Country Life



Agriculture cannot afford to be neutral on carbon

By Matt Reese

It is very clear the Biden Administration is putting emphasis on climate change and plans to move forward with, or without, the cooperation of U.S. agriculture.

“President Biden announced a major goal –— for the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half over the next decade as compared to 2005 levels,” said Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program. “Several bills introduced in Congress recently could help agriculture fulfill that key role. The proposals offer incentives and assistance for farmers, ranchers, and forest owners to engage in carbon sequestration practices.”

The most noteworthy for agriculture is the Growing Climate Solutions Act. 

“The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee passed S. 1251. The bipartisan proposal led by sponsors Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) already has the backing of over half of the Senate as co-sponsors, including Ohio’s Sen.… Continue reading

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WOTUS re-do (again)

In June, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it plans to revise the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS). Specifically, the Department of Justice is filing a motion requesting remand of the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), issued by the Trump administration to replace the Obama administration-finalized Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. 

EPA said it plans to initiate a new rulemaking process, and anticipates developing a new rule that defines WOTUS “and is informed by a robust engagement process.” 

“The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is disappointed in the EPA’s announcement of its intention to revise the Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” said John Linder, NCGA president from Edison in Morrow County. “The current rule provided long-overdue certainty and clarity for farmers about their obligations under the Clean Water Act. Clean water is important to America’s corn farmers, and we are committed to protecting our environment and the communities where we live and work.… Continue reading

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4-H camp is back!

By Sally McClaskey, Ohio 4-H Youth Development

2020 saw the cancellation of 4-H camps due to COVID-19 restrictions and while camps will operate a bit differently to keep campers safe and follow recommended guidelines, many of the same activities will take place. 

The Ohio 4-H Camping Design Team spent the winter developing plans for different camp scenarios. “We looked at guidelines from the American Camp Association (ACA), Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health,” said France Foos, design team leader and the 4-H educator in Madison County. 

The team also reviewed research that examined the importance of camping experiences. 

“The ACA has extensive data that shows how camp contributes to the mental and physical well-being of youth,” Foos said. “And with all kids have been through over the past 18 months, going to camp could make a positive difference.” 

OSU approved the Ohio 4-H camp plan in April. Health requirements will be followed with detailed guidelines for keeping youth and counselors safe at overnight camps.… Continue reading

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Ticks on the move, Lyme disease increasing

Ticks are easy to miss—that is, until they bite.

With steadily increasing reports of illnesses from ticks biting people and pets in Ohio, ticks are concerning especially in the late spring and summer. During the warmest months, these tiny creatures are most active and most likely to pass on diseases.

A warmer winter triggered an earlier start this spring, so ticks will be active for more of this year, said Risa Pesapane, a tick researcher and assistant professor with the colleges of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at The Ohio State University.

“Likely every year will be a bit worse, at least for the next few foreseeable years as ticks continue to expand in Ohio and become established in new counties,” Pesapane said.

In some parts of the state, up to 60% of the blacklegged ticks are believed to be carrying Lyme disease, Pesapane said.

Although found in most counties in Ohio, blacklegged ticks, also called deer ticks, are most abundant on the eastern side of the state.… Continue reading

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Ohio NRCS announces second round of Conservation Stewardship Program Funding for conventional and organic producers

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Ohio is accepting applications for a second round of funding for the Classic Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply by the July 9, 2021 deadline.

Through CSP, conventional and organic agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat — all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land.

“Ohio producers have a unique opportunity to achieve higher levels of conservation through this second round of funding,” said Lori Ziehr, Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service Acting State Conservationist. “By taking advantage of the program, they can utilize NRCS technical and financial resources to enhance both their business operations and natural resources.”

CSP encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rates, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.… Continue reading

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POET reaching out to communities through grant program

POET Biorefining – Leipsic awarded five organizations a total of $2,500 through the 2021 Never Satisfied Community Grant Program. 

