Farm bill debate will include reducing spending

When the new Republican House majority takes up the 2012 farm bill, Purdue agricultural economist Roman Keeney says farmers should expect lawmakers to reduce spending by focusing on three major areas: Brazil, budget and baseline.

In 2009 the World Trade Organization allowed Brazil to impose sanctions against the United States after ruling that U.S. cotton subsidies were illegal under the WTO framework. In April, the U.S struck a last minute deal to send $147.3 million dollars of annual support to Brazilian cotton production.

“That deal is a temporary resolution to the WTO case that Brazil won against U.S. cotton subsidy programs several years ago,” Keeney said. “The major issue in resolving the WTO case is for the U.S. to bring their policy into compliance in the 2012 farm bill.”

Sending $147.3 million dollars to Brazil is not a huge economic stress to the U.S., Keeney said, but it brings attention to agricultural spending at a time when the budget deficit is a major public concern.… Continue reading

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ASA urges Congressional approval of Korean Trade Agreement

The American Soybean Association (ASA) expresses appreciation to President Barack Obama and his team of negotiators who brought a successful conclusion to a United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) that would create landmark opportunities for U.S. soy, meat, and poultry exports. ASA leaders are now urging Congress to swiftly vote approval of the necessary implementing legislation for this historic free trade agreement.

“Soybean farmers greatly appreciate the work of U.S. negotiators who concluded a trade agreement that achieves ASA’s objectives,” said ASA President Rob Joslin, a soybean farmer from Sidney, Ohio. “ASA has provided input to the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding the benefits of the FTA with Korea for a number of years. Now the Congress needs to approve this agreement as soon as possible.”

The agreement offers immediate duty-free access to U.S. soybeans for crushing and to U.S. soybean meal. And for the first time, producers of U.S.… Continue reading

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Comedian Drew Hastings to Perform at Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium December 16

At one point in his career, comedian Drew Hastings came to the realization that he needed to rid himself of the urban life in Los Angeles. So, he publicly declared, “I’m gonna go back to the Midwest where I’m from and get myself a farm!”

As a new farmer in Hillsboro, Ohio, Hastings has experienced the trials and tribulations of working with the land. But, he has also gained a new following for his comedic act – other farmers. His fans have seen and heard him perform on “The Tonight Show,” Comedy Central, a variety of sitcoms and “The Bob and Tom Show” syndicated radio program.

Hastings is now bringing his act to Lima, Ohio, December 16 to close out the second annual Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium (OGFS) at the Veterans’ Memorial Civic and Convention Center. He will entertain attendees with true stories about his life on a cattle farm.

In addition to seeing Hastings perform, grain farmers throughout the state will have the opportunity to learn about the latest agricultural issues impacting their operations.… Continue reading

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NASCAR to run on E15

The National Corn Growers Association and its state affiliates are among the organizations backing American Ethanol, a partnership including Growth Energy and NASCAR. This new partnership, announced by NASCAR, comes after the popular racing organization said in October it would fuel all races with E15, a 15% corn ethanol blend, starting with the 2011 season.

“The productivity of America’s farmers is unrivaled in the world and our ability to supply corn for food, livestock feed and fuel should be a source of national pride. This exciting new association with the NASCAR Nation will help to build that awareness,” said Bart Schott, NCGA president and a corn grower in Kulm, N.D. “With precision farming, innovation, technology and hard work farmers can double our harvest in the years ahead. NASCAR is a high-profile way to showcase one great use for this abundance.” NCGA’s involvement comes with the generous support of state corn checkoff investments.… Continue reading

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The budget, HSUS and the future at ODA

A conversation with…

Jim Zehringer, the future director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

OCJ: First, could you share a little about your background in agriculture and your legislative career that has helped prepare you for this position?

Jim: I grew up in town, but in the 70s I started working with my father in-law operating Meiring Poultry farm. My wife and I took ownership of the farm in 1983 and we raised chickens and fish and grew corn and soybeans up until 1 year ago. In 2002 I was elected as a Mercer County Commissioner. Mercer County is one of the largest Ag producing counties in the State and working with farmers in the county prepared me to work with agriculture issues at the state level. I was appointed to the Ohio House of Representatives in 2007 and I have been actively working on the Agriculture and Natural Resources committee as a member of the House.… Continue reading

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USDA's CAP deadline approaching

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers they have until close of business on Thursday, Dec. 9, to apply for assistance for 2009 losses under the Crop Assistance Program (CAP). Up to $550 million in disaster assistance will be issued to producers of rice, upland cotton, soybeans and sweet potatoes for eligible losses because of excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009.

