Country Life

Black Swamp Conservancy to host drive-in theater event

Black Swamp Conservancy is inviting the public to come out for a drive-in screening of films highlighting local and national conservation efforts. The program will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at the Field of Dreams Drive-In Theater, Liberty Center. Gates will open at 8:00 pm, movies begin at 8:45 pm. The screening is free and open to the public. Donations to Black Swamp Conservancy are appreciated and can be made via the Conservancy’s website.

For more information about this event, visit Black Swamp Conservancy’s website at, or call (419) 833-1025.

Resilience: The Story of the American Red Wolf examines the last wild population on the coast of North Carolina of an animal so secretive, many people are unaware that it even exists: the red wolf. Due to the species’ low numbers in the wild, biologists must work quickly to protect it from extinction. Directed by local two-time Emmy nominated wildlife filmmaker and photographer, Alex Goetz.… Continue reading

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Partnerships for better soil health and water quality

By Kurt Knebusch, Ohio State University CFAES

For Rachel Cochran, a typical day involves working one-on-one with farmers, while practicing social distancing, of course.

“It could be contacting them about pulling cores for a soil health study,” she said. “It could be talking to them about potential best management practices that they might be thinking about using.”

For Boden Fisher, his workday could involve being invited to attend a farmer’s wheat harvest, allowing Fisher to measure the crop’s quality, part of a study comparing the use of top-dressed manure and commercial fertilizer.

For Nick Eckel, a typical workday, and every workday in general, means helping farmers successfully implement new conservation practices.

The practices, Eckel said, “hopefully will be sustainable for future generations to build upon.”

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) recently hired six new water quality associates to work in northwest Ohio, and Cochran, Fisher, and Eckel are three of them.… Continue reading

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Governor DeWine to Ohio fairs: What we’ve seen is unacceptable

By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a conference call with Ohio fair directors and managers Wednesday. According to the Governor, after fairs started in June cases of COVID-19 began to rise.

“We are now unfortunately seeing the results of some of these fairs,” Gov. DeWine said. “We’ve had one fair that has had 19 cases come out of that fair alone.”

The fate of Ohio youth returning to school in the fall rests on the operations of Ohio’s fairs the remainder of the season.

“We are really at a crucial stage in Ohio. What you do at your fairs determines if kids are back in school this fall,” DeWine said.

The Governor stressed the importance of the Responsible RestartOhio orders for county and independent fairs.

“We’ve got to get control of this,” DeWine said. “If fairs are going to continue, you all are going to have to control the crowd and make sure everyone is wearing a mask….What… Continue reading

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Five Ohio startups to compete for the next level

The 11th Annual Ohio Signature Food Contest is taking a new spin this year and being held virtually. The event will be hosted by BCAN / Buckeye Broadband reporter, Tim McMahon, and will be aired on Sunday, August 2, 2020 at 7 p.m. on BCAN / Buckeye Broadband.

Sponsored by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), the contest will showcase new, innovative products from across the state.

“The demand for locally grown and produced foods is growing every year and we’re fortunate to have a platform to highlight our local entrepreneurs,” said Rebecca A. Singer, President and CEO, CIFT. “Our contestants this year bring a new level of innovation and creativity with their products and we’re excited to find the next signature food item for Ohio.”

June completed the application deadline and five top-notch startups have made it through to compete this year.… Continue reading

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Keep an eye out for the laternfly

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) needs help in keeping an eye out for the late nymphsspotted lanternfly (SLF), an invasive insect that can cause significant damage to some plants and crops. The insect has not yet been confirmed in Ohio but has been spotted in Pennsylvania.

SLF is a great concern to the grape and wine industry. The insect is fond of grape and fruit trees, hops, blueberry, oak, pine, poplar, and walnut. Adult SLF mainly feed on grapevines and tree of heaven, while nymphs feed on a wide range of hosts. Both adults and nymphs feed on stems and leaves, causing sap bleeding and reduced photosynthesis, which can eventually kill the plant.

Now through November is the best time to spot the SLF because it is in its most recognizable stages as adult slf a nymph and a moth. After hatching in the late spring, the SLF goes through four nymph stages.… Continue reading

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From FFA jackets to PPE, Universal Lettering is “Living to Serve”

By Dusty Sonnenberg

The last line in the FFA Motto is “Living to Serve.” That motto is being lived out in real time during COVID-19 by Universal Lettering of Van Wert, maker of the official blue corduroy FFA jacket.

Little has changed from the original FFA jacket that J.H. “Gus” Lintner had Van Wert Manufacturing/Universal Uniform Company design in 1933. The Fredericktown FFA Chapter Band wore the jacket when they played at the national FFA Convention in Kansas City that year. The blue corduroy jackets were later adopted as the official dress for all FFA chapters.