  • The Putnam County Goat and Sheep Committee was awarded $500 to purchase a new wash rack at the Putnam County Fairgrounds.
  • The Putnam Country Agriculture Society was awarded $500 to repair gates and roads at the fairgrounds.
  • The Putnam County Swine Improvement Committee & County Calf Keepers was awarded $500 to enhance barn conditions at the fairgrounds. 
  • The Project Lifesaver Committee’s was awarded $500 for their Project Lifesaver program, which provides search and rescue devices for those with special needs.
  • The Miller City FFA Alumni was awarded $500 to develop an education courtyard at the Miller City school district for students to grow produce as part of their coursework.

“At POET, investing in our communities is a top priority,” said Ken Miceli, POET Biorefining – Leipsic general manager. “Each of these organizations is dedicated to making our communities a better place.… Continue reading

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USDA to begin payments for producers impacted by 2018 and 2019 natural disasters

More than $1 billion in payments will be released over the next several weeks starting June 15 for agricultural producers with approved applications for the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program and for producers who have already received payments through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). These U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs provide disaster assistance to producers who suffered losses to 2018 and 2019 natural disasters.

Producers weathered some significant natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provided support for crop value and production losses through QLA and crop quantity losses through WHIP+. 

“From massive floods to winter storms, and from extreme drought to excess moisture, natural disaster events in 2018 and 2019 were exceptionally catastrophic for agricultural producers nationwide – many suffered the impacts of multiple events in not just one but both years,” said Zach Ducheneaux, FSA Administrator. “FSA staff worked tirelessly for many months to develop and implement comprehensive disaster programs that meet the varying and unique needs of a large cross-section of U.S.… Continue reading

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Hard to beat radishes

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Dwight Schrute loves his beets but let us talk about another root veggie. Radishes and beets both have roots but that is where the similarities end. Sweet and sassy spring radishes are splashing colors and spice this spring. These colorful little gems are some of the first edible bites of color after Ohio winter shades of white, grays and brown. Radishes are easy to grow and take up small garden space. Most are quick to go from seed to tastebuds in less than 30 days. Radishes pop up in a rainbow of hues of red, purples, pinks, white as well as bunch of different shapes and sizes. 

Paul loves radishes. He loves them so much I have been known to get him a couple of bundles tied with a bow as an exquisite, vibrant, and spicy radish bouquet! Perfect for a guy who does not believe in Valentine’s Day.… Continue reading

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Culinary cicadas could be on the menu in 2021

For those who may be wondering (and there actually really are people wondering), cicadas are among those insects that are safe to eat.

For those culinary adventurers who want to give them a try, this is the summer to do it in Ohio. The periodical cicada known as Brood X has already started to arrive in the millions in in different areas of the Midwest, including parts of Ohio. Brood X is one of 12 periodical cicadas that emerge every 17 years, from mid-May to late June. Another three broods emerge every 13 years, primarily in southern states.

Brood X includes three species of cicada — Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini, and Magicicada septendecula — each of which will come up at different times during the spring, said David Shetlar, a professor emeritus of entomology with Ohio State University Extension, and The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The Brood X female cicadas lay hundreds of eggs in tree branches.… Continue reading

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Fishing for bluegill: A classic for kids of all ages

By Mike Ryan, OCJ Field Reporter

When introducing a youngster to fishing, a mentor wants to find a body of water with easy access and an aggressive population of feeding fish. This is because there is no better way to get a kid turned on to fishing like some fast-action catching. And this is why many an experienced angler’s first and finest memories of fishing often involve the common bluegill.

With their deep blue/purple face and gill covers, dark-olive-colored lateral bands, and fiery orange-yellow underbelly, bluegill are colorful, beautiful fish to catch. Fishermen admiringly marvel about the power of this undersized dynamo, which is pound-for-pound one of the strongest freshwater fish, the old adage being “if they were the size of a bass, you couldn’t catch ‘em.” 

Averaging only 6 to 10 inches at maturity, the bluegill is exceptionally strong for its size and has a bold character. The deep, slab-sided fish is all-muscle and is an aggressive feeder and protector of nests.… Continue reading

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Federal court vacates prior administration’s small refinery exemptions

By Jeffrey K Lewis, Research Specialist, Ohio State University Agricultural & Resource Law Program

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order vacating the EPA’s January 2021 small refinery exemptions issued under the Trump administration and sent the case back to the EPA for further proceedings that are consistent with the Tenth Circuit’s holding in Renewable Fuels Association v. EPA.  The Tenth Circuit held that the EPA may only grant a small refinery exemption if “disproportionate economic hardship” is caused by complying with Renewable Fuel Standards.

