Country Life

Ohio county Farm Bureaus receive national recognition for 2021 efforts

The American Farm Bureau Federation County Activities of Excellence awards celebrate unique, local, volunteer-driven programs that serve as models of innovation for local program development. The winning counties receive a grant to fund participation in the Farm Bureau CAE Showcase at the 2022 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention and Trade Show Jan. 7-12, 2022 in Atlanta. AFBF received more than 75 entries across all membership categories, with only 18 activities nationwide being selected to present at the convention. Again this year, Ohio had more winners than any other state.

“The creativity of our county Farm Bureau members continues to amaze me,” said Melinda Witten, Ohio Farm Bureau senior director of leadership development. “These programs are superb examples of Farm Bureau offering member value and being important community partners in their respective counties.”

Ohio’s winners:

Knox County: Date Night at the Orchard

Date Night at the Orchard served as a way to get the local community on a farm and show them local agriculture while also having a fun night out.… Continue reading

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Financial learning opportunities in October

By Wm. Bruce Clevenger, Amanda Douridas, Ken Ford, Haley Zynda, Ohio State University Extension educators

Ohio State University Extension has scheduled four seminars in Ohio for Agricultural Lenders. The dates are Tuesday, Oct. 19 in Ottawa; Thursday, Oct. 21 in Urbana; Thursday, Oct. 21 in Washington Court House, and Monday, Oct. 25 in Wooster.

These seminars are excellent professional development opportunities for Lenders, Farm Service Agency personnel, county Extension Educators and others to learn about OSU Extension research, outreach programs and current agricultural topics of interest across the state.

2021 topics and speakers by location

Oct. 19, Putnam Co. Educational Service Center, 124 Putman Parkway, Ottawa, OH  45875

  • Farm Service Agency – Loan program update, Kurt Leber, Northwest Ohio FSA, District Director, Farm Loan & Farm Program
  • Examining land values, rents, crop input costs and margins and tax implications, Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, OSU Extension
  • Behind the meter solar energy on-farm, Eric Romich, OSU Extension Field Specialist, Energy Education
  • Solar leasing farmland, Eric Romich, OSU Extension Field Specialist, Energy Education
  • Carbon market, Mike Estadt, OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources — Pickaway County
  • Machinery replacement strategies and investment in precision ag, Terry W.
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Higher loan limit now available for USDA guaranteed farm loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing a higher loan limit will be available for borrowers seeking a guaranteed farm loan starting Oct. 1, 2021, from $1.776 million to $1.825 million.  

“Farm loans are critical for our customers’ annual operating and family living expenses, emergency needs, and cash flow,” said Zach Ducheneaux, FSA administrator. “Raising the guaranteed loan limit will allow FSA to better meet the financial needs of producers as natural disasters and the pandemic continue to impact their operations.”

FSA farm loans offer access to funding for a wide range of producer needs, from securing land to financing the purchase of equipment. Guaranteed loans are financed and serviced by commercial lenders. FSA provides up to a 95% guarantee against possible financial loss of principal and interest. Guaranteed loans can be used for both farm ownership and operating purposes.

In fiscal year 2021, FSA saw continued strong demand for guaranteed loans.… Continue reading

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Heritage Cooperative completes grain storage project at Marysville Ag Campus location

Heritage Cooperative is excited to announce the completion of a grain expansion project at the Marysville AgCampus, 15090 Scottslawn Rd., Marysville, Ohio. The addition of two new grain silos provides an added 1.7 million bushels of grain storage.

The $5 million project included building two grain storage bins on the north side of the property, increasing the grain storage capacity of this facility to just under 5 million bushels. This additional storage will benefit Heritage growers in the Marysville area as well as those growers in Kenton, Urbana, Upper Sandusky, and other locations on the western side of Ohio. Access to grain storage becomes much more available for growers when stored grain is shipped to Marysville freeing up space needed in other areas.

“We are very excited about this project and the grain storage solutions this provides to our growers throughout the area.” said Jeff Osentoski, President and CEO of Heritage Cooperative, “This additional storage capacity allows us to take customer’s grain when they need to unload it and the timing is perfect for our busy harvest season which we are currently in.”

