Country Life

Ohio State installs, commissions new pilot-scale ultra-shear technology equipment for liquid foods and beverages processing

Food processing companies looking for innovative new ways to preserve clean-label liquid food without artificial preservatives will soon have a new option to do so thanks to new technology being developed at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). 

Researchers in the CFAES departments of Food Science and Technology as well as Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE) have installed and commissioned a new, innovative manufacturing technology that preserves foods and beverages using wholesome, recognizable ingredients; no artificial preservatives; and reduced heat. And they will soon launch an outreach program to food and beverage companies to join the Food Industry Consortium to begin using the new technology.

Called BaroShear MAX ultra-shear technology (UST), this new method of high-pressure-based shear technology will allow beverage companies to manufacture healthier beverages by reducing thermal exposure through the combined application of elevated pressure, shear, and controlled times and temperatures. 

The result?… Continue reading

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A look forward at the supply chain

A conversation with….

Robert Fox, director of the Knowledge Exchange Division for CoBank

OCJ: So what is the outlook for agriculture as we move in 2022?

Robert: I’m pretty confident 2022 is going to be a nice year for agriculture in general. Commodity prices are very strong and fundamentally supported. I don’t have too much concern about a decline in prices. Of course, commodities are natural hedge for inflation. If inflation become a further concern, I see commodity prices escalating with that. I know people have been concerned about input costs, and rightly so. Still, prices are strong enough to withstand those input costs.

We are left with some wildcard events. One is the COVID Omicron outbreak in China. Up to this point China has had a zero-COVID policy. They have been very rigorous and have been able to control COVID in China. Omicron is a different beast and if it starts to spread in China we don’t know how aggressive they will be in shutting down plants and ports.… Continue reading

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Upcoming Western Lake Erie Basin conservation practices public input meeting

By Rachel Cochran, Ohio State University Extension

Join OSU Extension’s Water Quality Associates on Tuesday, Feb. 22 from 10-11 a.m. for a public input meeting regarding on-farm conservation practices. This webinar is aimed toward farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin who farm or live near our target watersheds. This virtual webinar will allow OSU’s Water Quality team to hear directly from farmers and landowners to guide local watershed planning efforts and funding priorities. What conservation practices do you want to learn more about? Are there practices that you think may work for your farm, but you don’t know where to start? Are there practices you are interested in if additional funding or support becomes available? Join us for an informal discussion to talk about these topics.

Register for this webinar at, or contact a Water Quality Extension Associate to give your input if you can’t attend the meeting.… Continue reading

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Long live the filibuster!

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

When people ask what worries me most about the political divisions in Congress, I tell them that one of my biggest concerns is the Senate eliminating the filibuster.

That’s not only because it would do away with an important tool that encourages bipartisanship, but also because the demise of this practice, which allows for extended debate that prevents legislation from advancing without a 60-vote threshold, could have serious ramifications for farm policy. While the filibuster’s downfall is not as imminent as some would like, thanks to Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), it is perhaps closer to being eliminated than at any other time in American history.

And while many see eliminating the Senate filibuster as the means to an important end, including passing voting rights legislation, climate policy and circumventing stagnation from a hyper-partisan political climate, I would caution these advocates to consider all that would be lost if the filibuster were no longer part of the Senate rules.… Continue reading

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Eminent domain, broadband and infrastructure the focus of Ag Day at the Capital

By Matt Reese

The weather cooperated beautifully for the 2022 Ag Day at the Capital where Ohio Farm Bureau members from around the state visited Columbus to meet their legislators face-to-face and discuss the issues of the day.

“Getting in front of your legislator has a big impact for them and for us,” said Kyle Brown, president of Wyandot County Farm Bureau. “I think it really means a lot to them and it shows your dedication to your subject matter. It resonates a little more when you take the time to meet with them in person.” 

The group heard a fiery keynote presentation on the vital role of the Ohio Supreme Court from Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy before heading out for meetings with legislators. Key priorities for Ohio Farm Bureau in 2022 include rural broadband, landowner rights and infrastructure development.

