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Planting progress slow around the Corn Belt

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

While temperatures were nearing normal last week on our farm in southeast Nebraska, a cold front has pushed in and put a stop to any planting progress. Usually, we start planting corn by April 11 and try to finish within 7 to 10 days. However, ground temperatures in our area remain below 45 degrees and forecasts show lows near 25 degrees on Tuesday. The weather outlook later in the week looks more favorable, so hopefully everyone can start planting soon. The entire Corn Belt along I-80 and I-70 seems to be in the same situation through April 23.

South America’s second corn crop

Brazil’s weather is looking dry, so there are growing concerns for their second crop’s yield potential, with some already speculating a possible 20% yield reduction. If this dryness continues, it will likely support corn prices. However, it’s still early and many in the trade assumed Argentina would have a 20% yield reduction due to La Niña, but late season rains have improved conditions there and losses may only be around 10% below normal according to some recent estimates.… Continue reading

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Bain Wilson joins CFAES as livestock evaluation specialist, new Ohio State ATI coaching position announced

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) has announced the appointment of Bain Wilson as livestock evaluation specialist.

Wilson will join the CFAES Department of Animal Sciences, effective August 2021, as assistant professor, professional practice. He will lead the Ohio State Livestock Judging Team, teach the department’s livestock evaluation course, and begin connecting with Ohio 4-H livestock evaluation teams across the state.

“We are excited for Dr. Wilson to join the faculty and to lead the livestock evaluation courses and team. His arrival is part of a larger plan of pursuing excellence for our judging team,” said John Foltz, chair of the Department of Animal Sciences.

Wilson currently serves as an assistant professor in beef production and youth livestock at Virginia Tech. His position there involves teaching, research, and Extension. He has served as the coordinator of the intercollegiate livestock judging team at Virginia Tech, as well as the coach for both the Virginia and Illinois state 4-H livestock judging teams.… Continue reading

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Prop 12 legal challenge moves forward

Last week, the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation gave oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asking the court to strike down California’s Proposition 12 as unconstitutional under the dormant commerce clause.

Proposition 12, set to begin implementation on Jan. 1, 2022, imposes arbitrary animal housing standards that reach far outside of California’s borders to farms across the country, and bans the sale of pork that does not meet those arbitrary standards. California, with nearly 40 million residents, represents approximately 15% of the U.S. pork market. The state has a majority Latino and Asian population, both of which have long-standing cultural preferences for pork. Proposition 12 will dramatically reduce the supply of pork for Californians, driving up prices for consumers and disproportionately affecting low-income households. As NPPC Assistant Vice President and General Counsel Michael Formica told DTN, Proposition 12 “is a clear regulatory overreach and a violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S.… Continue reading

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Modern-day cattle rustling

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

They call it “Cattlegate.” It’s a modern-day cattle rustling scheme. Let’s start at the beginning.

            In 1958, Ervin Easterday moved his family and farming operation from Nampo, Idaho to southeastern Wash., where he purchased 300 acres of undeveloped land in the new Columbia Basin Reclamation Irrigation project. With a meager annual rainfall of 7 inches per year, the new supply of water from Grand Coulee Dam changed this land forever. 

            As a young man, Ervin’s son, Gale, said he worked what seemed like endless hours on a Caterpillar leveling and clearing this new ground so water had access to run down furrows.

            By 1979, Gale and his wife, Karen, were the sole owners of Easterday Farms. They had five children who grew into the ever-expanding operations that included Easterday Ranches, Easterday Farms, multiple vegetable sheds, 2 restaurants, a construction company, a hay company, and a re-packing facility in Florida, south of Jacksonville.… Continue reading

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Best practices when it comes to petty cash

By Brian Ravencraft

In this installment I will talk about petty cash and the best practices for having and using it. Petty cash is defined as a small amount of discretionary cash funds used for expenditures where it is not sensible to write a check because of convenience and the cost of writing, signing, and cashing the check. So, while petty cash is usually not a large amount of money, it can be stolen, abused, and used in a careless manner. To avoid this, it is best to have some rules for handling it.

