Top Headlines

Featured Posts (Posts shown below the “Top Posts” on the home page)

Congress could see a major agricultural inspection funding shortfall

A coalition of more than 150 agriculture, trade and related groups led by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) sent a letter to Congress warning of a major funding shortfall that could severely weaken agricultural inspections at our borders. The letter urged lawmakers to protect our nation’s agriculture by appropriating funding to address what could be a $630 million COVID-19-related shortfall through fiscal year 2021.

In the letter, the coalition highlighted a funding shortfall for Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI), which plays a critical role in protecting U.S. agriculture from plant and animal pests and diseases. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) collects the AQI user fees that pay for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture inspections. Due to the recent economic downturn and travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19, there has been a significant reduction in the collection of these user fees.

“We depend on AQI to ensure that American agriculture remains safe from foreign animal and plant pests and diseases.… Continue reading

Read More »

USMCA takes effect

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) goes into effect July 1, at a crucial time for farmers and ranchers struggling to recover from COVID-19 losses and a depressed agricultural economy. The expected $2 billion annual increase in U.S. agricultural exports and overall increase of $65 billion in gross domestic product will provide a welcome boost.

USDA estimates COVID-19 contributed to a $50 billion decline in commodity value alone for 2019, 2020 and 2021 production totals. This does not include all of agriculture’s losses, which would be billions more.

“The launch of the USMCA brings optimism to the country’s farmers and ranchers at a time they need it the most,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to build on the success of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and we’re eager to see the results on America’s farms. It’s important that our neighbors uphold their end of the deal, so the agreement provides a stabilizing force amid the unpredictability of a pandemic in all three countries.”… Continue reading

Read More »

No more ag-gag in NC?

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

We have mentioned a few times before on the blog that North Carolina’s ag-gag law has been embroiled in a lawsuit for several years. North Carolina’s version of “ag-gag” was somewhat different from other states, because the statute applied to other property owners, not just those involved in agriculture. The basic gist of the law was that an unauthorized person entering into the nonpublic area of a business was liable to the owner or operator if any damages occurred.

This included entering recording or surveilling conditions in the nonpublic area, which is a tool the plaintiffs use to further their cause. In a ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina was decided largely in the plaintiffs’ (PETA, Animal Legal Defense Fund, etc.) favor. In order to not get into the nitty gritty details of the 73-page ruling, suffice it to say that the judge found that that law did violate the plaintiffs’ freedom of speech rights under the First Amendment to the U.S.… Continue reading

Read More »

Bullish corn and soybeans

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Corn acres were below the low end of expected and corn stocks bigger than expected, but quickly erased with the low corn acres.

The market is focused with razor-edge attention on today’s USDA reports at 12 noon ET. Today there were two reports from USDA, Acreage, and Grain Stocks. The Acreage Report will detail U.S. planted acres in 2020 and Grain Stocks as of June 1.

June 1 corn stocks will be the key number for today. The acres theme for the past several weeks has been for corn acres to decline while soybean acres would increase in comparison to the March intentions numbers.

Here are the stocks numbers: corn 5.224 billion bushels, soybeans 1.386 billion bushels, and wheat 1.044 billion bushels.

U.S. 2020 acres: corn 92.0 million acres, soybean 83.8 million acres, and wheat 44.3 million acres. All three were below trade estimates.

Shortly after the noon release, corn was up 15 cents, soybeans up 21 cents, and wheat up 7 cents.… Continue reading

Read More »

H2Ohio update

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

While the state of Ohio has been reeling from challenges brought on by the Coronavirus, H2Ohio was quietly implemented this spring by several farmers in the Maumee River Watershed using conservation practices of variable rate phosphorus application with their planters, and subsurface phosphorus placement. The recommended conservation practices in H2Ohio have not changed, however the original application agreement details have. State budget concerns due to the impact of COVID-19 placed funding for the H2Ohio program in question. On March 23, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ordered all departments to reduce spending by 20% for the remainder of 2020 and also in 2021. In May, Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director Dorothy Pelanda, stated that the program would still be available to assist farmers in implementing select practices, however funding would not be available until the 2021 crop year.

Continue reading

Read More »

Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days canceled

The Farm Progress Show, scheduled for Sept. 1 to Sept. 3 in Boone, Iowa, and Husker Harvest Days, scheduled for Sept. 15 to Sept. 17 in Wood River, Neb., have been canceled for 2020.

For the first time in its 65-year history, the decision was made to not have the Farm Progress Show due to rapidly changing conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Show management had confirmed earlier that the two shows would be operated differently in 2020 with physical distancing a requirement, along with other health and safety changes to the events.

While state and local officials had expressed support for both shows, Don Tourte, Senior Vice President, Farm Progress said that in a very short time it became apparent that the situation across the U.S. had rapidly changed.

