Country Life

USDA launches trade mitigation programs

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue launched the trade mitigation package aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. Producers of certain commodities can now sign up for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), while USDA will also begin to purchase identified commodities under a food purchase and distribution program. Additionally, USDA has begun accepting proposals for the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), which will help American farmers find and access new markets for their products. In total, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with World Trade Organization obligations.

Perdue announced in July that USDA would act to aid farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Farm Bureau marks 100 years

Ohio Farm Bureau is gearing up for its 100th anniversary in a major way and the yearlong celebration will include lots of ways to join in the fun.

The centennial celebration features a member only concert by country artist Chase Bryant, barn paintings throughout the state, releases of centennial beer and wine, collector edition rifles, a commemorative book, limited edition artwork and lots of collectables including vintage T-shirts, pint glasses, hats and metal signs.

Ohio Farm Bureau was founded on Jan. 27, 1919. The centennial celebration officially kicks off at the 2018 annual meeting Dec. 6 – 7 in Columbus.

“100 years ago, Ohio farmers decided they could do more for themselves, their families and their communities by banding together. That idea is as valid, and as effective today as it was back then,” said Ohio Farm Bureau president and dairy farmer Frank Burkett III. “This is a great opportunity to remember and celebrate a century of great accomplishments by our members.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Hot weather hanging on this week

By Jim Noel, NOAA

Hot weather, possibly close to the hottest weather of the season is on tap yet this week. This should help make corn stalks brown up fast. However, with that heat, high dewpoints or moisture will also accompany the hot weather. This means soil drying will be slower than you would normally expect with high temperatures due to a limit on the evapotranspiration rate. The hot weather will be fueled in part by tropical activity in the Pacific Ocean driving storms into the Pacific Northwest into western Canada and a big high pressure over the eastern U.S. Rainfall will likely continue at or above normal into the start of September before some drying occurs. We do not see any early freeze conditions this year.

September Harvest Outlook:

Temperatures: 2-4F above normal

Rainfall: Near normal (-0.5 to +0.5 inches)

Humidity levels: Above normal

Freeze Outlook: None

Field Conditions/Soil Moisture: 1-2 inches of extra moisture in soils so expect okay conditions for harvest except in lower areas that will likely remain wet.… Continue reading

Read More »

County farm bureaus to host financial risk management workshops

Managing a farm and agribusiness against financial risk will be the topic for upcoming Ohio Farm Bureau Financial Essentials workshops scheduled in September.

The financial risk management sessions will help build a better understanding of risks, teach strategies and solutions to mitigate risks, provide a basic understanding of insurance options available to protect an operation, help identify opportunities that can help grow the operation and how to be better prepared to manage a business for the future.

This session was developed for beginning, new or evolving operations (seed, fertilizer, vertically integrated) and is designed to help mitigate the stress that comes from important questions regarding family, farm and business financial issues. The resources provided will help guide the path to financial security.

Sponsoring organizations are Ohio Farm Bureau, Nationwide, Farm Credit Mid-America, Wright & Moore Law, numerous county Farm Bureaus and others. The sessions are free for Farm Bureau members and cost $10 for nonmembers.… Continue reading

Read More »

Distressed watershed task force continues information gathering process

By Matt Reese

This summer Governor John Kasich signed an executive order targeting eight sub-watersheds in the western basin of Lake Erie that will be considered for designation under state law as “Watersheds in Distress.” These include: Platter Creek, Little Flat Rock Creek, Little Auglaize River, Eagle Creek, Auglaize River, Blanchard River, St. Mary’s River, and Ottawa River.

To officially make the “distressed” designation, the governor-appointed Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission (OSWCC) needs to approve it. The OSWCC met and decided that more information was needed to make the decision and yesterday the OSWCC’s Western Lake Erie Basin Watershed In Distress Task-force/subcommittee met at the Ohio Department of Agriculture to allow members to share their thoughts.

