Country Life

Best deer harvest nationally in more than two decades

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

With Ohio’s whitetail hunting season recently wrapped, I found it interesting that hunters nationally harvested an estimated 6.3 million whitetailed deer in the 2020-21 hunting season, the most since 2011. That’s according to the National Deer Association’s latest Deer Report, which also noted that harvests of both antlered bucks and antlerless deer were up over the 2019 season, but the estimated buck harvest of 3,041,544 was the most in 21 years.

“2020 saw the highest buck harvest in the new century, and amazingly we estimate that we set another new record for the percentage of those bucks that were 3.5 years old or older,” said Kip Adams, NDA’s Chief Conservation Officer. “U.S. hunters are taking fewer yearling bucks and killing more of them as mature deer, but this doesn’t mean fewer bucks harvested overall. We’re killing older bucks and more bucks than ever in America.”… Continue reading

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New vaccine a world-wide game changer against COVID

By Don “Doc” Sanders

I have had more than enough of Dr. Fauci’s pronouncements. Mind you, I also contracted SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, after my wife, Kris, passed away from it. And I have been vaccinated twice with Moderna’s messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine since then. 

If you are an old codger (or codgeress) reading this, get vaccinated. If you are young with no predisposing conditions, I wouldn’t get vaccinated or subject healthy children to it.

In the past month, there has been a huge game-changer in COVID vaccines developed without the brand-new mRNA vaccine technologies, which haven’t yet withstood the test of time for people of child-bearing age. I am not suggesting there is anything wrong with the new vaccines, but there is no research regarding their long-term effects on reproduction and metabolic and genetic-regulated systems in growing children and young adults. (Most of you probably don’t know the story on the medication Thalidomide in pregnant women, but look it up.)… Continue reading

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ODA accepting specialty grant proposals

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the 2022 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. To qualify, the grants must be used to support projects that raise awareness about and increase demand for specialty crops grown in Ohio. Eligible specialty crops include both fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. 

Successful grant applications should explain how projects will improve specialty crop production through marketing and promotions, research and development, expanding availability and access to specialty crops, or addressing local, regional, and national challenges confronting specialty crop producers. Projects that demonstrate profit potential for growers and that could boost employment opportunities in the specialty crop industry are prioritized.

Ohio’s food and agricultural non-profit organizations, associations or commodity groups, universities and research institutions are eligible to apply. Private individuals and businesses are not eligible for this grant and applications for projects that directly benefit a particular product or generate a profit for a single organization, institution or individual will not be awarded.… Continue reading

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Water battle continues in Idaho case

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

In 2004, Michael and Chantell Sackett purchased a vacant lot of .63 acres in a rural residential area in Bonner County near Priest Lake in northern Idaho. The property is about 300 feet from the lake and, on the other side, across a road from a tributary of a creek that feeds into the lake. The EPA says that the land is connected to the lake through a subsurface flow of water. 

The Sacketts planned to build a home on the property and obtained local permits in 2007. The construction of the house has never started because the Sacketts have been in a legal fight with the EPA over the issue of wetlands for 15 years.

While making initial building preparations, the Sacketts received an Administrative Compliance Order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, alleging the deposit of fill onto their property constituted an unlawful discharge of pollutants into the waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act (CWA).… Continue reading

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Ohio agriculture groups share recommendations for Expo Center site

Emphasizing that agriculture is one of the largest and most important economic sectors in Ohio, nine major Ohio agriculture groups released recommendations to modernize the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair. These proposals were sent to Gov. Mike DeWine, the Ohio Expo and State Fair Commission, the State of Ohio, other public sector leaders and influencers, as well as the Ohio Expo 2050 Task Force, which the governor created to develop and recommend a long-term vision for the Ohio Expo Center. The recommendations were shared to ensure that the input, ideas and concerns of the agriculture industry, including preserving the current location and footprint with a strong investment for improvements, are properly incorporated into the state’s new Vision Plan. 

The groups include the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Dairy Producers Association, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Poultry Association, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and Ohio Soybean Association.… Continue reading

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Searching for Ohio’s Bigfoot

By Mike Ryan, OCJ Field Reporter

Wanted, Bigfoot: Bipedal creature that is fast and agile, fluid and smooth in movement, with a hairy coat of brown, black, red, or salt and pepper. Stands 8 or 9 feet tall. Excellent tree climber and swimmer that will eat just about anything. Last seen ranging across the Buckeye state. 

