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Enjoying the view while it lasts

By Matt Reese

We had friends over for dinner the other night just as the first signs of spring were really starting to show up in the landscape around our home. They live in town and, as they got out of their car, they commented several times on how much they “love it out here.”

I agree. I love it “out here” too. The old farmhouse we live in has its various issues (as old farmhouses do), but it is surrounded by gently rolling farm fields with a bit of pasture mixed in and swaths of woodlands. The view from our house is great, especially for sunrises and sunsets. 

The wonderful view I enjoy brings value to my life, my family and my home. I appreciate it. 

Yet, I have never once offered to pay the local farmers who own and manage the land around me for the value of my view.… Continue reading

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Planting date

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc. 

For much of the Eastern Corn Belt it is widely understood that the optimal planting period is between April 20th and May 10th. Research has proven that corn loses yield potential daily when planted after the beginning of May. For the Central Corn Belt, the declines in yield potential due to planting delays vary from about 0.3% per day early in May to about 1% per day by the end of May according to Bob Nielsen at Purdue University. Knowing that this is true, it can be frustrating during a wet spring or when field work is delayed for one reason or another. Planting is a critical component of a successful crop as it sets the stage for the entire growing season. However, it is important to keep in mind that early planting is just one of many factors that contribute to high yield potential.… Continue reading

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Staff promotions at OFBF

Amanda Kolitsos has been named director of graphic design for Ohio Farm Bureau. She joined the organization nearly six years ago as a communications specialist. In her new role, Kolitsos will design Ohio Farm Bureau publications Buckeye Farm News and Our Ohio magazine, among other design projects, in addition to overseeing Ohio Farm Bureau brand management.

Prior to her time at Ohio Farm Bureau, Kolitsos was the communications director for the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association.

Kolitsos is a graduate of Brookville High School and holds an agricultural communications degree from The Ohio State University. She is a proud FFA and 4-H alum and a member of the Franklin County Farm Bureau.

Dave Gore of Marysville has been named communications specialist for Ohio Farm Bureau. He was previously the organization’s print services coordinator since 2013. As part of his new role, Gore will help Ohio Farm Bureau and county Farm Bureaus with design projects, in addition to helping with photography and video production.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation awards Action and Awareness grants

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently awarded grants to fund efforts in agriculture-related programming.

“A robust farm and food community is something that everyone in Ohio is reliant upon,” said Mike Townsley, chairman of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation board. “These fantastic grant recipients share a common goal to forge new programs and projects that will create enthusiasm for innovation and will promote growth in the interest and investment in Ohio’s farm and food community.”

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation funds programs that create a positive, measurable impact in four core areas of giving through its Action and Awareness grants program:

Education — Providing grants for professional development programs allowing individuals to advance their knowledge of agriculture, share ideas and improve people’s lives.

Environment — Funding sensible solutions that contribute to a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable Ohio by focusing on increased care for land and water.

Economic development — Capturing opportunities that build prosperity, create jobs and enhance the quality of life for Ohioans by funding projects that spur economic growth in local communities.… Continue reading

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Starting right to finish well

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Is there a place for using a starter fertilizer when planting soybeans? Farmers often think of using starter fertilizers when planting corn for various reasons. These can include: giving roots early access to plant nutrients, to stimulate early plant growth, to improve stand uniformity, to add micronutrients, and hopefully to increase yield.

Kurt Steinke, associate professor, Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Specialist for Michigan State University Extension has looked at research conducted when using starter fertilizer applied as a 2×2 when planting soybeans in 30 inch rows.

“The first thing to consider when thinking about using a starter fertilizer on soybeans, it what are your soil test concentrations,” Steinke said. “What are the P and K levels? If the K levels are not deficient, then a farmer can probably go without K in the starter.”

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Will corn need to rally to $8 or beans to $18 to ration the remaining supply?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The week’s biggest story was the inverse spread between the May and July contracts.  Inverses mean that the market is short and really needs to find supply.


Corn rarely sees inverse at this point in the year, so when they show up in the spring, they are a very big deal. The spread opened in late April with May being 23 cents higher than July on Monday. By Thursday’s close it was 51 cents higher.  This kind of spread hasn’t happened since the spring of 2013 which followed the drought year of 2012.

That Thursday was the last trading day on the May futures for most market participants before the delivery process starts on the May contracts.  Therefore, it was also the last day that the May contract had a daily price limit.  From now until its final trading day in mid-May, May futures movement won’t really matter because there are few market participants trading it.  Everyone’s… Continue reading

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Is there a fit for in-season liquid manure application for soybeans?

