Country Life

Cost increases outpacing commodity prices

The cost of growing crops could outpace revenue for many farmers in 2022, making it more difficult to break even despite rising commodity prices and increased demand both domestically and globally. The American Farm Bureau Federation is launching a series of Market Intel articles examining rising farm production expenses. 

The first report concludes that farm production costs are likely to increase 6% in 2022, which follows a 12% increase in 2021. This continues a trend stretching back several years. Since 2013, farmers have seen almost all production expenses increase. For example, livestock and poultry expenses have gone up 46% and marketing, storage and transportation costs have increased 59%. 

Farmers are seeing a number of production cost increases including:

  • Rising fertilizer, seed and chemical prices, which now make up to 17.5% of on-farm expenditures
  • Rising fuel and energy prices, exacerbated by uncertainty due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict
  • Increased costs of labor, both on-farm and for agribusinesses serving farms
  • COVID-19 disruption of labor markets and production

“The rising prices for fuel, fertilizer and other supplies create an unwelcome counterforce to higher commodity prices,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president.… Continue reading

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Wetland stamp design is a work of art for a great cause

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

Jeffrey Klinefelter’s painting of three lesser scaup has been selected as the winner of the 2022 Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp Design Competition, and I challenge you to differentiate his amazing painting from a photograph of the real thing. His rendition of the water surrounding the trio of ducks alone was enough to force a double-take from me.

Klinefelter’s work of art will be displayed on the Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp that is issued in the fall of 2023. Judges selected Klinefelter’s painting from a field of six original pieces of 

artwork. Second place was a tie between John Roberts of Michigan for his painting of American widgeon, and Frank Dolphens of Nebraska for his painting of green-winged teal. Klinefelter, from Indiana, is a six-time winner, most recently in 2019.   

The Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp program has raised $10.9 million for wetland conservation since 1982.… Continue reading

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Drone training program

On March 30 from 5 to 9 p.m. there will be a unique Extension program in Henry County for preparing for the F.A.A. Part 107 certification test for piloting drones. This is the certification that all drone operators need to have in order to fly missions for field imagery, spraying pesticides, or other agriculture and non-agriculture uses. 

The program will be a step-by-step process of learning the skills needed to fly a drone for commercial purposes.

It will be held at the Henry County Extension Office, Hahn Center, Suite 302, 104 E. Washington Street, 

Napoleon, OH 43545. 

RSVP by March 28, 2022. Registration is mandatory, no walk-ins. A light snack is included with registration 

The cost is $35. After March 28th, the cost increases to $45.

Register at:

Contact Alan Leininger at 419-592-0806 or for more information.… Continue reading

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March weather

By Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension

Meteorological winter (Dec-Feb) has ended. Looking back, it was the 26th warmest and 16th wettest winter on record for Ohio since 1895. After a very warm December, January and February were a bit on the cool side. A very active late winter pattern brought frequent, moisture-rich storm systems across Ohio, with upwards of 6 to 8 inches of liquid-equivalent precipitation (snow and rain) falling during February along the Cincinnati to Columbus corridor. This secured February 2022 as the 6th wettest February on record, with differences compared to the long-term average (1991-2020) running at least 2 to 4 inches above normal for much of the state.  

March 2022 has maintained an active weather pattern with large swings in temperatures and plenty of moisture. After highs reached well into the 70s during the weekend of March 5, this past weekend featured a snowstorm that dropped up to 9 inches of snow across Vinton County, with a large swath of 3 to 6 inches of snow along and southeast of about I-71.… Continue reading

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Ohio case illustrates the risk of leaving farmland to co-owners

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

In farm estate and transition planning, we caution against leaving farmland to multiple heirs as co-owners on the deed to the property. That’s because Ohio law allows any co-owner of property to seek “partition,” a legal action asking the court to either sell the property and divide sale proceeds among the co-owners or to physically divide the property between co-owners. If the goal of a farm family is to keep property in the family, co-ownership and partition rights put that goal at risk. A recent case from the Ohio Court of Appeals illustrates how partition can force the unwilling sale of property from a co-owner of the property.

The recent court case didn’t involve farmland, but concerned a home and four acres of land owned jointly by an unmarried couple, each on the deed to the property as co-owners with rights of survivorship.… Continue reading

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USDA report shows a decade of conservation trends

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report shows use of no-till, crop rotations, more efficient irrigation methods and advanced technologies have climbed in recent years.