Assistance is available to producers of eligible crops in counties that received Secretarial disaster designations as a result of excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009. A list of eligible disaster counties for CAP is located at Producers of eligible crops on farms in disaster counties who certify to a 5% or greater crop loss in 2009 because of excessive moisture or related conditions may be eligible for compensation based on a predetermined payment rate multiplied by the planted and considered planted acres of the crop.… Continue reading

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USDA’s CAP deadline approaching

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers they have until close of business on Thursday, Dec. 9, to apply for assistance for 2009 losses under the Crop Assistance Program (CAP). Up to $550 million in disaster assistance will be issued to producers of rice, upland cotton, soybeans and sweet potatoes for eligible losses because of excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009.

Assistance is available to producers of eligible crops in counties that received Secretarial disaster designations as a result of excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009. A list of eligible disaster counties for CAP is located at Producers of eligible crops on farms in disaster counties who certify to a 5% or greater crop loss in 2009 because of excessive moisture or related conditions may be eligible for compensation based on a predetermined payment rate multiplied by the planted and considered planted acres of the crop.… Continue reading

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NCGA and industry work together on Bt corn refuge implementation

To assist farmers in developing the right plan for refuge compliance, NCGA has joined forces with agribusiness to develop a next-generation Insect Resistance Management refuge calculator that is easy to use and represents the latest products available.

“Biotechnology is an important part of modern agriculture’s ability to sustainably meet the world’s increasing demands for food, feed and fuel, and its proper stewardship is essential,” said Chad Blindauer, Chair of NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. “Given the benefits of Bt products, farmers and trait providers have a duty to keep this technology viable and on the market.”

In recent years, the introduction of new refuge systems has given growers more options in setting up their refuge. NCGA’s calculator was developed as a tool to clarify those options with growers and show them how to execute the requirements properly.

Industry experts from the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC), which is made up of representatives from Dow AgroSciences LLC, Monsanto Company, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.,… Continue reading

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Central Ohio Agronomy Day-Dec. 16

Practicing twin-row corn production for potential higher yields, getting a handle on marestail, and reassessing fertility recommendations are just some of the ag production topics being covered during the Central Ohio Agronomy Day on Dec. 16.

The event will take place in Founders Hall at the Ohio State University/Central Ohio Technical College campus in Newark, Ohio. The program, sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, will run from 8:45 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

The Central Ohio Agronomy Day is tailored for crop producers, those in the agronomy service industry, Certified Crop Advisors and commercial pesticide applicators. Advanced registration is $20, paid by Dec. 10, and $30 at the door. The fee includes morning refreshments, lunch, program materials, and up to eight hours of CCA credits.

Session topics include adoption of precision agriculture, drainage water management, nitrogen rate field trial in continuous corn, corn after corn management, insect management, weed management, and water quality improvement.… Continue reading

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Taking stock of crop market fundamentals

Corn, soybean, and wheat prices dropped sharply following the spike on Nov. 9, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

December 2010 corn futures declined 96 cents from their high on Nov. 9 to their low on Nov. 23. January 2011 soybean futures dropped $1.45 by Nov. 19, and December 2010 wheat futures declined by $1.36 to their low on Nov. 16, he noted.

“Since the recent lows were established, prices have traded in a relatively narrow range. A number of factors have been cited as contributing to the wide swing in prices over the past three weeks. These include uncertainty about Chinese demand, fluctuating currency values, trading activity of commodity speculators, and the La Nina weather event. The market appears to be having some difficulty identifying value of commodities,” he said.

The value of the U.S. dollar is thought to have an impact on the demand for and/or prices of U.S.… Continue reading

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ASA pushing important issues in DC this week

American Soybean Association (ASA) farmer-leaders will be in Washington, D.C. this week to participate in two events involving legislation crucial to U.S. soybean farmers.

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, ASA Executive Committee member Joe Steiner will be participating in a press conference at the National Press Club on the need for Congress to enact estate tax legislation before Dec. 31. On Jan. 1 of 2011, the estate tax rate will revert to the 2001 rate of up to 55% with only a $1 million exclusion.

