Country Life

Invasive box tree moth found in Ohio

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the detection of the box tree moth (BTM) near the border of Hamilton and Clermont counties.

A local resident submitted a photo of the insect to the USDA earlier this month, resulting in trapping in the area. Two specimens captured were identified as the BTM.

The box tree moth is an invasive pest from East Asia that poses a threat to boxwood plantings and the horticulture industry. Boxwood is an important ornamental shrub that is a valuable part of Ohio’s nursery stock economy. Federal and state officials are asking the public and horticultural businesses to spot and report the box tree moth to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) reporting tool.

ODA’s plant health inspectors and USDA staff will place additional traps and survey the area over the duration of the summer and fall to determine the source and extent of the population.… Continue reading

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A call to restore Fourth of July 1776 principles

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Before I launch into this month’s column, I offer you a few famous quotes to chew on.

Plato said, “If you do not take an interest in government, you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.”

President John Adams, our second president, said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.” Here’s another gem from him: “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Benjamin Franklin said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense,“Government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one.”

And finally, Frederic Bastiat, French economist, stated in 1849, “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else, and the prospect of reversing it, does not appear promising.”… Continue reading

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Remarkable decision in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency Case was released by the United States Supreme Court

By Leisa Boley-Hellwarth

On May 25, 2023 a remarkable decision, in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, was released by the United States Supreme Court. The Court unanimously held that wetlands that do not have a continuous surface connection with a navigable water are not federally jurisdictional. This decision provides a very clear standard that substantially restricts the agencies’ (EPA and Army Corp of Engineers) ability to regulate certain types of wetlands and streams. This is the second time this case was reviewed by the Supreme Court. For over 16 years, the Sacketts and the EPA have been in a knock down drag out over the definition of “waters of the US.”

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. Michael and Chantell wanted to build a home, so in 2007, they obtained local permits and began backfilling the lot with dirt.… Continue reading

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Meet Ohio’s Golden Owl!

By Morgan Anderson, OCJ FFA Reporter

Jeffrey Stimmell, the agricultural educator and FFA advisor of Big Walnut High School, was named this year’s Ohio Golden Owl Award winner at the 95th Ohio FFA Convention. The award is one of Ohio’s most prestigious honors in the realm of agricultural education.

Whether it be his student-driven motivation or his inclusive approach to the classroom, Stimmell’s students were quick to speak highly on his behalf. In fact, those who are fortunate to work with him know his approach to investing in students’ premier leadership, personal growth and career success remains unparalleled. Here are some thoughts from his students:

“I never thought I would have a place to fit in at school because sports were never my thing, but taking Mr. Stimmell’s class was the best decision I could have ever made.” —  Lilly Cappitte, Big Walnut senior

“The way he teaches and makes every day a good day has inspired me to become an ag teacher.… Continue reading

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H2Ohio update

By Matt Reese

Legislators in Columbus are hashing out the details of the state budget due by the end of the month and one of the top agricultural priorities is continued funding for the H2Ohio Program. Gov. Mike DeWine proposed the largest-ever allocation for the program as his administration seeks to move H2Ohio beyond the Lake Erie Watershed to fund water quality/nutrient management practices on farms statewide. Ohio’s Senators have proposed less as the deadline for a balanced budget looms on July 1.

“The nice thing for us is if we look at the executive budget and this rolls through the legislature, there’s still that commitment to working with farmers and putting those practices on the ground, even more so in this budget as there’s a lot of conversation about taking some of those practices and moving them throughout the state,” said Janelle Mead, CEO of the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts CEO.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s 2023 Water Quality Status Report released

Water quality has a direct impact on agriculture, the environment, communities and local economies. That is why Ohio farmers are taking measures to assure clean water with voluntary efforts that are being done on a large scale with measurable results realized each year.

The 2023 Water Quality Status Report highlights the progress being made in the watersheds of Grand Lake St. Marys and how the improvement of nutrient management there is promising for what can be accomplished in other areas of the state.

