Country Life

Farm Office Live winter edition!

By Barry Ward, David Marrison, Peggy Hall, Dianne Shoemaker – Ohio State University Extension

“Farm Office Live” returns virtually this winter as an opportunity for you to get the latest outlook and updates on ag law, farm management, ag economics, farm business analysis and other related issues from faculty and educators with the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Each Farm Office Live will start off with presentations on select ag law and farm management topics from our experts and then we’ll open it up for questions from attendees on other topics of interest. Viewers can attend “Farm Office Live” online each month on Wednesday evening or Friday morning, or can catch a recording of each program. The full slate of offerings for this winter are

Jan. 13 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Jan. 15 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Feb. 107:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Feb. 12 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.… Continue reading

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H2Ohio year of progress

In the first year of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative, Ohio agriculture has gained an incredible amount of ground in implementing agriculture’s portion of this unprecedented statewide water quality program. 

Ohio farmers in the targeted 14 counties in the Maumee River Watershed showed overwhelming participation. In the first program year, 1,815 farmers enrolled 1,092,852 acres, or approximately 44% of the cropland in the targeted project area, in six proven, science-based conservation practices: voluntary nutrient management plans, variable rate application, sub-surface nutrient application, manure incorporation, conservation crop rotation, and overwintering cover crops.

In addition to these best practices to be implemented on cropland, producers have signed up for 681 drainage water management structures, which will be installed over the next calendar year in 13 of the 14 targeted counties, with the largest number in Wood, Henry, Putnam, Paulding, and Williams. Approximately 10,000 acres of cropland will be controlled by drainage water management structures.… Continue reading

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New COVID package helps farmers previously left out of aid

Congress agreed on a $900 billion COVID stimulus package, which will include up to $13 billion in funding that directly benefits agriculture. Nearly $1 billion will support a dairy donation program and supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage payments for small and medium-sized producers. More help will be made available to specialty and non-specialty crop growers, and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will be expanded, which will allow small farmers to continue operating and paying their employees.

Many farmers and ranchers who were previously left out of aid will now qualify for assistance, including growers who were forced to euthanize livestock during the initial wave of the pandemic.

The American Farm Bureau Federation worked for several months to ensure the needs of America’s farmers and ranchers were brought forward to lawmakers as they considered the latest stimulus package.

“We’re pleased that Congress understands the toll the pandemic continues to take on farmers, ranchers and rural Americans,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president.… Continue reading

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USDA and NASA working together

A new agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA strengthens their partnership. The goal is to more closely align NASA’s experience with technology development and USDA’s scientific experience and knowledge of agricultural production.

“Today, technology plays an ever-larger role in growing the food we eat, and this partnership between USDA and NASA will no doubt help to advance the goal we all share of feeding the world,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Many people don’t realize how applicable NASA’s technology is to agriculture and I applaud this commitment to breaking down walls and advancing innovation in agriculture. We look forward to working with both the USDA and NASA to inspire the next generation of agriculturalists.”

The memorandum will help both agencies explore research gaps of importance to the agricultural community. Another focus will be education to inspire youth in America to pursue careers in STEM and agriculture.… Continue reading

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Household water use is on the decline

By Karen Mancl, Professor Food, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University

Household water use is on the decline, which is good news. This is reversing a trend started in the 1950s of families steadily increasing their water use. Household water use peaked in the late 1990s. The required use of low-flush toilets and the introduction of low-water using washing machines is making all the difference. Water use per person has decreased 15% over the 17-year period 1999 to 2016, from an average of 60 gallons to 51 gallons per person per day. The biggest reductions were in water used to flush toilets and wash clothes. Figure 1 shows the typical household water use.

Household water leaks remain a problem and have been found to increase water use by 9.5 gallons per household each day. Efforts to fix a leaking faucet or running toilet can have a big impact for both the water supply and the wastewater treatment system.… Continue reading

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2021 Ohio fair schedule now available

The Ohio Department of Agriculture released the official dates for the 2021 fair season.

The Paulding County Fair will kick off the 2021 fair season on June 12, and the season will wrap up on Oct. 16 with the Fairfield County Fair. For a complete schedule, click here.

