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Hanging on a word: U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of refineries in renewable fuels case

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

The meaning of the word “extension” was at the heart of a dispute that made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court over small refinery exemptions under the nation’s Renewable Fuel Program (RFP). The decision by the Supreme Court came as a bit of a surprise, as questions raised by the Justices during oral arguments on the case last Spring suggested that the Court would interpret “extension” differently than it did in its June 27 decision.

Congress established the RFP in 2005 to require domestic refineries to incorporate specified percentages of renewable fuels like ethanol into the fuels they produce. Recognizing that meeting RFP obligations could be more difficult and costly for small-scale refineries, Congress included an automatic two-year exemption from RFP obligations in the statute for small refineries producing less than 75,000 barrels per day. … Continue reading

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Scouting and management leads to top wheat yield in Ohio

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

When New Vision Farms started planting wheat in the fall of 2019, they had no expectation of winning a state yield contest a year later.

“We started planting wheat the first week of October,” said Mark Hoorman, agronomy production manager for New Vision Farms. “We planted the wheat and managed it just like we would any of our other crops.” 

Mark Hoorman with New Vision Farms won the 2020 National Wheat Yield Contest category of Winter Wheat – Dryland for the State of Ohio, with a yield of 118.27 bushels per acre.

New Vision Farms is located in Henry County, and grows wheat, corn, popcorn, soybeans, and green beans. According to the National Ag Statistics Service, four of the top five wheat producing counties in the state, (based on acres planted), are located in Northwest Ohio.… Continue reading

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Labor concerns plaguing U.S. agriculture

Access to labor was a concern for Ohio’s food and agriculture sectors before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic which brought more volatility to the food supply chain. Now, the challenges with labor have only gotten worse.

In April 2021, the federal government moved to bolster the available labor supply in the U.S. by increasing the number of available H-2B (non-agricultural) visas, in part to help with the challenges of labor agriculture and the nation’s food supply chain. In May, the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security published a joint temporary final rule making available an additional 22,000 H-2B temporary non-agricultural guest worker visas for fiscal year 2021 to employers who are likely to suffer irreparable harm without these additional workers. Of the supplemental visas, 6,000 are reserved for nationals of the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

DHS first announced the planned supplemental increase of 22,000 visas for the H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker program on April 20, 2021.… Continue reading

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Shoo fly, don’t bother me, or my cows!

By Haley Zynda, AgNR Educator, Ohio State University Extension Wayne County

Farming in the winter is usually not a livestock producer’s favorite time of the year. But, if I must give it a positive aspect, the lack of flies and other flying pests make it somewhat enjoyable compared to when those same critters burst forth in full swing come summer.

Flies, mosquitoes, and biting gnats can cause a plethora of problems on the farm, including the spread of disease and causing undue stress to stock, leading to diminished performance. House flies are the benign, although annoying, fly species that you may encounter in confinement situations, such as freestall barns or covered feedlots compared to pastured animals. Sanitation is the main management strategy to keep them under control. Keep manure and old feed from remaining near animals too long. You may also choose to purchase a parasitic wasp kit for your region.… Continue reading

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Apple Farm Service, Inc. announces the addition of Washington Court House location

Apple Farm Service, Inc. is excited to announce the addition of their newest location in Washington Court House, Ohio.  Beginning April 1st, the Washington Court House location of Baxla Tractor Sales Inc. will be owned and operated by Apple Farm Service, Inc. 

 “We look forward to continuing the excellent customer service that the team at Baxla Tractor has created and building new relationships,” said Bill Apple, President and CEO of Apple Farm Service. “We wish Chris Baxla and his other two locations the best as they transition from three stores to two.”

Baxla Tractor Sales Inc. will continue to operate their two other locations in Seaman and Batavia. These two locations will not see any changes, and will operate under the same management that their customers have been accustomed to.

“I’m happy we could work together on this transition,” said Chris Baxla, owner of Baxla Tractor Sales Inc. “I’ve known Bill Apple for years.… Continue reading

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Managing crop stress to maximize yields

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

Matt Hutcheson

The 2021 growing season has already provided growers with several challenges. Learning from these challenges and making sound management decisions throughout the remainder of the growing season will be critical to achieving top-end yield potential. 

One important management practice that was highlighted this spring was timing of crop planting in relationship to weather. Agronomists and university experts occasionally discuss the timing of planting and the importance of the first 36 to 48 hours a seed is in the ground. The first 36 to 48 hours a seed is in the ground is a critical period of water uptake where the seed is sensitive to temperature extremes. In many areas we saw fields planted immediately before a cold rain even and seed/seedlings that exhibited imbibitional injury.