Ohio is a Bigfoot sighting hot spot that has even been the subject of national media attention in recent years due to the large number of reported encounters that continue to accumulate across the state. The Grassman, as Ohio’s Bigfoot is known, has been reportedly seen in various Ohio locations, with the Appalachian foothills of eastern Ohio being its predominant haunting grounds.

Author Doug Waller, of Muskingum county, is a longtime Bigfoot enthusiast with a wealth of knowledge about Bigfoot and cryptid lore. Doug has published 5 books on Bigfoot with another one in the works.… Continue reading

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The 2022 Ohio State Fair is on!

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Expo Center & State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler announced that the 2022 Ohio State Fair will run from July 27 to August 7.

“The Ohio State Fair brings people together. It’s a place where we can all celebrate our great state and make memories that will last a lifetime,” said Governor DeWine. “Fran and I absolutely love fairs, none more than the Ohio State Fair. We have experienced so many remarkable moments with our children and grandchildren at fairs over the years, and this summer, we can’t wait to enjoy the Ohio State Fair once again.”

This year’s 167th Ohio State Fair is possible thanks to the hard work of thousands of staff members, exhibitors, volunteers, vendors, partners, performers, concessionaires, youth leaders, and sponsors. At this time, the Ohio State Fair staff are actively working on enhancements that will make this year’s Ohio State Fair safe, fun, and memorable.… Continue reading

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New program pays landowners, expands Ohio hunting access

By Matt Reese

Hunters can bring value and many benefits to landowners around the state of Ohio. They can also be the source of headaches and challenges for landowners.

In an attempt to minimize the challenges and maximize the benefits of good hunter-landowner relationships in the state, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife has created the Ohio Landowner Hunter Access Partnership (OLHAP) Program.

“It is kind of an improvement over a previous project where they tried to pair landowners who allowed hunting access on their property with hunters. This is a little bit of a change now because there is a payment from the Division of Wildlife to the landowners. Ohio applied for a grant and was awarded farm bill money for the program,” said Tommy Springer, the education/wildlife specialist for Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District. “Any landowners interested in signing up for the program can sign up small to large acreage.… Continue reading

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Ohio State installs, commissions new pilot-scale ultra-shear technology equipment for liquid foods and beverages processing

Food processing companies looking for innovative new ways to preserve clean-label liquid food without artificial preservatives will soon have a new option to do so thanks to new technology being developed at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). 

Researchers in the CFAES departments of Food Science and Technology as well as Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE) have installed and commissioned a new, innovative manufacturing technology that preserves foods and beverages using wholesome, recognizable ingredients; no artificial preservatives; and reduced heat. And they will soon launch an outreach program to food and beverage companies to join the Food Industry Consortium to begin using the new technology.

Called BaroShear MAX ultra-shear technology (UST), this new method of high-pressure-based shear technology will allow beverage companies to manufacture healthier beverages by reducing thermal exposure through the combined application of elevated pressure, shear, and controlled times and temperatures. 

The result?… Continue reading

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A look forward at the supply chain

A conversation with….

Robert Fox, director of the Knowledge Exchange Division for CoBank

OCJ: So what is the outlook for agriculture as we move in 2022?

Robert: I’m pretty confident 2022 is going to be a nice year for agriculture in general. Commodity prices are very strong and fundamentally supported. I don’t have too much concern about a decline in prices. Of course, commodities are natural hedge for inflation. If inflation become a further concern, I see commodity prices escalating with that. I know people have been concerned about input costs, and rightly so. Still, prices are strong enough to withstand those input costs.

We are left with some wildcard events. One is the COVID Omicron outbreak in China. Up to this point China has had a zero-COVID policy. They have been very rigorous and have been able to control COVID in China. Omicron is a different beast and if it starts to spread in China we don’t know how aggressive they will be in shutting down plants and ports.… Continue reading

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Upcoming Western Lake Erie Basin conservation practices public input meeting

By Rachel Cochran, Ohio State University Extension

Join OSU Extension’s Water Quality Associates on Tuesday, Feb. 22 from 10-11 a.m. for a public input meeting regarding on-farm conservation practices. This webinar is aimed toward farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin who farm or live near our target watersheds. This virtual webinar will allow OSU’s Water Quality team to hear directly from farmers and landowners to guide local watershed planning efforts and funding priorities. What conservation practices do you want to learn more about? Are there practices that you think may work for your farm, but you don’t know where to start? Are there practices you are interested in if additional funding or support becomes available? Join us for an informal discussion to talk about these topics.