If not addressed by Congress, the high estate tax rate of 55% and low exclusion level of $1 million will very negatively affect the ability to pass farms, ranches, and small businesses from one generation to another. Even small and very moderate-sized family farm operations would be negatively affected. With farmland in many regions of the country selling for $5,000 per acre, it takes only 200 acres of land to reach the exclusion value of $1 million.… Continue reading

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Ohio pumpkins could be seed of snack food industry

Most pumpkins grown in Ohio — one of the top producers of the gourd in the U.S. — are of the jack-o’-lantern type, but the state also produces pumpkins for pie. Now, Ohio could become famous for its pumpkin seeds.

Ohio State University researchers are working with growers and Innovative Farmers of Ohio to select pumpkin varieties that yield good seeds for roasting, which could lead to added income opportunities for farmers and a new niche market.

Supported by an Ohio Department of Agriculture specialty crop grant, the project began in 2009 with the planting of 15 pumpkin varieties. This year, the five varieties with the best traits for pumpkin seed production were selected and planted at the university’s Western Agricultural Research Station in South Charleston and at two grower sites in the area.

“We harvested the pumpkins and took them to the pilot plant (at the Food Industries Center on the Columbus campus), where the seeds were extracted, cleaned, dried, roasted and seasoned,” said Jim Jasinski, an OSU Extension educator with the Integrated Pest Management Program.… Continue reading

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Poinsettias brighten greenhouses and homes for the holidays

For those that travel U.S. Route 33 on the southeast side of Columbus, Dill’s Greenhouse has been a landmark for decades with a big sign, a full parking lot and a reputation for quality nursery, garden and landscaping plants. And, this time of year, they are known for the red glow emanating from the 15,000 poinsettias filling the greenhouse.

“The only thing prettier than a greenhouse full of poinsettias is an empty one at Christmas,” said Jerry Dill, owner of Dill’s Greenhouse in Franklin County. “Poinsettias are one last push for the year before a nice break for us from after Christmas to around Jan. 15 or so when we start to get pretty busy again.”

Dill’s poinsettias range from 4-inch to 14-inch pots and there are around 50 different cultivars for customers to choose from, ranging from a standard red to pink and other novelty colors.

“Around 60% of our poinsettias are red and 40% are the novelty plants, and that is probably high compared to what most people sell,” Dill said.… Continue reading

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Ohio State University Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference

Corn University and Soybean School will once again headline sessions of conservation tillage topics at the 2011 Ohio State University Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference.

The event will be held Feb. 24-25 at the McIntosh Center of Ohio Northern University in Ada. Sponsors include Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Northwest Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, and the Ohio No-Till Council.

Early registration is $50 for one day or $75 for both days. At the door, registration is $60 for one day and $85 for both days. Complete registration and program information will be available after Jan. 1, 2011 at

The Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference is the largest, most comprehensive program of conservation tillage techniques in the Midwest. About 60 presenters (farmers, industry professionals, and university specialists) from around the country focus on cost-saving, production management topics.… Continue reading

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AgriGold customer wins lease on grain trailer at Farm Science Review

One lucky visitor to the AgriGold tent at the Ohio Farm Science Review was selected at random to receive a 9-month lease on a 40-foot hopper bottom grain trailer. Roger Yocom of Yocom Brothers Farm in Cable, Ohio was the prize recipient.

“I’ve been able to park one of my trailers for the season and use this top of the line trailer, which has been great,” said Yocom.

The Yocom Brothers Farm is located in central Ohio and have been a valued AgriGold customer for many years. The Yocom Brothers utilize twin-row corn planting technology on their operation, which is split 50:50 corn and beans. They’ve grown AgriGold products for several years and have been very pleased with their experience.

Visitors who were current AgriGold growers or new customers were able to enter for a chance to win the lease. Multiple entries could be made based upon their current order of corn for the spring.… Continue reading

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Western bean cutworm populations on the rise in Ohio

A staggering number of Western bean cutworm moths were trapped in Ohio corn fields this year compared to previous years, however, economic damage has yet to be recorded.