In areas where cold rain/snow events occurred this spring, observed soil temperatures dropped from the mid 50s to the lower 40s overnight.… Continue reading

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Ohio legislature passes solar and wind project siting and approval bill

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

It’s been a long and winding road to the Governor’s desk for Senate Bill 52, the controversial bill on siting and approval of large-scale wind and solar facilities in Ohio. The bill generated opposition and concern from the outset, requiring a major overhaul early on. A substitute bill passed the Senate on June 2 after six hearings and hundreds of witnesses testifying for and against the bill. It took the House five hearings to pass a further revised version of the bill, and the Senate agreed to those revisions the same day. Now the bill awaits Governor DeWine’s action. If the Governor signs the bill, it would become effective in 90 days.

S.B. 52 generates conflicting opinions on property rights and renewable energy. It would grant counties and townships a voice in the siting and approval of large-scale wind and solar projects, allowing a community to go so far as to reject facility applications and prohibit facilities in identified restricted areas of the county.… Continue reading

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Western bean cutworm monitoring underway

By Amy RaudenbushMark BadertscherJordan BeckFrank BeckerBruce Clevenger, CCACraig EverettJason Hartschuh, CCAAndrew HoldenJames JasinskiEd Lentz, CCAStephanie KarhoffCecilia Lokai-MinnichDavid MarrisonSarah NoggleLes Ober, CCAEric Richer, CCAClint SchroederMike SundermanCurtis Young, CCAChris ZollerKelley TilmonAndy MichelSuranga Basnagala, Ohio State University Extension

Figure 1. Average Western bean cutworm adult per trap (in blue) followed by the total number of traps monitored in each county (in white) for the week ending June 27th, 2021. Map developed by Suranga Basnagala, Ohio State University, using ArcGIS Pro.

Traps were deployed for Western bean cutworm (WBC) monitoring the week of June 14. The first trap counts were collected from June 21 to June 27, and monitoring counties reported a total of 16 WBC adults (0.25 statewide average moths per trap; Figure 1). There… Continue reading

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State budget includes funding for ag priorities

By Matt Reese

In the early hours of July 1, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the $74 billion state budget for Fiscal Years 2022-2023. The balanced, 3,300-page budget did not require dipping into the State’s rainy-day funds in spite of the challenges of COVID-19. 

“This is a strong budget focused on our future. Budgets always reflect priorities. Policy is driven so often through budgets. What you invest in is what you value and this budget reflects what we value,” DeWine said. “To think we have done this while coming out of the worst health crisis in 100 years — we have come out with this strong budget. We made the tough choices early on. We cut spending we froze hiring and we did what we had to do.” 

There were a number of highlights for Ohio agriculture.

“From rural broadband and local meat processing capacity, to funding for H2Ohio, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio State, lawmakers and Governor DeWine heard from Ohio Farm Bureau and our members and responded to the issues laid out in our Ohio Agriculture and Rural Communities Action Plan with this new budget,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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The O.G. of water quality

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off

It is not often that a 90’s rap lyric is used to describe the status of water quality initiatives, however, “in the case of Grand Lake St. Marys in 2021, the O.G. (original gangster) terminology is fitting,” said Jordan Hoewischer, Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Water Quality and Research.

This year has been a banner year for a body of water that has had the designation of a distressed watershed and issues with harmful algal blooms for the past 12 years. Currently the lake does not have a water quality advisory in place.

Jordan Hoewsicher, OFBF Director of Water Quality and Research, OFBF

“While a primary reason cited for the lower levels of algae is the low rainfall totals year to date, credit also needs to be given to the actions taken by the agricultural community and organizations that came together to work towards finding a solution to the algal bloom,” he said.

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Smaller summer harmful algal bloom predicted for western Lake Erie

NOAA and its research partners are forecasting that western Lake Erie will experience a smaller-than-average harmful algal bloom this summer. A relatively dry spring will lead to a repeat of last year’s mild bloom – this is the first time in more than a dozen years that mild blooms have occurred in consecutive summers. 