“Ohio is being watched almost nationwide on how this sub-committee is going to handle this distressed watershed designation. It has implications far beyond the western basin of Lake Erie,” said Tom Price, chair of the OSWCC. … Continue reading

Read More »

Farm groups respond to trade aid package

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released details of its $12 billion aid package to help offset the impact of tariffs, which includes a Market Facilitation Program that will make payments to producers of seven farm commodities for the 2018 crop. The program also includes an increase of USDA purchases of various impacted U.S. agricultural products, and a Trade Promotion Program to develop foreign markets for American agricultural exports.

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) welcomes the support from the Trump Administration and details of the how that support will be distributed, while also reiterating the need for a long-term solution that opens export markets.

“We’re pleased to see the details of the aid package released in a timely manner so there can be some certainty for farmers moving into the harvest season,” said Allen Armstrong, OSA president and Clark Co. soybean farmer. “However, this is a short-term fix and we continue to advocate for free and open markets with our national affiliate, the American Soybean Association, and for a resolution to the trade dispute with our biggest international customer.”… Continue reading

Read More »

OABA accepting applications for seventh LAUNCH Class

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association will select up to 25 promising leaders to participate in a leadership enhancement program early next year.

To be considered, participants must be employed by an OABA member company, be sponsored by their employer, and submit an application and letter of recommendation.

The application form is available at The deadline to apply is Oct. 31.

With the expectation that half of the agribusiness workforce could retire in the next 10-15 years, Leaders Achieving Unexpected New Career Heights (LAUNCH) was designed to inspire confidence in emerging leaders to help them achieve career growth and their organization’s strategic goals.

The LAUNCH program will consist of two sessions: Jan. 8-10, 2019 and Feb. 19-21, 2019. The program will engage participants in a variety of learning opportunities, including personal insight; executive leadership skills and decision making; communication and presentation skills; global issues in agriculture; change management and employee engagement principles; regional trends in agribusiness; critical thinking; goal setting and organizational skills; state and local government; and a capstone project.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA announces details of agricultural assistance for trade retaliation

This week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced details of the trade assistance package for farmers hurt by the President’s aggressive trade agenda. The $12 billion package will provide payments to producers as part of a “short-term relief strategy” to protect agriculture.

“Early on, the President instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to make sure our farmers did not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs. After careful analysis by our team at USDA, we have formulated our strategy to mitigate the trade damages sustained by our farmers. Our farmers work hard, and are the most productive in the world, and we aim to protect them,” Perdue said.

The Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean and wheat producers starting Sept. 4, 2018. The payments to producers will total $4.7 billion with soybeans accounting for the largest single commodity estimated cost at over $3.6 billion.… Continue reading

Read More »

Trade progress with NAFTA

President Donald Trump announced in August that the U.S. and Mexico have reached a deal on terms to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), putting pressure on Canada to reach agreement with the two nations jointly or through separate bilateral agreements.

“The agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology to keep up with 21st Century innovations. And we mutually pledge to work together with Mexico to reduce trade-distorting policies, increase transparency, and ensure non-discriminatory treatment in grading of agricultural products,” said Sonny Perdue, USDA Secretary. “This is nothing short of a great victory for farmers and ranchers, because locking in our access to Mexican markets is critical to supporting farm income and strengthening rural communities. Mexico has historically been a great customer and partner and we are happy to have this resolved for our agricultural producers.

“We now hope that Canada will see the need to settle all of the outstanding issues between our two nations as well, and restore us to a true North American Free Trade Agreement.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission: Special meeting notice

Notice is now given that a special meeting of the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission will be held on Aug. 30, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Auditorium, Bromfield Building, 8995 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg, Ohio, for the following purpose:

The Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Western Lake Erie Basin Watershed In Distress task-force/subcommittee will meet to evaluate the recommendation for declaring eight watersheds within the Western Lake Erie Basin as watersheds in distress.

The Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission is a seven-member commission which ensures Ohio counties are served by effectively administered and adequately supported soil and water conservation districts.

