Country Life

POET pledges carbon neutrality by 2050

POET, the world’s largest producer of biofuels and a leading producer of bio-based products, is proud to announce the release of its inaugural sustainability report, which outlines the company’s focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives. 

POET established several ESG goals, including the achievement of net-zero carbon at its bioprocessing facilities by 2050. In addition, POET pledges to ensure that its renewable, plant-based bioethanol reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 70% compared to gasoline by 2030. According to a recent study, today’s bioethanol reduces carbon emissions by 46% compared to gasoline.

Sustainability has always been at POET’s core. We recognize that our planet urgently needs bolder solutions and better results if we hope to restore harmony between human and nature and sustain Earth’s fragile balance for future generations,” said Jeff Broin, POET Founder and CEO. “Now more than ever, it is critical that we embrace the bioeconomy, significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and harvest our energy from the surface of the Earth.”… Continue reading

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New book gives kids glimpse of a “Barn at Night”

A new children’s book is now available for families searching for a captivating agriculture story to share. “Barn at Night,” featuring lyrical poetry and glowing watercolors, is now available from Feeding Minds Press, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s publishing venture.

“In ‘Barn at Night,’ readers discover the certain magic of a farm in the quiet predawn hours,” said Foundation for Agriculture executive director Daniel Meloy. “It is our hope that this book will illustrate the dedication of farmers and ranchers in caring for their animals, day in and day out, long before the rest of the world springs to life.”

This heartwarming yet true-to-life tale, written by Ohioan Michelle Houts and illustrated by Jen Betton, invites readers along as a father and daughter go out to the barn on a cold winter night and are welcomed with an enchanting scene. The pair discover who is awake, who is asleep, and who is just making their first appearance in the barn.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau and Farm Credit Mid-America announce enhanced partnership

Ohio Farm Bureau is pleased to announce Farm Credit Mid-America as a major contributor to Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Ag Professionals programing and sponsor of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting.

Ohio Farm Bureau and Farm Credit Mid-America have played a significant role in the agriculture community for generations, serving the needs of farmers and rural residents across Ohio for more than a century. This enhanced partnership will empower both organizations to leverage their common goals and values to deepen their roots and broaden their reach in the ag community across the state.

“Our partnership with Ohio Farm Bureau has always been a natural match,” said Tara Durbin, Senior Vice President Agricultural Lending Farm Credit Mid-America, who also serves as vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation. “When it comes to addressing the needs of Ohio agriculture, whether it be for farm loans, crop insurance, policy issues or outreach efforts, both of our organizations care deeply and work hard for those we serve.”… Continue reading

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Infrastructure bill moving forward

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

From the local bridge just around the corner to the locks and dams on the nation’s river system, agricultural viability depends heavily on infrastructure. After months of across-the-aisle negotiations, the Senate voted to pass the bipartisan infrastructure package (H.R. 3684) in August.

“This is a very notable move forward. It passed through the Senate with a very bi-partisan vote of 69-30, 19 Republican Senators voted for the legislation. Early on this year, the topic of infrastructure was really expansive. There were a lot of things being discussed that really don’t have a lot to do with what most Americans regard as infrastructure. It has tightened up and we think that is a good thing,” said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “We appreciate there are a number of categories within this legislation that, if they come to fruition, would be beneficial to agriculture. There is funding directed at roads and bridges, many in rural areas.… Continue reading

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#HeresToTheFarmer campaign kicks off again with Luke Bryan

After donating close to 5 million meals across the United States, Bayer will continue its partnership with five-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan in 2021 to celebrate America’s farmers and help fight hunger by encouraging use of the hashtag #HerestotheFarmer on social media to help families in need.

‘Here’s to the Farmer’ supports Bayer’s vision of Health for All, Hunger for None and asks fans across the United States to share the hashtag #HerestotheFarmer on their social media channels to show their gratitude to America’s farmers. For every share, Bayer will provide one meal to a person in need through Feeding America with the goal of helping  to provide 1 million meals.