The EPA admitted that such economic hardship may not have existed with a few of the exemptions granted and asked the court to send the case back to them for further review.  The order granted by the Tenth Circuit acknowledged the agency’s concession and noted that the EPA’s motion to vacate was unopposed by the plaintiff refineries.  … Continue reading

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UK moving forward with trade agreement

The United Kingdom on was given the green light to begin the process of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The UK formally applied to join CPTPP in February. “CPTTP membership is a huge opportunity for Britain. It will help shift our economic center of gravity away from Europe towards faster-growing parts of the world, and deepen our access to massive consumer markets in the Asia-Pacific,” said UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

The CPTPP includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, some of the world’s largest pork-consuming nations. The UK government plans to publish its outline approach, scoping assessment and consultation response before negotiations start in the coming weeks, Truss noted.

One of U.S. agriculture’s top trade priorities is for the U.S to re-join CPTPP, which would provide significant, new market opportunities for U.S. exporters. In related news, the UK announced this week that it is seeking to strike a trade agreement with Australia by mid-June.… Continue reading

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Conservation Teen Advisory Council accepting applications

Speaking of young scholars, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is looking for highly motivated high school students who are driven by their passion for Ohio’s great outdoors to serve on the Conservation Teen Advisory Council (ConTAC), a statewide network of student leaders working together to enhance ODNR’s youth outreach and program efforts. 

“The students who have been part of our past two ConTAC classes have been so bright, passionate, and driven. We really valued their input. I look forward to this next group of applicants,” said Mary Mertz, ODNR Director. “This is a great opportunity for these young people to learn about and participate in the work we do preserving our state’s natural resources. The skills they acquire as part of ConTAC will help them in any future endeavors, no matter what profession they pursue.” 

ConTAC members will develop and implement innovative and practical ideas that empower young people to protect and preserve Ohio’s natural resources, according to the ODNR.… Continue reading

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Texas has a new tool to help combat feral hogs

By Jeffrey K Lewis, Research Specialist, Ohio State University Agricultural & Resource Law Program

Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller, announced a new tool in their war against feral hogs within the state.  HogStop, a new hog contraceptive bait enters the market this week.  HogStop is being released in hopes of curbing the growth of the feral hog population.  According to recent reports, the feral hog population in Texas has grown to over 2.6 million.  It is estimated that the feral hogs in Texas have been responsible for $52 million in damage.  

HogStop is an all-natural contraceptive bait that targets the male hog’s ability to reproduce.  HogStop is considered a 25(b) pesticide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”), which allows Texas to use it without registering the product.  Commissioner Miller thinks HogStop is a more humane way to curb the feral hog population in Texas and hopes that it is the answer to controlling the impact that feral hogs have on farmers and ranchers.  … Continue reading

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Answers to some vaccine questions…

By Dr. Christina Canfield, Huron County

I value my “family’’ of patients and neighbors in Huron County, where I have been practicing for more than 26 years. I love working in a small town full of caring people, and it’s been brutal to see some of those people sickened by or, worse, dead from COVID-19.

I would have done anything to save our community from the heartache and health issues we have faced for more than 15 months as a result of this pandemic. I want this health crisis to be over just as much as the rest of you do. I want to return to normal. That’s why I have gotten a COVID vaccine. And I have encouraged my family, friends and co-workers to do the same.

