Country Life

Ohio State University and Mid America Cooperative Council explore alignment

The Center for Cooperatives at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and the Mid America Cooperative Council (MACC) are exploring a potential arrangement for the Center for Cooperatives to provide educational and management services for MACC, which represents cooperative businesses in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan.

“The Mid America Cooperative Council is a multi-state, non-profit trade association that was founded in 2003 by a group of like-minded individuals with an understanding of the impact that cooperative principles have on the sustainability of co-ops,” said Rod Kelsay, the Executive Director of MACC, who expects to retire in the summer of 2020.

Ohio State and MACC are currently developing details of the arrangement and it is expected that the MACC Board of Directors will contract with the CFAES Center for Cooperatives to manage membership and conduct educational programs on its behalf.

“Our team at the CFAES Center for Cooperatives is excited about the opportunity to serve our region’s co-ops and to build the co-op community,” said Hannah Scott, Program Manager for the CFAES Center for Cooperatives.… Continue reading

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Fair board members “Coming Together” for 2020 Ohio Fair Managers Association Convention

By Matt Reese

The 95th Anniversary of the Annual Ohio Fair Managers Association Convention themed “Coming Together” was held Jan. 2 though 5 and welcomed over 3,400 attendees.

Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo caught up with State Veterinarian Tony Forshey at the event to get an update on some changes for fairs and exhibitors in 2020.

“There are a couple of new rules for the sheep and goats. Fair boards will have to have an owner/hauler statement that goes with those terminal animals going straight to slaughter. We use the county fair number and the date to get those numbers assigned. That is the fair board’s responsibility and not the exhibitors,” Forshey said. “Paylean is going to be a big one for pig exhibitors this year. With the whole issue with China and shipping pork, they do not want any ractopamine, or Paylean. That will be a voluntary thing these kids will have to do and it is really going to put the onus on the buyers.… Continue reading

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Top videos of 2019

Check out some of the top videos from the Ohio Ag Net team from 2019.


  1. Overcoming challenges during planting with Andy Detwiler, Champaign Co.

Andy Detwiler of Champaign County has a story and background in agriculture more unique than most. He has spent a life in farming without the use of his arms after losing them in a farming accident at a very young age. He has since become an inspiration to others in his local community and around the world by not letting anything get in his way, including a difficult planting season. Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood caught up with Detwiler Thursday evening ahead of the overnight rain storms as he was rushing to get in corn in the well-drained soils near Urbana.

  1. 2019 soybean harvest kicks off with a Cab Cam at the Clark Farm in Warren County

In this Cab Cam, sponsored by Homan Inc., Dave Clark from Warren County joins Ohio Ag Net’s Bart Johnson as they discuss some of the first soybeans being harvested in the state of Ohio.… Continue reading

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Taking a look at the 2018 Farm Bill a year later

By Jonathan Coppess and Nick Paulson, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics University of Illinois

It has been a year since Congress passed and the President signed into law the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill). In the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress reauthorized the basic farm programs, Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), with minor modifications. Farmers have until March 15, 2020, to sign up for the program, a decision that will cover the 2019 and 2020 crop years. In addition, the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized the conservation programs in Title II but with some significant changes.

Net cash income for farmers has fallen significantly since peaking in 2012 and 2013, according to the Economic Research Service (ERS) at USDA. It is into this decline in net cash income that the federal government payments — both for farm programs and conservation programs — provide income-based assistance.… Continue reading

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Add a farm lease in writing to your holiday wish list

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

Christmas is a good time to make wishes for the peace and well-being of others. One of our top wishes this year does that: we hope for all farmers in Ohio to have written farmland leases. It’s an odd wish, we know. But putting leases in writing can help landowners and farm tenants live in peace, and we like that.

Farm leases have always been prone to being verbal agreements, sealed with a handshake. Simplicity and trust are two plausible reasons we’ve done business that way. But a written farm lease can be simple, and using one doesn’t have to mean that the parties don’t trust each another. Instead, a lease can keep distrust from arising between the parties by anticipating needs and foreclosing uncertainties and disagreements.

