Country Life



Grand opening for new biosolid storage facility at Molly Caren Agricultural Center

The Molly Caren Agricultural Center (MCAC) and City of London held a grand opening reception for a new Biosolid Storage Facility, a result of the long-time partnership between the two entities.

To be more efficient in the storage of Exceptional Quality Biosolids produced by the city’s wastewater plant, London officials met with MCAC staff in November 2018 to propose the idea of constructing a storage facility on the agricultural grounds. MCAC has long used the city’s biosolids in its farming operations, applying the product to its farm ground during the month September, after crops are harvested during the annual Farm Science Review show. Per Ohio Environmental Protection Agency requirements, if these biosolids are not applied to agricultural land within 90 days of the initial storage date, they must be stored at a regional storage facility, where they can remain for up to two years.

Nearly two years after commencement of the project, the Exceptional Quality Biosolid Storage Facility located at MCAC is ready for operational use, with close proximity to the City of London, allowing other approved biosolid applicators to have access to storage facility during normal business hours.… Continue reading

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EDH FYI

With Ohio’s deer archery season beginning Sept. 26, it’s important to realize that Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) typically affects some white-tailed deer in the late summer and is not all that unusual. In fact, EHD is the most common ailment affecting deer in the eastern U.S., and the disease occurs annually in the late summer and fall in deer herds across North America. Ohio has documented some cases of EHD this summer, mostly in northwest Ohio.

The EHD virus is not infectious to people and is not spread from animal to animal, but is transmitted by the bite of small insects called midges, so EHD-associated deaths in deer can occur until the first frost of the year causes a decline in midge activity. Once infected, deer show symptoms within five to 10 days, and many deer die within 36 hours of the onset of symptoms. There is little that can be done to protect wild deer from the virus.… Continue reading

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Feed and Fuel Your Future showcases careers in agriculture through a virtual learning series

Help students find their future career! EducationProjects.org is collaborating with the Ohio Department of EducationGrowNextGen, and Ohio Corn & Wheat to connect science and agriculture careers through a virtual learning series for students.  

Presenters will provide live virtual field trips, lessons and career panels each week to help students consider the relevant, abundant STEM careers available in agricultural fields.

Students, parents and teachers can participate throughout this 4-week series to connect science through agriculture and help students find their future career.

  • Week of Oct 5: Finding Flavor in a Food Science Career
  • Week of Oct 12: Time to Eat! Careers in Food Production
  • Week of Oct 19: What’s in Your Water? Careers in Sustainability and Ecosystems
  • Week of Oct 26: Lots of Tech in the Field: Careers in Technology

Visit the ODE website for more information about these events. Participants must pre-register for the virtual field trips.… Continue reading

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Bacon battle between hog producers

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

It’s been said that a lawsuit is a machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.

That’s an appropriate analogy for the complaint, filed in mid-August 2020, by Maxwell Foods (a subsidiary of Goldsboro Milling of North Carolina) against Smithfield Foods (purchased by the Chinese company, WH Group in 2013), alleging breach of the production sales agreement (PSA) by failing to pay a fair price for hogs as well as purchase output required by the agreement. (This little piggy went to market below price; this little piggy stayed home in violation of the PSA.)

            A few days prior to the initiation of legal proceedings in North Carolina’s Wayne County Superior Court, Maxwell Foods announced it would begin shutting down hog operations and permanently closing by mid-2021 due to “projected financial losses.”… Continue reading

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American Farm Bureau Foundation launches “Easy Button” for elementary ag education

New at-home learning resources are now available to parents and teachers clamoring for content. The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture unveiled a new webpage featuring weekly lesson plans dedicated to helping students in kindergarten through fifth grade learn where their food comes from while helping parents and teachers keep children engaged.

“We are thrilled to be launching this weekly series of virtual learning tools for parents, teachers and students,” sadi Daniel Meloy, AFBFA executive director. “Providing engaging lesson plans and exciting content helps support our goal at the Foundation for Agriculture to provide an ‘easy button’ for at-home learning during this time so many of us are juggling priorities while trying to ensure kids enjoy virtual learning.”

The resource page contains free weekly activities, which focus around a central theme and can be done independently of one another. The first lesson, which is live now, is titled “Who is a farmer?”… Continue reading

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Your guide to virtual Farm Science Review

Find a comfortable seat and charge your device.