The report from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) demonstrates progress made through voluntary conservation over a 10-year period. Findings from the report will inform future conservation strategies, including USDA’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

The “Conservation Practices on Cultivated Cropland: A Comparison of CEAP I and CEAP II Survey Data and Modeling” was developed by USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). It found significant gains for soil health and soil carbon storage, while also identifying areas where additional and targeted nutrient management strategies are needed.

“This latest CEAP report show that farmers have done an outstanding job over the years in using innovative conservation strategies that help mitigate climate change,” John Wilson, NRCS State Conservationist in Ohio, “But we have more work to do.… Continue reading

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Heritage rest and refuel day

Employees in the agriculture industry, like many others, have faced the burden over the past two years of managing through COVID-19, labor and supply chain shortages, and other challenges. Heritage Cooperative’s board of directors and president/CEO recognize this and are providing a paid day off for all employees, full-time, part-time, and seasonal, to rest and refuel on March 18, 2022. 

“The board of directors and I recognize the challenges our employees have faced over the past two years,” said Jeff Osentoski, president and CEO of Heritage Cooperative. “Our employees are the catalyst to our success, and we wanted to do something special for them, so we’re shutting down the company to provide them with an extra day off. This is our way of saying thank you.” 

Most of the 40+ Heritage locations throughout Ohio will be closed on Friday, March 18, 2022. Those locations that remain open for specific customer needs will provide employees with their “Rest & Refuel Day” the following Friday. … Continue reading

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2022 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge kicks off in Columbus

Public policy, fellowship and learning more about how government works was all part of the March 5 opening session for 2022 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge participants.

Students ages 14-18 and three collegiate mentors gathered in Columbus to discuss agricultural issues and policy as part of the annual program, which is a collaboration among Ohio Farm BureauOhio FFA and Ohio State University Extension 4-H Youth Development. Ohio Youth Capital Challenge is an interactive education program that engages youths in the civic life of their community. With help and guidance from mentors, the students team up in groups to identify issues and problems facing their community. After researching a specific topic, they develop a public policy plan to propose to appropriate government leaders.

“It is impressive to see how quickly students focused on issues that are important to them and realize the impact of policy decisions,” said Sally McClaskey, program manager, Education & Marketing, Ohio 4-H Youth Development. … Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Custom Rate Survey 2022 responses — Last call

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, OSU Extension, Agriculture & Natural Resources

The Ohio Farm Custom Rates Survey 2022 data collection has launched. The online survey for 2022 is available at:

If you perform custom farm work or pay for these services, we kindly ask you to complete the Ohio Farm Custom Rate Survey for 2022.

A large number of Ohio farmers hire machinery operations and other farm related work to be completed by others. This is often due to lack of proper equipment, lack of time or lack of expertise for a particular operation.  Many farm business owners do not own equipment for every possible job that they may encounter in the course of operating a farm and may, instead of purchasing the equipment needed, seek out someone with the proper tools necessary to complete the job. This farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply “custom work”.… Continue reading

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AFBF pushing for increased domestic energy production

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to take the necessary steps to address high energy costs impacting all Americans. Over the past 15 months, oil prices have increased by 130% to more than $120 per barrel.

President Duvall wrote, “As Russia’s harmful actions in Ukraine continue and further sanctions are imposed against Russia, oil prices will likely continue to rise, creating even higher consumer costs and threatening U.S. energy and economic security.”

AFBF is asking the administration to remove barriers to domestic energy production including increasing the production of biofuels, which have reduced America’s dependence on foreign crude oil while creating jobs in rural America. 

“By displacing imported petroleum, increased biofuel use and domestic energy production will enhance U.S. security and independence while supporting America’s farmers and rural economies,” President Duvall wrote.

Achieving domestic energy independence through comprehensive energy sources remains a priority issue for Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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Farmers “surviving” in Ukraine

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

In the next few weeks farmers in the United States will be turning their attention to the details of the weather, field conditions and getting seeds in the ground in a timely manner. With their planting season almost here as well, farmers in Ukraine have their focus on very different concerns.

Fairfield County farmer David Brandt got a phone call a couple of years ago from an agronomist in Ukraine hoping to learn about no-till farming practices. That phone call led to relationship between Brandt and several Ukrainian farmers via conference calls to regularly discuss the details of farming. Brandt is in touch with the group several times a year. More recent messages from the group have taken a different turn.

