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Make your avocation your vocation

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

Nibblin’ on sponge cake
Watchin’ the sun bake
All of those tourists covered with oil
Strummin’ my six string
On my front porch swing
Smell those shrimp, they’re beginnin’ to boil

Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville
Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt
Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
But I know, it’s nobody’s fault

Jimmy Buffett died on September 1, 2023, and we lost one of our finest entertainers and a national treasure. What does this have to do with agriculture? As the late law professor, Morgan Shipman, used to opine, nothing and everything.

Jimmy Buffett was born on Christmas Day in 1946 in Mississippi. And he was the son of a son of a sailor, as his grandfather was a steamship captain from Newfoundland. Buffett described his younger self as a simple Catholic alter boy who wanted to play bass in a band so he could meet girls.… Continue reading

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Corn progressing to mature mark in warm, dry conditions

Last week, warm temperatures and dry days supported favorable row crop development, according to Ben Torrance, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 2 percent very short, 16 percent short, 78 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending on September 3 was 67.4 degrees, 2.7 degrees below normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 0.02 inches of precipitation, 0.86 inches below average. There were 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending September 3.

Seasonally moderate temperatures and dry days benefitted crop conditions in most counties. However, some reporters in west-central counties noted excessively dry soils, with moisture-stress evident in some soybean stands. Damaging effects from last month’s high winds and hail were observed by fruit and vegetable growers in several northeastern counties. Ninety percent of corn was in or past dough, 40 percent of Ohio corn was in or past dent, and 2 percent was mature.… Continue reading

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GrowNextGen ambassadors take learning to the farm

In this featured audio, Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo speaks with Bret Davis, a farmer in Delaware County. Davis hosted teachers from the GrowNextGen ambassador project at his farm to help them better understand agriculture and how they can build that understanding in the students they teach. From making the connection between agriculture and its products in our everyday lives to cultivating excitement, Davis and Minyo discuss why this type of learning is fundamental for all students – no matter their age. … Continue reading

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Farm payment limits addressed in Farm Program Integrity Act

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), in introduced bipartisan legislation to address abuse of the farm payment system and ensure taxpayer support is targeted to those actively engaged in farming. The Farm Program Integrity Act would create a hard cap of $250,000 in total commodity support for any one farm operation and require beneficiaries of the system spend at least 50% of each year engaged in farm labor or management. Currently, just 10% of farm operations receive 70% of all yearly farm payment subsidies.

“For years we’ve seen big farms get bigger while small and mid-sized family farmers in Ohio get squeezed,” Brown said. “Too often, farm program payments have gone to producers who do not need the support, or to people who aren’t even involved in farming. With this commonsense bill we can ensure assistance is directed toward working Ohio farmers.”

The Farm Program Integrity Act has garnered support from Taxpayers for Common Sense, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, R Street Institute, U.S.… Continue reading

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A final look at the 2022 marketing year

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC 

Usually by this time of year there is more clarity around yield potential, but the extent of possible late season heat damage is creating some uncertainty in the market. Right now, the bean market likely has more upside potential than corn, because August weather is more critical for bean development.

Final thoughts on the 2022 corn marketing year

Over the last few weeks, I have been reviewing my 2022 crop sales to evaluate performance and see how I can improve my grain marketing strategies going forward. 

At first, I was a little disappointed with the average sales of $6.42 corn futures for 2022. However, it is easy to forget that waiting until spring the previous two years had led to values between $7.50 to $8.00, and market conditions this year suggested it could happen again. The following chart shows the spot futures market the previous two years.… Continue reading

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Howard Wyman Leadership School securing a strong future for sheep

By Jake Zajkowski, OCJ field reporter

The Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School has been bringing together sheep producers from around the country for over 50 years. This year the five-day experience included meat processing workshops, feedlot tours, and conversations among sheep producers from the nation’s diverse operations.

The school is organized by the National Lamb Feeders Association and moves to different locations around the country. This year was the third time the program has been held in Ohio.

“This is a big deal for the lamb feeder industry,” said Karen Mineotis, executive director of the National Lamb Feeders Association. “This is their primary way to get young people involved in the industry so we can teach them how to focus on getting better in their production. Producers should know what our feeders want so they can be profitable, and so can the meat packer. We need to keep a consistent quality product here in the United States and that’s what we’re striving for here.”… Continue reading

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Soybean Growth Nodules

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Soybean Lead/Field Agronomist, Seed Consultants, Inc.