That’s why I am taking the time to truly listen to my patients — and anyone who asks me — who want to talk about the vaccines, who have some hesitancy or outright fear of getting one.… Continue reading

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Sunrise announces inaugural class of Sunrise University

Sunrise Cooperative has announced the addition of nine team members as an extension of its RISE FFA Career Program. The new members of the Sunrise team are full-time employees and the inaugural class of Sunrise University.
Sunrise University is an expansion of the RISE FFA Career Program. In 2021, Sunrise has offered a full-time position to nine individuals. These new employees will learn all facets of the cooperative to expand their knowledge in agriculture. Their employment will allow Sunrise to grow our own team with dedicated employees that have learned from the start about Sunrise and our customer-owners. The recent graduates will build their career paths through first-hand experience in what we have coined as Sunrise University.
The inaugural class of Sunrise University includes Zach Allgyre (Seneca East FFA), Colton Boyer (Clear Fork FFA), Hannah Cleveland (Bellevue FFA), Brayden Cole (Lorain County JVS FFA), Shaun Hall (Shelby FFA), Eli Ott (Monroeville FFA), Dan Utz (Buckeye Central FFA), Jacob Walters (Van Buren FFA) and Seth Wells (Miami East FFA).… Continue reading

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OABA to honor professionalism, stewardship and excellence in agribusiness employees

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association will recognize outstanding leaders in the agribusiness industry through the OABA Industry Excellence Awards.

OABA has a distinguished history of providing educational opportunities to its member companies and their employees. The Industry Excellence Awards are OABA’s next step to recognizing stories of professionalism, stewardship and excellencewithin the agribusiness industry.

“Our industry is filled with stories of outstanding leaders who go above and beyond for their companies and customers,” said Chris Henney, president and CEO of OABA. “By recognizing and honoring these individuals, we raise the bar for theentire agribusiness industry.”

OABA member company employees can now be nominated for three award opportunities: Achievement as an Emerging Leader, Excellence in Customer Service and Excellence in Safety & Stewardship.

Nominations can be submitted by any industry professional, but the nominee must work for an OABA member company. Nominations must be submitted by July 30, 2021.

Award recipients will be recognized at the 2022 OABA Industry Conference on Jan. 26. Winners will receive complimentary registration and lodging for the conference, recognition in industry publications and a $1,000 cash award, sponsored by Assured Partners – ABIS/J.H. … Continue reading

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Grants for urban agriculture and innovative production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced earlier the availability of up to $4 million for grants to support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects. USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production is accepting proposals for planning and innovation projects, and these grants are part of USDA’s broader efforts to support urban agriculture.  
“Urban agriculture can play an important role in food justice and equity,” said Mark VanHoose, Ohio Farm Service Agency Acting State Executive Director.

USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 30, 2021.
“Such projects have the potential to educate, innovate, and unify communities to improve nutrition and food access and increase local food production in urban areas,” said John Wilson, Natural Resources Conservation Service Acting State Conservationist in Ohio.

Implementation projects
Implementation projects that accelerate existing and emerging models of urban, indoor and other agricultural practices that serve multiple farmers.… Continue reading

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DeWine signs bill to set the stage for better rural broadband

By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net

There’s been a major milestone reached in Ohio’s crusade to expand rural broadband access. Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 2 in May that provides $20 million this fiscal year to expand access and created the Ohio Broadband Expansion Program.

“Internet service providers can start connecting households that weren’t economically viable to connect previously,” said Jenna Reese, director of state policy with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

The bill was passed with an emergency clause which allows for immediate implementation as opposed to the normal 90-day implementation period. 

“This will allow the Development Services Agency to start working on rules to administer this program,” Reese said. “Allowing the program to get off the ground will help us have a robust program that we can continue funding later.”

That funding will come at a sum of $200 million — including some federal funds — in the state budget to expand the program.… Continue reading

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The power of farmers to unite a community

By Rick McNary, vice president of Strategic Partnerships for The Outreach Program

I didn’t think they could do it, but they proved me wrong. 

I was so sure the Belmont County Farm Bureau would not hit their goal of packaging 22,222 bags of meals for their school’s Backpack Program, that I was already scheduling a truck to pick up the unused ingredients. But I underestimated the power of one man with a vision and the power of farmers to unite a community to care for its own. 

I have spent more than 10 years engaging volunteers across America in meal-packaging events, so I know what it takes to raise money and to organize hundreds of volunteers. Therefore, when Devin Cain told me their fund-raising goal of $43,000 and the short window of time to raise the money, I was skeptical. But the real kicker was when he told me they weren’t going to have volunteer registration.… Continue reading

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