Register for this webinar at, or contact a Water Quality Extension Associate to give your input if you can’t attend the meeting.… Continue reading

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Long live the filibuster!

By Brooke Appleton, Vice President of Public Policy for the National Corn Growers Association

When people ask what worries me most about the political divisions in Congress, I tell them that one of my biggest concerns is the Senate eliminating the filibuster.

That’s not only because it would do away with an important tool that encourages bipartisanship, but also because the demise of this practice, which allows for extended debate that prevents legislation from advancing without a 60-vote threshold, could have serious ramifications for farm policy. While the filibuster’s downfall is not as imminent as some would like, thanks to Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), it is perhaps closer to being eliminated than at any other time in American history.

And while many see eliminating the Senate filibuster as the means to an important end, including passing voting rights legislation, climate policy and circumventing stagnation from a hyper-partisan political climate, I would caution these advocates to consider all that would be lost if the filibuster were no longer part of the Senate rules.… Continue reading

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Eminent domain, broadband and infrastructure the focus of Ag Day at the Capital

By Matt Reese

The weather cooperated beautifully for the 2022 Ag Day at the Capital where Ohio Farm Bureau members from around the state visited Columbus to meet their legislators face-to-face and discuss the issues of the day.

“Getting in front of your legislator has a big impact for them and for us,” said Kyle Brown, president of Wyandot County Farm Bureau. “I think it really means a lot to them and it shows your dedication to your subject matter. It resonates a little more when you take the time to meet with them in person.” 

The group heard a fiery keynote presentation on the vital role of the Ohio Supreme Court from Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy before heading out for meetings with legislators. Key priorities for Ohio Farm Bureau in 2022 include rural broadband, landowner rights and infrastructure development.

“This is the opportunity we take to unveil our Ohio Agricultural and Rural Communities Action Plan, which is essentially the issues we are going to prioritize for the year.… Continue reading

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USDA extends due date to March 7 for National Agricultural Classification Survey

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) wants recipients of the National Agricultural Classification Survey (NACS) to know that there is still time to respond. Mailed last December to more than a million potential U.S. agricultural producers, the NACS collects data on agricultural activity and basic farm information. These data will be used to build a survey recipient list for the 2022 Census of Agriculture. Response to the NACS is required by federal law for all who receive the questionnaire, even if the recipient is not an active farmer or rancher. Questionnaires can be completed securely online at, by mail or phone. The response deadline is extended to March 7. 

“Filling out the NACS is one of the most important steps to determining who should receive the Census of Agriculture questionnaire this fall,” said Barbara Rater, Census and Survey Division Director. “The influential Census of Agriculture dataset is used by many — from local and federal governments, to educators, researchers, agribusinesses, media and more — impacting decisions that affect producers, their farms, families, communities, industries, and the nation. … Continue reading

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Ohio NRCS seeks new proposals for Conservation Innovation grants

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking new proposals for cutting-edge projects that will provide new conservation opportunities through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. In fiscal year 2022, Ohio will invest up to $300,000 for new CIG projects.

Ohio priorities in fiscal year 2022 include urban agriculture, soil health, water quality, and forestry-based sustainable natural ecosystems. Projects may be farm-based, multi-county, small watershed or statewide in scope. For additional information, please contact Ohio CIG program manager Cheryl Rice at or search for the latest postings at An upcoming webinar for CIG applicants is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 at 3 p.m. ET. Interested attendees can join via the below link or phone number:

Meeting Link:

Phone number: +1 202-650-0123, 203371432# / Phone Conference ID: 203 371 432#

All non-federal entities and individuals are invited to apply, with the sole exception of federal agencies. Projects may be between one and three years in duration.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation names Youth Pathways grant recipient

Leveraging the resources of the Fisher Fund for Lifelong Learning, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation launched a Youth Pathways initiative in 2018, focused on introducing students to and training them for careers in food, agricultural and environmental sciences. Each year, organizations throughout the state are invited to submit proposals for innovative projects that would help to address the need to attract more young people to careers in these fields.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is proud to announce that the Junior Achievement Virtual Inspire Career Exploration Fair is the 2022 recipient of the Youth Pathways for Careers in Agriculture Grant. A total of $100,000 will assist this nonprofit as it develops programming that will prepare students for post-secondary training or direct placement in food, agricultural and environmental sciences industries.

