Country Life

Farm bankruptcies stabilizing

By Robert Dinterman and Ani L. Katchova, Farm Income Enhancement Program, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, The Ohio State University

Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings have been fairly stable over the past few quarters and have stabilized to around the same levels as when chapter 12 became a permanent fixture of the bankruptcy code in 2005. The US experienced elevated levels of chapter 12 filings towards the end of 2009 through mid-2012, but aside from the second quarter of 2017 there has not been a quarter with more than 150 chapter 12 bankruptcies filed and that is a good sign for the agricultural sector. In general, the second quarter, which consists of the period between April 1st and June 30th, is the quarter that typically has the highest number of bankruptcies in a year.

While nationally there has been a stabilization of farm bankruptcies, there is still substantial regional variation in farm bankruptcies and some areas are doing better than others across the U.S.… Continue reading

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Department of Labor proposes rule requiring H-2A advertisements be posted online

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

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register on Nov. 9 that would change how employers must advertise available positions before they may obtain H-2A worker permits. H-2A permits are work visas for temporary agricultural workers who are non-U.S. citizens. Currently, employers must advertise work in a local newspaper of general circulation for at least two consecutive days, one of which must be a Sunday.

This requirement is located in the Code of Federal Regulations at 20 C.F.R. § 655.151. The DOL now proposes to modernize the recruitment advertising rule by requiring employers to post the jobs online instead of in print. The DOL’s notice explained that it believes online postings would more effectively and efficiently give U.S. workers notice of job opportunities. Further, the notice explained that the DOL intends to only require online advertisements, which would render newspaper advertisements unnecessary.… Continue reading

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Christmas dates

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Let’s talk dates. Not a romantic date or dates on a calendar but the fruit, dates. Dates in Middle Eastern cultures have been a part of their daily diets and religious holiday treats for centuries — in the U.S. not so much. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that dates were introduced to this country. Per, early movies such as The Sheik and One Hundred and One Arabian Nights helped begin our love affair with dates. Hollywood may have began the date craze but let’s face it, it’s all about the marketing! We fell in love with the mystery, the romanticism of clusters of dates hanging from palm trees surrounded by scantily clad women.

My dad loves dates and therefore my mom has always made date treats such as date nut pudding. Christmas wouldn’t be complete without her date nut goodies. My mom says it’s so much easier to find dates now than “in the olden’ days.”… Continue reading

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LLC agreement to adjust member financial contributions must be in writing

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

The Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals recently affirmed a decision finding a verbal agreement to adjust contributions between members of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to be unenforceable, even if the other party admitted to making the statements. Ohio Revised Code § 1715.09(B) requires a signed writing in order to enforce a “promise by a member to contribute to the limited liability company,” and therefore the court could not enforce an oral agreement to adjust contributions.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals heard the case of Gardner v. Paxton, which was originally filed in the Washington County Court of Common Pleas. The plaintiff, Mr. Gardener, argued that his business partner breached an agreement to share in LLC profits and losses equally. In order to share equally, both parties would have needed to adjust their contributions, but Mr.… Continue reading

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Farm bill sent to President Trump for a final signature

Congress has approved the 2018 Farm Bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R. 2). The legislation passed the Senate 87-13 on Dec. 11 and the House 369-47 on Dec. 12. It now goes to President Trump to be signed into law.

“The certainty of a new farm bill is very welcome news for farmers as they begin to look toward the new year. NCGA is pleased to see a return to the bipartisanship that has been a hallmark of past farm bills and we look forward to the President quickly signing the bill into law,” said Lynn Chrisp, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “To put it bluntly, the farm economy stinks. Between depressed commodity prices, record low farm incomes and tariffs and trade uncertainty, farmers are facing difficult decisions. Getting the farm bill passed, and signed into law, is one less thing they need to worry about.”

Chrisp said NCGA is most pleased to see the bill maintains support for a robust crop insurance program and strengthens the ARC-CO program through administrative improvements including a one-time program change option, an increase to the plug yield for disaster years, the use of a trend-adjusted yield factor, and a market adjustment provision for the floor price.… Continue reading

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JCARR sends water changes back to ODA

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net

The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) met on Monday in the latest of the ongoing matters regarding Gov. John Kasich’s executive order to designate eight Ohio watersheds as “distressed.”

