Country Life



USDA seeks input on ready-to-go technologies and practices for agriculture innovation agenda

To further the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) work on the Agriculture Innovation Agenda (AIA), USDA announced it is seeking public- and private-sector input on the most innovative technologies and practices that can be readily deployed across U.S. agriculture.
USDA is looking for ready-to-go technologies and practices to achieve its goal of increasing agricultural production by 40% to meet global population needs in 2050 while cutting U.S. agriculture’s environmental footprint in half.

“Across America, we have seen significant advances in agricultural production efficiency and conservation performance during the past two decades,” said Bill Northey, Under Secretary, who leads USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area. “We want to keep the momentum. As part of our Agriculture Innovation Agenda, USDA wants to continue helping farmers access new approaches.”

To help identify and accelerate adoption of ready-to-go innovations, USDA is currently accepting public comments and written stakeholder input through its Request for Information (RFI) offsite link image through Nov.… Continue reading

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September means Farm Science Review…

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

…But it’s going virtual this year. The dates stay the same as planned for the in-person show – September 22 to 24. I for one am looking forward to seeing how the staff, exhibitors, and OSU educators pull this off. There has been a lot of shuffling since the decision was made to go virtual but most details will be in place by about Sept. 1. Go to the website http://fsr.osu.edu after the first of September and start to put your plan for your virtual visit together. And FYI, there will be field demos, looks like there could be better visuals than you typically see because the camera can get closer to the combines, tillage tools, etc. than you could in the past.

I have some old memories of the Farm Science Review. I began work in June of 1975 as a student worker for Dale Friday, FSR Manager and Craig Fendrick, Assistant Manager.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation invites students to apply for college scholarships

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation (OCF) is offering several college scholarships for students involved in the beef industry. These scholarships are administered through OCF in conjunction with the following organizations and individuals.

Tagged for Greatness

Four $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to college students enrolled in an agricultural program or graduating high school seniors who plan to study agriculture at a college or university. These scholarships are made possible by the sale of Ohio’s beef specialty license plates.

Cattlemen’s Country Club

Four $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to college students enrolled in a two-year or four-year program or graduating high school seniors who plans to attend a college or university majoring in an agricultural or non-agricultural program. These scholarships are made possible by proceeds from the beef putt-putt golf course at the Ohio State Fair.

Saltwell Expo Scholarship

One $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a college student who is enrolled in an agricultural program or a graduating high school senior who plans to study agriculture at a college or university.… Continue reading

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September – A time to remember, find hope and have faith

By Robin Kinney, senior director of member engagement for the American Farm Bureau Federation
This time of year brings beautiful memories of fall colors, the hope for a safe, bountiful harvest and for me, the remembrance of friends gone too soon. But as someone once said, “As long as we are being remembered, we remain alive.”

I’m acutely aware that Sept. 10 is National Suicide Awareness Day. My life changed forever two years ago when I learned one of my best friends made the decision to end his life and others I know are making that choice. It still troubles me daily that they believed it was their only option. It is hard for me to imagine that feeling of isolation, the weight of the decision, the pressures they were dealing with. In my view, there was an alternate path and other options.

Our rural families are resilient, enduring and overcoming overwhelming odds time and time again.… Continue reading

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AgCredit awards $10,000 in scholarships to local students

AgCredit has announced the winners of five $2,000 scholarships awarded through the cooperative’s Joe Leiser Memorial Scholarship program.

Leiser served as the first president and chief executive officer of AgCredit, which is one of northern Ohio’s largest lenders, serving farmers, agribusinesses and rural homeowners. The annual program recognizes dependent family members of AgCredit voting stockholders who are enrolled in an agriculture-related field of study at a post-secondary educational institution. The cooperative has awarded over $123,000 since the scholarship program began in 1989.

AgCredit congratulates the following students for earning scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year:

  • Cora Dorman of Licking County is a junior at The Ohio State University, where she is studying agribusiness and applied economics, agricultural communication and agronomy.
  • Rachael Herring of Wyandot County is a sophomore attending Purdue University, where she is majoring in landscape architecture and agribusiness.
  • Matthew Roth of Hancock County is a sophomore at The Ohio State University – ATI, where he is studying agri-science education and production agriculture.
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Low iodine diet tips

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

You have heard about my aging knees and more recently my pandemic induced changing hair color. Effects of aging happen whether we like it or not. Let’s back up to pre-pandemic times, April 2019. I was headed to the Doc to talk about a recent lab, my lipid levels. To my dismay, it was not my lipid levels that became the topic of discussion, but my TSH. TSH is a snapshot of your thyroid function. Mine was a little elevated and my thyroid a “little puffy.” Symptom-free, after repeating some labs, an ultrasound and ruling out a common culprit in women, Hashiomotos, an autoimmune hypothyroid disease, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Ground Hog Day had arrived as I began to hear a repetitive phrase “If you are going to get cancer, this is one of the best ones to get.” It was still heartbreaking and no matter how many docs and people tell you this….the… Continue reading

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A tail-selling tradition

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

As one of my all-time favorite “win-win” PR efforts in the outdoors industry, Mepps fishing lures continues its popular Squirrel Tail Recycling Program this month. The tails are used for the hand-tied, dressed hooks of their world-famous, fish-catching lures, a program that has been ongoing for more than half a century.