A good deal has changed, though, with the company producing those iconic blue and gold jackets over the years. The original jackets had snaps instead of zippers and embroidered emblems instead of sewn on patches. Today a state-of-the-art process at Universal Lettering, which includes a chenille machine to create the patches and computerized sewing machines to stitch each individual member name on the front of the jacket, replaces hand-operated machines.… Continue reading

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Polymers: Everywhere from DNA to tires and more!

By Carin A. Helfer and Kristof Molnar

Polymers? Do you mean plastics? Many people do not know the term polymer, but this material is literally everywhere and a major part of our daily life. Plastics are polymers, but rubbers and fibers are polymers, too. Probably the most recognized biological polymer (biopolymer) is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Carbohydrates, proteins, cellulose, silk, and cotton are biopolymers, also. Life would not be possible without biopolymers.

Some man-made (synthetic) polymers are silicone rubber, which can be used in caulk; polyethylene (PE), which is used to make milk jugs; nylon, which is used in clothing and parachutes; and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used to make soda and water bottles. Even your white glue and other adhesives are polymers. If you look around, you will find many polymers throughout your day.

Large quantities of both synthetic and natural rubber, usually a combination for optimum performance, are used in tires.… Continue reading

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USMCA benefits agriculture

By Tyler Davis, Arizona Farm Bureau.

On July 1, the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement was officially implemented. The USMCA offers a fair free trade agreement that focuses on modernization and impartiality.

Under its predecessor trade agreement, NAFTA, many agricultural products that were exported from the U.S. to Canada suffered from an unfair pricing scheme, poor market access and protective regulations. The USMCA provides new market access for all U.S. agricultural products, a fair non-discriminatory pricing plan, and improved grading standards for products going forward.

Over the past 20 years, there have been many technological advancements, especially in the agriculture sector. Unfortunately, the provisions in NAFTA were no longer up to date with these advancements and the agreement was quickly becoming obsolete.

USMCA includes provisions that enhance science-based trading standards among the three nations as the basis for sanitary and phytosanitary measures for ag products, as well as progress in the area of geographic indications.… Continue reading

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Moderate summer harmful algal bloom predicted for western Lake Erie

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its research partners predict that western Lake Erie will experience a moderate harmful algal bloom this summer. This year’s bloom is expected to measure 4.5 on the severity index — among the smaller blooms since 2011 — but could possibly range between 4 and 5.5, compared to 7.3 last year. An index above 5 indicates the more severe blooms.

Lake Erie blooms consist of cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, capable of producing the liver toxin microcystin which poses a risk to human and wildlife health. Such blooms may result in higher costs for cities and local governments that need to treat drinking water, prevent people from enjoying fishing, swimming, boating and visiting the shoreline, and harm the region’s vital summer economy. These effects will vary in location and severity due to winds that may concentrate or dissipate the bloom.

“A smaller bloom forecast for Lake Erie and the surrounding coastal communities is encouraging, but we cannot be complacent,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service.… Continue reading

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Farm Science Review going virtual in 2020

For the first time in its nearly 60-year history, The Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review, scheduled for Sept. 22 to Sept. 24, will not be held in-person. Instead, a virtual show will be implemented for 2020.

The farm show, sponsored by Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), annually attracts over 100,000 visitors from all over the United States and Canada to the show site in London.

“We are committed to delivering a robust and innovative virtual show in support of agriculture during this pandemic,” said Cathann A. Kress, vice president and dean of CFAES.

“Throughout its history, the Farm Science Review has been at the forefront of showcasing the future of agriculture,” she said. “While it may look different in 2020, we will continue to meet the needs of our growers and partners through access to exhibitors, virtual demonstrations, and education about the most recent advancements in agricultural production.”… Continue reading

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A water quality status report

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

When farmers set their mind to something, they are going to do it right. That has been the case as the agriculture industry pulled together to tackle water quality issues across the state. In 2014, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation announced that their members would be investing $1 million dollars to develop a comprehensive water quality action plan to address growing concerns of water quality issues in the Western Lake Erie Basin and the Ohio River. Since that time, individual farmers and agricultural businesses, agricultural commodity groups and livestock organizations, and environmental groups have joined forces to bring the plan to reality.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic stealing the headlines, the H2Ohio program was making news across the state.

“The H2Ohio program is money that Ohio Governor Mike DeWine set aside for the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) the Ohio Department of Natural Resource (ODNR) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help with water quality projects that span the state and span those departments,” said Jordan Hoewischer, Director of Water Quality and Research for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.… Continue reading

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ODA announces 2020 local agricultural easements approved for purchase

The Ohio Department of Agriculture today announced approval for local sponsors to purchase agricultural easements on 39 family farms representing 5,012 acres in 25 counties.