“This is the opportunity we take to unveil our Ohio Agricultural and Rural Communities Action Plan, which is essentially the issues we are going to prioritize for the year.… Continue reading

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USDA extends due date to March 7 for National Agricultural Classification Survey

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) wants recipients of the National Agricultural Classification Survey (NACS) to know that there is still time to respond. Mailed last December to more than a million potential U.S. agricultural producers, the NACS collects data on agricultural activity and basic farm information. These data will be used to build a survey recipient list for the 2022 Census of Agriculture. Response to the NACS is required by federal law for all who receive the questionnaire, even if the recipient is not an active farmer or rancher. Questionnaires can be completed securely online at, by mail or phone. The response deadline is extended to March 7. 

“Filling out the NACS is one of the most important steps to determining who should receive the Census of Agriculture questionnaire this fall,” said Barbara Rater, Census and Survey Division Director. “The influential Census of Agriculture dataset is used by many — from local and federal governments, to educators, researchers, agribusinesses, media and more — impacting decisions that affect producers, their farms, families, communities, industries, and the nation. … Continue reading

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Ohio NRCS seeks new proposals for Conservation Innovation grants

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking new proposals for cutting-edge projects that will provide new conservation opportunities through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. In fiscal year 2022, Ohio will invest up to $300,000 for new CIG projects.

Ohio priorities in fiscal year 2022 include urban agriculture, soil health, water quality, and forestry-based sustainable natural ecosystems. Projects may be farm-based, multi-county, small watershed or statewide in scope. For additional information, please contact Ohio CIG program manager Cheryl Rice at or search for the latest postings at An upcoming webinar for CIG applicants is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 at 3 p.m. ET. Interested attendees can join via the below link or phone number:

Meeting Link:

Phone number: +1 202-650-0123, 203371432# / Phone Conference ID: 203 371 432#

All non-federal entities and individuals are invited to apply, with the sole exception of federal agencies. Projects may be between one and three years in duration.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation names Youth Pathways grant recipient

Leveraging the resources of the Fisher Fund for Lifelong Learning, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation launched a Youth Pathways initiative in 2018, focused on introducing students to and training them for careers in food, agricultural and environmental sciences. Each year, organizations throughout the state are invited to submit proposals for innovative projects that would help to address the need to attract more young people to careers in these fields.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is proud to announce that the Junior Achievement Virtual Inspire Career Exploration Fair is the 2022 recipient of the Youth Pathways for Careers in Agriculture Grant. A total of $100,000 will assist this nonprofit as it develops programming that will prepare students for post-secondary training or direct placement in food, agricultural and environmental sciences industries.

“You would be hard pressed to find an initiative that lines up as closely with the mission of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation as the Junior Achievement Virtual Inspire Career Exploration Fair does,” said Tara Durbin, senior vice president agricultural lending with Farm Credit Mid-America and president of the OFB Foundation.… Continue reading

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FACA applauds USDA investment in Climate-Smart Pilot Projects

The more than 80 member organizations of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) strongly commend USDA for advancing a voluntary, incentive-based approach to deploy climate-smart practices on working lands through its Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities. FACA includes American Farm Bureau.

“Farm Bureau commends efforts by USDA to address the challenges farmers and ranchers are facing in their attempts to adopt new and emerging climate-smart practices, as well as participate in developing climate marketing channels,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Voluntary, incentive-based pilot projects are a great first step to identify barriers and ensure farmers and ranchers of all sizes can participate no matter where they are located or what they produce.  We look forward to working with the administration, Congress and our members to develop bipartisan solutions that provide adequate CCC funding while also ensuring the longevity of programs that build on our longstanding commitment to sustainability.”

Members of the Alliance welcome USDA’s plan to partner with farmers, ranchers, forest owners and nongovernmental organizations through pilot projects and are pleased to see the program structured in a manner consistent with FACA recommendations.… Continue reading

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Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference

Ohio State University (OSU) Extension will host the 7th Annual East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference. The conference is planned for Friday, March 25 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum, 3266 Dyewood Road SW, Carrollton, OH 44615. All women and young women (high school age) who are interested, involved in, or want to become involved with food, agricultural, or natural resources production or small business are encouraged to attend.

