Country Life

New promotional opportunity for agritourism venues

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is looking for orchards, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and more to showcase on a new app dedicated to connecting consumers with agritourism venues.

The American Farm Trail app, created by the Foundation and sponsored by Corteva, allows farmers, ranchers and farm attraction managers to sign up for free to showcase their agritourism venues. Farms and attractions can create a profile promoting their business, history, available products and more.

Consumers using the app will be able to connect directly with local farms by searching area, type of attraction, or products for sale. The Foundation plans to launch the app in the spring of 2022. 

“The Foundation is ecstatic to offer this new resource to help connect agritourism businesses to consumers interested in visiting farms and ranches. There is nothing quite like picking your own apple or hunting for the perfect pumpkin and meeting the farmer who put the time and effort into growing that crop,” said Daniel Meloy, executive director of the Foundation.… Continue reading

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Women Leading in Ohio AgriBusiness Fall Summit

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association is pleased to announce the first in-person event for the Women Leading in Ohio Agribusiness Program. The 2021 Fall Summit, will be held Nov. 30 at Brookshire Event Venue in Delaware, Ohio, featuring Bethany Schunn — manager of Cardinal Power Plant, with her keynote “Stepping Out of Line.” In addition to the keynote and a networking luncheon, three other workshops will take place throughout the day. 

In life, we are faced with many decisions. Some decisions are easy to make, while others push us to get out of our comfort zone. Often, we must “step out of line” in order to take a worthwhile risk. Deviate from our normal ways to seize an opportunity. Bethany’s discussion will focus on how easily one’s path in life can change and how people may need to “step out of line” at times to develop themselves and their companies.

Bethany will speak about serving in a non-traditional role, the successes and obstacles that she faced, as well as lessons she learned along the way. This… Continue reading

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Ohio Soybean Council Foundation offers $44,000 in scholarships

The Ohio Soybean Council Foundation is pleased to announce scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students for the 2022-2023 academic year. More information, including applications, can be found at deadline for applications is Jan. 14, 2022.

2022-2023 undergraduate scholarships

  • Seven undergraduate scholarships of up to $3,000 each will be awarded.
  • One $3,000 Robinson W. Joslin Scholarship, which was established in memory of Rob Joslin, a soybean farmer and long-time leader in the soybean industry, to recognize a student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership potential.
  • One $5,000 Bhima Vijayendran Scholarship, named to honor Dr. Vijayendran’s contributions to the soybean industry through his scientific research and commercialization activities at Battelle. This scholarship was founded to support those pursuing a degree related to science, technology or soybean research.

Applicants must be Ohio residents enrolled as full-time students at an Ohio college or university, having attained at least sophomore status by the fall of 2022, with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.… Continue reading

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Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative presents priorities and progress to Ohio Senate

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) recently presented their priorities for water quality improvement and progress to the Ohio Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. OACI, created to improve water quality in Ohio’s lakes, streams and rivers, is partnering with Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative to address Ohio’s water quality challenges. Statements were heard from several Ohio agricultural and environmental leaders, academia, and farmers enrolled in the H2Ohio program and OACI Farmer Certification Program. 

 “OACI brings an unprecedented group of collaborators together to examine the relationship between water quality and agriculture, which furthers H2Ohio’s broader ambitions to address water quality issues across the state,” said Cathann A. Kress, Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean of the Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). “OSU supports OACI by conducting research and providing Extension education to improve water quality and increase sustainability. This interdisciplinary research links field studies, watershed models, and socio-economic analyses with stakeholder groups to investigate connections between downstream water quality and management practices in upstream watersheds.”… Continue reading

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2021 Agricultural Policy and Outlook Conference

You’re invited to the premier forum for Ohio’s food and agriculture industry as the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics will be hosting the  2021 Agricultural Policy and Outlook Conference on November 18-19, 2021.