JCARR voted 8-1 to send the rule back to the Ohio Department of Agriculture due to the proposed amendments to the Ohio Administrative Code possibly being in conflict with the legislative intent of the statue under which they were proposed.

“What this essentially means is it will give us a chance to work with the new administration on these rules and there won’t be that pressure to get these things run through like it was being done under Gov. Kasich,” said Tony Seegers, director of state policy for Ohio Farm Bureau. “It went just as we had hoped it would. The committee, after our testimony and testimony of others, agreed with us and decided to tell the agency what’s called revise and refile the rule, so that rule has gone back to the Department of Agriculture.”… Continue reading

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Senate overwhelmingly passes 2018 Farm Bill

After making it out of conference late yesterday, today with a vote of 87-13 the Senate passed Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 — the final 2018 Farm Bill.

“This 2018 farm bill is a complete package — one that will serve all Americans,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Farm and ranch families in particular will find a good degree of risk management support they need to help them weather the prolonged downturn in the agricultural economy that many of us are facing. Next year, we are going to face continued challenges across farm and ranch country, and this new farm bill gives us the tools we will need to weather this ongoing storm.”

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) thanked members of Congress, especially the bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, for crafting a farm bill that includes much-needed reforms to help American dairy farmers.… Continue reading

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Agriculture applauds newly proposed clean water rule

The Trump Administration proposed a new water rule on Dec. 11 designed to replace the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

The new water rule would:

  • Protect the private property rights of American cattle producers;
  • Provide safeguards for America’s waters;
  • Observe the appropriate role of the federal government in regulating waterways;
  • Restore state and local authority to protect waters;
  • Respect Congress’s intent in limiting jurisdiction to “navigable waters” in the Clean Water Act.

As a next step, the proposed rule will be posted in the Federal Register and become open for public comment. The 2015 WOTUS rule is currently in effect in 22 states. The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers are currently in the process of repealing the 2015 WOTUS rule.

“After years of uncertainty stemming from the 2015 WOTUS rule, the Trump Administration’s new water rule represents a fresh start for America’s cattle producers,” said Kevin Kester, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.… Continue reading

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Like tear gas…

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Over the years I have hosted a multitude of international guests interested in learning more about dairy herd and veterinary management. Generally, these guests come in groups of 10 or 15 to attend my seminars for a week in the mornings then tour dairy farms with me in the afternoon.

Along the way it is also at their request, an opportunity to expose them for most of one day to American culture, shopping and touristy stops. One of my favorite places to host these groups is Deer Creek Lodge, a state-owned classy hotel stuck on the banks of Caesar Creek near Mt. Sterling.

The hotel is situated about in the center of “nowhere” with hundreds of acres of wilderness around it, horseback riding, hiking and biking trails, golf, beach and swimming and just about any relaxation activity you can imagine. Based in a wilderness area many wild animals scamper about crossing the trails, beaches and even on the hotel front lawn.… Continue reading

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Ohio legislation on the move

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

The Ohio General Assembly has returned from the midterm elections with a potentially busy lame duck session ahead of it. Already a number of bills that we have been monitoring have seen activity in their respective committees.

The Ohio Senate Agriculture Committee held first hearing on multi-parcel auction bill. State senators heard testimony on House Bill 480 on Nov. 13. The bill would authorize the Ohio Department of Agriculture to regulate multi-parcel auctions, which are currently not specifically addressed in the Ohio Revised Code. The bill also defines “multi-parcel auction,” saying such an auction is one involving real or personal property in which multiple parcels or lots are offered for sale in part or in whole. The bill would also establish certain advertising requirements. The bill’s primary sponsor, Representative Brian Hill of Zanesville, says that he introduced the bill in an effort to recognize by statute what auctioneers are already doing, and to do so without interrupting the industry.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep 85 | A bacon vending machine

The Ohio Ag Net podcast, brought to you by AgriGold, takes Ty, Matt, and Joel to the Ohio State campus where they find the new bacon vending machine from the Ohio Pork Council and other industry sponsors. The team chats with Meghann Winters about the unique undertaking that’s garnered international attention.

