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Much more legislation in progress in Ohio

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

Hopefully, Ohio’s planting season will soon be as busy as its legislative season. There’s a lot of activity down at the capitol these days, with many bills on the move. Here’s a summary of bills that could impact agriculture and rural communities. Note that the summary doesn’t include the budget bill, which is also currently being debated.

Water quality bonds 

A joint resolution recently offered in the Senate supports amending Ohio’s Constitution to create permanent funds for clean water improvements. S.J.R. 2, a bipartisan proposal from Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) and Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Hts.) would place a ballot issue before voters in November. The issue proposes amending the Constitution to allow for the issuance of general obligation bonds to fund clean water improvements. Up to $1 billion over 10 years would be permissible, with no more than $100 million allocated in any fiscal year.… Continue reading

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RFA, Growth Energy and NCGA defend year-round E15 in court

Last week the D.C. Circuit Court heard oral arguments in American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, et al. vs. EPA, a case in which oil refiners challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2019 rulemaking that paved the way for the year-round sale of E15. As intervenors in the case, the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association argued in support of upholding the E15 rule in court.

In a joint statement, RFA, Growth Energy and NCGA said, “Oil refiners are simply trying to reclaim more market share by blocking American drivers from year-round access to a more affordable, lower-carbon fuel at the pump. Studies have repeatedly shown that the volatility of E15 is lower than that of E10. And other recent studies find that a nationwide switch from E10 to E15 would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions –equivalent to removing approximately 3.85 million vehicles from the road. If the refiners had their way and this rule was overturned, both volatile emissions and greenhouse gas emissions would increase.… Continue reading

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Spring freeze and crop concerns

By Matt Reese

We all can reference weather forecasts that have been wrong in the past and Ohio collectively was hoping the forecasts including snow for this week would fall under that category. All hopes that winter was in the rear-view mirror, though, were dashed with the April 21 snowfall around the state. 

Fairfield County’s flowers were in trouble.

Meteorologist Ben Gelber with NBC 4 in Columbus reported 2.2 inches a full month after the first day of spring, noting this is the heaviest late snowfall in the area since April 23 through April 25 of 2005. Further north and west in Ohio got closer to 5 inches in some areas and there was snow accumulation of a couple of inches reported throughout much of southern Ohio as well.

There was plenty of the white stuff overnight in Henry County.

This leaves many questions for Ohio agriculture. One of the biggest concerns is for the exposed blossoms on fruit trees.… Continue reading

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Ohio Agricultural Council announces 2021 Hall of Fame inductees

Four Ohioans who have committed their lives to working in, promoting and advocating for Ohio’s farm community will be honored Friday, August 6, by the Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC), when they are inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame.

The Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC) will induct Monte Anderson of Wilmington, Randy Brown of Nevada, Tim Corcoran of Chillicothe, and Keith Stimpert of Worthington, into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame. 

The 55th annual event normally attracts more than 600 guests to honor the four professionals for their lifetime of service and dedication to Ohio’s agriculture community.

“We are pleased to recognize this outstanding class of Hall of Fame inductees,” said Mike Bumgarner, president of the Ohio Agricultural Council and president and CEO of United Producers, Inc. “Though our 2021 inductees represent diverse elements of the agriculture industry, from education to associations to those who dedicate their lives on the farm, all  inductees have demonstrated deep dedication to the lasting improvement of Ohio’s agriculture industry, through their leadership, mentorship and advocacy efforts.”… Continue reading

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Early weed control is best to lower yield losses

By Harold Watters and Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

When maximizing yield is the goal, controlling early season weeds is critical. Managing weed competition is the one pest management decision we make each year in every field. Weeds compete with the crop for available water, nutrients, and light starting at crop emergence. The first bolded statement in the Ohio, Indiana and Illinois Weed Guide is “Years of research have shown that good weed control within the first 4 to 6 weeks after crops are planted is critical in order to avoid a yield reduction from weeds.” Sound advice.

Some work on soybean out of Michigan shows how weeds present at emergence cause season long yield loss even when removed. Their work showed for each day burndown herbicide application is delayed after soybean planting, a quarter bushel per acre per day yield loss accumulates. By delaying burn down treatment until a soybean plant’s unifoliate stage, the unrecoverable yield loss will total 8%.… Continue reading

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Corn germination and emergence

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc. 
As growers across the Eastern Corn Belt get ready to plant corn, it is important to review and understand what goes into corn the germination and emergence process. Uniform corn emergence is one of the most important aspects of stand establishment and producing high yielding corn. Understanding germination, emergence, and how environmental factors influence these processes is the first step toward ensure uniform emergence.


Germination begins in a corn seed when it has imbibed 30% of its weight in water. While corn can germinate when soil temperatures are 50 degrees F or higher, research has determined that the optimal temperature is 86 degrees F. Visual signs that corn germination is taking place are the appearance of the radicle root, coleoptile, and seminal roots. When temperatures are cooler, the germination process is slower and seedlings are more susceptible to disease, insects, and other damaging factors.… Continue reading

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Heritage Cooperative expands grain storage by 1.7 million bushels at Marysville Ag Campus location

Heritage Cooperative is excited to announce the construction of two new grain silos providing an additional 1.7 million bushels of grain storage at the Marysville Ag Campus, 15090 Scottslawn Rd., Marysville. 

The $5 million project will consist of building two grain storage bins on the north side of the property, increasing the grain storage capacity to just under 5 million bushels. This additional storage will benefit Heritage growers in the Marysville area as well as those growers in Kenton, Urbana, Upper Sandusky, and other locations on the western side of Ohio. Access to grain storage becomes much more available for growers when stored grain is shipped to Marysville freeing up space needed in other areas. 

“We are really excited about this project. It will provide immediate grain storage solutions for our growers and allow us to take their grain when they need to unload it during the busy harvest season,” said Jeff Osentoski, President and CEO of Heritage Cooperative.… Continue reading

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Black cutworms and true armyworms arriving

By Andy MichelKelley TilmonCurtis Young, CCAClifton Martin, CCALee Beers, CCABeth ScheckelhoffEric Richer, CCAMark BadertscherCindy Wallace, Ohio State University Extension

We have begun collecting two important pest in our expanded trapping this year—true armyworm and black cutworm. True armyworms feed on wheat before moving on young (typically late-planted) corn. Black cutworm can feed on young corn and even completely cut plants. The moths of these pests migrate from the south and lay eggs in April and May.  True armyworms prefer to lay eggs in wheat or even grassy cover crops like rye whereas black cutworms tend to lay eggs in weedy fields, especially those with chickweed or purple deadnettle. However, infestations are really hard to predict, and the best way to prevent damage is by scouting.

Although we have found moths in our traps, the overall number is relatively low (14 total for armyworm and 17 for black cutworm).… Continue reading

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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

Significant 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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