Country Life

Big farmland auctions in March wrapping up a busy winter

By Matt Reese

In spite of any economic woes in the U.S. agricultural economy, auctioneer Matt Bowers has had a blistering schedule this winter, with a couple of big upcoming farm auctions.

Bowers, with Lima-based Dye Real Estate and Land Co., also took some time this winter to put on a mock auction at the Ohio Farm Bureau Young Ag Professionals Winter Leadership Experience held in January.

“We love to work with Ohio Farm Bureau and the Young Ag Professionals. We put on a mock auction for them so they can understand the ins and outs for something like a multi-parcel auction that can be very confusing. There’s a lot of math that comes into play and a lot to keep track of,” Bowers said. “In the mock auction, we covered how we come up with  the prices that are on the board from our computer system, so if they’re at these auctions in the future they can figure out where they need to be in terms of bidding.… Continue reading

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USDA releases 2022 Census of Agriculture data

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced the results of the 2022 Census of Agriculture, spanning more than 6 million data points about America’s farms and ranches and the people who operate them down to the county level. The information collected directly from producers shows a continued decline in the total number of U.S. farms. However, the data also show a rise in the number of new and beginning (operating 10 or fewer years on any farm) as well as young (under the age of 35) producers.

The full Census of Agriculture report as well as publication dates for additional ag census data products can be found at Ag census data can also be found in NASS’s searchable online database, Quick Stats.

“We are pleased to provide updated Census of Agriculture data to all those who serve U.S. agriculture, especially the producers who gave their time to complete the questionnaire.… Continue reading

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Eastern Ohio Small Farm Conference

By Julie Wayman, Community Development Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ashtabula County

Ohio State University Extension announced plans to host a Small Farm Conference in Senecaville on April 6, 2024. The theme for this year’s Mid-Ohio Small Farm Conference is “Sowing Seeds for Success.” 

Conference session topics are geared to beginning and small farm owners as well as to farms looking to diversify their operation. There will be five different conference tracks including: horticulture and produce production, business management, livestock, natural resources and new this year, the farm kitchen.   

Some conference topic highlights include: raising meat rabbits, making goat milk soap, timber harvesting and marketing, basics of growing pawpaws, food preservation basics, herb vinegars, organic pest management, growing produce with hydroponics, starting and setting up a business, solar and wind leasing.

Anyone interested in developing, growing or diversifying their small farm is invited to attend including market gardeners, farmers market vendors, and anyone interested in small farm living.… Continue reading

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Popular Fish Ohio pins awarded

By Dan Armitage, Ohio-based freelance outdoor writer/author

The highly anticipated annual processing of Fish Ohio pins is underway by the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW), awarding 10,166 Fish Ohio pins to successful anglers with qualifying catches. The avid anglers’ catches join more than 410,000 recognized since 1976 in the Fish Ohio program. In 2022, the program recognized 9,723 qualifying catches.

The Fish Ohio program celebrates the successful landing and documentation of 25 species of fish here in the Buckeye State. Those who reel in a qualifying catch receive the commemorative Fish Ohio pin for their first entry and a Master Angler pin for catching qualifiers of four different species in the same year. Last year, 964 anglers were awarded a Master Angler pin.

Applications for a Fish Ohio pin and minimum length requirements are found at The Fish Ohio pin for 2023 depicts a walleye and the 2024 pins will feature a longear sunfish.… Continue reading

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Last chance for 2024 EQIP funding

Ohio producers are urged to apply for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Inflation Reduction Act — Environmental Quality Incentives Program — (IRA-EQIP) funding before the Feb. 16, 2024 deadline. 

Currently, an unprecedented amount of funding is available for EQIP through the Inflation Reduction Act and Farm Bill. The Inflation Reduction Act provided $19.5 billion in additional funding for NRCS’ oversubscribed programs like EQIP for five years. Inflation Reduction Act funds are available to help producers adopt climate-smart practices. 