In addition to setting and approving the dates for the independent and county fairs, the Ohio Department of Agriculture is responsible for helping to ensure the safety of fair amusement rides, monitoring livestock shows to ensure honest competition and coordinating animal health efforts with local veterinarians. Here is a chronological list.

Fair2021 Dates
Ohio State Fair7/28-8/8
Medina8/2-8/ 8
Hartford Ind8/8-8/14
Attica Ind8/10-8/14
Van Wert8/31-9/6
Richwood Ind9/1-9/6
Albany Ind9/8-9/12
Bellville Ind9/15-9/18
Barlow Ind9/23-9/26
Loudonville Ind10/5-10/9
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Regan nominated to head EPA

President-Elect Joe Biden nominated Michael Regan as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Regan most recently led the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

“NPPC congratulates Michael Regan on his nomination. As DEQ secretary in North Carolina, a leading pork-producing state, he always had an open door, valued diverse points of view, and worked to find solutions that ensured science and data were guiding decisions. We hope those same qualities will be carried over to his leadership at EPA. We look forward to working with him on issues of importance to U.S. pork producers, as we continue to produce the highest-quality, most affordable and nutritious protein in the world,” said National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President Howard “AV” Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin.

Regan’s nomination will be considered by the U.S. Senate when the chamber convenes in January.… Continue reading

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As pandemics go…

By Don “Doc” Sanders

It appears we are in unparalleled times. There is documentation that 675,000 Americans will die and 50 million worldwide could succumb to the pandemic.

Headlines read that Americans are rebelling against wearing masks. Politicians, who shall remain nameless, appeared at public events without a mask, though citizens are threatened with arrest if observed without a mask.

Politicians were sending mixed and confusing signals. It is argued that masks provide a false sense of security when other guidelines, such as social distancing and avoiding public events, are not being followed. Ultimately, the pandemic was like a raging fire.

Politicians ordered everyone to wear a mask, but some did not follow their own edict. Hospitals are full while medical professionals treating these patients are at risk of contracting the virus. Public pronouncements of supposed cures are also on the rise, but with little data to support them. Originally it was thought that the very young and old codgers like me were the only vulnerable patients to the virus.… Continue reading

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Game warden opportunities

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

In hindsight, I think I would have enjoyed a career as a “game warden.” That’s what Ohio’s fish and game law enforcers were called before being pegged as Wildlife Officers and, more recently, rebranded as Natural Resource Officers. By any name, I believe the job would be rewarding on many levels. If you have an interest in pursuing such a career, applications are being accepted through January 15 for the next Natural Resources Officer training academy. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is seeking to fill at least 15 positions. Natural resources officer duties include law enforcement and public service, as well as education and public relations for ODNR’s divisions of Parks and Watercraft, Forestry, and Natural Areas and Preserves.

Top scoring candidates will undergo interviews and pre-employment evaluations. Those selected as cadets will attend the officer training academy for about five months.… Continue reading

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2020 Mission Fund grant recipients

AgCredit, one of northern Ohio’s largest lenders for farmers, rural homeowners and agribusiness, is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2020 Mission Fund.

Now in its third year, the grant program was created to support AgCredit’s commitment to investing in the future of agriculture and positively impacting the quality of life in rural Ohio. Applicants were selected to receive funding based on meeting criteria in four focus areas: Education, Environment, Technology, and Quality of Rural Life.

This year’s Mission Fund grant recipients are:

4-H Camp Ohio, Licking County, $5,000.00
Funds will be used to complete the remodeling project for their nature center and to purchase new educational resources for the nature center.

Camden Twp Fire Department, Lorain County, $15,000.00
Funds will be used to purchase a rescue trailer and equipment for inside the trailer. The trailer will carry specialty equipment such as; a grain bin rescue system, technical rope rescue equipment, hazardous material equipment, ice rescue suits and equipment, rescue cribbing and emergency scene lighting.… Continue reading

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Four promoted to senior director positions at Ohio Farm Bureau

Ohio Farm Bureau staff members Adam Carney, Susan Gaughan, Ty Higgins and Kelsie Schwyn have been elevated to senior leadership positions within Ohio’s largest farm and food organization.