The relationship between soybean growth and nodules is widely understood. Nodules form on the roots of the soybean plant, fixing nitrogen as early as the V2 stage of development. This symbiotic relationship is key to achieving the high yield potential of today’s soybean genetics. With the appearance of pockets of stunted and yellow soybeans in eastern Corn Belt fields this year, there have been many questions about soybean nodule development. Below are some key factors that can impact the rhizobia bacteria and lead to some of the issues we have seen in soybean fields:

Factors that negatively impact rhizobia bacteria and soybean nodulation:

  • Saturated soils where oxygen is limited
  • Excessively dry soil conditions
  • Compacted soils where oxygen is limited
  • Some in-furrow fertilizers can be toxic to the rhizobia bacteria
  • Low soil pH (less than 5.6) or high soil pH (greater than 8.0)
  • Soils with low organic matter
  • Residual soil nitrogen can limit the development of nodules

Factors that promote nodulation and efficient nitrogen fixation:

  • Adequate population of rhizobia bacteria
  • pH between 6.5 and 7.0
  • Use of an inoculant that has been correctly stored and applied
  • Soil temperatures between 40 and 80 degrees F

Soybean nodulation is a key factor in the growth and development of soybean plants.… Continue reading

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Hear Ohio Ag Net on 97.5 WTGR

We continue to highlight our outstanding Ohio Ag Net radio affiliates, carrying the best in Ohio ag news.

We say thank you to Tiger County 97.5 WTGR serving Darke and surrounding counties. Tune in to 97.5 FM to hear the Ohio Ag Net Monday-Friday at 6:35 a.m., 5:45 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:10 p.m., 12:30 p.m., 4:10 p.m., and 4:40 p.m.

The best in Ohio ag news is easy to find! If your current station doesn’t feature the voice of Ohio Ag—turn the dial! Click here to view the complete affiliate listing, including air times.Continue reading

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Farmers for Soil Health offers financial assistance for cover crop adoption

The farmer-led, farmer-driven initiative offers cost-share programs and technical assistance to farmers in 20 states — including Ohio — who plant cover crops for three years.

Farmers in 20 states can now enroll in cost-share programs through Farmers for Soil Health. This corn, pork and soy commodity initiative, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, establishes financial and technical assistance for corn and soybean farmers who adopt cover crops. The focus is to bring money directly back to farmers, where sustainability is happening at the farm level.

Participating farmers who plant cover crops will receive payments to help transition totaling $50 (spanning three years) per new acre of cover crops planted. These payments of $2 per acre are available for up to 600,000 acres of existing cover crops. Eligible farmers will participate in measurement, reporting, and verification to highlight progress toward the goal of expanding adoption of cover crops.… Continue reading

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Ohio Field Leader Podcast Episode 35, Matt Sullivan

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

Farming near an urban center has unique challenges. Dusty is joined in this episode by Matt Sullivan of Circle S Farms in Franklin County. Matt along with his wife Amy and their sons Caleb and Timothy and Caleb’s wife Claire operate Circle S Farms serving the greater Columbus, Ohio metro area. Over the years the operation has evolved from a traditional crop and livestock farm in the 1950’s, to a large turkey farm, to a traditional cash grain operation, to a diversified vegetable operation, to now an agritourism farm. The Sullivans still grow corn and soybeans, but also pumpkins and sunflowers. Join Dusty and Matt as they talk about the journey of this family farm and the opportunities and challenges of farming near a large metro area.… Continue reading

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Wheat management and input survey

By Laura Lindsey and Matthew Hankinson, Ohio State University Extension

This fall, with funding from Ohio Corn and Wheat, we will begin a new project “The Wheat to Beat” to identify management practices of interest to farmers that improve wheat yield, profitability, and quality. This project will include a “people’s choice treatment.” To vote on management practices and inputs to be examined in this study, please complete this brief survey:

Please complete the survey by Sunday, Sept. 3.

Project guidelines:

Location — A high-yielding wheat variety will be planted in three locations (Northwest Agricultural Research Station in Wood County, Wooster Campus in Wayne County, and Western Agricultural Research Station in Clark County).

Baseline treatments — The wheat variety to be planted at all three locations is Seed Consultants 13S22. At all three locations, soil test P and K will be adequate for wheat production. (You may choose to apply additional fertilizer if you wish and can indicate this on the survey.)… Continue reading

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Minter named Extension Field Specialist, Specialty Crops Production Systems at Ohio State

Logan Minter has been hired as field specialist, specialty crops production systems, for Ohio State University Extension in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Minter, who previously worked as an associate professor of biology at Shawnee State University, began his new position Aug. 1, said Jacqueline Kirby Wilkins, associate dean and director, OSU Extension.

“In this new role, Logan will provide overall leadership for a comprehensive outreach, applied research, and teaching agenda for Extension’s statewide agriculture and natural resources program,” Wilkins said. “Logan’s work with specialty crops will be relevant to Extension professionals, growers, industry contacts, and other Extension clientele throughout Ohio.”

Specialty crops as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture include fruits, vegetables, nuts, nursery crops, flowers, and other horticultural crops. Minter will address several priority production issues such as pest control, disease management, production methods, organization systems, and breeding and varietal trials of new cultivars.… Continue reading

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Western Ohio cropland values and cash rents 2022-23

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, Director, OSU Income Tax Schools, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension, Agriculture & Natural Resources

Continued high crop prices, reasonable crop margins and relatively healthy farm balance sheets over the last 2 years have given strength to farmland markets. Higher input costs over the last two years together with rising interest rates have offset some of this support but farmland values continue to increase. Many of these same factors have given support to the farmland rental markets which have also seen increases last year and are expected to see additional increases in 2023.