One of the strongest disagreements we hear about verbal farm leases is whether one party can terminate the lease without giving the other much notice of that termination.… Continue reading

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Final reminder: 2019 Yield Survey

By Elizabeth Hawkins, Ohio State University Extension

Normal planting dates for Ohio range from mid-April to the end of May. This season was quite different when planting for both crops was delayed until late May and stretched into June and even July across many parts of Ohio. We found ourselves grasping for any information we could find including 1) how much of an effect late planting dates would have on yield, and 2) what, if anything, we should change in management of these late planted crops. The historical planting date information we did have was somewhat helpful, but we did not have any data on what could happen when planting is delayed into the second half of June nor July.

While it may be tempting to write off this year as a fluke from which there are no real lessons to be learned, there is a growing body of data from climatologists that suggest that this is a beginning of a trend.… Continue reading

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It’s time to respond to Census of Horticultural Specialties and Organic Survey

The 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties and the 2019 Organic Survey are both underway now and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is asking those who receive questionnaires to respond quickly and online if possible. Responding online is user friendly, accessible on most electronic devices, and saves valuable time by calculating totals and automatically skipping questions not applicable to an operation.

“Horticulture and organic agriculture are important segments of U.S. agriculture and our economy,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “When producers respond to these surveys they are helping associations, businesses, and policymakers advocate for their industry, influence program decisions, and educate others about the importance of these parts of agriculture.”

2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties is conducted once every 5 years to provide a comprehensive picture of U.S. horticulture. NASS mailed unique survey codes earlier in December to more than 40,000 producers who self-reported horticultural activity in the 2017 Census of Agriculture.… Continue reading

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Is your LLC protecting you?

By Nicholas Gerschutz, associate attorney, Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham & Eselgroth, LLP

Are you a member of a limited liability company? Were you attracted to the LLC because it gave you flexibility in running your business while limiting your personal liability in the event your company was sued? Many business owners set up LLCs for these reasons. However, LLCs have their limitations, and an LLC member may still be held personally liable if a plaintiff “pierces” the LLC’s limited liability structure.

“Piercing the corporate veil” occurs when a business owner, normally protected by statute from liability as a member of an LLC or shareholder of a corporation, is found liable due to the owner’s illegal actions. In Ohio, courts refer to three elements that must be met to “pierce the veil” of an entity’s protection, as reasoned in a 1993 Ohio Supreme Court decision in Belvedere Condominium Unit Owners’ Assn. v. R.E.Continue reading

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Keep a close watch on rural mental health this holiday season

By Matt Reese

While it can be the most wonderful time of the year for many, it can also be the most challenging time of year for others. Though some situations in Ohio agriculture turned out better than feared, 2019 was still a tough year for farms in the state that was preceded by several tough years. All these factors converge to make it an excellent time to keep an eye on friends and family members in the farming community who may be experiencing significant stress this holiday season.

Jolene Brown, a farm wife, author and professional speaker, spends quite a bit of time talking about the importance of mental health in the farm community, which can be especially important this time of year. First, it is so important to remember the farmer is more important than the farm.

“Who we are is what we do, and that’s how we see ourselves.… Continue reading

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USMCA gets House approval

U.S. agriculture welcomed the news that the U.S. House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly, and in a bi-partisan manner, to support farmers and pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on Dec. 19. The USMCA has broad support in Ohio agriculture.

“Opening market opportunities is the highest priority for our grower-members, and the USMCA makes major strides in protecting our largest foreign markets — Mexico and Canada,” said Patty Mann, president of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “Free trade agreements like this help us feed and fuel the world.”

Ohio’s economy thrives on the export of a wide array of agricultural products. Therefore, developing and maintaining fair and open global trade practices remains an essential policy priority for the state’s agricultural producers.

