Country Life

Farm bill math

By Daniel Munch, American Farm Bureau economist

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) most recent Baseline for Farm Programs, released in May, identifies expected outlays for farm program spending, assuming existing programs continue without changes, and indicates program spending available to Congress as crafting of the 2023 farm bill kicks into high gear. CBO releases these projections on expected spending for farm programs for the 10-year baseline —  the current budget year plus 10 years — up to three times a year.

Farm bill math creates a few possible scenarios. Depending on negotiations between the Budget and Agriculture committees, lawmakers crafting the next farm bill could be required to be budget neutral, meaning any increase in spending in one part of the bill would require a decrease in spending elsewhere in the bill; they could be required to have an overall net reduction; or they may be able to increase spending. Given such budget directives, scoring (estimating the additional outlays and potential savings relative to the baseline) is one of the most critical components of farm bill development.… Continue reading

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Farmers for Monarchs

By Matthew Mulica, senior project director at the Keystone Policy Center

It is National Pollinator Week (June 19-25). Farmers and ranchers know the value of pollinators to our ecosystems – they are vital to our environment and growing crops for food and forage. Following declines in monarch butterfly populations, a diverse group of committed stakeholders, including scientists, conservationists, farmers and private sector partners, convened Farmers for Monarchs to find collaborative solutions to strengthen monarch populations and habitat.
Convened by Keystone Policy Center, one of Farmers for Monarchs’ main goals is improving the monarch population through voluntary efforts to restore, enhance and protect habitat while maintaining productive agricultural operations. Monarch conservation simply cannot be successful without it. Farmers can take a variety of actions to benefit pollinators and increase their numbers on agricultural lands. For example, they may renew pollinator forage and nesting habitats by adding flowering plants, hedgerows, butterfly waystations and other shrubs.… Continue reading

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Ohio Chapter of American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers Summer Meeting set

The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) is the largest professional association for rural property land experts, boasting over 2100 members in 31 chapters throughout the United States. Over 40 percent of ASFMRA’s members hold a designation as an Accredited Farm Manager (AFM), Accredited Rural Appraiser (ARA), Real Property Review Appraiser (RPRA) or Accredited Agricultural Consultant (ACC).

The Ohio Chapter will be offering it members the opportunity to earn 7 hours of CE credit, and will include the following sessions:

  • Michael Family Farm, Farming Practices & Technology: Kathy Sponheim Michaels is a large specialty crop producer with contracts with major supermarkets throughout Ohio and the Midwest.
  • WOTUS & Water Quality Update: Larry Antosh, Sr Dir, Policy Dev & Env Policy, Ohio Farm Bureau
  • Farm Bill Update: Brandon Kern, Sr Dir, Policy Dev & Env Policy, Ohio Farm Bureau
  • East Palestine Train Derailment and the Aftermath for the Ag Community: Haly Shoemaker, OSU Extension
  • Tax and Legal Updates: This presentation will focus tax and legal issues from across the country that could affect Ohioans: Jeff Lewis, OSU Extension Ag Law
  • Tour of Woodruff Farms Dairy and Milk Bottling facility.
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Artificial intelligence: What is it and how can it be used?

By Robert Moore, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program, and ChatGPT

You may have seen the recent story of an attorney in New York who filed a pleading in a case in a federal district court. The filing included citations to six court cases that do not actually exist. Come to find out, the attorney who filed the pleading did not write it but instead used ChatGPT, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool. The attorney now faces a June 8 sanctions hearing before the judge. This incident is a good example of the myriad of implications, both good and bad, with using AI in the legal world and beyond.

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence refers to the development of computer systems capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. It includes a broad range of technologies, including machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics. AI systems have the ability to process and analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and make autonomous decisions or recommendations.… Continue reading

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MoCo Career Expo

By Amanda Staley, OSU Extension 4-H Educator, and Angela Powell, workforce development coordinator for Morrow County

Nearly 400 Morrow County ninth grade students attended the first MoCo Career Expo on Thursday, May 4 at the Morrow County Fairgrounds and the Mt. Gilead EMS Station.  

This expo was designed to give Morrow County youth the opportunity to learn more about six of the 18 careers featured within the industries of agriculture, healthcare, and manufacturing with goal of helping them decide whether these career options may or may not be a good fit for them in the future. At each station they were given the opportunity to complete a task that usually occurs within the career field. For example, when learning about being a veterinarian, they were asked to take the vital signs of a goat, or when learning about caring for a patient in cardiac arrest, students were taught to use an AED.   