“You would be hard pressed to find an initiative that lines up as closely with the mission of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation as the Junior Achievement Virtual Inspire Career Exploration Fair does,” said Tara Durbin, senior vice president agricultural lending with Farm Credit Mid-America and president of the OFB Foundation.… Continue reading

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FACA applauds USDA investment in Climate-Smart Pilot Projects

The more than 80 member organizations of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) strongly commend USDA for advancing a voluntary, incentive-based approach to deploy climate-smart practices on working lands through its Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities. FACA includes American Farm Bureau.

“Farm Bureau commends efforts by USDA to address the challenges farmers and ranchers are facing in their attempts to adopt new and emerging climate-smart practices, as well as participate in developing climate marketing channels,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Voluntary, incentive-based pilot projects are a great first step to identify barriers and ensure farmers and ranchers of all sizes can participate no matter where they are located or what they produce.  We look forward to working with the administration, Congress and our members to develop bipartisan solutions that provide adequate CCC funding while also ensuring the longevity of programs that build on our longstanding commitment to sustainability.”

Members of the Alliance welcome USDA’s plan to partner with farmers, ranchers, forest owners and nongovernmental organizations through pilot projects and are pleased to see the program structured in a manner consistent with FACA recommendations.… Continue reading

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Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference

Ohio State University (OSU) Extension will host the 7th Annual East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference. The conference is planned for Friday, March 25 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum, 3266 Dyewood Road SW, Carrollton, OH 44615. All women and young women (high school age) who are interested, involved in, or want to become involved with food, agricultural, or natural resources production or small business are encouraged to attend.

East Ohio Women in Ag Conference 2022 Flyer

The conference program features a networking fair and sixteen breakout sessions presented by OSU Extension educators, producers, and partner agencies. Sessions this year are focused around four themes: Natural Resources, Plants & Animals, Home & Family, and Special Interest (includes break-out with Ohio FFA State Officers). The conference keynote will be led by Bridget Britton, OSU Extension Behavioral Health Field Specialist. She and her team will lead participants through “Stoic or Stressed?… Continue reading

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Farmland leasing webinar

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

Winter is a good time to review farm leases, for both economic and legal reasons.  We’ll provide you current information to help with the farmland leasing process in our Ohio Farmland Leasing Update webinar on February 9, 2022 from 7 to 9 p.m. Barry Ward, Leader of Production Business Management for OSU Extension, will address the economic issues and our legal team of Peggy Hall and Robert Moore will provide the legal information.  

Our agenda will include:

  • Current economic outlook for Ohio row crops
  • Research on cash rent markets for the Eastern Corn Belt
  • Rental market outlook fundamentals
  • Negotiating conservation practices
  • Using leases in farmland succession planning
  • Ohio’s proposed law on providing notice of termination
  • Ensuring legal enforceability of a lease

There is no fee for the webinar, but registration is necessary.  Register at reading

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How to stay healthy at home in the COVID-19 pandemic

By Lingying Zhao

We have been in the COVID-19 pandemic for almost two years. Because of the pandemic, we started a new mode of working from home and/or staying at home as a measure to control the virus’ spread and protect our health. Recently, as the new Omicron variant of Coronavirus spread in the U.S. and all over the world, many of our friends and family members became infected with the virus. When we are sick, the instructions issued from the workplaces, doctors, and/or schools are to stay at home. Consequently, in this winter during the pandemic, we are spending even more time in our homes. However, most of our homes are not designed and equipped to deal with the air-borne transmission of infectious diseases. One sick family member at home may affect the safety of the entire household. Staying healthy at home in the pandemic, especially when we have sick family members living at home, becomes a significant challenge.… Continue reading

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