Elevator Services and Storage, Inc., who built the grain bins on the south side of the concrete silos 5 years ago, completed this project in 6 months.… Continue reading

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Nanci Griffith: Country music loses a legend

On Aug. 13, 2021, Nanci Griffith, the American singer/songwriter, died at the age of 68 in Nashville, Tennessee. You may not recognize her name, but you might remember her songs if you heard them. She had a distinctive crystalline voice and a unique storytelling skill.

            If you are so inclined, do a search of Nanci Griffith on YouTube. It’s refreshing to watch a performer focused on the music. No fireworks, no revealing costume, no choreography. Just a clear voice and a rare insight into the lives of everyday people.

            Nanci often remarked that if you took Woody Guthrie and Loretta Lynn and mixed them together, you would get Nanci Griffith. She was inspired by Guthrie’s enduring folk music and impressed that Loretta Lynn was the first woman to play her own rhythm guitar when she performed the songs she wrote. Nanci described her music as “folkabilly.”

            She was a frequent performer on Austin City Limits and made many appearances as musical guest for the David Letterman Show.… Continue reading

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2021 Ohio State Cornhusking Contest

The Ohio State Cornhusking Contest will be held in Greenville on Oct. 9, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. The location will be 2764 Wildcat Road Greenville, Ohio. Registration is $10 for membership and husking fee per class. Registration begins at 9 a.m. For more information contact David Magie, president of the Ohio Hand Cornhusking Association at 937-533-7966. … Continue reading

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Rich history of livestock on the Clark-Weber farm

By Matt Reese

A crazy cousin, a family feud over Hereford cattle horns, a couple of Rockefellers, a tragic fire, John Wayne, and a world record all came up in a recent afternoon discussion about the seven generations and 200+ years of rich history on the Clark-Weber farm in Clark County. 

Sisters Becky Reed and Jenny Fleming, are the sixth generation on the Clark-Weber bicentennial farm in Clark County.

Sisters Becky Reed and Jenny Fleming, representing the sixth generation on the farm, were able to share several unique points in the farm history. The story of Grandview Farms and Mohawk Farms got its start, like many other tales in Clark County, with James Foley, who amassed a significant amount of land in the area. He came to Ohio sometime between 1803 and 1805 and served as a Captain in the War of 1812. 

“James Foley was a native of Virginia and became one of the early pioneers of Clark County while the Indians were still the principal occupants of the then almost unbroken forest when there was but one store in Springfield, and four or five houses constituted the town.… Continue reading

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Vorwerk family working together since 1919

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Since 1919 the Vorwerk family has been farming in Henry County. 

“In 1919, my great grandfather, Henry, moved here from Defiance County,” said Kenneth Vorwerk. “The story goes that there was some farm swapping among a couple families. The farm Henry originally bought was a little east of here. It was an 80-acre farm with some woods that had not been completely cleared. This farm was a clear 60 with a little better soil. The family that was here wanted great grandpa Henry’s farm because it adjoined another farm of theirs. This farm was all clear and was a little closer to town, so they swapped.” 

Regardless of the specific details of the transaction, in 1919 Henry Vorwerk began farming in Henry County. Vorwerk Farms has been in the family for four generations, with Henry purchasing it in 1919. Henry’s son Alvin took ownership in 1928.… Continue reading

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DeLong shot returns home

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

Chances are, if you were fishing for bass in Ohio — or anywhere else — in the ‘60s and ‘70s, you were casting “rubber” worms made right here in the Buckeye State. In fact, two of the largest suppliers of the popular fake worms not only called Ohio home, but Akron in particular. Not only that, but the owners of Crème Worms and DeLong Lures were fast friends and neighbors. David Delong is said to have actually poured the world’s first rubber worm, in 1946, in the basement of his Akron home.   

At the time, Akron was ground zero for the fledgling, post-war fishing industry, with names like Fred Arbogast and Pflueger setting up shop in the “Rubber City.” DeLong Lures and the Crème family were equally famous as plastics innovators for use in fishing lures and rode the wake of success until competition forced DeLong to sell and the manufacturing moved out of state, where it foundered.… Continue reading

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Animals perish in Fremont feed store blaze

An animal supply and feed store near Fremont burned overnight Monday.

