign offering the first-ever Farm Tour 2022 sweepstakes, giving fans across the country the chance to win a Luke Bryan VIP experience, tickets, swag and more. Together Bayer, Kroger and Luke Bryan are encouraging fans to share the hashtag #HeresToTheFarmer on their social media channels. Now through Oct. 31, 2022, for every share, Bayer will help provide one meal through the Feeding America network, up to 1 million meals to communities in need.

The son of a peanut farmer from Georgia, Bryan launched his Farm Tour in 2009 to highlight and celebrate the contributions of America’s farmers. The Georgia native will set up stages in the fields of local farmers across six states this September 15-24, with tickets now on sale at LukeBryan.comContinue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau submitted comments to SEC

On Friday, Ohio Farm Bureau submitted public comments in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a proposed rule that could severely impact family farms by requiring climate disclosures by public companies.

This letter was in addition to 8,500 comments sent in by Farm Bureau members across the country who took part in the action alert from American Farm Bureau on this issue. The letter emphasized that Farm Bureau members are committed to transparency in climate-related matters to inform our stakeholders in a manner consistent with existing practices in the agriculture industry.

“However, without changes and clarifications, the Proposed Rules would be wildly burdensome and expensive if not altogether impossible for many small and mid-sized farmers to comply with, as they require reporting of climate data at the local level,” the letter read. “The rule will only encourage consolidation for those without the resources to comply.”

Such consolidation would have far-reaching socioeconomic consequences, including further eroding rural tax bases.… Continue reading

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New set of Ohio local agricultural easements approved for purchase

The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced approval for local sponsors to purchase agricultural easements on 37 family farms representing 3,701 acres in 29 counties.

Local sponsoring organizations, which include land trusts, counties and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, receive funding from the Clean Ohio Fund to manage the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP). The easement ensures farms remain permanently in agricultural production. The program supports the state’s largest industry, food and agriculture.

To be eligible for the program, farms must be larger than 40 acres or next to a preserved farm, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have support from local government and not be in close proximity to development. Landowners may use the proceeds of the easement in any way they wish, but most reinvest it in their farm operation.

ODA 2022 local agricultural easements were approved for purchase in the following counties: Allen, Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Coshocton, Darke, Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Harrison, Highland, Huron, Knox, Licking, Logan, Madison, Marion, Miami, Montgomery, Morrow, Muskingum, Preble, Ross, Seneca, Union, and Warren.… Continue reading

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Benefit in the barn returns for 2022

Organizers for the Benefit in the Barn announced that the affair is returning for its 8th year on Aug. 20 at Glenndale Farms in Delaware County. Owners Glenn and Kelly Harsh will be opening their farm to what has become a signature late-summer occasion bringing consumers and farmers together for food, entertainment, fun and a purpose. The main objectives of the Benefit in the Barn are to spotlight the hunger issues in our community, raise funding to help address the issue while also providing opportunities for dialogue between consumers and farmers.

The outdoor event will feature dinner catered by City Barbeque, Eda’s Italian Ice and Gelato and a cash bar featuring Ohio Craft Beer and Ohio Wine. Sponsored by Delaware and Union County Farm Bureau organizations, this year’s entertainment will spotlight North to Nashville, a Central Ohio country music band.

Benefit in the Barn has raised over $370,000 to support hunger relief efforts in Delaware and Union Counties.… Continue reading

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ASA providing input on sustainability to White House

In an effort to assist the Biden administration in developing its consensus definition of “sustainable chemistry,” the America Soybean Association’s Regulatory, Biofuels & Infrastructure, Conservation & Precision Ag Advocacy Teams submitted comments to the White House Friday regarding its on sustainable chemistries.

The comments discussed how vital sustainable chemistries are to U.S. soybean growers, both from a crop inputs and production perspective and as market opportunities for the soy industry. Addressed in the comments are the stewardship efforts of farmers, the importance of crop protection products in enabling conservation practices, and the benefits and market opportunities for biofuels and biobased products. ASA stresses, “any definition of ‘sustainable chemistry’ is complementary to and enhances these practices and products, the sustainability of which are supported by robust scientific evidence and data, and does not risk their disruption.”

Read the comments .… Continue reading

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Modernizing Ag-LINK to better serve Ohio’s farmers

By Robert Sprague, Ohio Treasurer

Forty-year high inflation, an unprecedented supply chain crisis, record-breaking energy prices — combine these nationwide economic challenges with the yearly concerns about weather and commodity futures, and Ohio’s agriculture industry is facing roadblocks at every turn. Now, to create the perfect storm, the rise in interest rates is quickly increasing the cost of borrowing.

Since last year, I’ve been meeting with farmers, co-ops, financial institutions, and other members of Ohio’s ag community to learn more about how inflation and other economic challenges are impacting their operations and bottom lines.

