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Answering questions with early-stage soy-based materials research

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and Soybean Check-off

“Can we do this?” The formation of Airable Research Lab was the result of Barry McGraw, founder and CLO of Airable asking that question. McGraw, a graduate of Shawnee State University with a plastics engineering degree, first became acquainted with soy-based materials product research when he worked for Battelle in their advanced materials group. Battelle is a global research and development organization in Columbus. McGraw started working on projects for the Ohio Soybean Council while he was at Battelle and that is where his interest in soy was born. “I became really interested agriculture and the different functionality of soy and bio-based products and what it could bring to the market. I learned more about the growth opportunities and challenges of that market. Petroleum kind of dominates it, but bio-based/soy-based solutions can penetrate the market and are making an impact”, said McGraw.… Continue reading

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OCJ-Corn-to-go January 2024

Stephanie Karhoff, OSU Extension Field Specialist, or 567-376-4019
Greg LaBarge, OSU Extension Field Specialist, or 740-956-5047

Making sense of statistics
By Stephanie Karhoff

With harvest in the rearview mirror, it is time to evaluate yield differences and decide what products or practices worked, and more importantly, what did not work in 2023. So, how do we identify what significantly impacted yield or economic return? Proper use of experimental design and statistics allow us to isolate noise or environmental variation and determine if yield differences are real. Or, in other words, how probable is it that we will get these same results again?

The first step in evaluating yield is to verify that results are from replicated and randomized field trials. Why does this matter? In just one field, there can be a wide range of environmental conditions like soil type or topography. Without replication, it is impossible to know whether a yield difference was due to the treatment you applied or some other factor like disease pressure, varying fertility levels, or differences in management history.… Continue reading

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Ohio ag legislation to watch

By Ellen Essman, J.D., Ohio State University CFAES Government Relations, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

We will be carefully following several ag-related bills that progressed in committees but have not yet been passed by the full body, as the calendar turns to 2024. Here is a summary of some of the bills we’re watching. 

H.B. 162—Agriculture designations 

H.B. 162 was introduced by Representatives Roy Klopfenstein (R-Haviland) and Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) on May 5, 2023, and was passed by the House in October, and had its first hearing in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Dec. 5. The bill would designate the following days and weeks to honor Ohio Agriculture:

• March 21 of each year as “Agriculture day”

• The week beginning on the Saturday before the last Saturday of each February through the last Saturday in February as “FFA Week”

• October 12 of each year as “Farmer’s Day” and

• The week ending with the second Saturday of March as “4-H Week.”… Continue reading

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Virtual Corn College & Soybean School Feb. 2

The fourth annual virtual Corn College & Soybean School will be on Friday, Feb. 2. The webinar will begin at 9 a.m. and finish at 4 p.m. Speakers include OSU Extension state specialists.

The first-year results of “The Battle For The Belt: Corn vs. Soybean” will be presented, including 2023 growing season results. This research project addresses which crop has the smallest yield penalty for delayed planting, adjusting management practices to mitigate losses due to late planting, and how insects, diseases, and weeds are affected by planting date. The field experiment included three locations, Clark County, Wood County, and Wayne County with five planting dates for both crops. Updates from the state climatologist, soil specialist, and weeds specialists will be included in this webinar. The CCA CEUs will be available during the live presentation. Please register no later than Feb. 1 at noon. Register with the following website… Continue reading

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“Hook & Bullet” sports a boon to Ohio’s economy

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

A recently released report from the Wildlife Management Institute, Responsive Management, and Southwick Associates showed that wildlife-based recreation contributed nearly $12.5 billion to Ohio’s economy in 2022, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The study was conducted for the Division of Wildlife and surveyed Ohio residents to gauge their participation in outdoor recreation and the economic impact of those activities. The survey primarily focused on Ohioans’ involvement in hunting, fishing, target shooting, and wildlife viewing. Ohio residents ages 18 and older, including licensed hunters and anglers, completed telephone and email surveys.

Collectively, the four study activities provided nearly 80,000 jobs in Ohio and $4 billion in income, plus $1.1 billion in local and state taxes, as well as more than $600 million in federal taxes. The activities contributed a total of $6.7 billion to Ohio’s GDP in 2022. Of the $12.5 billion of economic activity created through these activities, residents contributed $12 billion.… Continue reading

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Food collected and lessons learned through innovative program

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

Junior fair members from around Ohio worked to gather more than 228,000 pounds of food to benefit more than 65 food banks as part of Fight Hunger, Stock the Trailer, a statewide food drive contest sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA) and Rural 1st.