NRCS accepts producer applications for its conservation programs year-round, but producers interested in this cycle of Inflation Reduction Act funding should apply as soon as possible. Producers interested in EQIP should apply by Feb. 16, 2024 for consideration this year. Funding is provided through a competitive process and will include an opportunity to address the unmet demand from producers who have previously sought funding for climate-smart conservation activities. 

Learn more about EQIP and other program information on the Ohio NRCS EQIP website.… Continue reading

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Commodity marketing workshop Feb. 28 in Wayne County

By John Yost, OSU Extension Educator- Wayne County

The Ohio State University Extension – Wayne County, will be hosting a one-day commodity marketing strategies workshop on Feb. 28 for grain, beef cattle, and dairy producers.  Participants will learn: how to write a marketing plan, how to establish price targets, futures and option market pricing strategies, and the use of crop and livestock insurance products to protect against market declines.  The workshop is sponsored by Farm Credit of Mid-America, Gerber Feed Services, and Walnut Hill Feeds.  The program will be held from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Buckeye Agriculture Museum in Wooster, and costs $20 per participant.  For more information, please visit our website at, or to register call 330-264-8722.… Continue reading

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Letter to Biden from farmers warns against an all-electric approach to air quality

letter signed by 3,466 farmers from across the country was sent to President Biden this month expressing concern that his administration is taking a short-sighted approach to addressing climate change by prioritizing the use of electric vehicles over biofuels, such as corn ethanol, as it works to drastically lower the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“If we are going to address climate change and meet our sustainability goals, we are going to have to take a multi-pronged approach, that includes tapping into higher levels of biofuels, such as corn ethanol, which offers an immediate climate solution,” the letter said.

The letter, which drew thousands of signatures in less than a week, comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prepares to release its light- and medium-duty vehicle tailpipe emissions standards for 2027-2032. To help meet the standards, the president has set a goal that 50% of all vehicle sales will be electric by 2030.… Continue reading

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Bill addresses concerns with foreign ownership of farmland

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act Improvements Act of 2024, which would shine a light on foreign adversaries that buy up farmland in Ohio by strengthening the reporting and enforcement of foreign ownership of agricultural land in the United States. It would strengthen current law, which requires foreign persons who acquire, dispose of, or hold an interest in U.S. agricultural land to disclose those transactions to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The law hasn’t been updated in years, and has too many loopholes that allow foreign entities to conceal their identities and hide the true extent of the problem. 

The legislation builds on Brown’s ongoing work to ban foreign adversaries — like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea — from getting a foothold in the U.S., particularly near U.S. military installations. Last year Brown’s bill to protect Ohio farmland from China passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support as part of the Senate’s annual defense bill.… Continue reading

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USDA encouraging CRP participants to consider Forest Management Incentive

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering financial assistance to agricultural producers and private landowners enrolled in its Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to improve the health of their forests. The Forest Management Incentive, available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), can help participants with forest management practices, such as brush management and prescribed burning.  

“Healthy forests offer many benefits, from providing habitat for wildlife to sequestering carbon,” said Zach Ducheneaux, FSA Administrator. “Through the Forest Management Incentive, USDA’s Farm Service Agency provides an additional forest improvement tool to producers participating in the Conservation Reserve Program. This incentive enhances the Conservation Reserve Program’s environmental benefits and helps protect our country’s natural resources.”  

The Forest Management Incentive is available to participants with active CRP contracts with forest cover that are not within two years of expiring. The incentive is a payment to eligible CRP participants who properly completed authorized forest management practice activities to improve the condition of resources, promote forest management and enhance wildlife habitat. … Continue reading

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Farm income expected to decline

By Matt Reese

Economists are looking at the farm economy from all angles and none of those perspectives look all that positive right now. Interest rates, inflation, input costs and lower cash receipts all played a role in a lower farm income forecast for 2023.

Late last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the most recent farm income estimates, anticipating a 17% decrease in U.S. net farm income, moving from $183 billion in 2022 to $151 billion in 2023, according to American Farm Bureau economist Daniel Munch.