Evaluation surveys were conducted and 77% of students surveyed agreed that they learned about careers they didn’t know about before the career expo. In… Continue reading

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Christmas in July Craft and Vendor Show

The Fairfield County 4-H Christmas in July Craft and Vendor Show will be held July 29 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds in Lancaster. 

The event will have 140 vendors this year in three buildings on the grounds. The event includes food from the Clearcreek Showmen 4-H Club, Perry’s Ice Cream courtesy of Oakland Grocery, search dog demonstrations, Santa with Santa’s Workshop (crafts for kids), gift basket drawings, a DJ with 4-H camp style line dancing, and The Showmen’s Closet, which is a resale pop-up shop for fair show clothes. There will also be a silent auction of decorated garlands from the some of the clubs.… Continue reading

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Biodegradable plastic in agriculture

By Karen Mancl 

Plastic has been a revolutionary material that is light-weight, flexible, durable, and inexpensive to produce. China has been using plastic mulch films in agriculture since the 1970s. According to Professor Yan Changrong of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the direct economic benefits have been great at an estimated RMB 120 – 150 billion per year (USD 19 – 24 billion) of rural income by increasing water use efficiency and yield by 30%, raising poor farmers out of poverty. Unfortunately, continuous use of plastic mulch for decades has resulted in soil plastic pollution that is beginning to cancel out the benefits.

Biodegradable mulch films must be 100% degradable by microbes in nature, breaking down to carbon dioxide, water, and minerals without damaging the soil. Sadly, the perfect biodegradable plastic does not yet exist, one that balances its physical features with environmental protection. Right now, the plastic PBAT comes the closest.… Continue reading

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4-H teens find their spark in Washington, D.C.

By Amanda Staley, OSU Extension 4-H Educator

Amelia Bender, Emma Smith, and Amanda Staley, OSU Extension 4-H Educator, traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Ignite by 4-H conference on March 9-12. 

The Summit included high impact programming and speakers featuring national experts and leaders. There were opportunities for career exploration and building connections with teens and leaders from across the country.

This invaluable experience taught about trending topics in agriscience and you met some of the most forward-thinking leaders in agriculture. It opened the teen’s eyes to career or volunteer opportunities that they may not have thought about before and what steps they need to take to obtain those opportunities. 

“Participating in ignite by 4-H was a meaningful opportunity in my 4-H journey. I was able to meet and make connections with many businesses and agricultural professionals that I never would have had the chance to meet,” Smith said.… Continue reading

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Talking turkey

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Turkey is big business in Ohio. The Ohio Poultry Association states that Ohio ranks 9th nationally producing over 300 million pounds of turkey a year valued at over $220 million. The consumption of turkey in the U.S. has doubled since 1970 with 15.3 pounds per capita in 2021. That’s more turkey than just at your Thanksgiving table. 

Low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium, turkey is one of Ohio’s best kept agriculture secrets you can add to your plate. Turkey is one of our beloved comfort foods while keeping us satisfied. It fills your tank with some healthy protein to keep you feeling full. Look beyond the 25-pound Thanksgiving bird to the plethora of choices from ground, sausage, bacon, breasts, roasts, tenderloins, deli meats to pepperoni. My favorites are tenderloin, hot Italian turkey sausage and turkey pepperoni sticks. Turkey’s versatile mild flavor makes it a sponge for marinades and rubs.… Continue reading

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Boating is big business in Ohio

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

National Safe Boating Week is May 20-26, after which Ohio’s boating season unofficially kicks off on Memorial Day Weekend and is big business in the Buckeye State. A new study shows the state’s boating industry produced an economic impact of $6.4 billion in 2022. According to the study, published by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and Watercraft, the boating industry also accounted for 45,856 jobs here in Ohio.

“The boating industry lifts up the economy for local communities all across Ohio,” said Mary Mertz, ODNR Director. “The boost ripples out from the water and into local business, while supporting jobs all along the shores, from marinas and boat dealers on the coast, to restaurants and hotels further inland.”

The study was conducted through a survey of nearly 10,000 boating households and over 200 marine trade businesses.