“In 2021, we had an idea to challenge the different junior fair boards from county fairs in southeast Ohio to raise canned goods and non-perishables during the county fairs as a way to support those communities. We offered prize money for the highest producing counties. That first year, eight counties raised 21,000 pounds of donations for 18 different local food banks. Fast forward a year to 2022 and we expanded it throughout the state. There were 54 county fairs and we got 170,000 pounds that year,” said Evan Hahn, regional vice president of ag lending for FCMA. “This year we expanded it out to all five regions throughout the state and we got 64 fairs that participated for a total of 228,000 pounds.… Continue reading

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Dynamic growing in controlled environment agriculture

By Mary Wicks and Peter Ling

We’re all looking for technologies that can help us do things smarter, and that includes growing crops in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) systems. Whether cultivated in a greenhouse or an indoor farm, different plants need different conditions at various growth stages for optimal growth and development. Managing the variations in lighting, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide (CO2), and fertilizer needed for each species or cultivar can be daunting. Fortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) is helping growers to monitor conditions for different plant zones and to provide more precise control of inputs.

The use of dynamic lighting illustrates the potential for this technology. With dynamic lighting, the light intensity can be modulated based on crop needs as well as changing environmental conditions, such as day length and fluctuations in natural light levels. In addition, the light spectrum can be adjusted to fine tune growth, nutritional quality, and taste.… Continue reading

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ODA boosting local food supply chains with $12.6 million

From farm gate to the plate, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is offering financial support to businesses and producers who work in the middle of the food chain sector.

ODA has been awarded $12.6 million through the federal Resilient Food System Infrastructure (RFSI) Program to fund projects that support supply chain coordination activities, create more and better processing centers, and increase accessible, affordable, and efficient distribution of Ohio products. Projects may also include the construction, expansion, and modernization of supply chain facilities.

“A strong Ohio depends on a strong agriculture community,” said ODA Director Brian Baldridge. “The RFSI grant program will help ensure we’re thoroughly investing in local producers and supporting Ohio’s food system. These grants create more economic opportunities for our communities and the farmers who help feed our state.”

RFSI aims to support growth in the middle-of-the-food-supply-chain and strengthen local and regional food systems by creating new revenue streams for Ohio producers, keeping profits circulating in rural communities, and increasing diversity in processing options.… Continue reading

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Airable Lab, researching for future soybean demand

Barry McGraw, founder and CLO of Airable Research Lab joins Dusty for the first podcast of 2024. They discuss the idea behind this one-of-a-kind research facility housed at Ohio Wesleyan University and funded by Ohio Soybean Farmer’s Check-off.  Airable provides early-stage soy-based materials research and is responsible for a number of new soy-based products and patents.… Continue reading

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Will official agencies review Brazil’s crop projections again?

By Guil Signorini, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, The Ohio State University

The grain season continues to unfold in Brazil. Since the publication of our December article in the South American Update, official agencies have opened their eyes to the challenging weather conditions faced by grain growers in Brazil. Early in the season, USDA and CONAB were overly ambitious, projecting Brazil’s soybean production at 163 million and 162 million metric tons, respectively. While some patriotic commentators shared praise through social media networks, others were skeptical about two straight record-high seasons.

In their most recent reviews, USDA lowered its projection by 1 million metric ton (MT), and CONAB reduced theirs to 160.2 million MTs. At this point in a season with so many uncertainties, any projection offered is an informed guess at best. Based on connections and personal conversations with growers from different regions in Brazil, I’ll take the chance and suggest that both official agencies will soon review their numbers again.… Continue reading

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4-H kids these days

By Liz Avers, Sara Foos, Jenny Morlock, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County

“Kids these days” is a phrase we often hear with a tone of frustration. We’ve heard it said that today’s youth don’t know how to function without technology, have little work ethic, and struggle with communication and connection. As the 4-H Staff in Wood County, let us share with you our perspective of 4-H “kids these days” and how they are building a foundation for a bright future.

With behind-the-scenes support from a handful of adults, 47 teen counselors demonstrated exceptional leadership by planning and executing Wood County 4-H Camp for 216 campers this summer. They participated in 24 hours of training on topics such as critical thinking, stages of youth development, and emergency preparedness. As a team, they created an original theme, planned detailed activities to fill 12+ hours a day, and created theatrical skits, campfires, and song leading for all campers to enjoy. Planning… Continue reading

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The 2023 eFields Report is available now

By Elizabeth Hawkins and John Fulton

The 2023 eFields report is available. Each year, Ohio State University Extension partners with Ohio farmers to bring local research results to you through the eFields program. These results are summarized and published by the OSU Digital Ag Team in the eFields Report. The 2023 eFields Research Report highlights 184 on-farm, field-scale trials conducted in 47 Ohio counties. Research topics for the 2023 report includes nutrient management, precision crop management, cover crops, technology and forages. Other information about crop production budgets, planting progress, farm safety, and farm business analysis are also included.

The 2023 report is now available in both a print and e-version. To receive a printed copy, contact your local OSU Extension office or email The e-version can be viewed and downloaded at with the online version readable using a smartphone or tablet device.