The meeting is open to the public.… Continue reading

Read More »

DeWine awards more than $3 million in grants for drug use prevention education

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that he is awarding more than $3 million in grant funds to a number of law enforcement agencies across the state for drug use prevention education programs in public schools.

A total of 152 sheriffs’ offices and police departments will receive a portion of the $3,098,808 in Drug Use Prevention Grant funds announced today. The funds must be used to establish or maintain drug abuse prevention education and awareness programs for students during the 2018-2019 school year.

Grant recipients are required to include over-the-counter and prescription drug abuse prevention education in their programs.

“Age-appropriate substance abuse prevention education every year, at every grade level is key,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “Evidence-based prevention education helps students develop the skills they need to make good decisions, stay drug-free, and live healthier lives.”

A full list of the 152 award recipients can be found on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.… Continue reading

Read More »

Pursue expanded use of American-grown, high-octane biofuels

In an effort to expand the market for domestic agriculture products, reduce harmful emissions, and provide consumers with lower cost fuel choices, National Farmers Union, Farmers Union Enterprises and the Urban Air Initiative announced they have formed a strategic alliance to expand the use of American-grown biofuels.

The three groups intend to pursue a broad spectrum of advocacy and advertising activities in furtherance of social, regulatory and legislative solutions to current barriers that limit the amount of biofuels used in the nation’s transportation sector.

Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, hailed the alliance as a “timely and powerful marriage of urban and rural priorities.”

“Protecting the public health and welfare — and at the same time improving the rural economy and benefiting family farmers, is a win-win for America,” he said.

Farmers Union Enterprises President Doug Sombke said there is an unprecedented opportunity at hand with the recent U.S.… Continue reading

Read More »

ODNR urges Ohioans to report beech leaf disease

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) urges Ohioans to identify and report signs of beech leaf disease to minimize risk of disease spread.

Beech leaf disease (BLD) is a newly observed disease affecting American and possibly non-native beech trees. BLD was first discovered in Lake County in 2012 and has quickly spread across northeastern Ohio. Infestations have been found in nine Ohio counties and parts of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada. Government and university scientists are currently working to learn more about BLD, but no causal agent has yet been identified for this disease. The ODNR Division of Forestry has received funding from the U.S. Forest Service to work with various partners within Ohio, other states and Canada to monitor the spread and document the impact of BLD to help inform research efforts and create management tools.

Symptoms of BLD include dark striping or banding on otherwise healthy-looking leaves; shriveled, discolored or deformed leaves; and reduced leaf and bud production.… Continue reading

Read More »

WOTUS back in business for Ohio

WOTUS has been reinstated by a U.S. District Court in South Carolina and is now the law in Ohio.

Agriculture lobbied hard against the controversial 2015 Waters of the United States rule because it expanded Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. In August, U.S. District Judge David Norton issued a ruling saying the Trump administration did not comply with rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act in previously suspending the rule.

The Trump Environmental Protection Agency a year ago said it would repeal and replace the Obama Administration regulation, and it delayed the rule’s effective date until 2020. The rule, which took effect in August 2015, was enjoined in 24 states that brought lawsuits against it. A U.S. District Court in Georgia in June issued a preliminary injunction against implementation of the regulation in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, and a District Court in North Dakota in August 2015 did the same for Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. … Continue reading

Read More »

Farmers must prepare for the unthinkable

Tony Nye is a man on a mission.

A serious heart-related illness in late 2017 shook him to his core. It also convinced him that many farmers, both small-scale and large-scale, need to hear what he has to say.

“I was as close to knocking on the Pearly Gates as possible before I turned the corner,” he recalled.

After surgery, he lost both weight and strength and spent a month in the hospital.

“I wasn’t able to return to the barns for almost six months,” he said.

Those barns are on his 50-acre Fayette County farm, where Nye raises meat goats and purebred swine. The farm also includes some grain production, plus pasture ground for the goats.

