Country Life



Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation awards Action and Awareness grants

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently awarded grants to fund efforts in agriculture-related programming.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation funds programs that create a positive, measurable impact in four core areas of giving through its Action and Awareness grant program:

Education – Providing grants for professional development programs allowing individuals to advance their knowledge of agriculture, share ideas and improve people’s lives.
Environment – Funding sensible solutions that contribute to a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable Ohio by focusing on increased care for land and water.
Economic Development – Capturing opportunities that build prosperity, create jobs and enhance the quality of life for Ohioans by funding projects that spur economic growth in local communities.
Human-Animal Bond – Promoting the proper care of animals and the many ways they bring quality to human life.

Grant amounts can be awarded up to $3,000 and are provided for a one-year period.
Following are those organizations awarded grants in the spring 2020 grant cycle:

Breaking Free Therapeutic Riding Center
Dreams on Horseback
Friends of Aullwood, Inc.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s farming community and Ohio State Fair release Digital Recipe Guide

Today, a day known by many as the opening day of the Ohio State Fair, Ohio’s farming community and the Ohio State Fair are pleased to release the Ohio State Fair Favorites Digital Recipe Guide. Organizations from Ohio’s agriculture community, including: American Dairy Association Mideast, Ohio Beef Council, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Poultry Association and Ohio Sheep Improvement Association have joined together with the Ohio State Fair to commemorate fair traditions during an unprecedented year.

“There are many reasons people come to the Ohio State Fair – animals, tradition, rides, and of course, food. Whether fairgoers are visiting the Taste of Ohio Café for a farm-fresh meal, sampling something deep-fried, or walking around with a food served on a stick, they are likely to leave with a full stomach and a smiling face,” said Virgil Strickler, CFE, General Manager, Ohio Expo Center & State Fair.

The digital recipe guide, which includes over 20 fair-inspired recipes and fan-favorites from the beloved Taste of Ohio Cafè, allows fairgoers to get a taste of the Ohio State Fair from the safety of their home, all while highlighting the work of Ohio’s farmers.… Continue reading

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DeWine order limits Ohio fairs to junior fair only

By Matt Reese

Though there has been a decrease in emergency department visits and Ohio’s COVID-19 numbers are showing signs of starting to plateau, Governor Mike DeWine announced that all county fairs after July 31 must be junior fair only events.

“We have great fairs in the state of Ohio — independent fairs, county fairs — and our goal this summer was in spite of COVID-19 to try to hold these fairs. Our goal was to focus on the young people,” DeWine said. “To do that, we asked the fairs to discourage the congregation of large groups on the fairgrounds. We laid out some specific guidelines. We also provided each fair $50,000 to help them put on a much safer fair. We have worked with the fairs. We have also worked with the local health departments. Some fairs have done a very good job. As we head into the busiest part of the year with county fairs, it has become increasingly clear that we simply cannot have a safe fair.”… Continue reading

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Ava Shroyer | OYLE Champion Market Goat Exhibitor

Ava Shroyer of Logan County exhibited the Grand Champion Market Goat at the 2020 Ohio Youth Livestock Expo. Our Matt Reese caught up with her moments after being named champion via video conference.
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U.S. EPA administrator visits Ohio demonstration farms

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler recently visited the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms in northwest Ohio. Administrator Wheeler learned about all of the testing being done to improve water quality for the Western Lake Erie Basin and all of Ohio.

“It’s impressive to see how farmers are taking a proactive approach to try to reduce nutrient runoff,” Wheeler said. “Our agency is working cooperatively with farmers instead of hitting them with a hammer, and I think that farmers have proven that they know their land and they know what it takes to reduce phosphorus loading. These demonstration farms have shown me how they can save money on nutrients with new technologies while, at the same time, producing greater yields.”