East Ohio Women in Ag Conference 2022 Flyer

The conference program features a networking fair and sixteen breakout sessions presented by OSU Extension educators, producers, and partner agencies. Sessions this year are focused around four themes: Natural Resources, Plants & Animals, Home & Family, and Special Interest (includes break-out with Ohio FFA State Officers). The conference keynote will be led by Bridget Britton, OSU Extension Behavioral Health Field Specialist. She and her team will lead participants through “Stoic or Stressed?… Continue reading

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Farmland leasing webinar

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

Winter is a good time to review farm leases, for both economic and legal reasons.  We’ll provide you current information to help with the farmland leasing process in our Ohio Farmland Leasing Update webinar on February 9, 2022 from 7 to 9 p.m. Barry Ward, Leader of Production Business Management for OSU Extension, will address the economic issues and our legal team of Peggy Hall and Robert Moore will provide the legal information.  

Our agenda will include:

  • Current economic outlook for Ohio row crops
  • Research on cash rent markets for the Eastern Corn Belt
  • Rental market outlook fundamentals
  • Negotiating conservation practices
  • Using leases in farmland succession planning
  • Ohio’s proposed law on providing notice of termination
  • Ensuring legal enforceability of a lease

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

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How to stay healthy at home in the COVID-19 pandemic

By Lingying Zhao

We have been in the COVID-19 pandemic for almost two years. Because of the pandemic, we started a new mode of working from home and/or staying at home as a measure to control the virus’ spread and protect our health. Recently, as the new Omicron variant of Coronavirus spread in the U.S. and all over the world, many of our friends and family members became infected with the virus. When we are sick, the instructions issued from the workplaces, doctors, and/or schools are to stay at home. Consequently, in this winter during the pandemic, we are spending even more time in our homes. However, most of our homes are not designed and equipped to deal with the air-borne transmission of infectious diseases. One sick family member at home may affect the safety of the entire household. Staying healthy at home in the pandemic, especially when we have sick family members living at home, becomes a significant challenge.… Continue reading

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Hunting sheds, darters and fur auctions

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

It’s no secret that Ohio whitetails are well-known for the size and quality of their antlers — both on the animal and after the antlers have been shed. I learn quite a bit about the resident deer population in the areas I hunt by going out this time of the year in search of shed antlers, including the locations of bedding areas and discovering new travel routes. 

A whitetail buck grows its first set of antlers when it is one year old, when they begin growing in the early spring. The developing antler is covered with a thick velvety skin rich with blood vessels and nerves. Decreasing day length in the late summer and early fall triggers several physical changes in a buck, including termination of the blood supply to the antlers. The antlers begin to harden soon thereafter and by August or September, the velvet is shed as the buck rubs his antlers against trees and other solid objects in the fields and woods.… Continue reading

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Riding for farmers who cannot

By Alayna DeMartini, Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

After a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, and 13.1-mile run, Austin Heil wanted more.

Not more on the actual day in 2016 he finished Ohio’s half Ironman race, the Ironman 70.3 Ohio. On that day, he needed sleep and a lot of food. But weeks after getting to the finish line, he wanted to do a group ride with some of the people he bonded with along the course. People who swam and biked and ran alongside him.

“You’re near death in the last leg of a triathlon, so you meet a lot of people,” he joked about the grueling experience.

A few months after the triathalon, Heil organized a bike ride near his northwest Ohio farm in Kenton. And just to make the ride really interesting, he mapped out a course that would form a handwritten “Ohio.”

Using a Garmin app, he clicked around.… Continue reading

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Carnival season time to eat, drink and be merry

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

New Orleans is the place to party this month! First, let’s clear up some confusion. Carnival season starts at epiphany and is a time to eat, drink and be merry that includes parades, balls and other merriment leading up to Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras (also known as Fat Tuesday and Shrove Tuesday) is the peak, the culmination, the last hurrah, the final tick of the Carnival season game clock before fasting and prayer begin with Lent. Now I’ve been to the Big Easy, the grand finale may be complete, but the energy, music and food live on yearlong. 

Believe it or not this party all started with a pancake. The story goes that a Pope in the time of 600 AD forbade eating all meat and animal products during Lent. It spread to Southern England where parishioners used up their eggs, milk and butter the day before Ash Wednesday in the form of pancakes.… Continue reading

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Biden Administration to increase H-2B visas

To address the country’s ongoing labor shortage, the Biden Administration this announced it will allow an additional 20,000 foreign workers into the country under the H-2B visa program. 

