Country Life

House clears $19 billion disaster aid package

By Kolt Buchenroth

After months of waiting, Congress voted to pass the $19 billion disaster aid package. The House passed the measure 354-58 on June 3. The measure was previously blocked in the House by Texas Republican Chip Roy before the Memorial Day holiday, citing the absence of many of his colleagues due to the holiday break. It passed the Senate in late May.

The package provides relief for Americans impacted by flood, drought, wildfires, tornados and other natural disasters. The package also provides relief to Puerto Rico’s rebuilding efforts following the 2017 hurricane that struck that island.

Primary opposition to the bill was from House Republicans citing the absence of funding for border security, as requested by President Donald Trump.

The bill heads to the desk of the president who is expected to sign the measure into law.… Continue reading

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County fairs find relief in Clean Air Bill

By Kolt Buchenroth

Ohio House Bill 6, dubbed the “Clean Air Bill” passed out of the House of Representatives yesterday with a vote of 53-43. The act deals primarily with power generation and the creation of a clean air fund. However, the bill has a provision that will relieve Ohio’s county fair’s of nearly half of their electricity bills, said Representative Don Jones (R-Freeport).

“The problem is that county fairs are on a demand rate. Basically, they pay their electric bills for the week of the fair, but then they have to pay for what it costs to generate that power for the other 11 months. Typically, it’s double what that electric bill is for that one week,” Jones said.

Representative Jones cited the example of a fair that used $20,000 in power for the week of the fair. Utility companies, Jones said, were charging fairs $40,000 over the other eleven months of the year to maintain their equipment to provide that much power.… Continue reading

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Cicadas making an appearance in northeast Ohio

A brood of cicadas that slumbered underground for nearly 17 years has emerged in northeast Ohio crawling, flying, and hitting buildings and trees.

While above ground, the bugs will eat a little, mate a lot, then die.

The 17-year cicadas arrive in the millions and though they’re distinct from locusts, by the sheer number of them you might think you’re experiencing one of the 10 Biblical plagues.

“Some people are creeped out,” said Eric Barrett, an assistant professor and Ohio State University Extension educator in Mahoning County.

The early sightings of this brood of 17-year cicadas in Ohio have been in five counties: Jefferson, Columbiana, Mahoning, Stark, and Trumbull.

“We’re trying to help people not overreact,” Barrett said.

Those who are less than enthusiastic about the insects’ arrival may need some reminders. The cicadas don’t bite. They don’t suck blood nor do much harm to trees. But young shrubs or trees under 5 feet tall could benefit from having netting, such as cheesecloth, spread over them to keep the female cicadas from making slits into pencil-sized branches to deposit their eggs, Barrett said.… Continue reading

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Breakthroughs in management can build business and employee success

By Matt Reese

Whether it is with an individual, a farm or an agribusiness, breakthroughs (some large and some small) are helpful along the path to long-term success.

Breakthroughs were the focus at the 2019 Kalmbach Feeds Agribusiness Conference. At the event, president Paul Kalmbach defined a breakthrough as an intentional life-changing accomplishment that is larger than an incremental improvement.

“We have been very fortunate to have had a lot of breakthroughs,” Kalmbach said. “And one of the great things about breakthroughs is that while they don’t often keep on giving, they do often program more breakthroughs. It really is an important concept.”

He then shared his equation for a breakthrough: Failure + Vision + Understanding + Creativity = Breakthrough.

“Can we think differently? If we can do that, we create more breakthroughs in our businesses and in our lives,” Kalmbach said. “We have to understand where we want to go and what we want to accomplish.Continue reading

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The Roundup lawsuits: what is going on?

By Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Ohio State University Extension Agricultural & Resource Law Program

A jury recently returned a verdict awarding a California couple $2.055 billion (yes, billion) in damages after the couple alleged that the glyphosate in Roundup caused their cancer. This is the third California jury to be convinced that the Monsanto herbicide, which was acquired by Bayer last year, caused or substantially contributed to a cancer diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.