Farm Science Review is being held online this year because of COVID-19 concerns.

Although the Molly Caren Agricultural Center is closed to the public, you’ll be able to learn the latest agricultural technology and helpful farming techniques from more than 400 exhibitors—all for free on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

More than 200 free livestreamed and recorded talks and demos will be available online. You will have to provide your own steakburgers, milkshakes, or other FSR fare, though.

To access the content for this year’s show, Sept. 22–24, start at fsr.osu.edu. Some videos and other content will be available before the show begins. From inside a large scarlet banner at the top of the FSR homepage, choose from the following topic areas:

• Agronomy
• Ask the expert
• Conservation
• Educational resources
• Exhibitors
• Field demonstrations
• Livestock
• Safety, health, and wellness
• Small farms and gardening
• Youth/4-H
Hover your cursor over any of the topics and click to select.… Continue reading

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Supply chain, U.S. trade policy, COVID-19 to be discussed during Farm Science Review

The U.S. trade policy, labor and immigration issues, agricultural commodity markets, and the food supply chain will be among the topics addressed at a panel discussion during the 59th annual Farm Science Review Sept. 22–24 at fsr.osu.edu.

The previously titled Tobin Talk, now The Talk on Friday Avenue, “Value Chains in Food and Agriculture,” on Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. at fsr.osu.edu, will feature comments from a panel of agricultural economists from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The Talk on Friday Avenue is among a series of presentations at Farm Science Review to address topics relevant to the agricultural industry, from controlling weeds and managing beef cattle to reducing safety hazards on the farm and growing plants indoors in water, without soil.

As a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Farm Science Review will be exclusively virtual, so you can find out about the latest in farm technology and techniques from the convenience of your home.… Continue reading

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Corn versus soybean storage

By Carl Zulauf, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, Ohio State University, and Sanghyo Kim, Korea Rural Economic Institute

There is an increasing role of storage in marketing with the return of corn and soybean surpluses and the concern that storage is less profitable for soybeans than corn in the U.S. Concern particularly exists when storing beyond the South American soybean harvest. Return and risk to storing soybeans and corn are generally found to be similar. The few exceptions all favor soybeans, not corn.

Five previous studies have examined returns to storing both corn and soybeans. While each study finds returns to storing corn and soybeans differ, none test for statistical significance.

For this study, return and risk to storing corn and soybeans was examined for the two most common types of storage: cash storage and storage hedged with a short futures position that is offset when the stored crop is sold in the cash market.… Continue reading

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A look at agricultural policies from 2020 presidential candidates

A new look into the priorities for rural America of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is revealed in responses to a questionnaire distributed by the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF asked the Republican and Democratic candidates to respond with their stances on several topics including trade, labor, regulatory reform and sustainability. Here are their responses to the topic of farm policy.

Question: Reliable food supplies and stable prices are critical for the United States’ long-term prosperity and economic well-being. Programs in the farm bill, set to be renewed in 2023, provide key safety net and risk management tools for farmers, as well as critical tools to help farmers implement resource-conserving practices on the farm as well as trade promotion programs that help us build new markets abroad. Sustained, effective and predictable policy through the farm bill is necessary to address the threats that farmers have faced historically and new threats we now face to provide a consistent food supply.… Continue reading

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Virtual Winter Leadership Experience offers new opportunities

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Ag Professionals Winter Leadership Experience is an opportunity to build personal and professional experience while networking with agricultural leaders. For next year’s event, participants will use a virtual platform to learn leadership skills to further their impact in their communities, Farm Bureau and agriculture.

The theme for the 2021 Winter Leadership Experience, slated for Jan. 29-30, is “Cultivating Progress in Times of Change.” The event, thanks to the support of Heritage Sponsor Nationwide and Platinum Sponsor Farm Credit Mid-America, will offer participants the capability to connect with industry leaders and see several exciting new opportunities to engage and network with others from around the state.

“Just as in past years there will be a lot of great ideas and lessons to take away from the Winter Leadership Experience,” said Charlie and Casey Ellington, chairs of the Young Agricultural Professionals State Committee. “The engaging speakers and diverse sessions that are lined up will give everyone a chance to learn from others as they look to grow personally and professionally.”… Continue reading

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USDA to provide additional direct assistance to farmers impacted by coronavirus

President Donald J. Trump and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced up to an additional $14 billion for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) will begin Sept. 21 and run through Dec. 11, 2020.