Luckily for the family, his then 17-year-old son was able to step in and care for the livestock during his Dad’s illness. That care included not only feeding and watering during the bitter winter weather, but also farrowing numerous pig litters and making important decisions related to animal health, finances and marketing.… Continue reading

Read More »

Solar energy and energy efficiency, economic and environmental wins for agricultural producers

By Fred Michel

The EPA estimates that U.S. agriculture contributes 9% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. While much less than the emissions attributed to transportation, industry and electricity generation sectors of the economy, many producers are becoming concerned about the widespread changes to the climate caused by these emissions, but are unsure about what to do about it. There are now ways for agricultural producers and rural businesses to both address this concern and improve the bottom line through energy efficiency improvements and solar energy production.

An Ohio State University Extension program called, “Energize Ohio” provides factsheets, videos and tools for assessing the economic benefits and incentives available for Agricultural Solar systems in Ohio. It also provides a directory of energy efficiency programs offered by Ohio Utilities. For example, AEP Ohio has a new program for agricultural producers offering incentives for LED lighting, variable speed pumps, high efficiency fans and dryers and temperature controllers.… Continue reading

Read More »

Pursuing a Bill of Rights for Lake Erie

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

The Toledoans for Safe Water submitted over 10,500 signatures this month on a petition proposing to amend the city’s charter to establish a bill of rights for Lake Erie.

The proposed bill of rights would state that Lake Erie and its watershed possesses a right to exist, flourish and naturally evolve; that the people of Toledo have a right to a clean and healthy Lake Erie, a collective and individual right to self-government in their local community and a right to a system of government that protects their rights; and that any corporation or government that violates the rights of Lake Erie could be prosecuted by the city and held legally liable for fines and all harm caused. The effort is backed by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. If successful, the initiative would appear on the November ballot for Toledo residents.… Continue reading

Read More »

Organic Grain Trials and Transition Farm Tour

The Organic Grain Trials and Transition Farm Tour will be held at Sonlight Acres/Morning Sun Farm at 9:30 a.m.  Aug. 30 at 3993 State Rte. 503 S., West Alexandria, OH.

Dale Filbrun of Morning Sun Farm is an early organic pioneer, first becoming OEFFA certified in 1995. The farm focuses on organic eggs and produces its own feed grain. During this stop, attendees will visit the layer houses, tour the Great Harvest Seed grain trial plots, and observe the mechanical cultivation equipment used on the farm.

The tour will continue at the adjacent Sonlight Acres for a discussion about transitioning land into organic management. Kenton Filbrun will address various transition strategies, effective approved fertility products, and the path he has followed toward organic certification.

After the tour, the Filbruns invite you to a farmstead lunch sponsored by Great Harvest Seed. If you plan to stay for the lunch, RSVP by August 20 by calling (513) 267-0148 or email Sonlight Acres.… Continue reading

Read More »

Does Roundup cause cancer?

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

Does Roundup cause cancer?  A jury in California has determined that it’s possible. The jury awarded $289 million in early against Monsanto in the first of thousands of cases alleging that Monsanto should have warned users about Roundup’s cancer risk.

The plaintiff argued that Monsanto has known for decades that the Roundup product could cause cancer but failed to warn consumers, while Monsanto claimed that more than 800 studies and reviews conclude that glyphosate itself does not cause cancer.  Monsanto plans to appeal the award.… Continue reading

Read More »

Farm groups pushing for a farm bill

The two largest farming groups in the United States called for swift passage of the farm bill by a congressional conference committee.

Faced with the lowest farm income in 12 years, the presidents of the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union are asking Senate and House conferees to move quickly. Everything from commodity price supports to childhood nutrition, soil and water conservation, trade promotion and more depend on swift passage.

“America’s farmers and ranchers persevere even in the toughest times, but the farm economy has gone from bad to worse,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president. “Tariffs and stagnant global demand for commodities have left the agriculture economy in the worst shape we have seen since the farm crisis of the 1980s. Lender surveys and our own experience tell us spring could bring a wave of farm closures unless there’s major improvement in the marketplace.

“Farmers and ranchers need the certainty that the farm bill provides to maintain the food security that all Americans want and need.… Continue reading

Read More »