“This report serves as a reference point for where we have been, where we are now and where we need to be in order to obtain the goals we have for clean water, not only in the Western Lake Erie Basin, but all of Ohio,” said Larry Antosch, Ohio Farm Bureau senior director of policy development and environmental policy. “What farmers are doing on each of their farms, individually, is shown in the collective data, and if water quality programs are expanded to more farmers and other stakeholders, the progress being made will continue.”… Continue reading

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Thomas family champions the small dairy farm

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net

A trip to the rolling hills of north Champaign County will put visitors among some of most beautiful pastures, highest quality cows, and hardest working people in the world.

In a time when small dairies are becoming harder to find, Nathan and Jenny Thomas of Triple-T Holsteins near North Lewisburg have found a niche in the dairy industry. What the husband and wife’s 35-cow herd lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality with a world-renowned focus on show genetics and prize cattle, all while selling into a specialized milk market.

“We started milking cows in 2006. That was the same year Jenny and I got married. We farm here with my dad, John, and my brother, Andy,” said Nathan Thomas.

“We only milk 35 registered dairy cattle, but our main focus has been our genetics and our cow families,” said Jenny Thomas. “We’re very much into presenting our cattle in the show rings across the country.”… Continue reading

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Youth explore the construction trades

By Amanda Staley, Ohio State University Extension 4-H Educator

Twenty youth attended the 5th annual Career Exploration Workshop – Construction Trades on April 29th at TriRivers Career Center.

The group of students rolled-up their sleeves and got their hands dirty while learning about different kinds of construction trade occupations. According to many participants, the favorite session of the day was when they operated heavy equipment which included a backhoe, dozer, and boom lift.

Sessions two and three put their building skills to the test. They constructed a small framing project and built a sheep hay feeder. 

The fourth session focused on electricity. Participants completed the steps to wire an electrical socket into an electrical box that was attached to a wood frame.

Eight teens from the Construction Trades Academy program at TriRivers helped to teach the participants what skills they need to know to complete their tasks at hand.… Continue reading

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Harvesting wishes

Make-A-Wish Iowa is pleased to welcome Stine Seed Company as the premier partner for the new Harvesting Wishes Program. Together, Make-A-Wish and Stine will cultivate hope and resiliency for critically ill children in our communities through the program. Farmers and the agriculture industry will now have an entirely new way to impact local families waiting for their life-changing wish. 

“As another farming season is underway and we see signs of growth all around us, it’s the perfect time to announce this exciting new partnership with Stine Seed Company,” said Sara Kurovski, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Iowa. “We are thrilled to welcome Stine as our premier sponsor and look forward to the many ways we’ll be able to work together to grant wishes. Stine has an incredible reputation among their employees, customers and the communities they serve; it’s a wonderful opportunity for all.”

Harvesting Wishes is a unique program to engage farmers and agricultural workers across the country to participate in granting life-changing wishes to kids in their communities.… Continue reading

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Spring turkey take was up

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

Turkey hunters in Ohio checked 15,673 birds during the spring season which concluded May 28. The total statewide harvest represents all turkeys checked from April 22 to May 28, and includes the 1,823 turkeys taken during the two-day youth season April 15-16. During the 2022 season, the total number of turkeys checked was 11,872. The three-year average (2020, 2021, and 2022) for the spring turkey season is 14,772. The top 10 counties for wild turkey harvest in the 2023 season were Ashtabula (454), Gallia (428), Muskingum (420), Monroe (410), Tuscarawas (408), Belmont (398), Coshocton (382), Adams (378), Jefferson (374), and Washington (369).

Adult male turkeys, called gobblers, made up 84% of the final count with 13,153 birds taken. Following an above-average brood production summer in 2021, biologists expected a high proportion of 2-year-old birds in the total harvest this spring. Hunters checked 2,354 juvenile male turkeys in 2023, representing 15% of birds taken.… Continue reading

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Farm bill math

By Daniel Munch, American Farm Bureau economist

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) most recent Baseline for Farm Programs, released in May, identifies expected outlays for farm program spending, assuming existing programs continue without changes, and indicates program spending available to Congress as crafting of the 2023 farm bill kicks into high gear. CBO releases these projections on expected spending for farm programs for the 10-year baseline —  the current budget year plus 10 years — up to three times a year.

