Country Life

Ohio legislature passes statutory farm lease termination and beginning farmer bills

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

Bills establishing new legal requirements for landowners who want to terminate a verbal or uncertain farm lease and income tax credits for sales of assets to beginning farmers now await Governor DeWine’s response after passing in the Ohio legislature this week. Predictions are that the Governor will sign both measures.

Statutory termination requirements for farm leases – H.B. 397

Ohio joins nine other states in the Midwest with its enactment of a statutory requirement for terminating a crop lease that doesn’t address termination. The legislation sponsored by Rep. Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) and Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) aims to address uncertainty in farmland leases, providing protections for tenant operators from late terminations.

The bill states that in either a written or verbal farmland leasing situation where the agreement between the parties does not provide for a termination date or a method for giving notice of termination, a landlord who wants to terminate the lease must do so in writing by September 1.… Continue reading

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Nominations open for 2023 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year Contest

Farmers are invited to submit nominations for the 2023 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year contest, supported by Purina. This is the fifth year of the contest, which celebrates farm dogs and the many ways they support farmers and ranchers in producing nutritious food for families and their pets across America.

The grand prize winner — Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year — will win a year’s worth of Purina dog food and $5,000 in prize money. The winner will be recognized at a Farm Dog of the Year award ceremony at the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in January 2023. Up to four regional runners-up will each win $1,000 in prize money.

The 2023 Farm Dog of the Year will also be featured in a professionally produced video. The profile of 2022 Farm Dog of the Year Fit can be viewed at

“It’s a pleasure to host this popular contest again and provide a glimpse into daily life on the farm,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president.… Continue reading

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New framework guides conservation action on America’s grasslands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has unveiled a new plan to help guide voluntary conservation work over the next five years across 25 states, including more than 7 million acres of new conservation practices on productive, working lands.

The plan, which will be implemented in Ohio, will accelerate voluntary conservation efforts for the Northern bobwhite quail and the grassland and savanna landscapes that the species calls home.

“When we manage for bobwhite habitat, we’re creating healthier forests and forage, which is good for livestock producers, landowners, and natural resources,” said John Wilson, NRCS State Conservationist in Ohio. “This new framework builds on what we know — that America’s agricultural producers using conservation practices are helping declining species like the bobwhite while also providing food and fiber and conserving our resources for future generations. In the face of climate change, as well as habitat loss and fragmentation, expanding efforts to conserve landscapes and wildlife communities is more important than ever.” … Continue reading

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Ohio legislators pass beginning farmer tax credit and statutory farm lease termination bills

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

Bills establishing new legal requirements for landowners who want to terminate a verbal or uncertain farm lease and income tax credits for sales of assets to beginning farmers now await Governor DeWine’s response after passing in the Ohio legislature. Predictions are that the Governor will sign both measures.

Statutory termination requirements for farm leases – H.B. 397

Ohio joins nine other states in the Midwest with its enactment of a statutory requirement for terminating a crop lease that doesn’t address termination. The legislation sponsored by Rep. Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) and Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) aims to address uncertainty in farmland leases, providing protections for tenant operators from late terminations.

The bill states that in either a written or verbal farmland leasing situation where the agreement between the parties does not provide for a termination date or a method for giving notice of termination, a landlord who wants to terminate the lease must do so in writing by Sept.… Continue reading

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Vultures in effigy

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

I recently hosted USDA’s Tom Butler on my radio show, “Buckeye Sportsman,” (@buckeyesportsmanradio; to discuss Ohio’s burgeoning black vulture numbers. It’s no secret to many OCJ readers that Ohio’s black vulture population, birds that often prey on young livestock, causing injury and sometimes death, creating major economic losses for some livestock producers, has increased in recent years. As migratory birds, black vultures are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, state laws and regulations, which means they can’t be killed or destroyed without a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) Migratory Bird Depredation permit. 