The first stop for Wheeler was Kurt Farms in Dunkirk, Ohio. There, he learned about how edge-of-field testing units sample the water coming from farm fields to determine the volume of nutrients coming off of the farm and how different nutrient management practices impact the data.… Continue reading

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Part II — The back story: A miraculous journey in Parkinson’s research

Dr. George Lopez had practiced internal medicine in California. But during a procedure, an intravenous catheter slipped out of the patient’s vein. As Dr. Lopez attempted to restore the IV, the patient crashed and subsequently died. Lopez never practiced medicine again.

He rebounded by forming a company and inventing an indwelling IV catheter that locks into place. And he developed several other medical devices, making his company very financially successful.

Then came another setback. An avid outdoorsman, Lopez fished, hunted, surfed and spear-fished — and held the trophy for landing the largest blue marlin off the California coast. But he noticed that he was progressively losing strength in his wrists. Eventually, all of his muscles were weakening. The diagnosis was Parkinson’s Disease. As a result, he had to give up mountain biking, then fishing and his other outdoor activities. Eventually, he could barely get out of a wheelchair. At the same time, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, became terminally ill and died.… Continue reading

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Black Swamp Conservancy to host drive-in theater event

Black Swamp Conservancy is inviting the public to come out for a drive-in screening of films highlighting local and national conservation efforts. The program will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at the Field of Dreams Drive-In Theater, Liberty Center. Gates will open at 8:00 pm, movies begin at 8:45 pm. The screening is free and open to the public. Donations to Black Swamp Conservancy are appreciated and can be made via the Conservancy’s website.

For more information about this event, visit Black Swamp Conservancy’s website at www.blackswamp.org, or call (419) 833-1025.

Resilience: The Story of the American Red Wolf examines the last wild population on the coast of North Carolina of an animal so secretive, many people are unaware that it even exists: the red wolf. Due to the species’ low numbers in the wild, biologists must work quickly to protect it from extinction. Directed by local two-time Emmy nominated wildlife filmmaker and photographer, Alex Goetz.… Continue reading

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Partnerships for better soil health and water quality

By Kurt Knebusch, Ohio State University CFAES

For Rachel Cochran, a typical day involves working one-on-one with farmers, while practicing social distancing, of course.

“It could be contacting them about pulling cores for a soil health study,” she said. “It could be talking to them about potential best management practices that they might be thinking about using.”

For Boden Fisher, his workday could involve being invited to attend a farmer’s wheat harvest, allowing Fisher to measure the crop’s quality, part of a study comparing the use of top-dressed manure and commercial fertilizer.

For Nick Eckel, a typical workday, and every workday in general, means helping farmers successfully implement new conservation practices.

The practices, Eckel said, “hopefully will be sustainable for future generations to build upon.”

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) recently hired six new water quality associates to work in northwest Ohio, and Cochran, Fisher, and Eckel are three of them.… Continue reading

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Governor DeWine to Ohio fairs: What we’ve seen is unacceptable

By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a conference call with Ohio fair directors and managers Wednesday. According to the Governor, after fairs started in June cases of COVID-19 began to rise.

“We are now unfortunately seeing the results of some of these fairs,” Gov. DeWine said. “We’ve had one fair that has had 19 cases come out of that fair alone.”

The fate of Ohio youth returning to school in the fall rests on the operations of Ohio’s fairs the remainder of the season.

“We are really at a crucial stage in Ohio. What you do at your fairs determines if kids are back in school this fall,” DeWine said.

The Governor stressed the importance of the Responsible RestartOhio orders for county and independent fairs.

“We’ve got to get control of this,” DeWine said. “If fairs are going to continue, you all are going to have to control the crowd and make sure everyone is wearing a mask….What… Continue reading

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Five Ohio startups to compete for the next level

The 11th Annual Ohio Signature Food Contest is taking a new spin this year and being held virtually. The event will be hosted by BCAN / Buckeye Broadband reporter, Tim McMahon, and will be aired on Sunday, August 2, 2020 at 7 p.m. on BCAN / Buckeye Broadband.

Sponsored by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), the contest will showcase new, innovative products from across the state.