“We have been working with officials in Iowa and Nebraska for our shows, and we appreciate the support they expressed for us to hold the events,” Tourte said.… Continue reading

Read More »

ODA partners with Extension to provide online pesticide recertification

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), is partnering with the Ohio State University Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) to temporarily provide online recertification for pesticide applicators and fertilizer certificate holders whose licenses expired in spring of 2020. The online recertification will be available Monday, July 6. For commercial applicators, it will be available Aug. 10. For more information or to register for the online recertification, visit pested.osu.edu/onlinerecert.

The online option allows private applicators and fertilizer certificate holders due for training by March 31, 2020 and commercial applicators due for training by September 30, 2020 to meet their continuing education requirements. The cost for online training is $35 for private applicators and $10 for fertilizer certification. The price per credit hour for commercial applicators is $15. If you don’t know your license number, please call ODA at 614-728-6987, choose option 1.

Applicators are still required to meet their recertification requirements to renew licenses and certifications.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 160 | OYLE with a side of Dale

We take the Quarantine Chronicles on for another week with Matt, Kolt, and Dale Hosting our guest Megan Wendt from the Ohio Youth Livestock Expo. Interviews this week include an interview from Matt with Bane Welker intern Macel Stowers. Bart includes an interview with Kyle Halseman of Halseman Ag.… Continue reading

Read More »

Corn and soybeans emerged, wheat makes progress

Rainfall increased throughout the state at an opportune time, causing soil moisture to improve, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. While precipitation increased overall, dry weather continued in a few areas of the state. Topsoil moisture, however, increased from 53 percent adequate or surplus last week to 69 percent adequate or surplus this week. Average temperatures for the week were approximately 1 degree above historical normals, and the entire state averaged just over 1 inch of precipitation. There were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 28. During the week, farmers side dressed nitrogen on corn and applied herbicides to corn and soybeans. Winter wheat continued to mature while reporters continued to anticipate the start of harvest. Soybean planting progress reached 100 percent, ahead of the five-year average by 5 percentage points, while soybeans blooming was 11 percent. Corn emerged progress was 100 percent, 4 percentage points ahead of the five-year average.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA adds digital options to apply for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

USDA’s Farm Service Agency will now accept applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) through an online portal, expanding the options available to producers to apply for this program, which helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. FSA is also leveraging commercial document storage and e-signature solutions to enable producers to work with local service center staff to complete their applications from home.

“We are doing everything we can to serve our customers and make sure agricultural producers impacted by the pandemic can quickly and securely apply for this relief program,” said Richard Fordyce, FSA administrator. “In addition to working with FSA staff through the phone, email and scheduled in-person appointments, we can now also take applications through the farmers.gov portal, which saves producers and our staff time.”

Through the portal, producers with secure USDA login credentials—known as eAuthentication — can certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center.… Continue reading

Read More »

U.S. lamb retail sales data released for first quarter 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for consumers to cook more meals at home and explore new products including lamb. The new retail data released by the American Lamb Board (ALB) quantifies the growth in retail sales for all lamb (domestic and imported) during the first quarter of 2020.

Retail sales data analyzed by IRI/FreshLook Marketing show pounds of all lamb sold at multi-outlet supermarkets in the U.S. in the 13-week period from Jan. 1 through April 19, 2020, increased 8.5% compared to the same period in 2019, hitting 16.4 million pounds and $133.9 million in sales. As previously reported by ALB, Easter week sales of fresh lamb were strong with more than $19 million in sales across the U.S.

Total dollars spent on all lamb at retail during the first 13 weeks of 2020 increased 13.4%. With prices on the increase for all meat categories, lamb held its own with consumers’ pocketbooks.… Continue reading

Read More »

Senators urge EPA to reject “gap” SRE petitions

A bipartisan group of 16 Senators urged Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler to immediately reject the 52 recently filed exemption petitions for prior compliance years. The letter expresses the Senators’ frustration and alarm that Administrator Wheeler is considering exemptions for refineries that either did not submit petitions or were not granted waivers in past years but are now seeking to circumvent a January 2020 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) led the bipartisan letter with Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reject petitions for Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for past compliance years. In the letter, the senators warn that granting these petitions would worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and demand that the EPA apply the 10th Circuit decision nationally.… Continue reading

Read More »

FFA to host virtual National FFA Convention & Expo in October

The National FFA Organization announced today that the 2020 National FFA Convention & Expo will be held virtually. The organization also extended its contract with the host city of Indianapolis from 2031 to 2033.

“We wanted to ensure that our members and guests had the full convention experience. After a discussion with the National FFA Board of Directors, the decision was made to move forward with a virtual experience for 2020,” said Mark Poeschl, CEO of National FFA. “As we continued to plan for our national convention, it became clear that travel restrictions and public health concerns, among many other pandemic-related challenges, made hosting our in-person event impossible in 2020.”

The decision to hold a virtual event in place of in-person was recommended by National FFA staff and affirmed by the board of directors.