“Much of the forecast decline in 2023 net farm income is tied to lower crop and livestock cash receipts, continued increases in production costs and a decrease in ad hoc government support. It is important to highlight the projected nature of this forecast. Net farm income numbers for 2022 were not finalized until August 2023 and have been adjusted upward over $20 billion in the eight months since the year ended.… Continue reading

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Young Ag Professionals share stories ‘Beyond the Fencerows’ at Winter Leadership Experience

The Ohio Farm Bureau Young Ag Professionals hosted the 2024 Winter Leadership Experience in late January in Columbus. This event is designed for individuals in agriculture aged 18-35, providing opportunities for learning, networking, and connecting with like-minded peers. Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood interviewed Kayla and Luke Durbin, along with Joe Everett, all members of the YAP State Committee. Luke and Kayla, the incoming chairs, share their insights on the YAP event and discuss their unique farming situation involving two separate family farms. The trio also gives a sneak peek into the location for next year’s highly anticipated event.… Continue reading

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Member Appreciation Breakfast in Ashland

Ashland County Farm Bureau invites members and prospective members to their Member Appreciation Breakfast on Feb. 24 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Ashland County – West Holmes Career Center. Ashland County Farm Bureau board members will be offering a menu of made-to-order omelets, donuts and beverages.

In addition to breakfast, the event will offer a presentation on CAUV at 9 a.m. by Leah Hetrick, Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Legal Education and Member Engagement. Cindy Funk, Ashland County Auditor, will follow to address Ashland County-specific questions regarding CAUV.

This event is free to members and their dependents. Non-members can attend at $20 per person. Become a member of the Ashland County Farm Bureau at the breakfast and there is no charge! Bring a new member or join as a new member at the breakfast and receive a free t-shirt. Renew at the breakfast and receive $5 in cash back.… Continue reading

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ODA annual awards presented for dedication to water quality

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) recognized two Soil and Water Conservation Districts for their leadership and commitment to the H2Ohio program.

The awards for Erie and Mercer counties were presented by ODA Director Brian Baldridge at the 2024 Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Annual Partnership Meeting in Columbus.

“H2Ohio would not be a success without the tireless work from our Soil and Water Conservation Districts,” Baldridge said. “They are the trusted voices in our communities helping connect Ohio’s farmers to conservation.”

The H2Ohio Lifetime Conservation Advocate Award recognizes those who exhibit exceptional leadership and commitment to water quality through H2Ohio. Recipients of this award are devoted stewards of water quality improvement and conservation who demonstrate innovation, partnership, enthusiasm, and a “get it done” attitude.

This recognition supports Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative designed to address complex issues impacting Ohio’s waters. Launched in 2019, H2Ohio uses a comprehensive approach guided by science and data to reduce algal blooms, stop pollution, and improve access to clean drinking water by supporting best farming practices, road salt runoff reduction, litter cleanup, dam removal, land conservation, and water infrastructure revitalization.… Continue reading

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2024 Farm Bill Summit

Ever wondered how the Farm Bill affects our food and agricultural landscape? The farm bill, a substantial legislative package passed by the federal government every few years, impacts how funds are allocated for various crucial aspects of agriculture, nutrition, conservation efforts, natural resource protection, and support systems across the nation. To delve deeper into this vital legislation and its implications, attend the 2024 Farm Bill Summit on Feb. 23 from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. at the Fawcett Center (reception to follow from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.), hosted by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Engage in discussions led by CFAES and industry experts, unravel the complexities, and understand how this bill shapes the future of farming and related industries. This summit offers a unique opportunity to gain insights, network with others in the industry, and comprehend the far-reaching impact of the Farm Bill on our agricultural ecosystem.… Continue reading

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Enjoy more fruits and veggies this year

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Mission for 2024 if you choose to accept it: eat more fruits and veggies. That is easier said than done for some. Fruits and veggies are a hard sell for kids and some adults. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that only 1 in 10 adults are getting enough fruits and veggies, lower for kids. There are many reasons why, including fear, marketing and cost. Taking those off the table, I think that people may have had Y-E-E, which is a Yucky Eating Experience, or they just think veggies are boring and do not know how or want to take the time to spice it up. Paul is a veggie protestor. I’m not sure of the reason. Maybe it is just one of those husband opposition things.