The podcast also hears from Brittany Julian of Freshmark Sugardale, Nathan Brown on Tuesday’s Ohio No-Till meeting, and speeches from Ohio Farm Bureau’s Frank Burkett and Adam Sharp during the 100th annual meeting.… Continue reading

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State of Ohio sued over wind turbine setbacks

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

Four farmers in Paulding County have joined with The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition to sue the State of Ohio over wind turbine setbacks added to the 2014 biennial budget that some allege curtailed wind energy development in Ohio.  In that budget bill, lawmakers included provisions late in the lawmaking process to amend Ohio Revised Code § 4906.20, which establishes the setback requirements for wind turbines.  Those provisions more than doubled the distance that wind turbines must be located away from the nearest residential structures.  The plaintiffs in this lawsuit allege that including these restrictions in the budget bill violated the single-subject provisions of the Ohio Constitution because the setbacks lack a “common purpose or relationship” to the rest of the budget bill.  On this issue, the Ohio Supreme Court said in the case In re Nowak (cited as 2004-Ohio-6777) that the single-subject rule is a requirement that legislators must abide by, but that only a “manifestly gross and fraudulent” violation will result in the law being struck down. … Continue reading

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1928-2018: A glimpse at the past 90 years of FFA

By Sydney Snider, OCJ FFA reporter

It has been a successful year for FFA members and chapters across the Buckeye State. Membership has reached a high with over 25,000 FFA members and 315 FFA chapters. A record number of state degree recipients were awarded at the state FFA convention in May and Ohio was honored to have several national winners recognized at the national FFA convention in October.

2018 also marks the 90th anniversary for the formation of the “Future Farmers of America.” Ohio has had a rich history in leading innovation and growth within FFA since it’s inception in 1928. Continue reading for a quick glimpse into the past 90 years.


The initial years

In November of 1928, 33 vocational agriculture students met in Kansas City to form the “Future Farmers of America.” Among the students was Ashley, Ohio native Lawrence Augenstein, who helped develop the by-laws and constitution for the FFA.… Continue reading

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Health sharing or insurance?

By Risë Labig, marketing specialist for Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net

Last year at this time, my husband and I were in the process of deciding whether to continue to participate in my company’s health care plan, or change to a “health-sharing” plan. Like the majority of Americans, premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed. Through no fault of our employer, I knew that based on us hitting milestone birthdays our premiums would rise. And rise they did, to the tune of over $1,100 per month, and that doesn’t include the deductible.

I am employed at a small business (Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net), as many people are. Small businesses simply do not have the “buying power” of a large group. As a result, premiums and deductibles are high. As anyone who has tried to navigate through deciding which deductible to choose — higher deductible, lower premium versus lower premium, higher deductible — well, it’s not easy.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau celebrates a century of service to agriculture

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

Ohio Farm Bureau is celebrating its 100th annual meeting this week with the theme “Celebrating our Past, Creating our Future.”

The event includes a historical museum highlighting a century of Farm Bureau accomplishments in legislation, business development, cultural and social change, economic and environmental sustainability and celebrating Farm Bureau’s successes through grassroots action. For example, the organization played a role in the electrification of rural Ohio, the creation of Nationwide Insurance and the preservation of Ohio’s rural landscape.

OFBF President Frank Burkett III was honored to be a part of the centennial event.

“I’m excited about the 100th annual meeting. For 100 years farmers have been coming together to create solutions for the agricultural community in three levels of our organization  — their county Farm Bureau, the Ohio Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau. What an accomplishment — less than 1% of U.S.… Continue reading

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30th Annual Fort Wayne Farm Show at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum

When Jack Thill started the Fort Wayne Farm Show, he envisioned a trade show where the farm community could come together with agri-business leaders to learn about and compare the latest equipment and products in this ever-changing marketplace. Now, in its 30th year, that vision has grown to become one of the nation’s most respected farm shows, attracting qualified attendees from many states.

