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Heffron confirmed as new exec of Ohio State Fair

Officials with the Ohio Expositions Commission announced that Adam Heffron will be the new executive director of the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair

The Ohio Expositions Commission voted Jan. 10 to accept a recommendation from Governor Mike DeWine and name Heffron as the agency’s executive director. Current Ohio Expo Center & State Fair General Manager, Virgil Strickler, announced his retirement in June 2023, prompting the formation of a search committee and a nationwide search for the agency’s next leader.

“Today as we accept the governor’s recommendation and welcome Adam back to Ohio, we also want to take a moment to once again thank Virgil Strickler for the incredible legacy he has created,” said Angela Krile, Ohio Expositions Commission Chair. “We are excited that Adam is bringing this leadership, tenacity and extensive event and fair industry experience to build on our strong foundation and take the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair into the next phase of success with the Expo 2050 Master Plan.” … Continue reading

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Mmmmmmac and cheese

By Shelly Detwiler

Nothing soothes the soul in Ohio winter’s more than mac and cheese — American’s comfort food sweetheart. The rich and creamy cheese sauce paired with pasta not only feeds our tummies but triggers a “feel good” response from our brains. This effect gives us feelings of pleasure, comfort, and contentment. Mac and cheese help us recollect childhood memories of warm, home-cooked meals that feel like a hug.

 Nearly all — 97% — of Americans eat mac and cheese at least once a year. Historians have traced mac and cheese roots back to a pasta and cheese dish in 13th/14th century Italy but let’s fast forward to the late 1700s in early America. Our love affair with mac and cheese starts with Thomas Jefferson and his chef James Hemings. In 1784, Jefferson and James crossed the pond to France where James was trained in French cooking and tweaked and perfected his mac and cheese dish.… Continue reading

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Ag Chat event in Circleville Jan. 27

The Pickaway County Community Foundation Agricultural Committee is hosting their newest event, Ag Chat, on Saturday Jan. 27, 20204. Ag Chat was put together with the idea of bringing people in the agricultural community together and learning about the latest advances in the ag industry.

The event will be held at Rhoad House 56, located at 1051 State Route 56 Circleville. The doors will open at 5 p.m. Dinner will be served at the event and will also have a cash bar. Admission is $15.

The two speakers at the inaugural Ag Chat will be Jason Mauck and Scott Shearer. Mauck is well known for his experimentation with intercropping, innovation and his large social media following. Shearer is a professor and Chair of Food, Agriculture and Biological Engineering at Ohio State University. Shearer specializes in digital and precision agriculture. Tickets are available at:… Continue reading

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Supply, demand and interest rates

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Thinking ahead, I installed three 4-foot orange rods along our driveway as guides for my snow plowing activities. Cindy was curious, since this was a new feature. A couple weeks had passed when she called me at work to say that the “soldier” near the road was killed. Coming home in the dark the evening before, she cut the corner short, noticed an odd noise, verified it the next morning, wasn’t able to cover her tracks and fix it. She also mentioned that her first impression of the rods was “target practice” and she knew it was only a matter of time. “One down, two to go.” No harm, no foul.

The Jan. 12 USDA Supply and Demand Report has just been published, detailing final 2023 corn and soybean production and yields. Ahead of that report, traders were expecting few changes for both corn and soybean yields.… Continue reading

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Meat exports holding strong

U.S. pork exports posted another strong performance in October, led by record-large shipments to Mexico and broad-based growth elsewhere, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). October beef exports remained well below last year’s large totals but improved from September, led by stronger demand in Mexico and Taiwan. While achieving growth in Central America, October exports of U.S. lamb trended lower overall, falling 47% from a year ago in volume (182 mt) and 28% in value ($1.13 million).

October pork exports totaled 245,345 metric tons (mt), up 3% year-over-year and the largest since June, valued at $688.2 million — down 2% from a year ago. Shipments to leading market Mexico reached new highs for both volume and value, while exports to Colombia were the largest since mid-2022 and achieved the highest value in nearly 2 years. October exports to Central America were among the largest on record and included record-large shipments to Guatemala.… Continue reading

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Ohio Fair Managers Association annual convention highlights

Delegates from Ohio’s 94 county and independent fairs came together for the 99th Ohio Fair Managers Association annual convention at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in January. 

One of the highlights of the event is always the crowning of the new Ohio Fair’s Queen. The newly crowned 2024 Ohio Fair’s Queen is Leah Schuhart from Muskingum County who is really looking forward to the next year.

In addition, 2024 Hall of Fame inductees recognized at the event were: Bev Fisher, Mahoning County; Candy Tripp, Marion County; Cindy Woodman, Lake County; Bob Buxton, Coshocton County; and Dan Kimmet, Allen County.  

Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director Brian Baldridge addressed the group. Other special attendees included: Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Ohio Treasurer of State Robert Sprague, and Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber. 

Honors were awarded to individuals and organizations for outstanding service to their local fairs.… Continue reading

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Have farmers “cried drought” one too many times?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC 

The Mato Grosso region of Brazil had been experiencing the worst drought and heat in the past 40 years. However, recent rains and more moderate temperatures have helped the crop a little. But moisture levels in that region now are up to the same level as the worst of the last 10 years when around a 10% yield reduction happened.