WTOL Television in Toledo reported that fire crews were dispatched to Artz’s Feed & Supply around 7:30. First responders reported seeing animals running down the road when they arrived on the scene. An unknown number of animals perished in the fire. Officials report cattle, hogs, goats, llamas, and a pony were all killed in the blaze.

Fire crews were dispatched to Artz’s Feed & Supply around 7:30. Hay and feed were believed to be inside the barn, which was declared a total loss by fire officials.

The house on the property was not damaged, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.… Continue reading

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RCPP funding for Ohio projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest nearly $75 million for 15 partner-led projects to address natural resource concerns on private lands. This year, projects funded by the Regional Conservation Partnership Program’s Alternative Funding Arrangements focus on climate-smart agriculture and forestry and other conservation priorities as well as improving access for historically underserved producers.

“The AFA component of RCPP is designed for partners who are thinking outside of the box to address some of our most pressing natural resource challenges,” said Lori Ziehr, State Conservationist in Ohio. “RCPP is a testament to the power of partnership. By combining local expertise, partner resources, federal assistance and a shared commitment to conservation we can advance critical priorities and innovative solutions that are key to addressing the climate crisis.”  

As part of this year’s project selections, NRCS prioritized projects that supported smart strategies on working lands to help sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.… Continue reading

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Demonstration farms offering educational tours

The Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network is once again offering tours for business, organizations and students interested in learning about the latest water quality technology. The three northwest Ohio farms have been testing new and innovative conservation practices that reduce and prevent nutrient runoff since the project launched in 2016.

“There continue to be so many concepts being tested on our farms, and the results are coming in real time throughout the year,” said Aaron Heilers, Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network project manager. “With such a wide variety of practices on all three farms, we have valuable real-world data to share with anyone interested in water quality and nutrient management efforts being made in Ohio.”

Ohio Farm Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service recently signed a new agreement to continue research on the demo farms in the areas of edge-of-field monitoring, drainage water management, cover crops and economic analysis and will begin new research on precision agriculture, subsurface nutrient placement, application timing and strip tillage.… Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Agriculture now accepting new applications for H2Ohio Program

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is currently accepting new enrollments for the H2Ohio Program.

Producers in the original 14-county targeted area of the Maumee River Watershed can sign up for the years 2022 and 2023. That area includes: Williams, Defiance, Paulding, Van Wert, Mercer, Fulton, Henry, Putnam, Allen, Auglaize, Lucas, Wood, Hancock and Hardin counties.

Farmers are required to submit a Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan (VNMP) at the time of application. Enrollment is open until Jan. 15, 2022, and no practices can be started prior to March 15, 2022.

Under Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio plan, ODA is leading efforts to reduce phosphorus runoff. Producers are being incentivized to implement proven, cost-effective best management practices.

Please contact the local Soil and Water Conservation District for more information.… Continue reading

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Farm Science Review battles wind and rain, still draws a crowd

A deluge of rain might have shortened this year’s Farm Science Review by a day, but the show still drew a strong crowd to see the latest farm techniques and technology.

Farmers have to contend with sudden shifts in the weather. So do outdoor farm shows.

Predictions of constant rainfall and powerful wind gusts that toppled some show tents and signs led to the show’s closure on the second day of what’s typically a three-day event. On the other two days, Sept. 21 and Sept. 23, a crowd persevered through wind and intermittent rain for a total turnout of 70,850 people.

“There have been so many events canceled in the last 18 months that people were really happy to be outside at a large event with others,” said Nick Zachrich, manager of FSR.

“The first day I saw people out in the rain without jackets on, and they all had smiles on their faces.”… Continue reading

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Prioritizing mental health brings global benefits, saves local lives

By Matt Reese

Andi Blaylock just got another call for help.

“It was a human resources partner who was working with someone who was struggling with thoughts of suicide. I get the question a lot from people in human resources. What more can I do? There is not more. I tell them to just be supportive, listen and don’t be judgmental. Just be there,” Blaylock said. “People put a lot of pressure on themselves to offer some pearl of wisdom that will change someone’s life. That is not usually how it works. People don’t usually remember what you said. They just remember you were there. If you were there, you did everything you could. You may think you did nothing, but you did a lot.”