This conference will be held virtually over the course of two days, with experts covering issues important to producers, agribusinesses and elected officials. The schedule for this conference is:

Thursday, Nov. 18 (Day One) Schedule

  • (9 a.m. – 10 a.m): “Consumers, Shopping, and Local Food: What’s Next?” presented by AEDE Assistant Professor Dr. Zoë Plakias.
  • (11 a.m. – 12 p.m.): “Now Hiring: An Ohio Food & Agricultural Labor Update,” presented by AEDE Assistant Professor Dr. Margaret Jodlowski.
  • (1 p.m. – 2 p.m.): “US Trade Policy and Prospects for Agricultural Trade,” presented by AEDE Professor and Andersons Chair of Agricultural Marketing, Trade and Policy Dr. Ian Sheldon.

Friday, November 19 (Day Two) Schedule

  • (9 a.m. – 10 a.m):
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Addressing challenges in the supply chain

The Agricultural Transportation Working Group (ATWG) offered its recommendations for addressing challenges with the agriculture supply chain. In a letter signed by 52 food and agricultural organizations sent to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the ATWG said, “supply chains are buttressed by strong transportation infrastructure and flexible policy.” 

The transportation coalition weighed in on a lack of available labor — the most pressing issue — proposed climate change policies that could idle cropland; the need for improvements to ports, locks and dams, roads and bridges; changes to ocean carrier and port practices; and reforms to rail and motor freight transportation. (Click here to read the ATWG letter.) U.S. freight transportation policy and infrastructure need to be strengthened “to help ensure there are many efficient ways for agricultural commodities and products to flow throughout the agricultural supply chain,” the ATWG concluded.… Continue reading

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COVID-19 changing the mink production landscape

By Karen Mancl

The mink industry has been on a roller-coaster the last year when COVID-19 was found infecting mink in Europe. Denmark, number 1 in mink, produced 17 million pelts per year. Starting in June of 2020, veterinarians were finding mink that were coughing and not eating. Blood samples revealed the animals had the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The country reacted swiftly and took extreme measures to stop the disease spread. All 17 million animals were slaughtered, wiping out the entire mink industry. 

With Demark leaving the market, the way is clear for the U.S. and China to fill the demand for fur. The Chinese are the biggest buyers of furs representing 80% of the fur trade. Surveys of high-income Chinese residents show that demand for fur is high. Russian, U.S. and South Korean buyers are also a big part of the demand. 

Mink is a family business

In the U.S. mink is sustained by family farming, where generations have raised and cared for the animals since they were toddlers.… Continue reading

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Lake Erie walleye numbers continue to climb

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

This past summer, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife trawl surveys found that there was yet another walleye hatch that is well above average, as fisheries biologists reported the 2021 walleye hatch was the fifth largest recorded over the past 35 years.

The 2021 walleye hatch index was 90 fish per hectare (a standard measure of area), well above the rapidly increasing prior 20-year average of 34 fish per hectare. The young walleye averaged just over 4 inches long and were caught at every site sampled.

“Our fisheries biologists survey nearly 40 locations between Toledo and Huron by dragging a large, concave net along the bottom of the lake,” said Travis Hartman, Division of Wildlife Lake Erie Fisheries Program Manager. “Smaller first- and second- year fish tend to feed near the lake’s floor and are captured in the net, while larger fully-grown fish dodge the net and are not routinely caught.”… Continue reading

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The science (and deliciousness) of popcorn

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

It’s all about the science! I’m talking about the science of popcorn. My extensive research on states that there are 3 main components needed to create the perfect popping corn: kernel moisture of 13.5 to 14%, kernel, and starch all wrapped up in a hard shell. These three factors must be just right to create the magic. Throw these seeds in some hot oil and it’s showtime. The hot oil bath causes the moisture in the seeds to expand and begin their dance. The moisture and pressure build up until there is an explosion of epic proportions. states that popcorn can pop at heights of up to 3 feet! Guess it’s always good to keep the lid on. The starch in the kernel forms a 3-D bubble-like structure that turns it into a fluffy treat. It is amazing science that is true no matter how you look at it. … Continue reading

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FACA encouraged by USDA Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative

The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) is encouraged by USDA’s recent announcement inviting proposals to advance voluntary climate-smart farming and forestry practices. The alliance is pleased to see USDA embracing an incentive-based approach that would increase demand for climate-smart farm, ranch and forestry products, while building trust that the climate benefits are real and verifiable.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative saying USDA hopes to receive proposals from a wide variety of stakeholders interested in voluntarily collaborating to test wide-ranging ideas that sequester carbon and reduce GHG emissions on farms and working lands. Vilsack credited FACA, saying the department drew heavily from alliance recommendations released in May 2021 when forming the program. USDA also acknowledges the need identified by FACA to build confidence in these climate benefits by investing in measurement, monitoring and verification to lay the groundwork for success and potential actions by Congress.… Continue reading

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Fall weather finally arrives

By Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension

After a very brief cool down the third week of September, summer-like weather has gripped the Buckeye State until this past Saturday. Most stations across Ohio have recorded their warmest October to date (1895-2021). Rainfall has been plentiful for some as well, especially across northwest Ohio, where locations have received 3-5 inches (200-300% of normal). Counties across central Ohio have been a bit drier. The strong cold front that swept through Friday night and dropped temperatures back closer to seasonal norms sparked several tornadoes across the state as well. The most significant (EF2- 115 mph winds) occurred near South Salem in Ross County. The chilly weather also brought the first reports of frost to some locations.


Strong high pressure and fair weather remained in control through Wednesday. Highs reached the upper-60s to mid-70s Tuesday and Wednesday, with overnight lows in the 40s. A fast moving cold front will increase the threat of showers for Wednesday night through Thursday night.… Continue reading

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Honey Haven Farm: A family tradition staple

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

It all began with a pumpkin patch. In 1999 John Boyer and his wife, Deb, opened their farm to the public so visitors could pick pumpkins. Boyer, at the time, was a dairymen, the fourth generation on the farm to milk cows and raise crops in Ashland County. 

It was an economical decision to plant the 8 acres of pumpkins. 

“Milking was on the downhill slide at the time. A neighbor was raising pumpkins and he was making a profit off of them. So I decided to give it a try,” Boyer said. “I had beginner’s luck. Every pumpkin was huge. We picked a truck load in 20 minutes, I took them to Mt. Hope and got $4 a pumpkin. The next night I asked for my family’s help to pick more pumpkins. Then the following night, I asked for more help. Then my sister suggested, what If I just let folks come pick their own pumpkin?… Continue reading

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CSA mini-conference

By Eric Richer, OSU Extension Educator

There are many options when it comes to direct marketing farm-raised products. One of those options is using the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model whereby customers buy a weekly ‘subscription’ of fresh produce, meat, eggs, etc. If you have interest in learning more about this model of direct marketing, you may consider attending the virtual mini-conference Thinking Inside the Box: Growing CSA’s Across the Tri-State Region.

The mini-conference will take place on Monday, October 25, 2021 from 8:30 am – 12:00 noon EST on Zoom.  This conference is free but registration is required to receive the conference link (registration: For questions, contact Christie Welch or Anna Adams The deadline for registration is October 22, 2021.

Breakout room topics will include starting a CSA, scaling up your CSA, implied warranty (legal) information, and choosing an online platform to manage your CSA.… Continue reading

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Clovers CODE: Creating Opportunities Designed for Everyone

By Sally McClaskey, Ohio 4-H Youth Development

What happens when you combine kids, iPads, and 4-H? The result is Clovers CODE, a statewide program from Ohio 4-H that introduces problem-solving, computer literacy and coding through hands-on activities.

Clovers CODE (Creating Opportunities Designed for Everyone), began in Franklin County and since 2019 has grown to include 3,115 4-H youth in 44 counties. As part of its Community Education Initiative, Apple provided the Ohio 4-H Youth Development Program with devices, programmable robots, and professional learning and support.

As part of Clovers CODE, the Warren County Tech Creators began meeting in the spring with a group of middle school age youth. According to 4-H educator Steve Brady, Clovers CODE expanded their initial interest in technology. 

“This was more than just playing a computer game,” Brady said. “By exploring the iPads and using the Everyone Can Code curriculum, they learned how to write code to create an app, program a robot and explore video editing.” … Continue reading

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Beginning farmers legislation

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

H.B. 95 helps beginning farmers and continues to receive attention. The bill would allow individuals to be certified as beginning farmers and create income tax credits for owners who sell land and agricultural assets to certified beginning farmers and for beginning farmers who attend approved financial management programs. 