Everyone wants to know how bad the soybean yields will be and if there were enough extra acres planted to offset any yield reductions. The market seems to be reacting like last summer, when timely rains throughout the U.S. helped sustain the health of the crop just enough to produce decent, but not record, yields.

It is possible farmers have “cried drought” one too many times. The market may just be tired of being fooled by social media posts of bad crops and disaster yields prematurely, and then later finding out it’s not as bad as everyone thought. … Continue reading

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Big yield record set in National Corn Yield Contest

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced the winners of the 2023 National Corn Yield Contest. This group of farmers put up some impressive yields and proved, once again, the ingenuity and resiliency of the U.S. farmer.  

In its 59th year, the National Corn Yield Contest saw nearly 7,000 entries from farmers in 46 states. Entrants across the 10 production categories, including the pilot category for nitrogen management, Class J, had verified yields averaging 269 bushels per acre, compared to the projected national average of 173 bushels per acre. This includes a new national record yield of 623.8439 bushels per acre from David Hula in Charles City, VA, besting the previous record of 616.1953 bushels per acre.  

“Year after year, the National Corn Yield Contest remains the most popular program for NCGA members,” said Harold Wolle, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “It is an opportunity for farmers across the country to put their skills to the test and show the true craftmanship it takes to grow a successful corn crop, and the agronomic data generated by the contest each year helps provide valuable information for future success.”… Continue reading

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Begin planning now to use Ohio’s Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program

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

Ohio’s Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program aims to help level the playing field for beginning farmers in Ohio. It does so by providing income tax benefits for both a beginning farmer and someone who transfers farm assets to the beginning farmer. The new program first became available for the 2023 tax year, and sunsets on Jan. 1, 2028, or when total income tax credits granted amount to $10 million. Participating in the program requires good planning, so now is the optimal time for existing and beginning farmers to consider how best to utilize the program while program funds are still available.

Our law bulletin, Ohio’s Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program, can help guide planning efforts. The bulletin explains how the program works and outlines the process for qualifying for the program’s income tax credits.… Continue reading

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Registration open for Pork Congress

The Ohio Pork Congress continues its annual tradition of delivering timely, relevant, and useful information for pork producers and everyone working in today’s pork industry when it takes place on Feb. 6-7, 2024, at the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center in Lima, Ohio.

“I strongly encourage anyone involved in the pork industry to attend Ohio Pork Congress,” said Nick Seger, Ohio Pork Council president and producer from Shelby County. “It’s truly the best opportunity to learn what’s going on in our industry from top experts, to network with fellow producers, and to see what’s new on the trade show floor.”

OPC attendees will not want to miss the presentation by Steve Meyer, lead economist with Partners for Production Agriculture. He will offer his keen insights into what the rest of 2024 has in store in terms of cost of production, profitability, exports, and more. Adding even more context on what the coming year will bring will be the National Pork Board’s Neal Hull and Jose de Jesus as they explain what Checkoff-funded strategies are underway to boost domestic pork demand.… Continue reading

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EPA reinstates Chlorpyrifos for crops

By ASA eBean News and Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced its decision to restore the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on crops, including soybeans, following a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The court found that EPA unlawfully revoked tolerances, ending use of the insecticide in 2021. Chlorpyrifos, which is the active ingredient in the brand name of products such as Lorsban and Warhawk, is an organophosphate (Group 1B) insecticide that has been used for many important field crop pests in the United States.

“U.S. soybean growers welcome the announcement that chlorpyrifos tolerances and uses will be restored, and EPA will commit to a science-based review of the pesticide, as ordered by the Eighth Circuit Court. EPA’s own science has repeatedly found there are at least 11 high-benefit, safe uses of chlorpyrifos, including for soybeans—a fact of which we will continue to remind the agency throughout this process,” said Alan Meadows, A soybean farmer from Tennessee. … Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 330 | ODA Director Brian Baldridge

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Brian Baldridge is the featured guest for the first Ohio Ag Net Podcast of 2024, joining hosts Matt Reese and Joel Penhorwood. The three discuss a wide variety of issues, including Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, ODA’s groundbreaking of the new animal diagnostics laboratory, H2Ohio, the new recommendation to lead the Ohio State Fair and Ohio Expo Center, as well as much more. Director Baldridge also gives a recap of the big items of 2023 as well as the issues that lie ahead in 2024, including farm preservation and even a quick chat about artificial intelligence.

Other guest audio in the podcast includes:

  • Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo visits with Tom Fontana and Jeanne Gogolski on GrowNextGen
  • Ohio Ag Net’s Dusty Sonnenberg hears from Dale Arnold, director of energy policy at Ohio Farm Bureau, about the issues of the day in that changing world.