For more than three decades, our Ag-LINK program has helped farmers and agribusinesses drive down the cost of doing business by providing interest rate reductions on new or existing loans. Year-in and year-out, borrowers use the program to finance upfront operating costs for feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel, equipment, and other expenses. But despite Ag-LINK’s popularity and long track-record of success, my travels made it clear to me that there was much more our office could do more to meet farmers’ borrowing needs.… Continue reading

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Farm aid for Ukraine

By Matt Reese

Despite the risks and hardships of war surrounding them, Ukrainian farmers are still trying to farm. The food they produce is as important as ever for their local communities and a hungry world.

Ohio State University Extension entomologist Kelley Tilmon and others in Ohio have been working with Roman Grynyshn from Ukraine to develop a video about a farmer-to-farmer initiative to help support small/mid-sized Ukrainian farmers rebuilding and recovering from ongoing war damage.

Grynyshn used to work for the U.S.-funded Farmer to Farmer program to help small and medium sized Ukrainian farmers improve production practices. He said agricultural fields of Ukraine have become the second battlefield of this war. Russian military efforts are actually targeting farm fields, facilities and equipment. Landmines and munitions are found regularly in farm fields, yet farmers continue to try to farm and produce food despite the risks.

Grynyshn is currently on a U.S.… Continue reading

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Avoid Charcuterie boredom

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Charcuterie shär-koo͞″tə-rē′ If you haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying a charcuterie, then I think it’s high time you do. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? I’ve heard it’s the Lunchables of today however Charcuterie trumps Lunchables! They are similar in the fact that they comprise of small nibbles of meat and cheese but that’s where the similarities end. Charcuterie is easy to assemble, colorful, full of textures, flavors and just downright full of fun. They encourage grazing, talking, drinking and plenty of laughs in between. Just what we need after a couple of years of the ‘Vid.

Where did all this trending yumminess come from? The story goes that during the Roman Empire the process of curing meats to extend their “shelf-life” was invented. Did they have shelves back then? It was not until 15th Century France when Guilds of charcutier were created.… Continue reading

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Ocean Shipping Reform Act moves forward

On June 14, Congress passed S.3580, advancing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act for President Biden’s approval.

“AFBF appreciates lawmakers for working together to pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. Record-high shipping costs and delayed access to containers have worsened supply chain issues and limited exports at a time when the world is calling on America’s farmers to meet growing demand. Some estimates suggest we’ve lost out on more than $25 billion in agricultural exports over the past six months because of ocean shipping constraints. That’s unacceptable. Limited trade has also made it more difficult to import supplies like fertilizer, which increases costs to farmers and ultimately hurts all families through higher grocery bills,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “I was pleased to team up with President Biden to urge passage and look forward to him quickly signing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act into law so farmers and ranchers can continue to meet the needs of families in America and overseas.”

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DeWine signs Capital Budget

In early June, Governor Mike DeWine has signed the two-year $3.5 billion Capital Budget (HB 687) into law.

There were several agricultural highlights. Funding from this budget will support $71.5 million for a new state-of-the-art Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) through the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

“Funding for this project is critical to the success of animal agriculture in Ohio and to the safety of the food system for all Ohioans. We appreciate that the legislature and Gov. DeWine understood the needs for an updated ADDL at ODA in order to take vital animal disease testing capabilities to the next level,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau.

In addition, nearly $21.5 million in the budget is provided for much-needed renovations the Ohio Expo Commission and Expo Center.

“Although the long-term needs of the Ohio Expo Center will require significantly more funding in order to obtain a viable plan for the future of the facility and events like the Ohio State Fair, this is a great down payment to get the process of revitalizing the grounds started,” Sharp said.… Continue reading

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Wilmington College celebrating 75 years of agriculture

As many as 150 alumni and friends of Wilmington College’s agriculture program are expected to attend the Diamond Jubilee on Saturday, June 18 in a celebration of ag’s 75 years as one of the institution’s most distinct areas.

Alumni ranging from recent graduates to those in their 90s and from as close as Wilmington and as far away as Kansas, Florida and New Hampshire have made plans to attend. Also, included among those who’ve registered are former agriculture faculty and staff members.

Planned for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the event will include a picnic lunch on Collett Mall and an ice cream dessert at the Academic Farm on Fife Ave., where guests will be able to explore the Equine Center, World Crop Museum, Hoop House and view an example of regenerative agriculture. Also, there will be opportunities to meet WC’s 19th president, Trevor Bates, as well as the “new guard” in the Agriculture Dept.… Continue reading

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Make sure your farm insurance has a strong foundation

By Aaron Bickle, CEO, Bickle Farm Solutions

If you’re sitting in your farm office, I want you to reach into the cabinet, pull your farm insurance policy out and dust it off! The fancy insurance jargon filled folder isn’t just some pile of paper, it’s your “security” to keep farming. If the goal is to pass the farm to the next generation, or keep the assets you have built so you can maintain your lifestyle, your farm insurance plan might as well be bullet proof, right?