  • Set a reasonable amount for petty cash. Estimate how much you would need to cover small office expenses for about a month. You want the amount to be as small as possible, without having to replenish too often.
  • Have a set of rules on how petty cash can be spent. Put the policy in writing and give some good examples of what petty cash can be used for — making change, small office supplies, postage, etc.
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Construction set to begin on new beef barn at Union County Fair

Construction of a new 12,800 square foot beef barn is set to begin at the Union County Fairgrounds. The barn, being constructed by Goodwin Services, is slated to be complete and operational by the 175th Union County Fair this July.

The Chapman Ford Beef Barn is the first phase of Forward Union County, a $1.2 million capital campaign to update and improve the fairgrounds to benefit not only 4-H and FFA exhibitors, but also the Marysville community as a whole. $550,000 has been pledged by the community thus far.

Phase two will include construction of the Union County Event Center, which will host both fair and community events, as well as potential office space for local nonprofits. Development of this phase is slated to begin this fall. Additionally, the junior fair bathroom on the grounds has already undergone a complete renovation.

“We believe that we have an economic engine in the fairgrounds and our facilities, and that we can have a substantial impact on our community with additional event space, revenue generation and more,” said Michelle Kuhlwein, member of the Building Campaign Project Committee.… Continue reading

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Cicadas about to emerge in Ohio

Sinificant portions of the state are about to be bombarded by a swarm of very noisy, very large bugs. A type of cicada that only comes out every 17 years is about to emerge.

The Brood X Cicadas (periodical cicadas) have burrowed underground for almost two decades and will make their way to the surface late April into early May. They will not cause any damage to your home, gardens, crops, or animals. They also won’t harm mature trees, but you should consider protecting newly planted trees by wrapping them with a mesh net.

The noise Brood X cicadas make is loud and distinct. In large groups, the sound can reach as high as 100 decibels, which is equivalent to a motorcycle, low-flying plane or lawn mower starting. The sound of a group of cicadas is often compared to the sound of electricity. 

The largest concentrations of these cicadas is expected in the following counties: Defiance, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Logan, and Montgomery.… Continue reading

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OSIA scholarships

The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association is sponsoring the Dr. Jack Judy, Ralph H. Grimshaw, and High Family Memorial Scholarships and OSIA LEAD Council Scholarships to support future sheep farmers through its scholarship program. OSIA is offering a minimum of $6,00.00 in scholarship awards, with the potential of more scholarship funds being rewarded.  Preference will be given to students pursuing a degree in agriculture based upon the particular requirements of each scholarship.

“The Ohio sheep industry depends on young people who are considering and pursuing a career that will be beneficial to the Ohio and United States sheep industry. The OSIA scholarship program is one way that we can help our young sheep producers reach their career goals,” said Roger A. High, OSIA executive director.

Applicants or their parents must be members in good standing of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and a 2021 graduating high school senior enrolled in, or a student currently attending a college or technical school.… Continue reading

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A Great Miami shark tale

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

Haley Weidner was walking along the Great Miami River in Piqua’s Groveside Park late last month when she detected a foul smell. Following her nose to the riverbank, she came upon the head of a shark that had washed up on the shoreline. 

After poking it with her foot to confirm it really was the head of a real (formerly) live shark, CNN Newsource reported that Weidner posted word of her unusual find on social media and contacted the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). According to reports, wildlife officials at first figured someone had caught the shark on a trip to the coast and brought the head back to Ohio. 

The wildlife agency said in a statement to WHIO-TV:

“[The shark’s head] looks as though someone discarded it there … We have seen situations like this before with people discarding shark parts of carcasses after fishing trips to the ocean.”… Continue reading

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The troubling story of the Falun Gong of China

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Falun Gong is a religious movement in China. It involves the practice of qigong — a mix of meditation, energy exercises and regulated breathing — and is guided by a moral philosophy and the ultimate goal of achieving spiritual enlightenment. Falun Gong, with an estimated seven to 20 million adherents, is a Buddhist-like spiritual group that lives out compassion, truthfulness. patience and tolerance.