Intro and conversation with ODA Director Brian Baldridge0:00.000
Tom Fontana and Jeanne Gogolski on GrowNextGen4:51.299
Dale Arnold on energy25:17.182
Back with Director Baldridge28:28.342
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No, not that kind of A.I.: Introducing the Select Sires Member Cooperative

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net

A company whose name is woven into the fabric of Ohio agriculture is getting an update. COBA/Select Sires recently merged with three similar organizations across the country in late 2023 to form a new, albeit familiar, cooperative.

Chris Sigurdson, CEO of the SSMC, was the previous general manager of COBA/Select Sires and Minnesota/Select Sires.

Though the newly formed Select Sires Member Cooperative (SSMC), is different in name, Ohio farmers will experience little change as the same Ohio headquarters, cooperative principles, and strong product lineup will remain in place.

The major change? Operational efficiencies, said Chris Sigurdson, CEO of the SSMC.

“Select Sires Member Cooperative, or SSMC as it’s quickly been known, is really a continuation of a rather significant position in the dairy and beef sectors here in the United States by member-owned, member-controlled cooperatives that have started in the early forties,” Sigurdson said.

Before being selected to helm the new organization, Sigurdson was the general manager of COBA/Select Sires and Minnesota/Select Sires.… Continue reading

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Partnering with a certified public accountant

By Brian Ravencraft

I am sure you have been told time and time again that all farmers and agribusiness owners should partner with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). I know I have made that point a few times or so over the years. Making the point and explaining the point are two different things. For this month’s article, I want to touch on some of explanations around why a CPA should be a part of your farm management team. This partnership extends far beyond tax planning and filing. Let’s take a look.

Financial management

Farmers and agribusiness owners need to keep track of their income and expenses, manage their cash flow, and have a good understanding of their financial position. A CPA can help with these tasks by providing bookkeeping and accounting services, creating budgets and financial statements, and providing financial advice. With a CPA’s expertise, farmers and business owners can make informed financial decisions to help grow their business.… Continue reading

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Making plans for cattle in 2024

By Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, Ohio State University Extension 

Early 2023 will be remembered by cattlemen for the record cattle prices that have continued to soften since September. In early November in a typically benign WASDE report, USDA raised their beef production projection 2% for 2024.This increase sent some shock through the markets. This increase in projected beef production is likely due to higher feedlot placements this fall due to weather. Look for this to be somewhat short lived as the cattle supply continues to be tight. While cattle prices have been softer since mid-September, the long-term outlook is still rather favorable as the cow herd continues to shrink.

At this point, I am optimistic going forward. A strong Replacement Female sale on Black Friday was an indication that there is demand for quality cattle with known genetics and there is greater willingness to pay for quality cattle than one may have thought given the greater scope of the economy.… Continue reading

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New year, new me

By Luke Jennings, 2023-2024 State President of the Ohio FFA Association

As the clock struck midnight, the ball dropped, and we cheered for the start of 2024, many of us probably said this very saying, or at least thought it in our head. Even though it’s likely that most of us have forgotten about our New Year’s resolutions, maybe you’ve been able to beat the odds and stick with it.

While it’s always good to set new goals, 2023 will be a hard year to beat for Ohio FFA members. After closing out a record attendance at the 95th Ohio FFA Convention, dancing our way through Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum, and working all summer on SAEs, we kicked off what’s been a stellar school year.

Ohio FFA members took “stellar” to a whole new level at the 96th National FFA Convention and Expo. Our buckeye state was well represented with three American Star Finalists, three top 10 chapters, 19 national proficiency finalists, one chorus member, one talent act, 47 agriscience fair finalists, two VIP citation honorees, dozens of CDE and LDE competitors, and 457 American Degree recipients.… Continue reading

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Soybean Supply Chains and the Panama and Suez Canals

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

Each year the Soy Transportation Coalition holds one of their board meetings at a key supply chain location so that the farmer/board members can see first-hand some parts of the supply chain. Those key parts may include ports, or rail facilities, or inland waterway systems, or most recently, the Panama Canal. 

“There are some key parts of the soybean supply chain that are consequential to the farmer’s profitability,” said Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “In order to be an advocate, you need to understand it first.” 

The visit to the Panama Canal was eye-opening for many attendees. 

“Last year 600 million bushels of soybeans transited the Panama Canal in route to important customers in Asia,” Steenhoek said. “Board members visited the Panama Canal both on the Pacific and Atlantic side, as well as getting a briefing from the Panama Canal Authority.… Continue reading

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The Ins & Outs of Washington in 2023

By Brooke S. Appleton, vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association

The last year has flown by, but a lot has happened over the year. As we get started with 2024, it is important to take time to reflect on the changes we’ve seen in the nation’s capital city during 2023. And that leads us to our annual Ins & Outs list, our fun but also serious list of what is en vogue and what’s passé. With no further ado, here is the list…

The House of Thin Margins 

As I write this column, the House has 221 Republicans and 213 Democrats. One vacancy was recently created when former Rep. George Santos (R-NY) was ousted after an ignominious and short tenure in the lower chamber. The small margins have pitted the agendas of more moderate Republicans against those of members of the conservative Freedom Caucus. The intensity of the fractured House reached fever pitch in October when then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)… Continue reading

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