“Squirrels are good eating and we can reuse their tails for making the world’s No. 1 lure,” said Josh Schwartz, Mepps Communications Director.

Antigo, Wisconsin-based Mepps buys fox, black, grey and red squirrel tails and will pay up to 26 cents each for tails, depending on quality and quantity. Plus, the cash value is doubled if the tails are traded for Mepps lures.

“We do not advocate harvesting of squirrels solely for their tails,” Schwartz said.

For details on the Squirrel Tail Recycling Program, visit mepps.com/squirrel… Continue reading

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The good and bad about Ohio’s jobless rate

The news is mixed about the rate of Ohioans out of work.  

The state’s unemployment rate has rebounded from late spring’s rates, and it’s below the national rate.

But, in July, Ohio’s jobless rate of 8.9% topped that of many nearby states. Across the Midwest, only one state had a higher rate than Ohio’s: Illinois. 

Keep that in perspective, said Mark Partridge, an economics professor with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). During a recession, Ohio typically takes a bigger hit, he said.

Jobs in manufacturing make up the largest portion of Ohio’s economy, and typically manufacturing sharply declines during a national recession. So far, dips in manufacturing have not been significant, he said. 

“We’re actually doing relatively well compared to what we normally do,” Partridge said. “Usually we’re one of the worst in the country during a recession, and it often takes us a while to climb out of it.”… Continue reading

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Harvest weather outlook

By Jim Noel, NOAA

The cooler than normal blob of water in the eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator tends to push the first autumn freeze later than normal in our region. Therefore, there is no indication of an early freeze in September this year. It appears the first freeze for Ohio will not come until October either on schedule or a bit later than normal.

September looks to have the first half start cooler than normal followed by a return to normal temperatures for second half of the month.  Precipitation will be normal or slightly above normal for September. Normal rainfall is currently 1 inch to 1.5 inches per two weeks dropping to about an inch per two weeks for the second half of September. Even though we expect rainfall at or slightly above normal in September, there is a great deal of uncertainty due to the tropics and where those systems will travel.… Continue reading

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Managing your fall farm operations through COVID-19

By Lisa Pfeifer and Dee Jepsen

In big or small ways, COVID-19 has impacted most aspects of farming and agribusiness. Safety, health, and wellness have become necessary concerns for farm operations.

Health officials have provided guidance on frequent hand washing, physical distancing, and staying home when sick. These practices should be in place for the farm operation, not just those businesses with public interaction. Consider these additional measures as you prepare your workforce for staying healthy through the fall season.

Teams or workforce pods

Look at the functions of your total farm operation. Creating workforce teams or “pods” can help ensure an operation minimizes the impacts should a worker become ill or test positive for the coronavirus. Pods of workers that had no interaction with the affected employee will be safely able to continue working.

For example, do you have livestock to care for as well as harvesting activities?

  • If so, can you manage employee schedules so those that feed, milk or care for livestock can do tasks without overlapping with the harvesting crew?
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First-ever Ohio USDA CARES Act Loan Guarantee bolsters rural business during pandemic

U.S. Department of Agriculture Ohio Rural Development State Director David L. Hall announced the agency is awarding its first-ever Business & Industry Loan Guarantee using targeted CARES Act funds through USDA’s Business-Cooperative Services program.

“In uncertain times, efforts to help stabilize rural business and manufacturing take on special significance,” Hall said. “The B&I Loan Guarantee program puts the backing of the federal government behind local lenders and boosts their confidence in investing. As we grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, this truly is the time for ‘all hands on deck,’ and we’re proud to work with Ohio’s hometown banks in support of the rural businesses that keep America running.

“Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA has been working tirelessly to be a strong partner to rural Ohio in building stronger and healthier communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”… Continue reading

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OABA launches Women Leading in Ohio Agribusiness program

Even though women have been working in agribusiness for decades, there are particular challenges that face women in professional agribusiness roles. Through small group discussions and input from members, OABA is pleased to offer a forum for women who are looking for resources from experts and peers alike to face these challenges. To meet this need, the Ohio AgriBusiness Association is launching the Women Leading in Ohio Agribusiness program.

“Through the Women Leading in Ohio Agribusiness program, Ohio’s female leaders will have a dedicated environment to discuss with their peers the challenges unique to women in agriculture,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO. 

The new program will offer professional development, networking opportunities and more to OABA’s female leaders. Women new or seasoned in the industry are invited and encouraged to participate and share with one another. To kick off the program, OABA is hosting a three-session webinar series this fall:

  • Developing a mindset of career confidence
  • Working through uncomfortable/offensive situations
  • When “he” doesn’t want to work with a woman

Sessions are $75 each or $150 for the series.… Continue reading

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Fairs are finding a way: Hardin County

By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net

The Hardin County Fair is getting ready for their junior fair only show this month and the board is thankful that youth will have the opportunity to exhibit the time, money and hard work they’ve invested in their livestock projects this year.