Thousands of glyphosate lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto/Bayer

Over 13,000 cases have been filed alleging almost the same thing: that a plaintiff’s cancer was caused by the glyphosate in Roundup. About two years ago there were only a few hundred such cases. News stories about large jury verdicts have caught people’s attention, as have commercials that some law firms have aired to find clients for this type of litigation. The vast majority of these cases have been brought in state courts, which have a reputation for being somewhat quicker than federal courts, but there are still over a thousand in federal courts across the country.… Continue reading

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Tariffs leading to “point of no return”

Even if the United States eventually reaches a trade agreement with China, the damage done from the ongoing trade war could take years to undo, according to an agricultural economist with The Ohio State University.

It took a while to build a Chinese market for U.S. products, including American soybeans, and it will likely take considerable time to rebuild that market, said Ian Sheldon, a professor with Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“Trade negotiations don’t get resolved in months; they take years. It’s not simple. These are the two largest economies in the world, essentially mud wrestling. I think we’ve reached the point of no return,” said Sheldon, who serves as the Andersons Endowed Chair in Agricultural Marketing, Trade, and Policy at CFAES.

China was the second-largest market for U.S. agricultural exports in 2017, and the country was Ohio’s most important soybean export market. But exports of American soybeans to China have crashed.… Continue reading

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Initial details of trade relief announced

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released initial details for a trade assistance package to support farmers and ranchers struggling with oversupply and low prices due to international trade conflicts. The agency plans to allocate as much as $16 billion, including $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). In a press conference President Donald Trump promised quick action for the nations’ farmers.

Secretary Sonny Perdue also praised the measure.

“China hasn’t played by the rules for a long time and President Trump is standing up to them, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property. President Trump has great affection for America’s farmers and ranchers, and he knows they are bearing the brunt of these trade disputes. In fact, I’ve never known of a president that has been more concerned or interested in farmer wellbeing and long-term profitability than President Trump,” Perdue said.… Continue reading

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Webinar looks at the changing climate and agriculture

Weather patterns are changing and presenting unique challenges to the agricultural community, both in Ohio and across the globe. An upcoming webinar will focus on the changing weather patterns, how those shifts have impacted the industry and ways the ag community can adapt.

On June 20, 2019 at 11 a.m. EST Webinar host Aaron Wilson will take an hour long look at the changing climate. Wilson is an atmospheric scientist at The Ohio State University and an expert in weather, climatology and climate change. He holds a joint appointment as a research scientist at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, as a climate specialist with OSU Extension and is a contributing member to the State Climate Office of Ohio. His recent work focuses on the local impacts of changing weather patterns, particularly those affecting the ag sector.

The session will cover:

  • Challenges a changing climate presents to Ohio’s ag sector.
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MADE on the Farm returns to Ross County

The Ross County Farm Bureau will once again host MADE on the Farm to benefit the nationally recognized program MADE (My Attitude Determines Everything), a group of Ross County students that is part of the regional Drug Free Clubs of America organization.

“MADE has been hugely successful on a local level teaching kids about drugs and bringing awareness to the community, and the community has stood behind their efforts,” said Greg Corcoran, president of the Ross County Farm Bureau. “We saw this as an opportunity so we reached out to them and asked how we can take part and help and that is why the very first MADE on the Farm event was organized last year. We are excited to continue this partnership.”

The 2018 MADE on the Farm effort was recognized with an Achievement Award from the Ohio Farm Bureau, showcasing the most outstanding county-led outreach programs in the state.… Continue reading

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Belmont County Farm Bureau tackles local hunger issues

By Matt Reese

A hungry child is hard to stomach.

It is hard to imagine in today’s society of excess and plenty that there are people — especially children — who regularly do not get enough food to meet basic nutritional needs. Yet, in every corner of Ohio, it is far too easy to find hungry children. Nationally, more than 13 million children live in food insecure homes and one in five children does not get the food they need every day. Three out of four teachers report that there are children in their classrooms who regularly come to school hungry.

The Belmont County Farm Bureau decided to tackle this problem head on in their corner of the state by cooperating with local efforts to provide food to children in need through county schools. Dairy farmer Devin Cain is helping coordinate the program.