We would like to sincerely thank all our 2023 collaborating farms and industry partners.… Continue reading

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Top 10 of 2023

By Matt Reese

There were plenty of surprises among the top stories of 2023 at, at least for me. See what you think as we work our way up through the list of the most-viewed posts from the website this year. 

  1. Brandt passed away, leaving a legacy of conservation

It was not a surprise that the legacy of world-renowned no-till and conservation farmer David Brandt of Fairfield County would be the top post. The surprise was that this post garnered a staggering five times the views of “Noise at the grain bin” in second place. This post, combined with “David Brandt: The man, the meme, the legend,” made the humble cover crop advocate by far the most dominant force on in 2023.  

2. Noise at the grain bin

I understand that harvest-related noise around grain bins can offer challenges to farmers and complaints from neighbors, but I was very surprised to see the topic rise to the second highest post of 2023.… Continue reading

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Top 10 of 2023: 2

By Matt Reese

There were plenty of surprises among the top stories of 2023 at, at least for me. See what you think as we work our way up through the list of the most-viewed posts from the website this year. 

2. Noise at the grain bin

I understand that harvest-related noise around grain bins can offer challenges to farmers and complaints from neighbors, but I was very surprised to see the topic rise to the second highest post of 2023. This article from the dynamic duo at Ohio State University of  Dee Jepsen and Peggy Kirk Hall looks at the legalities and safety issues of noise at the grain bin, which posted in early December. … Continue reading

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Athens FFA member goes national, makes chapter history

By Morgan Anderson, OCJ FFA Reporter

Abbi Bolin-Ervin has grown up in the agriculture industry. Since 1918, her family has had a working dairy farm where she said she enjoys working whenever she can.

“I grew up showing dairy,” Bolin-Ervin said. “I started around the age of six and I haven’t stopped since.”

For Bolin-Ervin, competing in the Dairy Cattle Handlers Career Development Event (CDE) was a natural fit. By participating in the Dairy Cattle Handlers CDE, students learn to work with others in a way that is cooperative, courteous and helpful while demonstrating effective dairy handling skills. Handlers earn recognition for their ability to set up their assigned animal to its best advantage, maintain the animal in its most advantageous post, exhibit effective restraint and move the animal as requested by the event ringmaster.

After winning the state contest earlier this year, Bolin-Ervin went on to represent both Athens FFA and the state of Ohio as a competitor at the 96th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.… Continue reading

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Ohio State ATI adds new certificate program

Starting autumn semester 2024, Ohio State ATI in Wooster will offer a new 9-month certificate program in feed mill operations to meet a growing demand in animal agriculture. It is the only program of its kind in Ohio. 

According to The American Feed Industry Association, there are more than 5,800 animal food manufacturing facilities in the United States which provide more than 944,000 jobs. 

Students enrolled in the certificate program will take classes in the feeding and nutrition of horses, swine, small ruminants, and dairy and beef cattle. They will also study feed mill operations, quality assurance, and feed technology, formulation, and safety. The state-of-the-art feed mill located on the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Wooster campus will provide ample opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience. 

Students enrolled in associate degree programs in animal sciences or agronomy may find the feed mill operation certificate an attractive add-on to enhance their position in the job market after graduation.… Continue reading

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COBA/Select Sires merges with others to become Select Sires Member Cooperative

COBA has merged with other cooperatives to become the Select Sires Member Cooperative, headquartered out of central Ohio. Chris Sigurdson, CEO of the dairy and beef genetics company, speaks with Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood about the change, the reasons behind it, and the future of the farmer-owned organization in a changing time for the cattle business.

The merger brings together the formerly separate cooperatives of All West/Select Sires, COBA/Select Sires, Select Sires MidAmerica, and Minnesota/Select Sires – representing the Select Sires federation in 27 U.S. states and the country of Mexico. The change officially took place October 1, 2023. The new organization is headquartered in central Ohio, with multiple regional distribution offices around the country.… Continue reading

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ODA Extends H2Ohio Enrollment Deadline

Producers have until February 2, 2024, to sign up for incentives

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced today it will extend the enrollment deadline for H2Ohio producers in the 14 counties of the Maumee River Watershed.

Due to a considerable amount of interest during the current signup period, farmers now have until Feb. 2, 2024, to enroll.

Producers in the active signup area are eligible to enroll new acres or re-enroll acres into H2Ohio and earn incentives for implementing best management practices that are scientifically proven to improve water quality. Eligible counties include Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Hardin, Hancock, Lucas, Mercer, Putnam, Paulding, Van Wert, Williams, and Wood.

For more information about H2Ohio or the extended enrollment deadline, please contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District.

H2Ohio is Governor DeWine’s initiative to ensure safe and clean water in Ohio. It is a comprehensive, data-driven approach to improving water quality over the long term.… Continue reading

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