“The demand for locally grown and produced foods is growing every year and we’re fortunate to have a platform to highlight our local entrepreneurs,” said Rebecca A. Singer, President and CEO, CIFT. “Our contestants this year bring a new level of innovation and creativity with their products and we’re excited to find the next signature food item for Ohio.”

June completed the application deadline and five top-notch startups have made it through to compete this year.… Continue reading

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Keep an eye out for the laternfly

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) needs help in keeping an eye out for the late nymphsspotted lanternfly (SLF), an invasive insect that can cause significant damage to some plants and crops. The insect has not yet been confirmed in Ohio but has been spotted in Pennsylvania.

SLF is a great concern to the grape and wine industry. The insect is fond of grape and fruit trees, hops, blueberry, oak, pine, poplar, and walnut. Adult SLF mainly feed on grapevines and tree of heaven, while nymphs feed on a wide range of hosts. Both adults and nymphs feed on stems and leaves, causing sap bleeding and reduced photosynthesis, which can eventually kill the plant.

Now through November is the best time to spot the SLF because it is in its most recognizable stages as adult slf a nymph and a moth. After hatching in the late spring, the SLF goes through four nymph stages.… Continue reading

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From FFA jackets to PPE, Universal Lettering is “Living to Serve”

By Dusty Sonnenberg

The last line in the FFA Motto is “Living to Serve.” That motto is being lived out in real time during COVID-19 by Universal Lettering of Van Wert, maker of the official blue corduroy FFA jacket.

Little has changed from the original FFA jacket that J.H. “Gus” Lintner had Van Wert Manufacturing/Universal Uniform Company design in 1933. The Fredericktown FFA Chapter Band wore the jacket when they played at the national FFA Convention in Kansas City that year. The blue corduroy jackets were later adopted as the official dress for all FFA chapters.

A good deal has changed, though, with the company producing those iconic blue and gold jackets over the years. The original jackets had snaps instead of zippers and embroidered emblems instead of sewn on patches. Today a state-of-the-art process at Universal Lettering, which includes a chenille machine to create the patches and computerized sewing machines to stitch each individual member name on the front of the jacket, replaces hand-operated machines.… Continue reading

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Polymers: Everywhere from DNA to tires and more!

By Carin A. Helfer and Kristof Molnar

Polymers? Do you mean plastics? Many people do not know the term polymer, but this material is literally everywhere and a major part of our daily life. Plastics are polymers, but rubbers and fibers are polymers, too. Probably the most recognized biological polymer (biopolymer) is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Carbohydrates, proteins, cellulose, silk, and cotton are biopolymers, also. Life would not be possible without biopolymers.

Some man-made (synthetic) polymers are silicone rubber, which can be used in caulk; polyethylene (PE), which is used to make milk jugs; nylon, which is used in clothing and parachutes; and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used to make soda and water bottles. Even your white glue and other adhesives are polymers. If you look around, you will find many polymers throughout your day.

Large quantities of both synthetic and natural rubber, usually a combination for optimum performance, are used in tires.… Continue reading

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USMCA benefits agriculture

By Tyler Davis, Arizona Farm Bureau.

On July 1, the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement was officially implemented. The USMCA offers a fair free trade agreement that focuses on modernization and impartiality.

Under its predecessor trade agreement, NAFTA, many agricultural products that were exported from the U.S. to Canada suffered from an unfair pricing scheme, poor market access and protective regulations. The USMCA provides new market access for all U.S. agricultural products, a fair non-discriminatory pricing plan, and improved grading standards for products going forward.

Over the past 20 years, there have been many technological advancements, especially in the agriculture sector. Unfortunately, the provisions in NAFTA were no longer up to date with these advancements and the agreement was quickly becoming obsolete.

USMCA includes provisions that enhance science-based trading standards among the three nations as the basis for sanitary and phytosanitary measures for ag products, as well as progress in the area of geographic indications.… Continue reading

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Moderate summer harmful algal bloom predicted for western Lake Erie

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its research partners predict that western Lake Erie will experience a moderate harmful algal bloom this summer. This year’s bloom is expected to measure 4.5 on the severity index — among the smaller blooms since 2011 — but could possibly range between 4 and 5.5, compared to 7.3 last year. An index above 5 indicates the more severe blooms.