“I had the privilege of going to Texas last year with DFA, our local milk co-op.… Continue reading

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Agriculture cheers rollback of tariffs that bolsters USMCA chances

On May 17 the Trump administration announced plans to lift the 25% tariff on steel and the 10% duty on aluminum imports imposed last year on Canada and Mexico. Both countries subsequently retaliated against a host of U.S. products. The turmoil has slowed passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“Today’s lifting of steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexican and Canadian imports and the elimination of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products by Mexico and Canada is welcome news,’ said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Retaliatory tariffs are a drag on American farmers and ranchers at a time when they are suffering more economic difficulty than many can remember. Elimination of these tariffs should help pave the way for approval of the USMCA by Congress. Likewise, keeping an eye on today’s deal should address concerns about dumping and unfair subsidies.

“With this milestone reached, we urge negotiators to continue their work toward re-opening markets with the European Union, China and Japan.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau launches new online safety program for farmers

Nearly everyone in Ohio’s agriculture community knows someone who has been seriously injured or who has perished from an on-farm related incident. While fatalities in farming activities have declined over the last few years, the ultimate goal is to eliminate farm-related accidents altogether. That’s the vision of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Cultivating Safe Farm Operations eLearning Safety Series, a new, interactive, engaging and accessible online education program developed for a broad audience of farmers, workers and on-farm youth to make real changes in their farm safety habits.

Developed in partnership with Nationwide and Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science’s Ag Safety and Health Program, the online safety series offers three 40-minute modules for learners and covers several basic agricultural risks. Each module integrates an assessment into the online platform to assure basic comprehension, which will help cultivate on-farm behavior modification.

To access the modules, prospective learners must create an account through the Farm Bureau University platform, which is provided in partnership with American Farm Bureau Federation and includes additional self-directed learning opportunities.… Continue reading

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Windows for planting expected in coming weeks

By Jim Noel, NOAA

After a wet spring was forecasted since January, it appeared in April that a window would open in May. The rain total window has however, the frequency window has not. The rainfall the last two weeks in Ohio has averaged 1.5 to 2.5 inches with some streaks above 3 inches and some below 1.5 inches. Normal for this period is 1.5 to 2.0 inches. The reality is the ground is just so wet from the wet period up to May. The other BIG key is the frequency of the wet weather.

Often, when it is wet in say the eastern U.S., it is dry in the western U.S. The opposite also holds true. However, we have a very active and progressive weather pattern all around the northern hemisphere. This means a lot of weak to moderate storms on a continuous basis. It is not just Ohio either.… Continue reading

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Trade assistance must help all affected farmers

Following the recent escalation of trade tensions between China and the United States that will likely exacerbate the erosion of agricultural export markets and further depress commodity prices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expected to announce a trade assistance package to support struggling family farmers and ranchers.

In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, National Farmers Union (NFU) provided recommendations for how best to “craft a package that will adequately address the broad, long-term impacts to all of American agriculture.”

“Family farmers and ranchers have borne the brunt of the trade war with China, which has intentionally targeted American agricultural products with retaliatory tariffs. We appreciate the administration’s recent efforts to relieve the immense economic pressure those in the agriculture industry are feeling as a result,” said Roger Johnson, NFU President Roger Johnson. “Though China’s tariffs have specifically targeted soybeans, pork, and sorghum, many other commodities have been impacted, both directly and indirectly.… Continue reading

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Lake Erie water levels high

With the amount of rainfall that Ohio has received this spring, the Lake Erie water levels continue to rise. Lake Erie water levels are currently at near record highs, will remain high and are anticipated to peak in the month of June. Lake levels will then begin to subside due to a normal seasonal decline, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

All of the Great Lakes are at near record highs due to increased precipitation across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Region. Lake Erie is 2.5 feet above long-term average water level for the month of May. The May 10, 2019, water level is 4 inches above the record highest average level for May, which occurred in 1986.

High water levels increase the chance of flooding in low-lying coastal areas, especially during wind-driven seiche events. The combination of waves and high water can cause severe coastal erosion during these events.… Continue reading

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Diverse stakeholder group to benchmark nutrient management efforts and create farmer certification to improve water quality

A unique collaboration of stakeholders representing the agriculture, conservation, environmental, and research communities have joined forces to develop and deploy a statewide water quality initiative. This unprecedented partnership brings together diverse interests to establish a baseline understanding of current on-farm conservation and nutrient management efforts and to build farmer participation in a new certification program.