“We are thankful for the financial support from Ohio Department of Agriculture waiving the matching portion of the facilities improvement grant, the legislature providing financial support for fairs and local support from our county commissioners in the form of the CARES act,” said Corey Ledley, Hardin County Fair board president.

The fair is using the various funding sources to provide the youth an opportunity to show this year, but also to keep the gates open for next year, too.

“We are taking the restrictions very seriously,” Ledley said. “We are utilizing the CARES act funding in to purchase PPE for our exhibitors and to live stream our shows for our community.… Continue reading

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2020 Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting to combine virtual, local in-person options

Due to orders from the Ohio Department of Health limiting indoor gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting is going remote this year.

The new format will enable many Ohio Farm Bureau delegates to join together in small groups throughout Ohio and connect with other delegates around the state through a virtual platform as they vote on policies and leadership.

This year’s remote experience also will recognize the organization’s exciting accomplishments and will give even more Farm Bureau members an opportunity to take part in the programs.

“We know for so many of our members, the annual meeting is much more than just a meeting. It’s a celebration of our organization,” said Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president. “This year will be much different than our delegates and members have enjoyed over the past century, but like many things happening this year, we had to adapt to today’s challenges.”… Continue reading

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Fairs are finding a way: Henry County

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

Communications is critical in working through the pandemic. Communicating early and often has allowed the Henry County Jr. Fair to occur in what has otherwise been a tumultuous 2020. The Henry County Sr. Fair board voted on June 10 to hold a Jr. Fair only along with non-spectator harness racing for their mid-August Fair.

“We started talking to the Henry County Health Department officials back in April when we had an indication that things might need to be change from our normal schedule,” said Wayne Michaelis, Henry County Agricultural Society Director. “By starting the dialogue early on, and communicating with them every step along the way we all agreed that we needed to be able to do something for the kids that have had so much taken away from them this year with everything being cancelled.”… Continue reading

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USDA implements the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand announced that USDA is implementing the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative, releasing new information on rates and terms that will help lenders apply for loan guarantees to support rural businesses, infrastructure and community facilities and increase private investments in rural America.

“Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to cutting red tape and streamlining investment, so we can be a better partner to America’s rural leaders in building prosperity.” Brand said.

Ahead of Fiscal Year 2021, USDA is providing guarantee percentages, annual fees, periodic retention fees, and optional construction fees to help lenders apply for the Agency’s four flagship loan guarantee programs. These programs are:

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Iowa trip planned to help farmers in need

Ted Blome and his wife were kicking around vacation ideas when she said, “How about we plan a trip to Iowa and help the farmers?”

Blome had been part of a similar effort back in the 80s on a trip to Missouri to help the flood victims with great success so they decided to give it a shot. The Blomes contacted the Iowa Farm Bureau and got in touch with a Linn County representative who told them they could essentially go down any country road and pull in a driveway and be received with open arms. They were told the destruction of buildings, homes, and fields was devastating.

This conversation led to a connection with Lana Robison from the area, who has been coordinating people from outside the community with places to go and help. Her small town of Atkins, Iowa lost roofs on their fire department, multiple schools, and more.… Continue reading

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Fairs are finding a way: Hartford Independent Fair

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

The Hartford Independent Fair has one of the largest junior fair programs in Ohio and finished up with their “junior fair only” event in mid-August. A junior fair of that size costs quite a bit, but the community really rallied.

“Within 48 hours we raised just over $100,000 $2,000 at a time in sponsorships. There are 57 total names at $2,000 apiece in sponsorship. We started in the hole — $104,000 was the estimated cost for the Hartford Independent Fair to run a junior fair. We are at $114,000 raised. The community just stepped up,” said Steve Jagger, who serves on the Hartford Fair Livestock Sales Committee. “Everybody in the business community wanted to allow the kids to showcase their junior fair projects. We are fortunate here to have some very large shows. We had over 800 rabbits present and over 400 hogs being shown.… Continue reading

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Deadline approaching for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers and ranchers that the deadline to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is Sept. 11, 2020. This program provides direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19.

“FSA offers several options for farmers and ranchers to apply for CFAP, including a call center where employees can answer your questions and help you get started on your application,” said Richard Fordyce, Farm Service Agency administrator. “With only two weeks before the deadline, now is the time to check out the resources on our website and contact the call center or your local office for your last-minute questions.” 

Over 160 commodities are eligible for CFAP, including certain non-specialty crops, livestock, dairy, wool, specialty crops, eggs, aquaculture, and nursery crops and cut flowers. All eligible commodities, payment rates, and calculations can be found on farmers.gov/cfapContinue reading

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OABA and Ohio’s Country Journal partner to offer Agricultural Career Center

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association and Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net are partnering to offer an agriculture industry-focused Career Center. This free resource allows career seekers to explore available positions across Ohio, while allowing agriculture employers to post their open positions.

Through this new partnership, the Agricultural Career Center – formerly the OABA Career Center – will continue to be hosted on OABA’s website and will have a greater impact across the state of Ohio, reaching a larger and broader audience.

Job seekers as well as companies wanting to submit their open positions should visit oaba.net/jobs. Position details can also be emailed to Nicole Volk at nvolk@oaba.netContinue reading

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