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Recent weeks tough on grain prices

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Cindy and I were recently trying to efficiently navigate a crowded aisle at a local store. As she opted to cut to the left, I deemed right to be the faster option and chose to guide her in that direction. As per kindergarten teacher training. I heard, “uh we don’t push” with the accompanying “look.” As we left the store, she kindly reminded me, “Doug, steer your truck, not your wife.” Now that was funny, and laugher is always the best medicine. (Lesson learned).

The last 3 months of 2023 were not kind to grain prices as corn, from its mid-October high at $5.21, closed on Dec. 29 at $4.71. Soybeans had a mid-November high at $14.10, closing on Dec. 29 at $12.98. That trend continued into the first 2 weeks of January with further declines. The Jan. 12 USDA report day was a “Bad Day at Black Rock,” to borrow the title from a short story by Howard Breslin and published by The American Magazine in January 1947.… Continue reading

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Highland County’s Ag is Everyone’s Business Event set for March 1

The Highland County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the presentation of the 12th annual Ag is Everyone’s Business event on Friday, March 1 at Boeckmann Farms, owned and operated by Jason and Amy Boeckmann, located north of Hillsboro.

This year’s keynote speaker is Shawn Hackett, ag commodities expert and TV and radio personality. Hackett has dedicated his life to educating Ag industry leaders and farmers about financial risk management, hedging and the utility of indicator-based Ag commodity price forecasting tools. His extensive research on long-term cycles and statistics on climate, currencies, geopolitics, and global capital flows have long been a key differentiating factor for Hackett’s price forecasting skills. Hackett takes complicated concepts and presents them in an easily digestible framework to a wide audience and discusses them regularly in his subscriber-based Hackett Agricultural Report and Hackett Dairy Report. Hackett will be presenting: How weather, geopolitics, and other factors are influencing ag prices.… Continue reading

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Increasing the yield of future agriculturalists

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

Farmers want to improve yields, but not just of the crops they grow on their farm.

“About 11 or 12 years ago, the soybean farmers on our board were looking for a couple things that would really make a difference. They wanted to invest in a couple of big projects. One was soybean yield — big surprise — but equally as important to our board was our education program,” said Tom Fontana, director of research and education for the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC). “They wanted to make the connection between science and agriculture in Ohio classrooms. Agriculture needs people to work in our industry and introducing students to all the aspects of agriculture and career opportunities in our industry is vitally important, as is educating them about what we do on farms.”

At the time, OSC had already been making significant investments in this area in cooperation with Jeanne Gogolski, current CEO of Education Projects, in the development of science-based school curriculum built around agriculture.… Continue reading

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2024 Beef Expo March 14-17

Ohio’s premier beef industry event, the Ohio Beef Expo is scheduled for March 14-17, 2024 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. The event will provide cattle enthusiasts from across Ohio and surrounding states with a unique experience that brings education, breed sales, youth shows, industry retail opportunities, and more together all in one place.

This year’s schedule will be similar to the 2023 event. The Coliseum will be used for all junior show activities. The Junior Show will continue with the Market Animal Show on Saturday and the Heifer Show on Sunday. All Junior Show stalling will take place online and viaducts will reserved for OCA BEST sponsors. Remaining viaduct bays, premium stalling, and horse stall purchases will be made in an online auction on Feb. 21.

New this year, the Hereford breed will be kicking off the Saturday sale schedule. The newest addition to the Ohio Beef Expo breeds line-up, the Aberdeen Angus breed, will be one of the 10 breeds hosting sales during the Expo on Friday and Saturday.… Continue reading

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Improving seed germination

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers struggle to get their crops and seeds planted to germinate quickly.  When seeds are dormant, they wait for just the right conditions before germinating.  Often environmental stresses like not enough moisture (drought) or lack of oxygen make seeds wait until conditions improve. Seeds have a built-in mechanism that prevents them from germinating too soon.  This cautious seed germination approach also tends to hurt plant yields, because plants get off to a late start. 

Dr. Brad Binder, University of Tennessee has been working with various plant seeds and the plant hormone ethylene to study seed germination.  Ethylene increases seed germination, increases leaf growth, and root growth early in a plant’s life.  When applied later in the growing season, ethylene causes plants to mature quicker (senescence) or die off and it promotes fruit ripening.  Dr. Binder exposed tomato, cucumber, and wheat seeds to ethylene in the dark just like when seeds are planted and found that when the seeds started growing and were exposed to sunlight, the plants where taller, had larger leaves, more robust roots, and grew much better.… Continue reading

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Hear Ohio Ag Net on 99.9 FM WTUZ

Our series rolls right along highlighting the outstanding Ohio Ag Net radio affiliates carrying the best in Ohio ag news.

This week, we say thank you to 99.9 FM WTUZ Z-Country serving Tuscarawas County and the surrounding area. Tune in to hear the Ohio Ag Net Monday-Friday at 5:05 a.m. and 12:04 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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Bearish report day to kick off 2024

By Bennett Musselman, Leist Mercantile

Trade expectations: lower U.S. soybean exports, higher U.S. corn for ethanol, lower Brazil soybean production.