Exhibitors present the latest farm technology the industry has to offer along with the area’s largest variety of farm machinery equipment, in one location. In 2019, Northeastern Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Purdue Cooperative Extension will present daily educational seminars. Parkview Health Systems will offer free CPR Classes each day of the show. Also in 2019, in support of the Indiana FFA Scholarship Foundation, fundraising auctions, featuring a variety of donated items, will be held both Tuesday and Wednesday. Last year’s auction raised over $20,000.00 for scholarships.… Continue reading

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Trade progress for U.S. agriculture with USMCA

In early December, U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials signed the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) after a year of intense negotiations on the trade pact.

“[The] signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement continues the progress American farmers and ranchers have made since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect in 1994,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico increased from $8.9 billion to $39 billion under NAFTA. That boost provided important markets for farmers and ranchers whose productivity has only grown since the agreement was signed. USMCA keeps all those gains and adds improvements in poultry, eggs, dairy and wine. In every way, this new agreement is just as good, if not better than, the one that came before. We thank the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for all the hard work that went into this accord.

“As good as all this news is, farmers and ranchers still face retaliatory tariffs over steel and aluminum disputes with our North American neighbors and other trading partners.… Continue reading

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2019 Farm Management School to be offered in Darke County

OSU Extension will be partnering with Farm Credit Mid-America to hold a Farm Management School this winter to address this need from the agriculture community. The series is for all those in farming or agriculture businesses interested in finances, business plans and how to make their operation successful.

January 3              Farm Mission and Business Plans

January 10           Record Keeping and Balance Sheets

January 17           Budgets and Enterprise Analysis

February 7           Ag Law and Farm Transition


Presenters for the series will include Bruce Clevenger, Dianne Shoemaker, Sharon Harris, Peggy Hall and Sam Custer from Ohio State University Extension. Farm Credit Mid-America team members will also be presenters.


OSU Extension, Darke County would like to thank our sponsor Farm Credit Mid-America for their support in holding this program.

Pre-registration and payment required. Download the full flyer and registration at . $40 per person. Registration deadline is December 26, 2018.   Registration includes snacks and materials.… Continue reading

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North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association provides invaluable training and fellowship

By Mike Ryan, OCJ field reporter

The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) is a unique and valuable organization for gun dog owners, trainers, and breeders.

“The organization is in part driven by breeders as a means to improve breeds and bloodlines. NAVHDA has four levels of tests that apply to every breed of gun dog in all of their training and development stages,” said Steve Spangler, of Sugar Grove, who has bred, trained, and hunted over bird dogs for 15 years. “The first level test is the Natural Ability Test, which is done before the dog is 16 months old. This tests the dog’s natural instincts by exposing the dog to certain situations and scenarios where they are graded on search, use of nose, cooperation, sensitivity, and bird finding. Actual training begins for the Utility Test. The Utility Test mimics everything I want a dog to do in the field, specifically where I hunt in southeastern Ohio.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation awards $20,700 in ag, community grants

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently awarded $20,700 in grants to organizations that support and promote Ohio’s agricultural industry as well as local communities. The foundation’s Action & Awareness grants focus on four core areas: economic development, education, environment and the human-animal bond.

Grant recipients are:

  • AgriPOWER to support two scholarships for Ohio Farm Bureau’s intensive, year-long leadership program for farmers and agribusiness professionals.
  • Crown Point Ecology Center to help convert an existing building into a honey extraction and beeswax processing facility that will be available to local northeastern Ohio beekeepers.
  • Friends of the Juvenile Court in Clinton County to help expand an existing program that pairs at-risk youth with local farmers through the 4-H process.
  • Ohio Energy Project in support of its Energy Sources Tour and Energy Sources Blitz programs that give teachers behind-the-scenes access to the energy industry.
  • Ohio Hop Growers Guild to support its 2019 Ohio Hop Conference in January.
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