“I received a message Sunday morning just before I went to church. The one fellow I like really well said, ‘It is tough over here David, but we’re still surviving,’” Brandt said.… Continue reading

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Ohio Forestry Association holds annual meeting, selects new leadership

The Ohio Forestry Association (OFA) held its annual meeting and awards luncheon on March 3, 2022 at the Crowne Plaza North – Worthington. Tree farmers, loggers, and industry representatives from across the state gathered to hear important industry updates and present outstanding service awards.

Brad Perkins, executive director, thanked the sponsors, exhibitors, and board of directors for their contributions to OFA. He also announced his retirement at the end of March 2022 and was recognized for his career in the forest products industry and 6 years on OFA’s staff.

The board of directors selected Jenna Reese of Baltimore, Ohio, to replace Perkins as executive director. She is the first woman to lead the organization since 1986. Reese was previously the director of state policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

Jenna Reese

One of the highlights of the meeting was the presentation of industry awards:

OFA Logger of the Year – Curtiss Jones (Lumber Stumpers)

Outstanding Individual in Government Service Award – Danielle Gill (Hocking County Soil and Water Conservation District)

Outstanding Individual in Industry Award – Eric Roush (Pixelle Specialty Solutions)

Walt Lange Conservation Education Award – Jeremy Scherf (ODNR – Division of Forestry)

Outstanding Individual in Private Service Award – Kathryn Downie (Legacy Forestry Consulting, LLC)

Director’s Awards for Outstanding Contributions to OFA Programs – Emmett Conway (Superior Hardwoods of Ohio) and Jim Doll (Doll Lumber Company)

Mike Krol of Bloomingburg began his term as board president at the conclusion of the meeting.… Continue reading

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Hunting proposals presented to Ohio Wildlife Council

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

The Ohio Wildlife Council has received proposals for the 2022-23 white-tailed deer hunting season. If approved, deer hunting bag limits will increase in 18 counties in September 2022.

The 2022-23 deer hunting dates are similar to last season. As in years past, only one antlered deer may be harvested, regardless of where or how it is taken, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. The proposed deer hunting season dates for 2022-23 include:

• Deer archery: Sept. 24, 2022-Feb. 5, 2023.

• Youth deer gun: Nov. 19-20, 2022.

• Deer gun: Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2022; Dec. 17-18, 2022.

• Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 7-10, 2023.

• Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

Deer bag limit increases are designed to slow herd growth and provide additional hunting opportunities. Deer bag limits were proposed to be increased in 18 counties.… Continue reading

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On the Farm STEM expands to dairy

Building on the success of the On the Farm STEM Beef experiences, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is expanding its free professional development lineup to include an immersive program focusing on dairy. 

At the first-ever On the Farm STEM Dairy event, teams of science educators will travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to see firsthand how science is brought to life through the food production system. They will meet with local dairy farmers, researchers, nutritionists and veterinarians to learn how animals are cared for and how technology and innovative practices are advancing sustainability. 

“The Foundation is thrilled to offer another opportunity for outstanding science educators to experience farming up close, and we are looking forward to featuring another type of animal agriculture in our programming,” said Daniel Meloy, executive director of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. “On the Farm STEM is an excellent opportunity for teachers and classroom leaders to see how agriculture can fit into their existing curriculum and illustrate how they can encourage students to explore where their food comes from.”… Continue reading

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Celebrating a world of flavors

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

The 2022 theme for National Nutrition Month is Celebrate a World of Flavors. No matter the theme, most of the key messaging for National Nutrition Month stays consistent. Eat a variety of healthy foods from all the food groups, read nutrition facts, create grocery store lists, make healthful choices in dining out and seek credible nutrition advise from a registered dietitian, yada, yada, yada. These messages are nothing new in the 35-plus years I’ve been promoting nutrition. This year’s theme brought out a few new appealing ones relating to the cultures and flavors around the world.

Try new flavors and food from around the world
This might entail a little work for most of us. It means getting out of your home-on-the-range cooking skills and menu planning of meat and potatoes. It means more than going to the local cantina for a margarita and some chips and salsa.… Continue reading

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ODA gives inaugural awards for dedication to water quality

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) showed its appreciation for exceptional leadership and commitment to conservation by honoring the Henry County Soil and Water Conservation District, Legacy Farmers’ Cooperative, and Steve Davis of the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

The awards were presented by ODA Director Dorothy Pelanda at the 2022 Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Annual Partnership Meeting.