Local sponsoring organizations, which include land trusts, counties and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, receive funding from the Clean Ohio Fund to manage the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP). The easement ensures farms remain permanently in agricultural production. The program supports the state’s largest industry, food and agriculture.

To be eligible for the program, farms must be larger than 40 acres or next to a preserved farm, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have support from local government and not be in close proximity to development. Landowners may use the proceeds of the easement in any way they wish, but most reinvest it in their farm operation.

Funding for the state’s farmland preservation efforts is derived from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, approved by voters in 2008, and used to purchase agricultural easements from willing sellers through a competitive process.… Continue reading

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Sunrise (and Metal for Moms) chosen Hometown Pride Initiative

Sunrise Cooperative was chosen for the Cenex Hometown Pride initiative. Energy Solutions Advisor Kyle Martin submitted Monroeville, Ohio organization Metal for Moms, who were then chosen to receive a $5,000 donation.

The Cenex Hometown Pride initiative established a grant program designed to showcase and celebrate the unique and amazing things small towns have to offer. The program encourages Cenex dealers to share what makes their town special, whether it’s a tradition, location, attraction or the people who live there. As a Cenex dealer Sunrise was eligible to submit a local charity to receive a $5,000 donation.

Cenex established the Hometown Pride initiative in 2019 during which $100,000 was given to local causes and charities — Cenex plans to donate an additional $100,000 in 2020.

“I picked Metal for Moms because I knew all the guys helping out with it and have seen the great things they’ve done in the community,” Martin said.… Continue reading

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July brings on the heat

By Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension

Hot and dry conditions have certainly set in across the Buckeye State. Temperatures this past week have averaged 2 degrees to 8 degrees F above average, with most locations stringing together at least five consecutive days above 90 degrees F and more to come. Based on the forecast, Columbus will likely reach 11 days this Friday, the longest stretch of 90-degree weather since July 21-31, 1999!

Along with hot temperatures there has been a lack of widespread rainfall, generally less than 0.25-inch statewide over the last seven days, with only brief heavy downpours for a few lucky folks across Ohio. Not only are we falling short on typical rainfall (~1-inch per week), but hot daytime temperatures have led to intense evaporation rates (0.25-0.30-inch per day). This has caused rapidly drying soils and decreasing stream flows. Abnormally dry conditions (not official drought) are being reported as of Thursday July 2 for about 17 percent of Ohio, with an expansion of these conditions anticipated this week.… Continue reading

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There are ways to spend less on prescriptions

By Harwood D. Schaffer and Daryll E. Ray

Over the last decade or so we have seen a growing concern over rising drug prices for the general public with prices of many drugs set at what the market will bear or priced on value to the consumer rather than cost of production. The result has been increasing medication costs for many families, including those who live on the farm.

We too have had concerns about our own pharmaceutical costs. In retirement we have transitioned from employer-paid insurance that included prescription coverage to individual Medicare Part D prescription insurance.

About a year ago we ran across a popular prescription pricing website that provided available pricing for various pharmacies with discount coupons for most drugs. In the process of looking up drug costs to compare with what we were paying with our Part D insurance we ran across a prescription savings club offered by a national grocery chain with stores in our area.… Continue reading

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Tearing down the silos

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

There is an analogy in the business world of tearing down “silos” within an organization to improve communications and teamwork. Martin Irving of L.J. Irving and Sons, Inc. in Napoleon, Ohio uses communication and teamwork to tear down literal silos.

“People want to do business with people they know and trust,” Martin said. “I like to visit with people and listen to their needs and then explain how we can take a problem they have, and find a solution to fix it. Listening and working together is how we have built our reputation.”

Finding solutions and fixing problems is what L.J. Irving and Sons has been doing since the business was started by Martin’s parents, Larry and Nelda Irving in the mid-1980s.

“The company started as a small mix of residential and commercial concrete work and demolition,” Martin said.… Continue reading

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Updated WOTUS still not perfect

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

As always, there is an update on the continuing saga of the waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. If you recall, back in April, the Trump administration’s “final” WOTUS rule was published. Next, of course, came challenges of the rule from both sides, as we discussed in a previous Harvest post. Well, the rule officially took effect (in most places, we’ll get to that) June 22, despite the efforts of a group of attorneys general from Democratically-controlled states attempting to halt the implementation of the rule.

The attorneys general asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California a nationwide preliminary injunction, or pause on implementation of the rule until it could be sorted out in the courts. The district court judge denied that injunction on June 19. On the very same day, a federal judge in Colorado granted the state’s request to pause the implementation of the rule within the state’s territory.… Continue reading

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