In one of my trips to China, I observed from my high-rise hotel room local citizens practicing qigong exercises in the village courtyard. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), however, claims the Falun Gong is evil because it demonstrates cult behavior, instills mind control in individuals, spreads heretical ideas and promotes methods for accumulating wealth — all the while endangering Chinese society. 

In 1999, the CCP decided they had had enough. They organized a secret police unit in June that year similar to the German Gestapo of World War II.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau sees membership growth in 2021

Ohio Farm Bureau volunteers and staff worked tirelessly throughout another challenging membership campaign in 2021 and helped the organization increase its “active” membership, which now exceeds the 68,000 member mark. Active members are farmers or other Ohioans whose jobs or livelihoods are directly impacted by the agricultural industry. As active members, they are eligible to vote on Farm Bureau policies and hold elective office in the organization.

“I could not be more proud of the great work that all of those involved in this year’s membership campaign have done,” said Paul Lyons, Ohio Farm Bureau’s vice president of membership. “We completed last year’s campaign at the beginning of the pandemic and had hoped for a more normal campaign in 2021. Although that didn’t occur, in typical Farm Bureau fashion, volunteers and staff found new safe and socially distanced ways to connect with people, share their story and show the value that comes with joining our organization.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Sheep Improvement Association industry award nominations due June 1

Several years ago, the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) board of trustees initiated an award nomination program to recognize outstanding accomplishments made by sheep, lamb and wool farmers as well as people who are associated with the Ohio sheep industry. Nominations for these awards can only be submitted by OSIA members and must be received by June 1, 2021.

Award recipients will be honored at the 2021 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium. If you would like to nominate someone for any of these sheep, lamb and wool industry awards, please contact the OSIA office at 614-246-8299 or rhigh@ofbf.org for an application. Award applications are also be posted on the ohiosheep.org website at: https://www.ohiosheep.org/osia-programs.html#awards

Nominations are being accepted for the following categories. Information and requirements regarding these awards will be available with the award application:

  • Charles Boyles Master Shepherd Award
  • Friend of the Ohio Sheep Industry Award
  • Distinguished Service Award
  • Environmental Stewardship Award.
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USDA extends deadline to comment on proposed revisions to national conservation practice standards

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced it will extend the deadline for public comment on proposed revisions to 23 national conservation practice standards through a posting in the Federal Register. The proposed revisions were published March 9 with comments originally due April 8. Comments will now be due April 22.

NRCS is encouraging agricultural producers, landowners, organizations, Tribes and others that use its conservation practices to comment on these revised conservation practice standards. NRCS will use public comments to further enhance its conservation practice standards. The proposed revisions to the 23 conservation practice standards are available on the Federal Register.

Comments can be made through regulations.gov or by mail or hand delivery. 

“By extending the deadline as requested by customers, we hope to collect as much input as possible to ensure that the standards used to carry out these 23 specific conservation practices are relevant to local agricultural, forestry and natural resource needs,” said John Wilson, NRCS Acting State Conservationist in Ohio.… Continue reading

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Growing interest in expanding Ohio’s meat processing capacity

By Matt Reese

From the farmer to the consumer, the whole food chain saw the need for change in 2020 when processing capacity was reduced resulting in back-ups and shortages. This situation was partly due to a problem Ohio agriculture has been talking about for years — there is simply not enough local meat processing capacity.

“This is something we have been working on for several years in the state of Ohio. It is so important to our producers,” said Brandon Kern, senior director, state and national policy for Ohio Farm Bureau. “Even pre-pandemic, this had been an issue that was percolating. We have capacity needs, particularly when you are talking about small and medium-sized processors. Part of the issue is that most of the meat processing in this country is very concentrated amongst four very large meat packers and two of those are foreign owned. This presents some real food security issues.… Continue reading

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Weather issues and spring planting

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

The warm weather this past week primed many farmers for spring planting.  Government weather forecasting had gotten better but the results are still variable.  According to the NOAA, the year 2020 was a year of extremes, with record temperatures, dry overall conditions, and forest fires in the West.  Northwest Ohio was dry last year with some rain coming later in the summer and fall.  This year, NOAA predicts slightly cooler temperatures as the weather moves away from a La Nina (80% probability) to a more neutral weather pattern.  The El Nino Southern Oscillation or ENSO measures how warm the Pacific tropical ocean water temperatures are with El Nino’s being warmer and La Nina’s being cooler.