Bryan, the son of a peanut farmer from Georgia, has a long-time commitment to the American farmer, launched his annual Farm Tour in 2009 as a way to highlight and celebrate the contributions of America’s farmers. In 2015, Bayer partnered with Luke Bryan and launched its campaign to help fight hunger throughout the country.

“I know the important role farmers play in our everyday lives and understand the hard work it takes for them to help feed America and the world,” Bryan said.… Continue reading

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No days off: Stover puts in work to prepare for football and the farm

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

The field is where Cade Stover feels the most at home — not just on the football field, donning his No. 16 Ohio State jersey, but also the hay field, and in the driver’s seat of a tractor. Stover may be known for his athletic career, but his farming background is what sets him apart. 

The 6-foot 4-inch 255-pound tight end is poised for big things this season (and this weekend against Oregon) for the Buckeyes. In 2020 he moved into the role from the linebacker position. He also played a key role on special teams. He made three tackles in 2020, including two against Michigan State, and also forced a fumble. Stover played in four games as a true freshman for the Buckeyes in 2019 and redshirted.

Stover made an impression on the coaching staff with his work ethic this summer, which will hopefully translate into more playing time in 2021.… Continue reading

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Tribute to Ohio barns

While staying at a bed and breakfast in Licking County, Ohio, in the early 2000s, a deteriorating barn captivated the eye of Cincinnati artist and retired dentist, Robert Kroeger. This first barn would ignite Kroeger’s “Ohio Barn Project,” which has taken the artist to Ohio’s 88 counties to paint, research, and write about historic barns. In nearly every county he’s painted barns, Kroeger has donated the proceeds from the sale of his paintings to a local historical organization. He is a self-taught painter and uses the impasto oil technique. He applies the paint quickly and in very thick layers with a palette knife, creating texture and dimension.

“A Tribute to Historic Barns of Ohio: 88 Counties, 88 Paintings, 88 Essays” will be held Sept. 29. at Muhlhauser Barn, located at 8558 Beckett Road in West Chester Township. The event will feature nearly 100 of Kroeger’s original paintings that will be will be auctioned off.… Continue reading

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Bob-bob where?

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

Bobwhite quail fell off my target list two decades ago, when numbers were plummeting and I didn’t want to contribute to the decline of the popular upland gamebirds that once thrived in the Buckeye State. That’s why I was glad to hear that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has designated a new priority area in Ohio focused on improving and creating northern bobwhite quail habitat. Private landowners and producers can apply for funding through the NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and interested landowners in the selected townships are encouraged to contact their local NRCS service center, ODNR private lands biologist or Pheasants Forever biologist to learn more. 

“Private landowner involvement is such an important part of preserving this iconic species,” said Lori Ziehr, Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service Acting State Conservationist.… Continue reading

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AFBF urges USDA to address supply chain issues

The American Farm Bureau Federation today sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack detailing a list of solutions to address critical supply chain issues facing America’s farmers and ranchers. AFBF details seven priorities for USDA to consider in response to President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains.

“We are now in our 18th month of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period, our nation has witnessed vulnerabilities throughout the supply chain that haven’t been seen before,” wrote AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Supplies of farm inputs like crop protectants, fertilizers, and seeds have been difficult to obtain, and expensive to purchase. Highway transportation of farm products and supplies is more expensive and less available today than pre-pandemic levels, and timely maritime transport of value-added agricultural exports is frustrated, at best. All the while, agricultural labor, both domestic and foreign, is increasingly difficult to access and expensive, making already small margins even tighter.”… Continue reading

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Fall is FSR time!

By Jason Hartschuh, Crawford County Extension

Farm Science Review and OSU Agronomy Team have been working hard to bring you an unforgettable show from September 21 to 23. You will have the opportunity see the latest technology and resources for your farm in the agronomy team area at the east of the Review grounds just inside gates B & C and near the general parking area. We have a great set of demonstrations showcasing some of the research we are currently doing around the state both on-farm and at our research stations to help answer your production questions. You can walk through the plots at your own pace or have a private tour anytime during the entire show.