Farm bill math creates a few possible scenarios. Depending on negotiations between the Budget and Agriculture committees, lawmakers crafting the next farm bill could be required to be budget neutral, meaning any increase in spending in one part of the bill would require a decrease in spending elsewhere in the bill; they could be required to have an overall net reduction; or they may be able to increase spending. Given such budget directives, scoring (estimating the additional outlays and potential savings relative to the baseline) is one of the most critical components of farm bill development.… Continue reading

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Farmers for Monarchs

By Matthew Mulica, senior project director at the Keystone Policy Center

It is National Pollinator Week (June 19-25). Farmers and ranchers know the value of pollinators to our ecosystems – they are vital to our environment and growing crops for food and forage. Following declines in monarch butterfly populations, a diverse group of committed stakeholders, including scientists, conservationists, farmers and private sector partners, convened Farmers for Monarchs to find collaborative solutions to strengthen monarch populations and habitat.
Convened by Keystone Policy Center, one of Farmers for Monarchs’ main goals is improving the monarch population through voluntary efforts to restore, enhance and protect habitat while maintaining productive agricultural operations. Monarch conservation simply cannot be successful without it. Farmers can take a variety of actions to benefit pollinators and increase their numbers on agricultural lands. For example, they may renew pollinator forage and nesting habitats by adding flowering plants, hedgerows, butterfly waystations and other shrubs.… Continue reading

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Ohio Chapter of American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers Summer Meeting set

The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) is the largest professional association for rural property land experts, boasting over 2100 members in 31 chapters throughout the United States. Over 40 percent of ASFMRA’s members hold a designation as an Accredited Farm Manager (AFM), Accredited Rural Appraiser (ARA), Real Property Review Appraiser (RPRA) or Accredited Agricultural Consultant (ACC).

The Ohio Chapter will be offering it members the opportunity to earn 7 hours of CE credit, and will include the following sessions:

  • Michael Family Farm, Farming Practices & Technology: Kathy Sponheim Michaels is a large specialty crop producer with contracts with major supermarkets throughout Ohio and the Midwest.
  • WOTUS & Water Quality Update: Larry Antosh, Sr Dir, Policy Dev & Env Policy, Ohio Farm Bureau
  • Farm Bill Update: Brandon Kern, Sr Dir, Policy Dev & Env Policy, Ohio Farm Bureau
  • East Palestine Train Derailment and the Aftermath for the Ag Community: Haly Shoemaker, OSU Extension
  • Tax and Legal Updates: This presentation will focus tax and legal issues from across the country that could affect Ohioans: Jeff Lewis, OSU Extension Ag Law
  • Tour of Woodruff Farms Dairy and Milk Bottling facility.
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Artificial intelligence: What is it and how can it be used?

By Robert Moore, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program, and ChatGPT

You may have seen the recent story of an attorney in New York who filed a pleading in a case in a federal district court. The filing included citations to six court cases that do not actually exist. Come to find out, the attorney who filed the pleading did not write it but instead used ChatGPT, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool. The attorney now faces a June 8 sanctions hearing before the judge. This incident is a good example of the myriad of implications, both good and bad, with using AI in the legal world and beyond.

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence refers to the development of computer systems capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. It includes a broad range of technologies, including machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics. AI systems have the ability to process and analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and make autonomous decisions or recommendations.… Continue reading

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MoCo Career Expo

By Amanda Staley, OSU Extension 4-H Educator, and Angela Powell, workforce development coordinator for Morrow County

Nearly 400 Morrow County ninth grade students attended the first MoCo Career Expo on Thursday, May 4 at the Morrow County Fairgrounds and the Mt. Gilead EMS Station.  

This expo was designed to give Morrow County youth the opportunity to learn more about six of the 18 careers featured within the industries of agriculture, healthcare, and manufacturing with goal of helping them decide whether these career options may or may not be a good fit for them in the future. At each station they were given the opportunity to complete a task that usually occurs within the career field. For example, when learning about being a veterinarian, they were asked to take the vital signs of a goat, or when learning about caring for a patient in cardiac arrest, students were taught to use an AED.   

Evaluation surveys were conducted and 77% of students surveyed agreed that they learned about careers they didn’t know about before the career expo. In… Continue reading

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Christmas in July Craft and Vendor Show

The Fairfield County 4-H Christmas in July Craft and Vendor Show will be held July 29 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds in Lancaster. 