The Agriculture Conservation Working Group recently held a two-day retreat in Ostrander, Ohio, where sub-committees focusing on best management practices, education development, governance, data management, certification and public outreach engaged in robust dialogue around strategies for introduction and implementation of the program. Much of the conversation centered on identifying the path to healthy waterways in the state, and the complex approaches necessary to understand existing practices and successfully engage farmers in education and certification.

“A group with a farm-level focus and representation from across the environmental, academic and agricultural communities has never come together before with a commitment to the shared objective of improved water quality,” said Scott Higgins, CEO, Ohio Dairy Producers Association and co-chair of the working group.… Continue reading

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State budget clears house, moves to senate

By Kolt Buchenroth
The Ohio House of Representatives has placed their seal of approval on their version of the State’s operating budget totaling $69 billion. The bill, which passed 85-9 was massive in size and covers a lot of ground. Several pieces of the bill relate to agriculture.
“We are following some provisions dealing with water taxes, agricultural products, education that are really important under Farm Bureau policy,” said Jenna Beadle, Ohio Farm Bureau director of state policy.
It’s no surprise that the House’s version of the budget relates in large part to water quality and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio Program. The bill’s language says in part that the initiative encourages cooperation among government, business, higher education, agriculture, and conservation organizations.
While Governor DeWine had proposed the program’s funding for the next decade in the budget, the legislature had other plans.
“The House has removed the mechanism for funding H2Ohio on an ongoing basis and has only funded it for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
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Vaccinate ‘em — It’s better than antibiotics or snake oil

By Don “Doc” Sanders

There’s an exciting world out there when it comes to vaccines and their ability to protect us and our animals from disease.

Most of you likely are aware that a vaccine, when given at the appropriate time and by the correct route, stimulates the immune systems of people and animals. We have vaccines for tetanus, whooping cough, polio, classical swine fever (hog cholera), many strains of salmonella (in animals), Rota virus, some Corona viruses in pigs and calves, distemper, rabies, Herpes I virus in cattle and horses…the list goes on and on.

However, there isn’t a vaccine for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer. This disease causes a gradual wasting away of body reserves, drooling, stumbling and incoordination, swallowing difficulty and eventually death. CWD is not caused by a virus or bacteria, but rather what might appear to be a harmless protein, called a prion. Prions settle in the brain, where they multiply.… Continue reading

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USDA accepting applications to reduce costs for organic certification

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that organic producers and handlers can apply for federal funds to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic certification through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). Applications for fiscal 2019 funding are due Oct. 31, 2019.

“Producers can visit their local FSA county offices to apply for up to 75% of the cost of organic certification,” said Richard Fordyce, FSA Administrator. “This also gives organic producers an opportunity to learn about other valuable USDA resources, like farm loans and conservation assistance, that can help them succeed. Organic producers can take advantage of a variety of USDA programs from help with field buffers to routine operating expenses to storage and handling equipment.”

OCCSP received continued support through the 2018 Farm Bill. It provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the costs of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under the USDA’s National Organic Program.… Continue reading

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Ohio industry leaders join together to denounce tariff increase

By Kolt Buchenroth, Zach Parrott and Joel Penhorwood

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland — the nationwide grassroots campaign against tariffs — in conjunction with the Council of the Great Lakes Region, hosted a town hall this week in Cleveland at the 2019 Great Lakes Economic Forum.

The event featured a discussion with Ohio business owners, manufacturers and farmers on the impact of tariffs on the state’s economy. The conversation came one day after President Trump announced that he will be increasing tariffs substantially this week.

The group released the following statement regarding the tweet announcement that tariffs on $200 billion of goods will increase from 10 to 25% on Friday.

“For 10 months, Americans have been paying the full cost of the trade war, not China. To be clear, tariffs are taxes that Americans pay, and this sudden increase with little notice will only punish U.S farmers, businesses and consumers,” Tariffs Hurt the Heartland said in the statement. … Continue reading

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