Well, recently the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) obtained a statewide depredation permit for black vultures from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and will work with USDA Wildlife Services to issue sub-permits to livestock producers who are experiencing issues with black vultures.… Continue reading

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Easter eggspert recipes

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietitian

The focus on world events may have distracted you from some pressing questions. What’s in your Easter Basket? Hollow or solid chocolate bunny? Plastic or real eggs? Sour, fruity, or traditional jellybeans? Or are you one of those peep lovers? Peep. Peep. Peep! It’s sure to provide stimulating conversation at your next family gathering. 

Fascinating research my fingertips found on the subject shows that we spend around $20 filling our baskets. Lining the pockets of candymakers with over $18 million during the Easter holiday season alone. The research company Pattern shows the top 5 selling candies are Cadbury Eggs (both big and mini), Reese Eggs, Starburst jellybeans, Robin’s eggs, and chocolate bunnies. There were 75,000 consumers who searched for jellybeans on Amazon last year as the clock ticked closer to the bunny’s big hopping delivery day! That is just crazy talk but, what can I say, the Detwilers love jellybeans.… Continue reading

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Funds coming to Grand Lake St. Marys for dredge equipment

State Representatives Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) and Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) announced the release of funds Monday for new dredge equipment for Grand Lake St. Marys. 

The Department of Natural Resources will receive $83,395 to replace dredge equipment that has been in operation on the lake for the past 21 years.

“This is a critical replacement for the lake,” Manchester said. “This updated equipment is needed to help keep the lake healthy.” 

Over the past several years the dredge has been less productive due to failing parts. These funds will be used to replace major functions of the dredge to include the electrical, hydraulic and computer hardware.

“These improvements are not only vital in advancing the lake’s natural habitat, but also protecting a major economical attraction to western Ohio,” Riedel said.

Grand Lake St. Marys over the past decade has been plagued by dangerous algae blooms that have affected the water quality and aquatic animal life.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s beginning farmer tax credit bill moves forward

State Representative Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) announced the General Assembly has approved House Bill 95, her bipartisan legislation that creates a beginning farmer tax credit to assist one generation of farmers to the next.  

The legislation will also allow for an income tax credit for established farmers as they sell or rent their agricultural assets to beginning farmers who take a qualified financial management course. Agriculture assets include farmland, livestock, buildings or equipment.

“Agriculture is the backbone of Ohio’s economy and with the average age of Ohio farmers at 58-years-old, we must do something to get the next generation to look at farming as a career choice,” Manchester said. “This legislation not only gives existing farmers a financial reason to pass on their trade, but also keep agriculture strong in the state.”

 Under the bill, the credit is limited to five years and allows up to $10 million for the total amount of tax credits awarded for the life of the program.… Continue reading

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Bipartisanship allows lawmakers to make positive impacts

By Brooke Appleton, Vice President of Public Policy for the National Corn Growers Association 

When John Enns climbed up on his rye wicker on a beautiful day in 2004, he was looking forward to spending time in the field. Excited about riding his recently purchased equipment, he didn’t know he was moments away from having his life change forever.

As Enns drove the tractor out of a ditch, it flipped over, trapping him under the weight of the machinery. He had two broken vertebrae, five broken ribs and was paralyzed from the waist down. Enns found himself going through hours of physical therapy and trying to navigate a world that often turns a blind eye to those who live with disabilities. Suddenly, Enns was trying to get his wheelchair over steep curbs, trying to climb on top of his tractor without use of his legs and trying to make it up flights of steps at public buildings.… Continue reading

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Ohio NRCS announces second round of Conservation Stewardship Program funding

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Ohio has announced a second round of funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Private landowners interested in building on existing conservation efforts to improve production and reduce overall input costs are encouraged to apply by the May 13, 2022 deadline.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land.

“NRCS conservation programs are good for natural resources and for your operation’s bottom line,” said John Wilson, NRCS Ohio State Conservationist. “The Conservation Stewardship Program allows you to address resource concerns like nutrient management, soil quality and energy use, which can really impact a farmer’s margins.”