NOAA predictions for the last half of April call for cooler than normal temperatures and possibly wetter than normal, depending on how quick the shift is from La Nina to neutral conditions. 

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Now is the time to fine tune your sprayer

By Erdal Ozkan

Pesticides need to be applied accurately and uniformly. Too little pesticide results in poor pest control and reduced yields, while too much injures the crop, wastes chemicals and money, and increases the risk of polluting the environment. Achieving satisfactory results from pesticides depends heavily on five major factors: 

  1. Positive identification of the pest. 
  2. Choosing the least persistent and lowest toxicity pesticide that will work. 
  3. Selecting the right equipment, particularly the right type and size of nozzle for the job. 
  4. Applying pesticides accurately at the right time. 
  5. Calibrating and maintaining equipment to make sure the amount recommended on the chemical label is applied.

Inspection of sprayers

Higher pesticide costs and new chemicals designed to be used in lower doses make accurate application more important than ever. There is no better time than early spring to take a closer look at your sprayer. Here are some of the things I would recommend you do this week if you don’t want to unexpectantly halt your spraying later in the season when you cannot afford delaying spraying and missing that most critical time to control weeds:

  • First, if you need new or one other type of nozzles on the boom this year, do not delay purchasing new nozzles.
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A look at the death tax

By Congressman Bob Latta (R_OH5)

 One of the most plainly unfair taxes in the entire U.S. tax code is the Estate Tax — also known as the “death tax.” Even though American families pay taxes their entire lives — income taxes, payroll taxes, Medicare taxes, capital gains taxes and more — the federal government can’t help but reach its hands into their pocket one last time after they die to grab 40% of their hard-earned money.  

The death tax creates real world problems for farmers, ranchers, and small business owners — groups we can least afford to penalize during this economic recovery. In sectors that require high capital investments, like agriculture, families often have difficulty meeting tax requirements imposed by the death tax because their cash assets are much lower than the value of land, property, and equipment. In addition to the costs imposed at death, the death tax also has a stifling economic impact beforehand due to the cost preparation and planning needed to plan and comply with the tax.… Continue reading

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How will your farm emerge from the pandemic?


By Chris Zoller, OSU Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County, David Marrison, OSU Extension Educator, ANR, Coshocton County and Mike Estadt, OSU Extension Educator, ANR, Pickaway County

It has been more than a year since Coronavirus was declared a pandemic.  Everyone has been touched by the pandemic either directly or indirectly.  As an industry, agriculture has experienced market disruptions and slowdowns in the processing sector due to the pandemic. In response, the United States government provided billions of dollars in economic relief in 2020 to assist farmers affected by the disruptions. This assistance has continued into 2021 as just recently the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced details about the “Pandemic Assistance for Producers”Initiative.  This article takes a look at federal farm support, forecasts for net farm income in 2021, and challenges farm managers to examine how their  business will emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. governmental farm support

The following figure from the University of Illinois (Figure 3) shares the government farm support programs for the past fifteen years with a forecast for 2021. … Continue reading

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Fill in the blank with SB 52

By Matt Reese

      A proposal to approve or reject the ______________ certificate or amendment issued for __________ in the unincorporated area of __________ Township, __________ County, Ohio, adopted on __________ (date) by the Board of Township Trustees of __________ Township,__________ County, Ohio.

      We, the undersigned, being electors residing in the unincorporated area of __________ Township, equal to not less than eight per cent of the total vote cast for all candidates for governor in the area at the preceding general election at which a governor was elected, request the Board of Elections to submit this proposal to the electors of the unincorporated area of __________ Township for approval or rejection at a special election to be held on the day of the primary or general election to be held on __________ (date), pursuant to section 519.217 of the Revised Code.

This is language taken directly from Senate Bill 52 currently being considered by the Ohio Legislature. The… Continue reading

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