Adam Carney has been promoted to senior director of membership sales and marketing for Ohio Farm Bureau. His almost 15 years of sales and sales leadership experience will be used to help grow Farm Bureau by developing and implementing comprehensive membership marketing campaigns. He provides direct sales support and delivers on-going sales training to ensure membership growth. He has been Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of membership sales since 2017.

Susan Gaughan has been named Ohio Farm Bureau’s senior director of human resources. She will provide both strategic and operational leadership with the responsibility for all human resources functions. Gaughan is responsible for setting, enforcing and evaluating legally compliant human resources policies, procedures and best practices, as well as developing and cultivating an organizational culture of integrity, diversity, learning and respect.… Continue reading

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CFAES Wooster new umbrella term for Ohio State location

Wooster, Ohio has long played an important role for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Two of its major components, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), and the two-year associate degree-granting program, the Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI), got their start there in 1892 and 1968, respectively.

While in past years, the research and student pieces have operated separately, new changes are afoot to unify the campus. A first step in ensuring this evolution is a name change to CFAES Wooster.

Changing the name of the campus will also produce shared resources, infrastructure, personnel, and equipment. “It allows us to think about this location as a full campus, rather than simply two components,” said Cathann A. Kress, vice president of agricultural administration and dean of CFAES. “It will brand the location as an integral part of CFAES and provide a gateway for Ohio State in northeast Ohio.”… Continue reading

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Katherine Tai selected to be U.S. Trade Representative

President-elect Joe Biden announced Katherine Tai to be the U.S. Trade Representative. Since 2017, she has been the chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee and previously served in the Office of the United States Trade Representative as chief counsel for China Trade Enforcement.

“We’re pleased President-elect Biden will reportedly nominate Katherine Tai to be the next U.S. Trade Representative. America’s farmers and ranchers rely on a fair marketplace to compete globally and it’s more important than ever for them to have an ally fighting on their behalf,” said Zippy Duvall American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Ms. Tai has deep trade experience and a solid understanding of the need to enforce existing trade agreements while working with our trade partners to expand market access for America’s farmers as they lead the world in growing healthy, affordable food.”

The North American Meat Institute supports the decision as well.

“Tai, who would become the first Asian American to hold the role of USTR, speaks fluent mandarin and has past experience as a China enforcement head with the USTR.… Continue reading

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H2Ohio, looking back and looking ahead

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

In spite of a global pandemic during a majority of 2020, nearly 1.2 million acres of farmland have been enrolled in voluntary nutrient management plans by close to 2,000 producers in Northwest Ohio, along with several other Best Management Practices (BMPs), as a part of the H2Ohio program. This was all done in a 14-county area, in an effort to improve water quality in Lake Erie, and represents 43% of the total cropland in those counties.

“H2Ohio is Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. John Husted’s policy initiative for investing in clean and safe water for Ohio,” said Joy Mulinex, executive director of the Lake Erie Commission. “It is a statewide initiative that addresses multiple clean water challenges.”

H2Ohio funds were spread across three agencies, including the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), to address issues specific to their areas of oversight.… Continue reading

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Conservation opportunities for new farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, as the deadline to submit applications for Ohio’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for beginning farmers.

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program which helps beginning farmers make conservation work for them. Beginning farmers can receive enhanced or higher level EQIP incentive payments for conservation practices to help reduce the risk and financial burden of implementing new conservation practices.

Ohio dedicates a portion of its total EQIP allocation specifically to beginning farmers. EQIP gives no preference to the size of the operation; small agriculture operations compete equally with larger ones. 

NRCS offers a wide variety of practices for beginning farmers interested in livestock, forestry, pasture/grazing operations and specialty, organic and row crop production. These practices help beginning farmers meet their goals to improve their operations, commodity production and environmental improvement. Beginning farmers are those who have not previously farmed or have not operated a farm for more than 10 years. … Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau recognizes excellence with 2020 honorees and award winners

A number of individuals and county organizations were recognized in this week’s virtual Ohio Farm Bureau annual meeting.

Three individuals were recognized for their lifetime achievements to agriculture during the 102nd Annual Meeting of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, held remotely this year.