If this is happening at your house, it is time for operation Sneak. Grab your kitchen tools, veggies and stocked pantry and it is time to act like 007, Ethen Hunt or even an everyday MacGyver.… Continue reading

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Wayne County Member Appreciation Breakfast

Wayne County Farm Bureau invites members and prospective members to their first-annual Member Appreciation Breakfast on Feb. 3 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Wayne County Schools Career Center. The culinary students will be offering a menu of breakfast frittatas, potatoes and pastries.

In addition to breakfast, the event will offer a presentation at 9 a.m. by David Marrison, Ohio State University Extension, on considerations for succession planning. Evan Callicoat, Ohio Farm Bureau Director of State Policy, will then present on the Ohio Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program. This program was just implemented in 2023 and the presentation will include information on how beginning farmers can qualify as well as the tax benefit to the landowner who would sell or rent land to a beginning farmer.

This event is free to members and their dependents. Non-members can attend at $20 per person. Become a member of the Wayne County Farm Bureau at the breakfast and there is no charge.… Continue reading

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But for the squirrels

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

Santa brought me the coolest gift over the holidays and its use has directly impacted my daily schedule, including meeting deadlines and eating properly. Newly attached to the trunk of a maple tree some 10 yards from the window next to the wrinkled leather recliner where I read the newspaper each morning is a bird feeder. What makes it special is that it is fitted with a solar-powered, motion-activated, wireless camera that feeds images and video to a dedicated app on my phone, showing whatever is dining from the tray of seeds. I can even share those photos and videos with friends. What’s more, it has a bird ID feature that will tell me what species I have attracted to the feeder.  

That’s the best part, because I’m always curious about what species of birds I’m seeing in the yard throughout the season but can never seem to creep close enough to determine a positive identification.… Continue reading

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Warren County Showmanship Extravaganza

The Warren County 4-H Committee is planning the first-ever Showmanship Extravaganza event on April 27, 2024 at the Warren County Fair Grounds.

The event is open to all youth ages 8-18 throughout the state (there is no affiliation with either 4-H or FFA required).  We are hoping to get youth exposed to showing livestock, practicing with species they have not worked with before, and giving them the opportunity to practice and compete for a Grand Showman of Showman event.  Ribbons, trophies, and prizes will be awarded to exhibitors of five species, including beef cattle, dairy cattle, market goats, dairy goats, alpaca, market lamb, market hog, and horse. In addition, there will be hands-on demonstrations and educational opportunities for poultry, rabbits, and dogs. The event is $20, and if someone is only interested in the smaller species side demonstrations, it is free. Registration is due April 1 and is available at… Continue reading

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Student-made ice cream flavors now being sold on OSU campus

By Tracy Turner, The Ohio State University College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences

I scream, you scream, we all scream for Maudine’s Berry Patch ice cream!

Or maybe the ice cream flavor you prefer is coffee walnut, matcha white chocolate, blueberry lavender, oatmeal cream, or even good old vanilla. 

Those are just some of the ice cream flavors created during the past two years by students in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). And some of that ice cream is now being sold in two locations on Ohio State’s Columbus campus.

Students in a dairy processing class taught by Professor Rafael Jimenez-Flores,holder of the J.T. “Stubby” Parker Chair in Dairy Foods in the CFAES Department of Food Science and Technology (FST), developed the ice cream varieties from scratch to final product as part of their coursework. 

Working in teams, students created the ice cream samples in the Dairy Processing Pilot Plant in CFAES’ Parker Food Science and Technology Building, evaluated them based on important traits such as processability and sweetness, then narrowed the list down to the tastiest contenders. Also… Continue reading

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