“America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump is once again demonstrating his commitment to ensure America’s farmers and ranchers remain in business to produce the food, fuel, and fiber America needs to thrive,” said Secretary Perdue. “We listened to feedback received from farmers, ranchers and agricultural organizations about the impact of the pandemic on our nations’ farms and ranches, and we developed a program to better meet the needs of those impacted.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will use funds being made available from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and CARES Act to support row crops, livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture and many additional commodities.… Continue reading

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DeWine signs Ohio coronavirus immunity bill

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

It took five months of negotiation, but the Ohio General Assembly has enacted a controversial bill that grants immunity from civil liability for coronavirus injuries, deaths, or losses. Governor DeWine signed House Bill 606 on September 14, stating that it strikes a balance between reopening the economy and keeping Ohioans safe. The bill is effective in 90 days. 

The bill’s statement of findings and declaration of intent illustrate why it faced disagreement within the General Assembly. After stating its findings that business owners are unsure of the tort liability they may face when reopening after COVID-19, that businesses need certainty because recommendations on how to avoid COVID-19 change frequently, that individuals who decide to go out in public places should bear responsibility for taking steps to avoid exposure to COVID-19, that nothing in existing Ohio law established duties on business and premise owners to prevent exposure to airborne germs and viruses, and that the legislature has not delegated authority to Ohio’s Executive Branch to create new legal duties for business and premises owners, the General Assembly made a clear declaration of intent in the bill.… Continue reading

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USDA needs tools to help farmers

The American Farm Bureau Federation and 41 other agriculture organizations are asking Congress to ensure the USDA has the tools necessary to help farmers in times of crisis. The group sent a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting they immediately provide replenishment for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) through the continuing resolution. Without immediate replenishment, funding for farm bill programs could run out while farmers struggle against low commodity prices, natural disasters and the coronavirus pandemic.

“For decades, CCC has been regularly replenished to fund programs integral to the farm safety net that Congress has worked tirelessly to craft,” the letter states. “Producers count on programs like Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage, Dairy Margin Coverage, Marketing Assistance Loans, conservation programs, and many others as they provide food, fuel and fiber for our nation. Without immediate CCC reimbursement, payments and programs would be significantly delayed, jeopardizing operations across the country.”… Continue reading

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Labor Day rains ease drought

By Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension

Summer (June – August) 2020 ranks as the 11th warmest and 29th driest summer on record for the state of Ohio since 1895. Temperatures averaged 1-4 degrees F above average (1981-2010), with 5-10 inches of rainfall across the northwestern half of the state and 10-15 inches across the southeastern half. Particularly dry this summer has been the northwestern counties, a few counties in central and southwest Ohio (e.g., Madison, Pickaway, Ross, Fayette, and Greene), as well as Richland, Ashland, Wayne, and Stark Counties.

Though too late for most crops in the state, recent rainfall is helping to recharge soil moisture. A slow-moving boundary draped across the state on Labor Day brought significant rainfall to much of northern Ohio. Most locations along and north of about I-70 (except NW Ohio) received 2-7 inches of rain. There was also a confirmed EF0 tornado a few miles east of Delaware with estimated winds to 80 mph and a few reports of large hail across the state.… Continue reading

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GROWMARK announces 2021 Essay Contest theme

The theme for the 2021 GROWMARK Essay Contest is: “If you could invent a new technology to improve agriculture, what would it be?” The contest is open to all high school FFA members in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

This is the 28th year for the program, sponsored by the GROWMARK System and FS member cooperatives, in conjunction with state FFA leaders, to help young people develop their writing skills, learn about current issues affecting agriculture, and understand the unique role of cooperatives.

Students will describe a problem within the agricultural industry, and a creative way to provide a solution. Students are encouraged to be creative with their ideas, whether or not the solution they propose is currently possible.

Essays will be submitted online at www.bit.ly/GMKEssay2021. The deadline for all submissions is midnight Central time on Nov. 6, 2020. Additional program details have been sent to agriculture teachers and are online at growmark.com.… Continue reading

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New practices to improve water quality at work in Mercer County

By Matt Reese

Though it started with a focus on farms, ongoing efforts to improve water quality in Grand Lake St. Marys in Mercer County are now including additional practices to address the issue.