“USMCA solidifies the strong trade relationship that the U.S. has built with Mexico and Canada, especially when it comes to agricultural commodities,” said Frank Burkett, Ohio Farm Bureau president.… Continue reading

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NRCS funds conservation innovation in Ohio

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding about $12.5 million in grants nationally to support the development of innovative systems and technologies for private lands conservation, including the multistate Appalachian Sustainable Development project that includes Ohio.

The funding is provided through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which is funding the future of agriculture and conservation through grants to organizations and universities that are developing the next generation of tools and technologies to boost conservation on agricultural lands.

“This project is tackling some of our most critical challenges — both here in Ohio and across the country,” said Terry Cosby, NRCS State Conservationist. “This work will help small, historically underserved forest owners with new science-based tools to improve the health of their operations and protect our natural resources for the future.”

The 2019 funding pool focused on four priority areas: water quantity, urban agriculture, pollinator habitat and accelerating the pace and scale of conservation adoption.… Continue reading

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USDA funds conservation innovation across the country with $12.5M in grants for new tools and technologies

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding about $12.5 million in grants to support the development of innovative systems and technologies for private lands conservation.

The funding is provided through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which is funding the future of agriculture and conservation through grants to organizations and universities that are developing the next generation of tools and technologies to boost conservation on agricultural lands.

“We are funding innovation,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “These projects are tackling some of our most critical challenges head on and will result in new science-based tools for our toolbox and cutting-edge systems we can use to help farmers and ranchers improve the health of their operations and protect our natural resources for the future.”

The 2019 funding pool focused on four priority areas: water quantity, urban agriculture, pollinator habitat and accelerating the pace and scale of conservation adoption. NRCS selected 19 projects for CIG awards.… Continue reading

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Trade progress gets support from agriculture

As 2019 draws to a close, long-awaited progress is being made on trade.

On Dec. 13, the Trump Administration announced it had struck a mini trade deal with China.

“We have agreed to a very large Phase One deal with China,” President Trump tweeted. “They have agreed to many structural changes and massive purchases of agricultural product, energy and manufactured goods, plus much more.”

In addition, after months of negotiations between the administration, House Democrats, and the Mexican government moved closer to congressional ratification. On Dec. 10 Mexico approved U.S. changes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, paving the way for a House vote this week. Meantime, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated a vote in that chamber isn’t likely until after the Senate votes on impeachment.… Continue reading

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Water and wind subjects of December debate in Ohio’s House Energy & Natural Resources Committee

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

Ohio’s House Energy & Natural Resources Committee was busy in early December. House Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 2 that would implement a Statewide Watershed and Planning Program through the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). Under the bill, ODA would be charged with categorizing watersheds in Ohio and appointing coordinators for each of the watersheds. ODA and the coordinators would work closely with soil and water conservation districts to manage watersheds. Ag groups such as the Sheep Improvement Association, the Cattleman’s Association, the Pork Council, the Dairy Producers Association, and the Poultry Association testified in favor of SB 2.

In addition to SB 2, they also discussed House Bill 401. In the simplest terms, if passed, HB 401 would allow townships to hold a referendum on approved wind projects.… Continue reading

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Farm income tax webinar

Are you getting the most from your tax return? Farmers and farmland owners wanting to increase their tax knowledge should consider a Monday, Jan. 13, webinar that will address tax issues specific to this industry.

Content will focus on important tax issues and will offer insight into new tax legislation and further guidelines that have been released this year.

The live webinar will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. and is being offered by OSU Income Tax Schools, which are a part of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and Ohio State University Extension, which is CFAES’ outreach arm. If you are unable to attend the live webinar, registered participants will receive a link to view the recorded webinar at a time of their convenience. The link will be available throughout the tax-filing season.

The two-hour program is targeted toward owners who file their own farm taxes or who simply wish to arm themselves with more tax information that will help them better plan for tax filing.… Continue reading

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Funding available through Lake Erie Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) Division of Soil and Water Conservation is making farmers aware of funding available through the Lake Erie Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).