The H2Ohio Lifetime Conservation Advocate Award recognizes those who exhibit exceptional leadership and commitment to water quality through H2Ohio. Recipients of this award are devoted stewards of water quality improvement and conservation who demonstrate innovation, partnership, enthusiasm, and a “get it done” attitude. The recipients were chosen from three categories:  agricultural retailers, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and conservation-minded individuals.

This recognition supports Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative to ensure safe and clean water in Ohio. It is a comprehensive, data-driven approach to improving water quality over the long term, involving ODA, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Lake Erie Commission.… Continue reading

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Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative Assessment Survey Report reveals conservation progress

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) hosted a panel discussion on the findings of its 2021 Assessment Survey Report on practices being used by farmers in the Lower Maumee watershed to manage water and nutrients. The assessment results show ample conservation efforts, as well as areas for improvement and continued farmer education and resourcing by OACI. 

“Our assessment survey shows us that farmers in the Lower Maumee Watershed are taking conservation practices and their stewardship of the land seriously,” said Kris Swartz, farmer and Chair, Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative. “We also recognize room for improvement and OACI will continue to provide resources and educate farmers in our ongoing effort to increase adoption of productive conservation practices. We encourage Ohio’s farmers to get involved in the OACI’s Farmer Certification Program, H2Ohio and other conservation focused programs to learn about new practices and share information.”

The survey results establish a baseline of adoption for various farming practices in the Lower Maumee watershed.… Continue reading

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Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week

By Cyndie Shearing, director of communications at the American Farm Bureau Federation

It’s widely accepted that professional development (continually developing and improving one’s skills) is important in many careers. This includes agribusiness professionals and even farmers and ranchers – America’s food, fiber and renewable fuel producers.
Professional development may look a bit different for farmers and ranchers, though. For example, Farm Bureau members across the country are participating in Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week, Feb. 28 – March 6. During this week, with its theme “Driving Safety Home,” they will learn more about agricultural safety and share with others in a variety of ways, including on social media.
The U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers will join Farm Bureau grassroots members in promoting ag safety with a focus on a different topic each day:
Monday, Feb. 28 – Farmer Roadway Safety (farmer perspective)
Tuesday, March 1 – Caretaker Support (caring for aging or ill family members)
Wednesday, March 2 – General Farmer Wellness (staying healthy overall)
Thursday, March 3 – Mental Health (coping with stress)
Friday, March 4 – Community Roadway Safety (motorist perspective)
Farmers and ranchers promoting ag safety will be sharing messages on social media using hashtags including #KeepFarmsSafe, #ASAP21 and #USAgCenters.… Continue reading

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Legislative update in Ohio

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

February brought renewed activity at Ohio’s Statehouse as both the House and Senate returned to their regular committee schedules. The General Assembly began tending to several pieces of agricultural and resource legislation.  Here’s the latest summary of our state’s legislative developments.

Newly introduced Ohio legislation

H.C.R. 41 — Repeal individual income tax. Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Mt. Lookout) introduced a resolution on Jan. 25, 2022 expressing an intent for the General Assembly to repeal the state personal income tax within ten years.  The resolution matches S.C.R. 13, introduced in the Senate last December, and both resolutions cite negative impacts on Ohio’s business climate as justification for the repeal.  The House Ways and Means Committee already held a first hearing on the resolution on Feb. 15, 2022.

Legislation on the move

H.B. 30 —  Slow-moving vehicles. Continue reading

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Ag Link Deposit Program accepting loan applications

By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County

The State Treasurer of Ohio is now accepting applications for the Ohio Agricultural Linked Deposit Program. The program provides operating loans up to $150,000 at an interest rate up to three percent. The program helps farmers and agribusinesses with upfront operating costs for feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel, and other expenses by providing interest rate reductions on new or existing loans at eligible financial institutions.


Loan application requirements for farms and agribusinesses are simple and include the following:

  • Must be organized for profit;
  • Must have headquarters and 51% of operations maintained in Ohio;
  • Muse use the loan exclusively for agricultural purposes; and
  • Must agree to comply with all program and financial institution regulations.

How the program works

Farmers and agribusinesses contact a participating lender who will submit the application. Once submitted, the Treasurer’s office begins the review process. If all eligibility requirements are met, the application is approved.… Continue reading

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