“We have had a slew of efforts over the last 10 years in the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed. It started with a lot of agricultural efforts. We expanded manure storage on farms, we covered feedlots, we wrote nutrient management plans for all the farms in the watershed,” said Theresa Dirksen, Mercer County Ag Solutions coordinator. “In the last 5 years or so we have done more innovative practices like installing wetlands and saturated buffers. We also restored about 2,000 feet of channel through the Mercer County Elks Golf Club. We have some really innovative things happening and we are trying to move further upstream in the watershed with these practices like wetlands, saturated buffers, stream restoration, and more filter strips to improve water quality in the lake.”… Continue reading

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The foresight Genghis Kahn

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Mongolia in 1206 was inhabited by numerous tribes. They lived on the steppes (plains with virtually no trees), surrounded by the Altai, Khanghai and Khentii mountains on the Russian border. (I was on those steppes last winter while in Mongolia with the V.E.T. Net mission project of the Christian Veterinary Mission. The steppes are huge, surrounded by sky, mountains and, when I was there, -40degrees F air.)

Now back to the 13th century — or just before the turn of that century — when a boy named Temujin and his brother were growing up fatherless. Because of this, they and their mother were shunned from their Mongolian tribe. They scavenged for food, picking through garbage, digging root vegetables and hunting for game while trailing behind the nomadic Mongol warriors.

As a teenager, Temujin became a member of the Mongolian raiders on horseback. By the age of 40 he had worked his way up to major general.… Continue reading

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Farm Bureau policy committee begins work

Twenty Ohio Farm Bureau leaders are serving on the 2020 Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Policy Development Committee. The committee collects and organizes public policy recommendations from county Farm Bureaus and presents the final policy suggestions to be voted on by Ohio Farm Bureau’s delegates during the state annual meeting in December.

In its initial session, the committee heard from government leaders, subject matter experts and Farm Bureau staff on topics such as rural broadband, climate change, timber harvesting, alternative conservation funding, livestock processing capacity, state disaster response and sustainability.

The policy committee consists of 10 members from Ohio Farm Bureau’s board of trustees and 10 representatives of county Farm Bureaus.

The committee is chaired by Ohio Farm Bureau First Vice President Bill Patterson of Chesterland and includes OFBF President Frank Burkett III of Massillon and Treasurer Cy Prettyman of New Bloomington. State trustees on the committee are Wyatt Bates of Wheelersburg, Adele Flynn of Wellington, Katherine Harrison of Groveport, John Mossbarger of Washington Court House, Michael Videkovich of Ashville, Jesse Whinnery of Coshocton and Craig Pohlman of Venedocia.… Continue reading

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NFU urges FTC, USDA to strengthen meat labeling standards

For years, beef and pork that was born, raised, and slaughtered in another country but processed in the United States has legally been labeled as a “Product of the U.S.A.,” a claim that misleads consumers and puts American ranchers at a disadvantage.

National Farmers Union (NFU) has long advocated clear and accurate labeling, for the sake of farmers and consumers alike. As part of those efforts, the organization supports a rule proposed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that would strengthen voluntary U.S. origin claims on labels and penalize those who incorrectly label products. In comments submitted today and in a subsequent statement, NFU President Rob Larew urged the FTC to swiftly finalize the rule and “vigorously enforce it.”
“American consumers want to know where their food comes from — and farmers want to tell them. When mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) was the law of the land, it was easy to determine where meat had been born, raised, and processed, to the benefit of both parties.… Continue reading

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Victory Gardens program expands

A tremendous response to the just launched Victory Gardens campaign has resulted in an immediate expansion of the program. The program took off immediately and demand was so high for seed packets, four more counties were added: Fairfield, Licking, Mahoning, and Summit. Seed pick-up days and times for each office are available on the Ohio Victory Gardens website. The collaboration between the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Offices has delivered more than 2,600 seed packets to 10 counties across the state.

Victory Gardens originated during World War I, an answer to a severe food shortage at the time. The idea was wildly successful, growing an army of amateur gardeners and serving to boost morale and patriotism. Although there’s no food shortage now, ODA and OSU Extension are reviving the effort and once again encouraging people to plant seeds, realize the fruits of their labor, and share with others if inspired.… Continue reading

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