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Glen Arnold, Field Specialist for Manure Nutrient Management Photo Credit The Ohio State University

The use of livestock manure as a source of nutrients for crop production has been in place for decades. Manure is typically applied in the summer after wheat harvest, or in the spring prior to planting corn and soybeans, or in the fall after harvest.

“The vast majority of liquid livestock manure in the Western Lake Erie watershed is surface applied in the fall without a growing crop. This results in most of the nitrogen being lost, and a portion of the phosphorus,” said Glen Arnold, Field Specialist for Manure Nutrient Management with The Ohio State University.

Over time, as the livestock industry has evolved, more livestock production systems are managing liquid manure versus solid manure.

“Basically, we have built up a lot of liquid manure storage and application capacity and a lot of expensive equipment is used to move a lot of manure.

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Maximizing crop yield at planting

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

High grain prices for grain crops make any planting mistakes extremely costly.  Most corn yield is determined within the first several weeks.  Soybeans are a little more forgiving but any type of environmental (weather) or biological (weeds, disease, insects) stress can impact yields.  Healthy plants tolerate stress better than plants that are nutrient deficient.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

For corn, the best time to plant traditionally has been May 1-through May 10 according to Ohio State University Research.  Weather delays often make it hard to get all acres planted at this time.  Current varieties have a tremendous ability to compensate and still get good yields, but getting that plant off to a good start is critical.

Regarding soil health, soil microbes process the majority of the nutrients a plant absorbs.  Cold or wet conditions slow microbial growth and hurt plant growth. 

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FFA dancin’ in the rain

By Matt Reese

It is impossible to replace the in-person experience of the Ohio FFA Convention for the students who participate, but this year’s virtual installment still had plenty of highlights and recognition for FFA members who worked to make the best of the situation. 

The West Holmes FFA took things one step closer to an in-person convention by hosting FFA chapters from several counties with an in-person viewing at the Holmes County Fairgrounds. Dale Minyo served as the emcee for their FFA FUNvention. West Holmes FFA even got to celebrate their own Chase Stitzlein’s Star Farmer win together.

“We brainstormed and thought we needed to do something real for the kids. We got 18 schools together in 8 or 10 counties for an event to resemble convention,” said Jamie Chenevey, the West Holmes advisor. “We had workshops, and a session, we did a community service, we had an awards night, and a tradeshow.… Continue reading

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GMO versus non-GMO crops

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Ohio is one of the leading states planting Non-GMO crops.  GMO stands for genetically modified organisms.  About 92% of the US corn and 94% of soybeans in 2018 were genetically modified for weeds, insects, or drought tolerance.  Japan and many European countries are demanding crops that are Non-GMO, so farmers can pick up premiums by growing these crops.  Premiums vary by company, crop variety, and purity but premiums may be around $0.25 per corn bushel and $1-$2 per bushel on soybeans.

In a GMO crop, scientist identify a gene in a organism, then copy and insert that gene into a crop like corn, soybeans, potatoes, etc.  GMO crops are typically resistant to herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup with CP4 gene) or Glufosinate (Liberty Link, PAT gene).  GMO corn insecticides resistance is obtained by using up to seven genes from the Bacterium thuringiensis that produces proteins that are toxic to certain insect pests like corn rootworm, corn stalk borer, corn earworms, fall army worm and several other insect pests. 

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USDA announces listening session on impacts of COVID-19 on new farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a virtual listening session for beginning farmers and ranchers to learn how COVID-19 impacted their farming operations and to get their feedback on USDA assistance. The listening session will take place on May 6, 2021, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Eastern time.

“We invite beginning farmers and ranchers to share their experiences in navigating USDA’s resources for assistance after the pandemic,” said Gloria Montaño Greene, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation.

“We need to understand what worked well and where we can improve, while deepening our understanding of how farmers were affected by the pandemic and how they are modifying their operations,” said Mae Wu, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

Montaño Greene and Wu will be joined by Zach Ducheneaux, USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator, and Sarah Campbell, USDA’s National Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coordinator.