Other boating habits revealed through the survey:

• In 2022, people spent 315 million hours boating in Ohio

• Fishing accounts for 33.6% of all boating time

• Women are the primary boat operators of 24.3% of all non-motorized boats and 5.4% of all motorized boats.… Continue reading

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A family’s forest: Managing for white oak

By Brooke DeCubellis, Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service

The white oak tree, found primarily in southeastern Ohio, is a versatile tree species sought after by humans and wildlife alike. Barrels made from its wood lends hints of caramel and vanilla to bourbon’s signature flavor. The tree’s durability and water-resistance is prized by both the lumber and furniture industries. Ohio wildlife flock to the nutrient-dense acorns that drop from its mighty branches, which also host a multitude of insects and birds. 

But the mighty oak is in trouble. Though mature trees still dominate southeastern Ohio woods, young white oak trees and saplings are not growing in the understory to replace the older generations, threatening the future of the tree species. 

“There are a lot of tree species that grow faster than white oaks,” said Cameron Bushong, Ohio Division of Forestry state service forester. “These trees will quickly overtop white oaks, blocking saplings from sunlight and competing for valuable nutrients.” … Continue reading

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OSU’s Alpha Gamma Sigma fraternity celebrating 100 years

Alpha Gamma Sigma Alumni will converge on The Ohio State University campus the weekend of July 15 for a “once in a lifetime” celebration of over 100 years of success. Members from all across the Midwest will enjoy a City Barbeque banquet followed by a brief program, then music and dancing. A cash bar will open at 5:30, followed by dinner at 6:30. The 4-H Center on the OSU campus is the party location at 2201 Fred Taylor Drive. 

The AGS House, at 1918 Indianola Avenue, was completely renovated in 2014. It will be open for free tours from 11:00 until 1:00 pm, followed by the Annual Meeting back at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center.

Golfers can participate in a Celebratory Scramble event at the Bent Tree course in Delaware on Friday July 14 at 1:30 pm. Awards will be handed out at a buffet dinner after the scramble. … Continue reading

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Two farm boys’ dreams come true: A farm transition success story

By Matt Reese

Two opportunities of two lifetimes have connected two hopeful farm boys, a generation apart, in a unique way for a mutual dream fulfilled. Here’s their story.

Gene Baumgardner

Gene Baumgardner grew up in northern Summit County in the late 60s with a love for farming.

“Dad milked 25 cows and farmed a couple of hundred acres. I was active in 4-H and enjoyed hogs. I had a purebred Duroc herd in the suburbs of northern Summit County on 6 acres. I loved being with dad on the farm but I realized even before I got out of high school that there was not enough there to go home to. I went to OSU in ag econ and did not take production ag courses, thinking I could go into sales,” Baumgardner said. “I met Johnita Ricketts and we were married in 1977 after I graduated from OSU in ’76.… Continue reading

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More rain this week for Ohio after moderate drought settled in

By Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension

May 21 through June 10 was quite the dry spell across Ohio, with moderate drought conditions declared across 62% of the state by the US Drought Monitor on June 8.

These extended dry conditions compelled CFAES to activate its Rapid Response Team, which has created an early drought response resource site for Ohio’s farmers and communities. However, a change in the weather pattern this past weekend brought a strong cold front and Gulf of Mexico moisture to the region over the weekend. A wide swath of 1-2” of rain fell along and to the northwest of about I-71, with pockets of much heavier precipitation north of Dayton and in the Cleveland area.

A CoCoRaHS observer west of Troy reported 3.41” of rain during Sunday-Monday’s event, with Miami, Loraine, Cuyahoga, and Lake Counties reporting multiple locations with 2-3” of rain. However, northwest and southeast counties were not as lucky, and although lighter rain certainly was a joy to experience, much drier than normal conditions continue across these areas.… Continue reading

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Federal court approves Lake Erie settlement agreement for TMDL

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

What is the key to resolving disagreements over water quality issues in Lake Erie? Cooperation, according to the federal court judge overseeing a legal battle over Lake Erie. The judge, U.S. District Judge James G. Carr, recently approved a plan that is the result of cooperation between the U.S. EPA, State of Ohio, Lucas County Commissioners, and the Environmental Law & Policy Center. For almost six years, the parties have been in a legal battle over how to deal with water quality in Western Lake Erie. But at the encouragement of the court, the parties developed and agreed to a Consent Decree to settle the case. Judge Carr approved the Consent Decree on May 4, 2023. Time will soon tell if the cooperation approach will satisfy the parties holding interests in Lake Erie’s water quality.… Continue reading

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Ohio agriculture pushing back on Senate budget proposal

By Matt Reese

The complexities of property taxes — with a focus on residential property — have been one target of the Ohio Senate in the current Ohio state budget process. The Senate’s proposed effort to minimize the increases in residential property would potentially result in a significant shift in the property tax burden placed on agricultural properties.