CSP encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rates, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.… Continue reading

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USDA’s role in climate initiatives

As the process to write the 2023 farm bill begins, the agriculture committees should address climate policy in a producer-focused way, said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) and a co-chair of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA). Conner’s remarks came during testimony at a House Agriculture Committee hearing to review the role of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs in addressing climate change.

“As the Committee begins work on the next farm bill, we recommend that the process align with FACA’s guiding principles. We believe that policies should be voluntary, and market- and incentive-based; that they should advance science-based outcomes; and that they should promote resiliency and help rural economies better adapt to climate change,” Conner testified.

Conner noted that FACA released a comprehensive list of recommendations related to agriculture and climate in November 2020. Several of these, he said, should be considered during the farm bill process, including strengthening USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, expanding broadband access in rural America, and bolstering energy programs such as the Rural Energy for America Program.… Continue reading

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Farm Income Enhancement Program studies accuracy of agricultural baseline

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) long-term agricultural baseline projections give farmers, agribusinesses, and policymakers a 10-year look into the future of farming and global trade. Researchers at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) recently looked at the informativeness and accuracy of these projections, which many rely on when making business and government policy decisions.

The Farm Income Enhancement Program studied more than two decades of baseline projections and actual realized values of major agricultural indicators to determine the accuracy of the projections. Examples of indicators included commodity prices, yields, farm income, acres harvested, etc. 

Their studies focused primarily on corn and soybean figures, two prevalent crops in Ohio. 

The results suggest that most of the baseline projections are informative for the future only up to four to five years. However, the report shows that some projections are quite accurate for an extended period.… Continue reading

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Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week, April 4-8

Ryan Mitchell participates in the Waldo Firefighters Association training program for its volunteer firefighters on a new Grain Rescue System.

Grain flowing inside a bin can trap and engulf a worker in seconds, and makes for a sobering fact: nearly six of every 10 workers trapped in a grain bin don’t survive. 

For the past six years, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Grain Handling Safety Coalition, Grain Elevator and Processing Society and National Grain and Feed Associationhave been working together to address hazards, reduce risks and improve safety and health management systems to help prevent life-altering injuries and fatalities. 

In 2022, the alliance will hold its annual Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week from April 4 to April 8 with a focus on making small changes for a big impact to improve safety in this high-hazard industry.

“Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week will bring industry professionals together to focus on how small changes can eliminate dangerous hazards and protect workers from serious injuries” said Doug Parker, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health.… Continue reading

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Senate passes Ocean Shipping Reform Act

Last week the Senate unanimously passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.

“AFBF appreciates the unanimous vote in the Senate to pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. Farmers have lost out on up to $4 billion in agricultural exports because of lack of access to export containers, record shipping costs and harmful surcharges,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Limited trade has also hampered farmers’ ability to get crucial supplies like fertilizer at a time when supply chains are already stressed. AFBF encourages lawmakers from both chambers to work quickly to reconcile differences in each version of the legislation and get it to the president for his signature so farmers can continue putting dinner on the table for families in America and overseas.”… Continue reading

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USDA encourages producers to enroll grasslands into special Conservation Reserve Program signup

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages producers and landowners to enroll in the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) through May 13, 2022. Grassland CRP provides a unique opportunity for farmers, ranchers, and agricultural landowners to keep land in agricultural production and supplement their income while improving their soils and permanent grass cover.   The program had its highest enrollment in history in 2021 and is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader effort to equip producers with the tools they need to help address climate change and invest in the long-term health of our natural resources.  

Grassland CRP is a federally funded voluntary working lands program. Through the program, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides annual rental payments to landowners to maintain and conserve grasslands while allowing producers to graze, hay, and produce seed on that land.  Maintaining the existing permanent cover provides several benefits, including reducing erosion, providing wildlife habitat and migration corridors, and capturing and maintaining carbon in the soil and cover. … Continue reading

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A spring of war

By Matt Reese

Retired Ohio State University Extension agronomist Harold Watters has been working with Ukrainian farmers and agronomists for over a decade. He has traveled to Ukraine many times to teach agronomics in person, but had switched to virtual teaching since 2020. Watters was finally set to return in person late last year.