One major yield thief in both corn and soybeans is compaction. One type of compaction is pinch row compaction, here we will show how the utilization of tracks and various types of tires can affect your crop.… Continue reading

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Potato favorites for fall

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

A long, long time ago, when there was an Ohio State fair, Taterella, a young college damsel spent sweaty afternoons and evenings in the Bricker building, baking hundreds of potatoes. In her Potato Palace, Taterella baked potatoes, topped them with delicious toppings and served them up to the peasants of the Ohio land. Her spuds were known far and wide. Taterella had grown up in the land of soy and maize but loved potatoes so. Taterella’s hot, sticky nights were draining, but she was rescued from demise when the fair ran its course. This is my potato story, but the history of the potato goes a few more long years further back.

Where did these little tots of goodness come from? The story goes that the Incas back in 8000 to 6000 B.C. began cultivating potatoes. Then those pesky Spanish Conquistadors invaded Peru in 1536, discovered the tasty treats and pillaged some starchy booty back to share with all their European friends.… Continue reading

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Ag law questions from around Ohio

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

I recall sharing my concern with a professor when I was in law school: how will I ever know all the answers to legal questions? No worries, he said. You can’t know the answer to every legal question, but you do need to know how to find the answers. I think of that advice often as legal questions come across my desk.
We’ve had a steady stream of them this summer, and the questions provide a snapshot of what’s going on around the state. Here’s a sampling of questions we’ve received recently, complete with our answers — some we knew and some we had to find.

What do you know about the $500 million to be set aside at USDA for meat processors? Who will administer it and what is the timeline?
USDA published a notice on July 16, 2021 titled “Investments and Opportunities for Meat and Poultry Processing Infrastructure” seeking input on how to allocate the funds.… Continue reading

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WOTUS Rule being reconsidered

The Biden administration announced in July that it was ditching the Navigable Waters Protection Rule promulgated in June 2020 by the Trump administration to replace it with the Obama-era WOTUS Rule. That 2015 regulation gave EPA broad jurisdiction over U.S. waters to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters. 

Prior to that rule, EPA’s jurisdiction over waterways — based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions — included “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. The Biden administration said it would revert to the pre-2015 regulation and update it consistent with relevant Supreme Court decisions and recommendations from affected stakeholders, who were given until Sept. 3 to submit comments. 

The American Farm Bureau Federation submitted recommendations on the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS).… Continue reading

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Plenty to see, learn at Gwynne Conservation Area: Farm Science Review 2021

At the Farm Science Review, visitors can discover such things as:

  • How grazing goats can help control invasive plants in the woods.
  • How to call turkeys, identify frogs, stock a pond with the best types of fish, and grow edible mushrooms in a bucket.
  • How and when to harvest timber, and an update on volatile lumber prices.
  • How to identify the spotted lanternfly, an invasive species new to Ohio that can damage fruit and shade trees and grape vines.

To learn more about woods, water, wildlife, and grazing lands — and walk among them —check out the Gwynne Conservation Area at this year’s Farm Science Review. The nearly 70-acre demonstration site — home of a forest, a stream, a wetland, ponds, pastures, wildlife food plots, and trails leading past or through them — will offer 50-plus talks, tours, and demonstrations during all three days of the Review.

Visitors will find prairie plants blown by the wind, shade from trees, sunlight glinting on rippled water, butterflies, green frogs, bluegills, and bluebirds.… Continue reading

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Teens have conservation voice

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

Talk about a cool school program: the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will welcome 42 new students as members of the Conservation Teen Advisory Council (ConTAC) for the upcoming school year, members of which serve as a voice of Ohio’s youth to ODNR to help expand reach, impact, and conservation efforts.

“The future of Ohio’s natural resources is in the hands of young people like this group,” said Mary Mertz, ODNR Director. “I am inspired by their passion for nature and can’t wait to see the ideas they bring to the table.”

Members are responsible for developing and implementing strategies and campaigns that best represent Ohio’s young people. In the past, the students have helped with presentations for the Great Lakes Commission, participated in stream clean-ups/litter pick-ups, crafted social media posts, shadowed staff, and much more.… Continue reading

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Harvest weather outlook

By Jim Noel, NOAA

Summer saw hit and miss rains and warm temperatures so what will the harvest season bring?