Brandon Kern, senior director, state and national policy for Ohio Farm Bureau, and his team have been working with Ohio senators to try to ensure the property tax measures are uniformly applied to agricultural ground.

“We’re seeing the Senate rolling out their first set of changes to the state budget bill and one of the things that the senators are trying to tackle is a concern across the state about increasing property values and the impact that would have on property taxes. Of course, that’s not a new issue for farmers across the state, but one of the proposals to try and address this for residential ratepayers is to try and smooth out the increases,” Kern said.… Continue reading

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AgTech Innovation Hub initial awards announced

Five innovative research projects have been awarded funding from the new AgTech Innovation Hub, a multimillion-dollar collaboration between The Ohio State University and Nationwide.

Nine researchers in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) were chosen to pitch their innovative research project ideas to be completed through the AgTech Innovation Hub, said Gary Pierzynski, CFAES associate dean of Research and Graduate Education.

Using a kind of “Shark Tank”-like format, each researcher pitched their ideas before a judging panel, and five were selected for funding. The goal of the research projects, each of which will last for one year, is to find a practical solution to a real-world problem in the agricultural ecosystem while better understanding, managing and mitigating climate risk, Pierzynski said.

The projects chosen include:

  • Drought risk reduction: With increased extreme weather events like flooding on farm fields, effective water management for farmers and producers often means installing drainage tiles on their farm fields.
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Thomas family champions the small dairy farm

Step with us into the picturesque landscape of north Champaign County and witness the extraordinary journey of the Thomas family as they dedicate themselves to the small dairy farm.

Nathan and Jenny Thomas, along with their 35-cow herd at Triple-T Holsteins near North Lewisburg, have carved out a unique niche in the dairy industry. Focusing on show genetics and prize-winning cattle, they have earned a global reputation for their exceptional breeding program, all while participating in a unique milk market.

Join Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood to discover the relentless passion, hard work, and unwavering commitment of the Thomas family as they navigate the challenges of modern agriculture, showcase their cattle at prestigious events across the country, and uphold their deeply rooted values of cow care and sustainability.… Continue reading

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ODH encourages Ohioans to be aware of air quality issues from wildfire smoke

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA, is asking Ohioans to be aware of possible health effects due to the poor air quality in the state caused by smoke from Canadian wildfires.

On Wednesday, the Ohio EPA issued a statewide air quality advisory, and said particulate levels are expected to be elevated through Thursday.

“Exposure to smoke can cause health problems for anyone, but certain groups are more at risk than others,” Vanderhoff said. “These include people with chronic heart or lung disease, children, the elderly, and pregnant women. It is important to take precautions until our air quality improves.”

Smoke from wildfires contains particulates. Particulates can be inhaled into your lungs and cause irritation of the eyes, nose or throat, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain; and can also aggravate chronic heart and lung conditions.

The most important precaution is to limit outdoor activity, especially outdoor exercise, and spend more time indoors.… Continue reading

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What does paper acreage reporting cost you?

By Michael Sweeney, Vice President of Bickle Farm Solutions

Crop insurance is all about deadlines. It seems like there is always an important date coming up, and they always fall right in the middle of the busiest times of the year for us as farmers. The most important one of those deadlines is fast approaching. July 15, acreage reporting date, is right around the corner. Don’t feel bad if you just rolled your eyes and muttered something under your breath while you read that. I know very few people that actually enjoy filling out their lengthy paper report. But nonetheless it must be done. Have you ever thought to yourself “there’s got to be an easier way to do this”? 

Michael Sweeney

            Luckily for most there is. It is easier, more efficient, can save you money, and can give you a more accurate actual production history, or APH. Precision acreage reporting is available with nearly every crop insurance company in the United States now.… Continue reading

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