“I was supposed to go in December and it got canceled because of impending disaster. Then I was supposed to go Feb. 18 but that got canceled too,” Watters said. “We were basically in the middle of a virtual class when it got canceled. They were saying, ‘We’re under attack and we’re shutting down.’ I am so worried about my friends there. I have met so many farmers across that country and they are very resilient. They are survivors. This country has been beat up on before. I am not surprised they are fighting back.

“They are wondering what they should do.… Continue reading

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Ocean shipping reform progressing

Last week, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved the “Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022” (S. 3580) to address longstanding supply chain issues and shipping port disruptions. The bill now moves to the full Senate; the House approved a similar measure late last year. Agriculture was well represented among 89 business groups that expressed support for the Senate bill in a late February letter to bill sponsors Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD). 

The groups noted that supply chain problems are expected to continue throughout 2022 and will “have a significant effect on inflation as well as continued economic recovery.” They pointed out that one of the biggest issues facing cargo owners and other supply chain stakeholders is detention and demurrage fees charged by shipping ports, terminal operators and common carriers on exporters and importers. S. 3580, among other actions, would formalize a Federal Maritime Commission interpretive rule on detention and demurrage charges and define the parameters for using them.… Continue reading

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Farm Credit lenders expanding online lending platform

Farm Credit lenders in 28 states announced they are collaborating to nearly triple in size the area where their shared online land loan application service will be available., the online service, will accelerate and simplify the farm and ranch loan process across more than 300 million acres. allows borrowers to apply for land financing 24/7, when and where it’s convenient for them. Within three business hours, applicants are contacted by a financing expert who answers questions and helps guide their loan application through their Farm Credit association’s review and approval process. 

“The FarmLend experience has been especially well-received by customers who value online convenience paired with quick access to financing and ag expertise,” said Carl Horne, vice president of digital loan products and services at Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica). “Making financing experts who understand the ag real estate market accessible soon after someone applies online has allowed FarmLend to provide a unique ‘best of both’ experience that customers highly value.”… Continue reading

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U.S. and United Kingdom progressing with tariff talks

The United States and the United Kingdom agreed to drop retaliatory tariffs on each other’s products as part of trade talks between the two countries. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.K. Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan met last week in Baltimore to discuss a U.S.-U.K. trade and investment agreement. A second round of talks will take place in the U.K. in the coming months.

Trevelyan also met with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to work out the tariffs issue, with the United States agreeing to rescind tariffs on British steel and aluminum imports and the U.K. dropping retaliatory duties on U.S. goods. The first Joint U.K.-U.S.Dialogues on the Future of Atlantic Trade included senior representatives from government and the business sectors. The two sides are seeking to boost trade between the countries and were expected to discuss how they can work together on digital and green trade. The National Pork Producers Council has been pressing the White House to negotiate new FTAs, including with the United Kingdom, and has been a supporter of closer trade relations with the U.K.… Continue reading

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SEC requiring firms to report GHG emissions

The Securities and Exchange Commission voted 3-1 to propose regulations mandating that publicly traded companies report their carbon emissions and other climate-related information, providing risk analyses, goals and other potentially sensitive business data.

In addition to detailing their direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, firms would be required to report on the GHGs from partner companies, suppliers and distributors. One research and advisory company with experience in environmental, social and governance reporting estimates the cost of complying with the rule would be $6.7 billion over the next three years.

A public comment period of at least 30 days will follow the proposed rule’s publication in the Federal Register. The National Pork Producers Council and other agricultural organizations are reviewing the 570-page regulation and will submit comments on a number of concerns.… Continue reading

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