Long-time Ohio Farm Bureau and Nationwide board member Tim Corcoran and Ohio Farm Bureau Vice President of Public Policy Yvonne Lesicko were both honored with Ohio Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Awards, while Becky Cropper was honored with OFBF’s Cooperative/Agriculture Educator Award. Farm Bureau volunteers, county organizations and state leaders nominated candidates for the awards.

Tim Corcoran

Corcoran of Ross County, was a member of the Ohio Farm Bureau board of trustees beginning in 1994, where he also served as treasurer and first vice president. He joined the Nationwide board of directors in 2001, served as board chairman beginning in 2014 and retired as chairman of the board this year.… Continue reading

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Registration open for virtual 2020 OEFFA Conference

Registration is now open for an interactive educational online conference for ecological farmers, backyard growers, and others committed to sustainable agriculture, local food, and green living. 

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 42nd annual conference, Our Time: Essential Links for a Strong Food Chain, will run Wednesday, February 10 to Monday, February 15, 2021 and be accessible anywhere by phone and computer.

“Through these challenging times of physical distance, more than ever, we need to be socially close,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “In that spirit, the online conference will be different, but with the same intent and result: sharing information so that we can all succeed, moving our food system toward greater resilience and equity, and forging a strong and dynamic community.” 

OEFFA’s popular conference will feature: 

February 10 keynote speaker Will Harris is a fourth-generation cattleman at White Oak Pastures in Georgia. A leader in humane animal husbandry and environmental sustainability, he’ll share his story of building a successful, job-creating certified organic farm committed to regenerative land management and multi-species rotational grazing.… Continue reading

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Vilsack to return as USDA Secretary

President-elect Joe Biden Jr. has selected Ohio Representative Marcia L. Fudge to serve as the secretary of housing and urban development and selected Tom Vilsack as USDA Secretary. Vilsack served as the secretary of agriculture for eight years under President Barack Obama.

“The American Farm Bureau Federation welcomes the news that Tom Vilsack will be nominated to be Secretary of Agriculture. His leadership as the 30th Secretary of Agriculture and as Governor of a state reliant on agriculture is evidence of his qualification to serve in this role,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau president. “Tom Vilsack understands that the agriculture sector is far more complex than most people understand. He believes in a ‘big tent’ philosophy that supports all types of production and understands the importance of respecting farmers and ranchers as partners worthy of support in the race to achieve sustainability goals.

“Tom and I built a good relationship during his first term as Ag Secretary and we’ve built on that relationship in his current role with the U.S.… Continue reading

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Odd fishing baits

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

What’s the weirdest thing you ever used for fishing bait? Fishbrain, a social media app for people who like to fish, called on its seven million users in the USA to share the strangest baits they have used in the past, and what they managed to catch with their odd offerings.

According to Johan Attby, CEO of Fishbrain “The odd slow day on the water is an unfortunate reality of some fishing trips, but the beauty of fishing is how successful improvisation can be! The most primitive fishing rods need only a stick, string, and bait, so you may be surprised with what you can catch when you have to adapt to missing gear.”

Here are the top five improvised lures and what they can catch, as suggested by Fishbrain users.


“I caught a trout on Swedish Fish” Igrindathodges, California

 “Bass on red Gummy Worms” John.womack,… Continue reading

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Shelby County SWCD partners with USDA to improve water quality

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced priority watersheds for 2021 including Loramie Creek Watershed. Ohio producers in this targeted watershed will receive focused financial and technical resources through NRCS Ohio Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI).

MRBI promotes the use of key conservation practices, such as nutrient management, cover crops, animal waste storage structures, and tillage management, to address critical water quality concerns of the region. These practices optimize nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiency in agricultural fields and minimize runoff while improving soil health.  The impact of these practices reduces nutrient loading in local water bodies, and eventually, the Gulf of Mexico.

“Farmers recognize the importance of water quality,” said State Conservationist for Ohio Terry Cosby. “These voluntary initiatives provide them with the tools to implement and accelerate on-farm conservation practices to improve the watershed. Local partnerships, like the one that Ohio NRCS has fostered with the area SWCDs, are invaluable in getting farmers the resources they need to deliver the greatest benefits for clean water.”… Continue reading

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