Just like a house, a barn, or a grain complex, a good farm insurance plan starts with a good foundation by a “builder” not only with experience, but a builder who is a master of their craft. A master builder uses materials that are superior, top-notch vendors that are responsive, and a crew who cares and takes pride their work. As we dive into building a strong farm insurance plan, I want you to think of your agent as the builder, your insurance carrier as the vendor, and the agency team as the builder’s crew.… Continue reading

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H2Ohio conservation practices to be assessed through new partnership with Blanchard River Demonstration Farms

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is excited to announce a new agreement with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) and Blanchard River Demonstration Farms to assess the agronomic and economic impacts of H2Ohio Best Management Practices (BMPs), the program’s agricultural measures implemented to reduce nutrient runoff into Ohio’s waterways.
BMPs are the core of ODA’s portion of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative to improve water quality in Ohio. They are being implemented on farmland across the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB). The goal of the agreement is to evaluate the practices to allow for more informed farmer and policy-making decisions.

“Collaborating with the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms will provide essential research and data that allows H2Ohio to continue to grow and evolve,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director. “These efforts are imperative for the long-term health of our program.”
Five of the seven H2Ohio BMPs will be assessed: Manure Incorporation, Subsurface Placement, Nutrient Management Planning, Cover Crops, and Variable Rate Technology.Continue reading

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Gov. DeWine requests EPA to allow E15 sales year-round

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan asking that the EPA permanently remove restrictions around the sale of 15% ethanol (E15) fuel.

“E15 offers Ohio consumers cleaner emissions, more fuel from renewable sources, and, perhaps most critically, a less expensive fuel option,” DeWine said. “By permanently removing unneeded summertime E15 regulations, we can encourage more Ohio gas stations to offer E15 and give Ohioans an option that provides real gas price relief.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. EPA issued an emergency waiver for 2022, allowing for the sale of E15 during the summer months when environmental regulations typically prohibit its use. Governor DeWine is requesting that the summer waiver become permanent beginning in the summer of 2023.

The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association is celebrating the action.

“Today was a tremendous day for Ohio fuel consumers and the state’s corn farmers alike,” said Ben Klick, president of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association.… Continue reading

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Warmer June ahead

By Jim Noel, NOAA

May worked out as forecast with a wet start followed by a gradual planting window.

Looking forward, the variable weather pattern continues in the short-term with temperatures continuing to fluctuate.

June outlook

For June, we expect slightly cooler than normal temperatures to persist until mid-month (-1 to 3F). Temperatures are likely to switch to above normal for the second half of the month (+1 to +4F). Confidence in this is medium to high.

Rainfall will be much more variable and scattered ranging from 0.50 inches to over 3 inches through June 20th (see attached rainfall forecast map for the next two weeks) You can also see this on the NOAA NWS Ohio River Forecast Center webpage at:

Normal is about 1.5 to 2.0 inches. Confidence on where it will be drier or wetter is low as thunderstorms will drive the details of the outcome.

Rest of growing season outlook

The outlook for July is for a warmer month with rainfall near normal (but the normal rainfall will be made up of anything but normal).… Continue reading

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Auction price discovery driving used farm equipment markets to record levels

By Matt Reese

In what seems to be a strange development, the prices for used farm equipment are actually going for higher prices at auction than when the equipment was purchased new several years ago.

A unique set of market conditions are at play and auctions seem to be driving the market.

“I think most people following the market are seeing that supply and demand is certainly the catalyst for what the markets are doing. There’s still a restriction in supply as the new equipment is really not opened up yet as far as production and orders catching up. We’ve been fortunate to see a lot of equipment come through the marketplace on the used side and I really think people are able to upgrade right now and find good selections and, at the end of the day, they’re paying top dollar for it,” said Andy White, owner of RES Auction Services in Wooster.… Continue reading

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Boaters be fuel-aware

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

There’s been a lot of pain at the pump lately with gas prices. The Biden administration’s recent move to give a waiver from the Clean Air Act to allow the sale of gasoline containing 15% Ethanol (E15) during the summer months is intended to lower costs and stretch the nation’s fuel supply. However, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) says the unintended consequence of the waiver could inadvertently put a harmful fuel prohibited for use in recreational vessels into your boat’s gas tank.

BoatUS notes recreational vessels are never compatible with E15 (15% ethanol). It is not permitted by federal law to use E15 fuel in boats (as well as motorcycles, off-road vehicles and power equipment), voids the engine warranty, and it has been proven to cause damage to marine engines. It also causes engines to run hotter and contains less energy than E10.… Continue reading

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