The program permits employers to temporarily hire such workers for non-agricultural labor or services, including meatpacking. Employers requesting H-2B visas must attest to the U.S. Department of Labor that they will offer a wage that equals or exceeds the higher of the prevailing wage, applicable federal minimum wage, the state minimum wage or local minimum wage. Most of the visas will be available only to workers who received H-2B visas in the last three fiscal years, but 6,500 will go to laborers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras. Farm groups continue to ask congressional lawmakers to expand the current H-2A visa program to year-round agricultural laborers, including meatpacking workers.… Continue reading

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EPA is muddying the waters once again

By Courtney Briggs, senior director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation

No one knows the benefits of clean water better than our nation’s farmers and ranchers. The food, fiber, and fuel we produce to support the needs of all Americans requires clean water. The health of our most valuable asset — our land, requires clean water. And the well-being of our families and communities also requires clean water. However, new regulatory proposals by the Biden Administration will impose incredible burdens that will have unintended, yet lasting, consequences.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have proposed a new regulation that would, once again, change the definition of “waters of the United States.” This regulation would repeal the successful Navigable Waters Protection Rule and reinstate the troubling pre-2015 WOTUS rule. If finalized, this rule would erase all of the clarity and certainty that we have spent years working for, and give the agencies the ability to assert jurisdiction over dry land that is located many miles from a federally regulated water.… Continue reading

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USDA announces inaugural Federal Advisory Committee on Urban Agriculture

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack selected 12 members to serve on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) inaugural Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture to provide input on policy development and to help identify barriers to urban agriculture as USDA works to promote urban farming and the economic opportunities it provides in cities across the country. 

The new Secretary’s Advisory Committee is part of USDA’s efforts to support urban agriculture, creating a network for feedback. Urban agriculture plays an important role in producing fresh, healthy food in areas where grocery stores are scarce, and also provides jobs and beautifies neighborhoods.   

“Urban agriculture has been growing in impact and importance, and we are taking bold actions to build a support structure,” Vilsack said. “I look forward to learning how we can better serve urban agricultural producers, which will complement our efforts focusing on equity, local food systems, access to safe and nutritional food and new ways to address climate change.”  

The Committee is made up of agricultural producers, and representatives from the areas of higher education or extension programs, non-profits, business and economic development, supply chains and financing. Carl… Continue reading

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H2Ohio deadline approaching

Voluntary Nutrient Management Plans (VNMP) are due soon in the 10-county expansion area of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative. Producers enrolled in H2Ohio need to submit a VNMP by March 31 to apply for the next phase of program incentives.

Approximately 800 producers in the expansion area enrolled more than 600,000 acres of cropland into the H2Ohio program last fall. This represents more than 38% of the cropland in the project area — Crawford, Erie, Huron, Marion, Ottawa, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Shelby, and Wyandot counties.

All enrolled producers must submit a completed VNMP, which is the base best management practice (BMP), to their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to receive incentive payments before signing up for additional practices in the spring.  A VNMP tells producers where to place fertilizer, how much, and when.

H2Ohio participants in the expansion area are also reminded to submit required documentation if they are enrolled in the overwintering cover crop and conservation crop rotation/small grains practices. … Continue reading

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USDA partners with Port of Oakland

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced plans to increase capacity at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California and improve service for shippers of U.S. grown agricultural commodities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is partnering with the Port of Oakland to set up a new 25-acre “pop-up” site to make it easier for agricultural companies to fill empty shipping containers with commodities. Fewer containers have been made available for U.S. agricultural commodities, as ocean carriers have circumvented traditional marketing channels and rushed containers back to be exported empty and as a result, many of these carriers have suspended service to the Port of Oakland. USDA is now taking action to reduce these shipping disruptions that have prevented U.S. agricultural products from reaching their markets.

“COVID-19 revealed vulnerabilities across our supply system, both at our ports and in the agricultural sector,” Vilsack said. “As the economy has made an historic recovery, it has put additional strain on the supply chain.… Continue reading

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