The event will have 140 vendors this year in three buildings on the grounds. The event includes food from the Clearcreek Showmen 4-H Club, Perry’s Ice Cream courtesy of Oakland Grocery, search dog demonstrations, Santa with Santa’s Workshop (crafts for kids), gift basket drawings, a DJ with 4-H camp style line dancing, and The Showmen’s Closet, which is a resale pop-up shop for fair show clothes. There will also be a silent auction of decorated garlands from the some of the clubs.… Continue reading

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Biodegradable plastic in agriculture

By Karen Mancl 

Plastic has been a revolutionary material that is light-weight, flexible, durable, and inexpensive to produce. China has been using plastic mulch films in agriculture since the 1970s. According to Professor Yan Changrong of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the direct economic benefits have been great at an estimated RMB 120 – 150 billion per year (USD 19 – 24 billion) of rural income by increasing water use efficiency and yield by 30%, raising poor farmers out of poverty. Unfortunately, continuous use of plastic mulch for decades has resulted in soil plastic pollution that is beginning to cancel out the benefits.

Biodegradable mulch films must be 100% degradable by microbes in nature, breaking down to carbon dioxide, water, and minerals without damaging the soil. Sadly, the perfect biodegradable plastic does not yet exist, one that balances its physical features with environmental protection. Right now, the plastic PBAT comes the closest.… Continue reading

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4-H teens find their spark in Washington, D.C.

By Amanda Staley, OSU Extension 4-H Educator

Amelia Bender, Emma Smith, and Amanda Staley, OSU Extension 4-H Educator, traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Ignite by 4-H conference on March 9-12. 

The Summit included high impact programming and speakers featuring national experts and leaders. There were opportunities for career exploration and building connections with teens and leaders from across the country.

This invaluable experience taught about trending topics in agriscience and you met some of the most forward-thinking leaders in agriculture. It opened the teen’s eyes to career or volunteer opportunities that they may not have thought about before and what steps they need to take to obtain those opportunities. 

“Participating in ignite by 4-H was a meaningful opportunity in my 4-H journey. I was able to meet and make connections with many businesses and agricultural professionals that I never would have had the chance to meet,” Smith said.… Continue reading

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Talking turkey

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Turkey is big business in Ohio. The Ohio Poultry Association states that Ohio ranks 9th nationally producing over 300 million pounds of turkey a year valued at over $220 million. The consumption of turkey in the U.S. has doubled since 1970 with 15.3 pounds per capita in 2021. That’s more turkey than just at your Thanksgiving table. 

Low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium, turkey is one of Ohio’s best kept agriculture secrets you can add to your plate. Turkey is one of our beloved comfort foods while keeping us satisfied. It fills your tank with some healthy protein to keep you feeling full. Look beyond the 25-pound Thanksgiving bird to the plethora of choices from ground, sausage, bacon, breasts, roasts, tenderloins, deli meats to pepperoni. My favorites are tenderloin, hot Italian turkey sausage and turkey pepperoni sticks. Turkey’s versatile mild flavor makes it a sponge for marinades and rubs.… Continue reading

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Boating is big business in Ohio

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

National Safe Boating Week is May 20-26, after which Ohio’s boating season unofficially kicks off on Memorial Day Weekend and is big business in the Buckeye State. A new study shows the state’s boating industry produced an economic impact of $6.4 billion in 2022. According to the study, published by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and Watercraft, the boating industry also accounted for 45,856 jobs here in Ohio.

“The boating industry lifts up the economy for local communities all across Ohio,” said Mary Mertz, ODNR Director. “The boost ripples out from the water and into local business, while supporting jobs all along the shores, from marinas and boat dealers on the coast, to restaurants and hotels further inland.”

The study was conducted through a survey of nearly 10,000 boating households and over 200 marine trade businesses.

Other boating habits revealed through the survey:

• In 2022, people spent 315 million hours boating in Ohio

• Fishing accounts for 33.6% of all boating time

• Women are the primary boat operators of 24.3% of all non-motorized boats and 5.4% of all motorized boats.… Continue reading

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