“The large increase of adult moths caught and the presence of the pest on infested corn suggests that producers will have to keep Western bean cutworm near the top of their list of important corn pests,” said Andy Michel, an Ohio State University Extension entomologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Western bean cutworm is a common pest of Western corn-producing states that is rapidly expanding eastward and finding a niche throughout the Midwest. The number of adult moths trapped in Ohio each year has been steadily increasing.

In 2006, entomologists caught three moths in the traps. In 2007, six were caught. That number jumped to 150 in 2008 and to 566 in 2009. This year, that number has skyrocketed to 2,695.… Continue reading

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New Pioneer Web site

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, announced the launch of its newly redesigned web site, . The site is designed to  quickly link growers to local, relevant and timely crop production-focused information. “Our goal is to provide growers access to Pioneer’s industry-leading expertise more quickly and easily,” said Terry Gardner, North American product marketing director for Pioneer.
The most significant change is the convergence of two Pioneer websites: and the Pioneer GrowingPoint web site.

“Growers now will be able to access the information that was on the GrowingPoint website without having to sign in,” Gardner said.

Personal data, such as account access, online payments and online recordkeeping remains secure and still requires the user to sign in. Pioneer gathered extensive feedback from growers, customers, Pioneer sales professionals, employees and media to drive the evolution of its Web strategy. The site features a new navigation menu that efficiently organizes information. A rollover feature displays a list of all the topics for each section, making it quicker and easier to locate content with fewer clicks.… Continue reading

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Make sure conditions are fit for anhydrous ammonia application


After an early harvest and exceptionally dry fall, a Purdue University agronomist says it’s important for farmers to pay close attention to soil temperature and moisture levels before they apply anhydrous ammonia.

The rule of thumb is to apply anhydrous ammonia after soil temperatures at a depth of 4 inches fall below 50 degrees and are getting colder, said Jim Camberato.

“Low soil temperature hinders the bacterial conversion of ammonium nitrogen (NH4) to nitrate nitrogen (NO3),” he said. “Slowing this reaction is critical to the efficient use of anhydrous ammonia because ammonium nitrogen is retained in the soil, whereas nitrate nitrogen is easily lost through leaching to tile drains or denitrification to the air.

“The longer nitrogen remains in the ammonium nitrogen form in the fall, the lower the potential for nitrogen loss in the early spring when warm soil temperatures and excess soil moisture invariably occur.”

Soil temperatures have fallen below 50 degrees in most parts of Ohio.… Continue reading

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Pioneer introduces new transgenic corn product, Optimum Intrasect

By Ron Hammond, Andy Michel and Bruce Eisley, Ohio State University entomologists

Pioneer has just announced a new transgenic corn hybrid that will serve as an intermediate and technical step between Optimum AcreMax 1 (from the first family of Optimum AcreMax products) to Optimum AcreMax and Optimum AcreMax Xtra (from the second family of products).  While having Bt proteins for both corn borers and corn rootworm control, Optimum AcreMax 1 still needs a separate 20% refuge for the corn borer portion of the mix (refuge-in-the-bag is only for rootworms), whereas Pioneer’s intent for Optimum AcreMax (for above-ground pests) and Optimum AcreMax Xtra (for above- and below-ground pests) is to be truly refuge-in-the-bag for both pests.

Until that time comes, hopefully within a year or so, they have obtained EPA approval and released to the market an intermediate product called Optimum Intrasect which contains two gene proteins, Cry1F and Cry1Ab, for corn borer control (rootworm control is not part of Optimum Intrasect). … Continue reading

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Pellets reduce costs, but not enough for cellulosic ethanol producers

Despite reducing transportation and handling costs, pelletizing cellulosic biomass would not be cost-effective for ethanol producers, according to a Purdue University study.

Klein Ileleji, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, and Preethi Krishnakumar, a graduate research student, factored the costs and logistical requirements cellulosic ethanol producers would face using different types of biomass – corn grain, corn stover and switchgrass – in both bale and pellet forms.

Their findings, published in the current issue of the journal Applied Engineering in Agriculture, show that the denser cellulosic pellets would allow ethanol producers to save money by utilizing the same equipment used to transport and handle corn grain that flows using elevators, hoppers and conveyor belts.

“If a producer is switching from a corn ethanol plant to a cellulosic plant, they are starting with an existing grain system, and the storage and handling costs for pellets will be less since they are granular and flowable like corn grain,” Ileleji said.… Continue reading

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