As we close out summer and the growing season we expect some week-to-week swings in the climate pattern for September. This means expect a warm week followed by a cooler week followed by a warmer week. The same applies to rainfall. We expect dry and wet periods. Overall, September appears to favor normal temperatures and slightly wetter conditions especially in southern areas. The driest areas appear to favor northwest Ohio. The 16-day mean rainfall outlook calling for rainfall for through middle September to range from well under an inch in northwest Ohio to 3 or 4 inches in the far southeast part of the state.

The ocean patterns are similar to last year but not quite as extreme so we may see an autumn pattern somewhat similar to last year which is a whole lot of typical conditions. … Continue reading

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USDA to invest $50 million in new cooperative agreements for racial justice and equity

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing up to $50 million in cooperative agreements to support historically underserved farmers and ranchers with climate-smart agriculture and forestry. The Racial Justice and Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements are available to entities and individuals for two-year projects that expand the delivery of conservation assistance to farmers who are beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers.     

“Historically underserved producers face significant barriers in accessing USDA assistance for conservation and climate-smart agriculture,” said Lori Ziehr. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Ohio Conservationist. “USDA is committed to revising programs to be more equitable, and these producers deserve our support as they contribute to our vibrant and diverse agricultural communities.” 

The projects should help historically underserved farmers and ranchers in implementing natural resources conservation practices that: improve soil health; improve water quality; provide habitat for local wildlife species of concern; improve the environmental and economic performance of working agricultural land; and build and strengthen local food projects that provide healthy food and economic opportunities.    … Continue reading

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Next Generation Fuels Act provides key piece of the clean energy solution

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) welcomed the reintroduction of The Next Generation Fuels Act (H.R. 5089), legislation to transition gasoline and vehicles to low-carbon, higher octane fuel to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and meet future needs of more advanced vehicles by taking advantage of the benefits of higher ethanol blends. The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill).

“Ethanol is uniquely positioned to immediately and affordably decarbonize transportation, including through paving the way to future vehicles with greater fuel efficiency and fewer emissions,” said John Linder, NCGA president. “The Renewable Fuel Standard was a game-changer for corn farmers, and the Next Generation Fuels Act builds on that success in advancing our commitment to providing the cleanest, most efficient and lowest cost energy solution.”

The bill would require that automakers phase in higher levels of clean, low-carbon octane by model year 2031. The higher the octane, the more efficiently the engine uses energy.… Continue reading

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Miami University Football game day with Apple Farm Service

Apple Farm Service is excited to be a game day sponsor for the Miami University Redhawks football team. Join the Redhawks and Apple Farm Service as they take on the Long Island University Sharks for their first home game on Saturday Sept. 18 at 3:30 p.m.  

Come early to enjoy the pregame activities presented by Apple Farm Service. Complete the zero-turn obstacle course, compete in the vertical tillage field goal challenge, or have your kids play in the corn play pit. Tractor and equipment displays will also be placed around Yager Stadium. Stick around for half time pedal tractor racing and special “Apple Farm Service” videos on the big screen.

Interested in discount tickets? Miami University is offering $10 tickets for this game only. Just visit and use promo code APPLEFARMS to claim your $10 tickets.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation accepting proposals for Youth Pathways grants

It is projected that 40% of jobs in agriculture could go unfulfilled within the next five years without efforts to attract young leaders to the industry.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation’s Youth Pathways to Careers in Agriculture grant program supports projects that introduce and train students for high-demand jobs in food, agricultural and environmental sciences. The program is open to nonprofit organizations or those with a fiscal sponsor. 

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation invites proposals from organizations and innovative partnerships interested in delivering programming in the state of Ohio. The foundation intends to award up to $100,000 for these grants, which can last up to 12 months. The grant program was established through the foundation’s Fisher Fund for Lifelong Learning.

“Our signature Youth Pathways grant program serves as a powerful incentive to make careers in our industry appealing to young people,” said Luke Houghton, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation’s director of development. “We look forward to supporting innovative programs that inspire the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to become problem solvers and leaders in agriculture.”… Continue reading

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