Results from the Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents Survey show cropland values in western Ohio are expected to increase in 2023 by 6.1 to 10.7% depending on the region and land class. This follows increases ranging from 6.9 to 13.8% from ’21 to ’22.

Cash rents are expected to increase from 5.0 to 6.7% in 2023 depending on the region and land class.… Continue reading

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Ohio 4-H Pathways to the Future focuses on work ethic certification

Ohio 4-H youth development will be one of the first 4-H programs in the nation to offer high school students a work ethic certification. 

Designed by Mike Rowe, best known as the host of television’s Dirty Jobs, the work ethic curriculum will be offered under the Ohio 4-H Pathways to the Future initiative. Ohio high schoolers will have the opportunity to learn about the importance of work ethic, personal responsibility, delayed gratification, and a positive attitude when it comes to future employment.

“In 2008, Mike Rowe saw a need to connect with a skilled workforce and offer youth the opportunity to engage with the demand for a career in the trades,” said Margo Overholt-Seckel, program manager, Ohio 4-H Workforce Development and Pathways. “His foundation created the MRW Work Ethic Certification.”

Four Ohio 4-H professionals completed the training and can now offer the work ethic curriculum. Several other 4-H and community development Extension educators and professionals in the process of completing the training. … Continue reading

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Connecting soybeans and science for all ages

By Jake Zajkowski, OCJ field reporter

GrowNextGen ambassadors can be found at the county fair, library events, and even local community events. This group of young educators travels across the state, connecting soybeans with science in ways that many might not consider.

Microinvertebrates, although not something raised on a farm, are organisms that serve as crucial indicators of a healthy water system in agriculture. Shelbie Snoke talks about microinvertebrates in her role as a GrowNextGen ambassador while demonstrating water quality to children.

“We have three different water quality buckets. One contains super clean sand, while the others are so murky you can’t see through them,” Snoke said. “We have various microinvertebrates living in our water samples that serve as a visual, teaching kids how water quality can be determined by the organisms within it.”

Snoke set up her station in the Land and Living Building at the Ohio State Fair where she interacted with countless fairgoers whose sole exposure to agriculture may only be a few minutes with her.… Continue reading

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Late-season pigweed scouting

By Alyssa Essman, Ohio State University Extension

Pigweed plants that escaped POST applications or emerged after can now be seen above soybean canopies. Especially important are waterhemp and Palmer amaranth, as these species pose increased economic and management concerns. Waterhemp and Palmer plants can produce upwards of one million seeds per plant in certain situations. Managing these weeds often starts with preventing introductions. Anything we can do from now through harvest to prevent seed from being deposited into the soil seed bank will pay dividends down the road. At this point there are limited control options beyond scouting and hand pulling. Just a few plants left in the field can lead to a total infestation if they produce seeds. 

Viability of pigweed seed is greatly reduced after 3 to 5 years. Management over a couple of growing seasons can drastically reduce populations. Aside from tremendous seed production, fast growth rates, and lengthy emergence windows, what makes us most nervous about these weeds is their propensity to develop herbicide resistance.… Continue reading

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Sheep shearing school

By Brady Campbell, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University Small Ruminant Extension Specialist

A few seats still remain for the Statewide Sheep Shearing School. The Ohio State University departments of Animal Sciences and Extension are pleased to announce the dates of the 2023 Fall Statewide Ohio Sheep Shearing School to be held on Sept. 22-23, 2023 from 9:00 am – 4:00 p.m. at the Dave Cable Farm in Hebron, Ohio (10491 Canal Rd., Hebron, OH 43025).

During this two day schooling event, attendees will be given the opportunity to learn how to properly shear a sheep using the Australian shearing method. Those in attendance will be taught by veteran shearers as they walk through each step and demonstrate how to properly position the sheep and shearing hand piece in the correct location. Attendees will also learn to appreciate fleece quality by ensuring that their work station is clear of debris and how to keep the animals fleece all in one piece.… Continue reading

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PFAS: The “forever chemicals” with a troubling impact, even on farming

There’s a broad class of highly toxic chemicals called PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). About 14,000 of them. But never mind remembering their scientific names, let alone learning how to pronounce them.

Instead, remember PFAS by their common moniker, “forever chemicals.” They earn this descriptive handle because they break down very slowly and cause long-lasting catastrophic damage to the environment, health, and even the livelihood of farmers, like Art Schaap and his wife. They were (note my use of the past tense) the fifth generation of their family to own and operate Highland Dairy, just a few miles from Cannon Air Force base near Clovis, New Mexico. 

Until recent years, Highland Dairy milked about 4,000 cows. I first read about the dairy and PFAS five or six years ago when the chemicals were detected at the dairy. 

A primary mission of their neighbor, Cannon Air Force Base, is to train airmen to extinguish devastating fires caused by plane crashes, bombings and fuel explosions.… Continue reading

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