“The safety of our members and stakeholders is always top of mind,” said Dr. James Woodard, the organization’s national advisor and chair of the board of directors.… Continue reading

Read More »

Watch out for the pitfalls of meat processing at home

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

National headlines have repeatedly announced that COVID-19 has caused a disruption in the commercial meat system. The growing number of sick employees at major meat packers has caused a slowdown in the processing lines and even shutdown some entire facilities.

Over the years, the United States has created a highly efficient food supply, to the extent that the meat supply chain has become a “just-in-time” system. In the pork industry, efficiency is calculated down to the day. It takes 11 months (roughly 335 days) from the time a mother pig (sow) is bred, and then farrows (has the baby pigs), then those pigs are raised, and then butchered and delivered to the grocery store meat case. The entire system is dependent on every step of the process occurring on time and at the right time.… Continue reading

Read More »

The show must go on for Ohio’s livestock exhibition industry

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

Like the rest of the world, show pig and lamb breeders and exhibitors had to do some adjusting this spring after the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation some of the biggest livestock shows and sales, including the biggest show of the year, the Ohio State Fair.

The word “adjusting” suits the show pig and show lamb industry well at this point. Some in the two industries feared they’d see a lower volume in sales this spring, but instead saw sales similar, or even higher than in the past. Allen Johnson said web-based sales helped him make the adjustment to have a successful sale season for his business, Johnson Show Lambs.

“Our live sales were cancelled all together. As a result, we scrambled around and got pictures up on our webpage and fixed up a web-based sale through ShowStockPlanet and that was the platform we used to sell all of our wethers,” Johnson said.… Continue reading

Read More »

CMP shooters compete locally

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

While interviewing one of the organization’s representatives on Buckeye Sportsman late last month, I learned that the popular Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has prepared a solution to allow participants to keep shooting and compete with one another during the summer months — from the comfort of their local range. The CMP Home Range Appreciation Series is a collection of rifle, pistol, CMP Games, small bore and air rifle competitions (open to both adult and junior athletes) which will be fired in local club matches and once scorecards are submitted the scores will be compared against overall scores from around the nation and prizes will be announced and awarded.

All matches adhere to social distancing rules and obey CDC and local/federal government guidelines for group settings while also complying with standard range safety practices. Although we are eager for our competitors to return to the ranges, demonstrating mutual respect and safeguarding the welfare of everyone remains the highest priority at all of our events.… Continue reading

Read More »

Farm groups launch free stress management course

Following the December 2019 announcement of a new farm stress management online training course for employees and members of Farm Credit, Farm Bureau and Farmers Union, these organizations have supported the launch of a free online training available to the general public.

“These are especially difficult times for farmers and ranchers, but because three in five rural Americans live in areas without enough mental health care providers to adequately serve the population, help isn’t always readily available. The pandemic hasn’t made things any easier; social distancing requirements have limited in-person care, and many farmers have lost off-farm jobs that provided their health insurance. These circumstances have made the community-led mental health strategies taught in this online training all the more critical,” said Rob Larew, National Farmers Union president.

Developed by Michigan State University Extension (MSU Extension) and University of Illinois Extension (Illinois Extension), the course will help farmers, their families and neighbors identify and cope with stress.… Continue reading

Read More »

National Pollinator Week highlights value of pollinators to crop production

By Terry Cosby, State Conservationist, Ohio Natural Resources Conservation
Service and Leonard Hubert, State Executive Director, Ohio Farm Service Agency

The next time you snack on almonds, add blueberries to your smoothie or eat pumpkin pie, thank a pollinator and thank farmers, landowners and private forestland owners who work hard to create and maintain their habitat.
Pollinators, such as honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, birds, bats, flies and many others, play a critical role in crop production. Without pollinators, we wouldn’t have many crops.

During the week of June 22-28, the nation will celebrate these iconic and crucial pollinators during National Pollinator Week. This year’s theme is “Pollinators, Plants, People and Planet.” Thirteen years ago, the U.S. Senate unanimously designated the third week in June as National Pollinator Week to increase awareness about the importance of pollinators and the challenges many of them face, including serious population declines and habitat losses, often due to land use changes and excessive or improper pesticide use.… Continue reading

Read More »

Glyphosate developments

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) responded to two recent and significant legal developments concerning glyphosate that have occurred. First, a federal judge in California ruled that glyphosate cannot be labeled as “likely to cause cancer” under California’s Proposition 65, which requires businesses to provide warnings about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer. NCGA was a plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the state’s plans to require all glyphosate products to be labeled with this warning.

The next day, Bayer announced that it has decided to settle thousands of lawsuits that accuse a link between glyphosate use and cancer.

“Corn farmers rely on glyphosate as an integral and essential part of their weed management, no-till and soil health plans. It has been on the market for more than 40 years and undergone extensive safety reviews in this time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and numerous other regulatory bodies around the world have not found glyphosate to be carcinogenic, as was pointed out by the federal judge ruling that the product cannot be labeled as such in California.… Continue reading

Read More »