Lake Erie blooms consist of cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, capable of producing the liver toxin microcystin which poses a risk to human and wildlife health. Such blooms may result in higher costs for cities and local governments that need to treat drinking water, prevent people from enjoying fishing, swimming, boating and visiting the shoreline, and harm the region’s vital summer economy. These effects will vary in location and severity due to winds that may concentrate or dissipate the bloom.

“A smaller bloom forecast for Lake Erie and the surrounding coastal communities is encouraging, but we cannot be complacent,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service.… Continue reading

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Farm Science Review going virtual in 2020

For the first time in its nearly 60-year history, The Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review, scheduled for Sept. 22 to Sept. 24, will not be held in-person. Instead, a virtual show will be implemented for 2020.

The farm show, sponsored by Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), annually attracts over 100,000 visitors from all over the United States and Canada to the show site in London.

“We are committed to delivering a robust and innovative virtual show in support of agriculture during this pandemic,” said Cathann A. Kress, vice president and dean of CFAES.

“Throughout its history, the Farm Science Review has been at the forefront of showcasing the future of agriculture,” she said. “While it may look different in 2020, we will continue to meet the needs of our growers and partners through access to exhibitors, virtual demonstrations, and education about the most recent advancements in agricultural production.”… Continue reading

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A water quality status report

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

When farmers set their mind to something, they are going to do it right. That has been the case as the agriculture industry pulled together to tackle water quality issues across the state. In 2014, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation announced that their members would be investing $1 million dollars to develop a comprehensive water quality action plan to address growing concerns of water quality issues in the Western Lake Erie Basin and the Ohio River. Since that time, individual farmers and agricultural businesses, agricultural commodity groups and livestock organizations, and environmental groups have joined forces to bring the plan to reality.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic stealing the headlines, the H2Ohio program was making news across the state.

“The H2Ohio program is money that Ohio Governor Mike DeWine set aside for the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) the Ohio Department of Natural Resource (ODNR) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help with water quality projects that span the state and span those departments,” said Jordan Hoewischer, Director of Water Quality and Research for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.… Continue reading

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ODA announces 2020 local agricultural easements approved for purchase

The Ohio Department of Agriculture today announced approval for local sponsors to purchase agricultural easements on 39 family farms representing 5,012 acres in 25 counties.

Local sponsoring organizations, which include land trusts, counties and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, receive funding from the Clean Ohio Fund to manage the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP). The easement ensures farms remain permanently in agricultural production. The program supports the state’s largest industry, food and agriculture.

To be eligible for the program, farms must be larger than 40 acres or next to a preserved farm, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have support from local government and not be in close proximity to development. Landowners may use the proceeds of the easement in any way they wish, but most reinvest it in their farm operation.

Funding for the state’s farmland preservation efforts is derived from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, approved by voters in 2008, and used to purchase agricultural easements from willing sellers through a competitive process.… Continue reading

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Sunrise (and Metal for Moms) chosen Hometown Pride Initiative

Sunrise Cooperative was chosen for the Cenex Hometown Pride initiative. Energy Solutions Advisor Kyle Martin submitted Monroeville, Ohio organization Metal for Moms, who were then chosen to receive a $5,000 donation.

The Cenex Hometown Pride initiative established a grant program designed to showcase and celebrate the unique and amazing things small towns have to offer. The program encourages Cenex dealers to share what makes their town special, whether it’s a tradition, location, attraction or the people who live there. As a Cenex dealer Sunrise was eligible to submit a local charity to receive a $5,000 donation.

Cenex established the Hometown Pride initiative in 2019 during which $100,000 was given to local causes and charities — Cenex plans to donate an additional $100,000 in 2020.

“I picked Metal for Moms because I knew all the guys helping out with it and have seen the great things they’ve done in the community,” Martin said.… Continue reading

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