CREP is the country’s largest private-land conservation program. Administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency in partnership with ODA and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, CREP targets high-priority conservation concerns in exchange for removing environmentally sensitive land from production. In return for establishing permanent resource-conserving plant species, farmers are paid an annual rental rate along with other federal and state incentives as applicable per each CREP agreement. Participation is voluntary, and the contract period is typically 15 years.

“Farmers are continually looking for innovative ways to practice conservation on their farms,” said Dorothy Pelanda, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “This program provides opportunities to make positive contributions to our state’s water quality while allowing farms to remain productive.”

A $200 bonus is now being offered by the state of Ohio for all newly-enrolled filter strip and riparian area practices.… Continue reading

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Farm groups partner to help farmers manage stress

Recognizing the high levels of stress affecting America’s farmers and ranchers, Farm Credit, American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union have partnered on a program to train individuals who interact with farmers and ranchers to recognize signs of stress and offer help.

“Farm Bureau is a family, and when a member is hurting, we all feel it and are eager to help. But we may not always know how to spot the warning signs that someone is overwhelmed,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president. “This training program will help our members recognize the warning signs and empower them to get help for their friends, family, neighbors or even themselves. We’re honored to partner with Farm Credit and Farmers Union to strengthen rural resilience in farm communities.”

Based on the farm stress program Michigan State University Extension developed for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, this combination of online and in-person trainings is designed specifically for individuals who interact with farmers and ranchers.… Continue reading

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Honest conversations about opioids can save lives

By Matt Niswander, a first-generation cattleman from Tennessee who works full-time in his community as a family nurse practitioner and owns Niswander Family Medicine, a hometown, primary care family medical practice

Every week in our country, the equivalent of two jumbo jets full of people die from a preventable opioid epidemic, and those deaths are often rising the fastest in farm country.

For the last 15 years I have worked in the healthcare field in rural America, from the emergency room to my hometown primary care. One thing I have seen is that anyone can become addicted to opioids that are prescribed legally for a legitimate injury. It only takes three days to become addicted and for your body to crave the euphoria that opioids produce. If you think you are immune to the possibility of addiction, you’re wrong.

I often have people come into my medical office complaining of real pain, and they know a pain pill will help them get back to work.… Continue reading

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USMCA agreement reached, headed to floor

After months of anticipation, Congress has reached an agreement to consider the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) which will huge huge implications for agriculture in Ohio and around the country.

“Today’s announcement gives us a glimmer of hope that, by the end of this year, Ohio’s farmers will see much needed certainty on the horizon. Growing markets and expanding trade opportunities for our members is a top advocacy priority for the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. This year we have lobbied hard for USMCA on behalf of our members and are encouraged by the support we’ve seen from Ohio’s congressional delegation to pass this critical deal,” said Tadd Nicholson, Ohio Corn & Wheat Executive Director. “However, our work is not done. We look forward to seeing Ohio’s members of Congress leading the way to final passage of this deal and the implementing legislation that will be required thereafter.”

Canada and Mexico are at the top of the list for U.S.… Continue reading

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Trade association leaders plead for Congress to Act on tax extenders

Executives from 11 national trade associations sent a letter to House and Senate leaders, highlighting the urgent need for Congress to extend the expired biodiesel tax incentive before the end of the year.

The association executives state in the letter, “There is broad bipartisan support for the biodiesel tax credit, and we believe that Congress can, and must, pass an immediate extension before returning home at the end of the year.”

“America’s farmers and rural communities are facing overwhelming economic uncertainty right now due to policy instability. They are waiting for Washington to complete work on trade deals and stabilize markets for U.S. agricultural output in China, Canada and Mexico. The economic hardships are spreading throughout the economy,” the executives write.

“One thing Congress can do before the end of the year to help rural economies and provide some policy stability is extend the expired biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentive.”… Continue reading

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