The bill passed the House on June 28, 2021 and was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Sept. 8, 2021.… Continue reading

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S.B. 52 – Solar and wind facilities update

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

 S.B. 52 passed several months ago and was effective on October 11, 2021. The new law will allow counties to designate “restricted areas” in a county where wind and solar projects may not locate and creates a county referendum process for a public vote on restricted area designation. The law will also require developers to hold a public meeting in the county where a facility is proposed at least 90 days before applying for project approval with the Ohio Power Siting Board. After the meeting, the county commissioner may choose to prohibit or limit the proposed project. Another provision of the new law appoints 2 local officials from the proposed location to serve on the OPSB board that reviews a project. And importantly for landowners, the new law requires a developer to submit a decommissioning plan to OPSB for approval with the application and to post and regularly update a performance bond for the amount of decommissioning costs.  … Continue reading

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High stakes for ag in D.C. debates

By Matt Reese

With harvest in full swing, the attention of America’s farmers is not on policy debates in Washington, D.C., but there are some significant potential agricultural implications.

“Get your muck boots on if you’re going to try to wade into this. There is a lack of clarity. There is the bipartisan infrastructure package that has broad support right now and a lot of key priorities for Ohio agriculture included in it — like rural broadband and funding for inland waterway structures. That is kind of being stymied right now by all of the other things that are happening with the Build Back Better Act, a $3.5 trillion proposal,” said Luke Crumley, with Ohio Corn & Wheat. “On top of that we have this fiscal cliff looming with the debt limit that is quickly approaching here in the middle of the month. Our growers are trying to sift through all that in the middle of harvest.… Continue reading

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New law bulletin explains Ohio’s sales tax exemptions for agriculture

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

If you’ve ever claimed a sales tax exemption on a purchase of farm goods, you may have experienced some confusion over whether you or the good is eligible for the exemption. That’s because Ohio’s sales tax law is a bit tedious and complicated. The law has several agricultural exemptions, but it can be challenging to understand who can claim them and what types of goods and services are exempt. 

Those are the reasons for our newest law bulletin, Ohio’s Agricultural Sales Tax Exemption Laws. We walk through the different sales tax exemptions that apply to agriculture, offer examples of goods that do and do not qualify for the exemptions, explain who can claim an exemption and how to claim it, and explain what happens when sales taxes are overpaid or not correctly paid. We also offer steps a farmer can take to obtain the full benefits of Ohio’s agricultural sales tax exemptions. … Continue reading

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Income tax schools

By Barry Ward and Julie Strawser, OSU Income Tax Schools

Dealing with the tax provisions of the COVID-related legislation for both individuals and businesses are among the topics to be discussed during the upcoming Tax School workshop series offered throughout Ohio in November and December.

The annual series is designed to help tax preparers learn about federal tax law changes and updates for this year as well as learn more about issues they may encounter when filing individual and small business 2021 tax returns.

OSU Income Tax Schools are intermediate-level courses that focus on interpreting tax regulations and changes in tax law to help tax preparers, accountants, financial planners and attorneys advise their clients. The schools offer continuing education credit for certified public accountants, enrolled agents, attorneys, annual filing season preparers and certified financial planners.

Attendees also receive a class workbook that alone is an extremely valuable reference as it offers over 600 pages of material including helpful tables and examples that will be valuable to practitioners.… Continue reading

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Multimillion-dollar pilot watershed project set for NW Ohio

The Ohio State University will be the lead partner on a new five-year, multimillion-dollar pilot watershed project in northwestern Ohio designed to demonstrate that agricultural conservation practices — if used on 70% of the farmland in a watershed, and evaluated on a watershed scale — can help meet Lake Erie’s water quality goals.

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service, is providing $6.8 million in funding for the project.

A further $4 million is being made available to the project by the state of Ohio through the H2Ohio water quality initiative, which the project will complement.

Key to the project are investments by other partners that bring the project’s total funding to more than $18 million.

The new project “targets the ultimate goal of preserving Lake Erie while supporting agricultural vitality and environmental sustainability,” said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). … Continue reading

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