U.S. highlights: U.S. 2023 final corn production 15.3 billion bushels, 177.3 yield ; last month production of 15.234 billion bushels, yield 174.9. U.S. final soybean 2023 production 4.16 billion bushels, 50.6 average yield; last month 4.129 billion bushels, yield 49.9.  

Following the noon USDA report release, corn was down 11 ½ cents, soybeans down 22 ¾ cents, and wheat down 4 ¼ cents. Moments before the report was released, corn was down 3 ½ cents, soybeans up 1 ¾  cents, and wheat down 1 1/2 cents.

US 2023-2024 ending stocks: corn 2.162  billion bushels, last month 2.131 billion bushels; soybeans 280 million bushels, last month 245 million bushels; and wheat 648 million bushels, last month 659 million bushels. 

Trader estimates for 2023-2024 U.S. ending stocks: corn 2.105 billion bushels; soybeans 239  million bushels; and wheat 658 million bushels. … Continue reading

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New year, new regulations

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

A new year, a new regulation. This time it’s the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) that begins on Jan. 1, 2024. Congress passed this act in 2021 to enhance transparency in entity structures and ownership. You may also find it being referred to as Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting.

The CTA is primarily an anti-money laundering law. In it, Congress states that bad actors seek to conceal their ownership of corporations, limited liability companies, or similar entities in the United States to facilitate money laundering, financing of terrorism, tax fraud and other illegal acts. Consequently, Congress passed this legislation that requires reporting of the beneficial owners of corporations, limited liability companies, etc. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, the beneficial owners must be reported to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for every corporation or website you are involved with, unless there is an exemption.… Continue reading

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The journey from moldboard to Outstanding No-Till Farmer

By Matt Reese

The switch from potatoes and dairy production on Ted Logan’s Morrow County farm to no-till and cover crops has been a radical change — especially for the clay loam soil on the gently rolling fields.

“Up until about 15 years ago, we milked cows and were a commercial potato operation. Potatoes require moldboard plowing every 3 years. Then we switched to basically no-till corn and soybeans for the labor savings and got out of the potato and dairy operation,” Logan said. ”Since then, the soil has completely changed. When you till it frequently like we used to do, the soil just gets very hard. The organic matter levels were down to 1% or lower and it was just very difficult to have any kind of mellowness to the soil. Organic matter is up to 3.5% to 4% now. I feel that can tide you over in the dry times and the soil is so — resilient — is the best word I can use.”… Continue reading

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It’s time for the 2024 Winter Agronomy Meetings in Ohio

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and Check-off, Adapted from C.O.R.N 2023-42 and 2024-1

With the turning of the calendar and snow on the ground it is a sure sign that agriculture has moved into the next season.  Some call it the winter season; others call it Agronomy Meeting Season.

The first statewide meeting in Ohio this year is a virtual opportunity for farmers. Battle for the Belt: Corn vs. Soybean- Virtual Corn College and Soybean School is quickly approaching. The 4th annual virtual Corn College & Soybean School will be held on Friday, February 2. The webinar will begin at 9:00 a.m. and finish at 4:00 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.… Continue reading

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Eclipse watch parties offered at state parks

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

It’s not too early to reserve a chance to sleep under the stars and witness history right here in Ohio this April. As of this writing there are still camping spots available for campers at many Ohio State Parks in the path of the total solar eclipse on April 8, but you may want to make your site reservations sooner rather than later (which is why I share them now).

“Our state parks provide a beautiful backdrop to all sorts of fun outdoor activities,” said Mary Mertz, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director. “Our campers can get a great spot for the total eclipse along with some expert programming from our naturalists and fun activities all weekend long.”

Programming planned for the total solar eclipse at Ohio State Parks includes science projects, astronomy-related lessons, and observations about the impact of the eclipse has on wildlife.… Continue reading

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Liquor and food contamination nothing to mess with

By Don “Doc” Sanders

While conducting research for a scientific paper, I stumbled across a memorable report that involved people dying of accidental moonshine poisoning. During the Great Depression, unemployed people improvised ways to get cheap liquor. In the case I’m referring to, some Alabamans built a still with empty hydraulic oil drums they stole from an Air Force base. The product of their backwoods engineering, Ginger Jake, was an incredibly popular drink across Alabama at the time.

The popularity of the hooch from this particular still, though, had a major downside. That’s because the stolen, repurposed drums had contained oil laced with TOCP, a toxic organic compound. I’ll save you from having to read the full chemical name. It’s enough to know that TOCP is nothing to mess with.

It causes delayed neurotoxicity in humans. More than 50,000 people who consumed the Ginger Jake, in this case, weeks later developed an untreatable nerve paralysis in their legs after consuming this moonshine.… Continue reading

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Help shape the future of eFields with survey participation

By Elizabeth Hawkins, Ohio State University Extension

The eFields team is looking for farmers, consultants, and other individuals to participate in study to evaluate the impact of the Ohio State University eFields program and assist us with making improvements. Completing the survey will take less than 15 minutes and is accessible on-line at You will have until March 1, 2024 to complete the survey.

Completing the survey will constitute your consent to participate in the study. Questions about the survey or its use should be directed to Elizabeth Hawkins at… Continue reading

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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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