This feedback will inform USDA preparations for outreach strategies, programmatic needs, technical assistance and accessible program delivery for beginning farmers and ranchers through Pandemic Assistance for Producers.… Continue reading

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Farmers helping food banks

By Vince Hall, interim chief government relations officer at Feeding America

My father spent 30 years in the rice business and I remember driving a “bank out” wagon to transport the grain before I ever drove a car. From those rural roots I came to appreciate that farmers are the foundation of our nation’s food system, providing the nourishing foods we all need to lead healthy, happy lives. Farmers — through advocacy, fundraising and more — are also critical partners in our nation’s fight against hunger, especially now, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today I’m proud to serve Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. Working together, in 2020 we provided a record-number of meals to our neighbors in need amid new challenges to putting food on the table: a once-in-a-generation pandemic made going to the grocery store an uncertain experience, food prices reached a 50-year high and unemployment rates rivaled those of the Great Depression.… Continue reading

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Avoid spreading SCN

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

Greg Tylka, Nematologist. Photo Credit: Iowa State University

As spring planting season rolls into full force, one of the last things on a farmer’s mind is the risk of spreading Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) during planting. “Anything that spreads soil spreads nematodes,” said Greg Tylka, Iowa State University Nematologist. This includes not just tillage equipment and planters, but even tractor and implement tires. If the tires are in a field with SCN and have soil that sticks to the tires, then that soil containing SCN can be spread to another field when if falls off.

The SCN Coalition campaign, “What’s your number? Take the test. Beat the Pest.”, encourages farmers to regularly test their fields for SCN. One of the only ways to reduce the likelihood of spreading it is to be aware of what fields have it present and at what levels.

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Ohio man sentenced for stealing grain

By Jeff Lewis, Research Specialist, Ohio State University Agricultural & Resource Law Program 

How often do you hear of farmers being victims of theft and a criminal on the run?  Well, last month an Ohio man was sentenced to one year in prison and 5 years of probation after stealing over $94,000 in harvested grain.  The defendant took his employer’s gravity wagon full of grain and sold it to a local co-op in Ashland County under false pretenses.  

After the theft was discovered, the defendant fled from Ohio, eventually having to be extradited from New Mexico.  This case demonstrates just how vulnerable farmers are to potential crimes.  For more information on intentional harm to farm property and your rights, check out our law bulletin.… Continue reading

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Controlling corn and soybean pests

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Controlling pests of corn and soybeans can be difficult.  Most farmers rely on seed treatments and broad-spectrum insecticides which terminate the pests but also takes out the beneficial natural predators.  The most common Ohio pests in corn and soybeans fields with cover crops are wireworm, seed corn maggot, black cutworm, true armyworm, slugs, and grubs.

Wireworms have a five-year life cycle with adults (called click beetles) laying 100-200 eggs in the spring and early summer.  Larva live in the soil until they mature into adults. Wireworms are a copper color, long, and slender. Wireworms damage corn and soybean seeds and cause seedling roots damage.

Wireworms have many natural predators including centipedes, soldier beetles, wasp which infect their eggs, and parasitic nematodes.  Metarhizium fungi are a great wireworm predator; infecting the eggs, larva, and pupae and may give up to 95% control.  Metarhizium fungi infect up to 200 insect species in 50 families including root weevils, flies, gnats, thrips, locust, grasshoppers, grubs, borers, even mosquitoes.

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Rain slows planting progress

Farmers continued fieldwork as conditions allowed, but increased precipitation as the week progressed slowed planting progress, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil
moisture conditions were rated 93 percent adequate to surplus, up 6 percentage points from the previous week.

Temperatures for the week ending May 2 averaged almost 3 degrees above historical normals, while the entire State averaged 1.17 inches of precipitation. There were 3.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 2. Snow and freezing temperatures occurred last week but nothing extremely damaging was reported. Oats were 81 percent planted and oats emerged was 54 percent. Corn planted progress was at 22 percent complete while corn emerged was at 4 percent. Soybeans planted progress was 17 percent and soybeans emerged was 4 percent; weeds were reportedly an issue in some soybean fields. Winter wheat jointing was 76 percent and the winter wheat crop was rated 81 percent good to excellent condition.… Continue reading

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Prop 12 2022 pork deadline looming large

By Matt Reese

While California consumers have demonstrated a love of pork, they have created some real challenges for U.S. pork producers. Due to a number of restrictions in the state, nearly all of the hog producers moved out of California despite the high demand for pork products.

“California is by far the largest state in the country, representing 13% of the U.S. population and about 15% of the domestic pork market,” said Michael Formica, assistant vice president and general counsel for the National Pork Producers Council. “It takes 750,000 sows to supply the California market yet only 1,500 sows are housed in the state. Most of the pork consumed in California is produced in other states.” 

With the approval of Proposition 12 in November of 2018, California voters approved a ballot measure changing production standards again, this time not just for the few remaining sow operations in the state, but for pork sold in the state.… Continue reading

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