Andi Blaylock

Blaylock has been in the field of mental health for 17 years as a licensed clinical social worker. In 2014, she started her work with Cargill as the internal mental health subject matter expert and employee relations program senior consultant.… Continue reading

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USDA to host special virtual data users’ meeting to gather public input on statistical programs

one-of-the-computers-hooked-up-to-robotic-milker

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will hold its biannual Data Users’ Meeting virtually Oct. 13 and 14 from noon-3 p.m. ET. The meeting is free and open to the public.

The Data Users’ Meeting is held to share recent and pending statistical program changes with the public and to solicit input on these and other programs important to agriculture. The event is organized by NASS in cooperation with the World Agricultural Outlook Board, Farm Service Agency, Economic Research Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, Foreign Agricultural Service and U.S. Census Bureau.

“This is an excellent opportunity for data users to be informed and involved in guiding the agricultural information USDA produces, both now and into the future,” said Joe Parsons, Chair, Agricultural Statistics Board. “NASS believes in transparency and continual process improvement. This venue provides an important opportunity for stakeholder input into USDA’s coordination of agricultural data products that both expand knowledge and create a cooperative environment to the benefit of all who attend.… Continue reading

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Ohio farm safety statistics

By Dee Jepsen 

Have you ever had to describe “agricultural work” to anyone not familiar with the day-to-day, season-to-season functions of a farm? It is difficult to explain the types of tasks, the type of equipment, and the varying schedules that farm life demands. The occupational pressures of tending to the land, crops and livestock is different than other workplace pressures. The same can be true for describing the variation in the workforce, including different occupational hazards that other industry workers do not experience.

Agriculture is one of the three top hazardous industries.

In the U.S., agriculture is considered one of the most hazardous industries to work. The data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics consistently lists agriculture, along with construction and mining, as the top three hazardous industries. Agriculture is broadly defined and includes occupations of farming, fishing and forestry in the statistical counts. With approximately 2% of the U.S.… Continue reading

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Farm Science Review rain delay

By Matt Reese

On Wednesday Sept. 22, 2021 the Farm Science Review was postponed due to inclement weather. Rain swamped the parking lots, harvest demonstration sites and exhibit areas. High winds and potential lightening were also a concern. The show will resume Thursday Sept. 23, 2021 at 8 a.m. as scheduled.

This is the first time the show has ever been postponed.

“This was a really tough decision, but it is best for everyone involved that we wait until tomorrow to open the gates. It did not start raining here onsite until 6 a.m. (on Wednesday) and we thought we may get lucky and miss it. Then we started getting some heavy rain,” said Nick Zachrich, FSR manager. “We were already starting to think about closing some of the parking lots and once we did that we decided at what point we’d need to close the show. We got to that point by 7 a.m.… Continue reading

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Qualified entities can apply to preserve local farmland

Counties, Soil & Water Conservation Districts, land trusts, cities and townships are invited to apply to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Office of Farmland Preservation for local sponsor certification from Sept. 20 to Oct. 22, 2021. 

Local sponsors that complete the certification application and qualify will be allocated a portion of the $6.5 million in Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program 2022 funds. These funds are used to purchase agricultural easements on Ohio farms, preserving productive agricultural farmland in perpetuity.

Certified local sponsors will then accept local landowner applications and help secure easements through ODA’s Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program. Once the easement is secured, the local sponsor visits the farm once a year to complete a monitoring report to ensure the land is being used for agricultural purposes.

The application is available on ODA’s local sponsor page. Any organization interested in being a local sponsor for the 2022 landowner application year must apply during this time period.… Continue reading

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New Ohio initiatives to address farm stress

A new federal grant awarded to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) will support and enhance several initiatives that address farm stress in Ohio.

In partnership with Ohio State University Extension, training will be provided to mental health and other health care professionals in Ohio on the unique stressors and factors that influence agricultural producers, other individuals working in the agricultural sector, and farm and rural households. 
Titled “Bridging the Gap for Agricultural and Rural Mental Health Training in Ohio,” the $500,000 grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network.

“Our farmers and producers are facing incredible stressors,” said Cathann A. Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). “Many farmers are faced with unpredictable issues and concerns daily involving personal health and injuries, equipment and parts, animal health, weather, and crops.… Continue reading

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