This year’s bloom is expected to measure 3, with a potential range of 2 to 4.5, out of 10 on the severity index — among the smaller blooms since 2011. Last year’s bloom was measured at a 3. The index is based on the bloom’s biomass — the amount of algae — during the peak 30 days of the bloom. An index above 5 indicates more severe blooms. Blooms over 7 are particularly severe, with extensive scum formation and coverage affecting the lake. The largest blooms occurred in 2011, with a severity index of 10, and 2015, exceeding the scale and measuring at a severity index of 10.5.  … Continue reading

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Early vegetative soybean defoliation

By Dr. Laura Lindsey, Adapted from C.O.R.N.  20-2021

Hail Defoliated Soybeans Photo Credit: Tony Nye, OSU

Reports from surrounding states suggest defoliation or stem damage in soybeans are less critical to yield if they occur in vegetative stages, with stem damage being more critical to yield loss than defoliation (Shapiro et al. 2009). Even if some nodes on the stem were damaged or lost, soybeans can produce branches from the remaining nodes to help recover after hail events. Similar to corn, soybean defoliation and stem damage during reproductive stages will be more impactful on yield than during vegetative stages.

Recovery of fields should be assessed 4-5 days after the storm events at the earliest, and you should plan to contact your crop insurance agent if applicable regarding damage assessment.

A good resource to determine soybean yield loss due to hail damage can be found at:

According to C. A. Shapiro, Extension Soils Specialist,  T.A.

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NWO Soil & Water Conservation Districts offer a Jr. Conservationist Program

The Northwest Ohio Soil & Water Conservation Districts are pleased to offer a free at-home “Do-It-Yourself” Jr. Conservationist summer program. The program’s hands-on activities and registration are online at

The Jr. Conservationist in training will have fun learning about soil, water, plants, animals, community, and nature exploration by completing the required number of activities in each category and submitting photos of doing the activities or photos of the completed projects by Wed., Aug. 25. Photos will be sent to your county’s local SWCD contact, who will send you a welcome message once you register. 

Upon completion of the activities, participants will receive a certificate. A Jr. Conservationist t-shirt is available for $10 (unless sponsored for free by your local SWCD), it will be invoiced and available for pick up at your SWCD office or can be mailed to you for an additional $5.00 fee. The Wood Soil and Water Conservation District  is offering a t-shirt free of charge for those who complete the program in Wood County.  … Continue reading

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June 30 numbers feeding the bull

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Both corn and soybean acres were below trade estimates. Corn touched up the 40-cent limit

This USDA report day features two reports: U.S. June 30 Acreage and U.S. Quarterly Grain stocks. Watch to see how those numbers compare to trader estimates. Today there are no USDA supply and demand tables published. Updated supply and demand tables will be released on July 12. 

Shortly after the report was released, new corn was up 39 cents, new soybeans up 72 cents, and wheat  up 20 cents. Just before the report release, new corn was down 16 cents, new soybeans were down 19 cents, and wheat was down 5 cents.  

The table below contains numbers for both the USDA June 30 Acreage Report and the USDA Quarterly Grain Stocks Report. The pre-report numbers have been provided by Reuters. The actual USDA numbers have been inserted in the second column. 

This morning corn and soybean prices were down double digits as a result of overnight weather forecasts indicating increased rain opportunities in the Dakotas and Minnesota after July 7.… Continue reading

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Rural landowner rights being voted away by Ohio’s legislators

By Matt Reese

If you own land in Ohio, your rights are being taken away at the Statehouse by your elected officials with Senate Bill 52. SB 52 has passed the House (on June 28) and the Senate (on June 2).

Here is the language from the bill

The board of county commissioners may adopt a resolution designating all or part of the unincorporated area of a county as a restricted area, prohibiting the construction of any or all of the following: 

      (1) An economically significant wind farm;

      (2) A large wind farm;

      (3) A large solar facility.

This gives county commissioners the authority to take away the rights of landowners to develop wind and solar development without the consent of those landowners. Even worse, they are not required to notify affected landowners directly. Let me reiterate, they are not asking, lawmakers who voted yes on SB 52 are TAKING. … Continue reading

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In defense of ag retail…

By Richard Strow, CCA, Ridgeville Elevator

In the June issue of OCJ, an article by H. Watters and G. LeBarge used a broad brush to paint Ag Retail as “just trying to sell something.” I take offense to the notion that unless an idea or product is endorsed by “university research” it is unworthy or a waste of money.

While “university research” was valuable in the 50s and 60s to promote and discover new ideas and innovation, today I believe it is the ag Industry that is driving innovation. It has been the ag industry that brought us Roundup Ready, Liberty Link, Extend, Enlist beans, double- and triple-stack corn, and genetic resistance to diseases in wheat.

I am a proud Beck’s Hybrids dealer and I have come to put much more faith and value in the ideas and products highlighted in their annual PFR Book. Ideas and products are tested on real world and real farm conditions, not your typical 10’ x 30’ plots used by universities.… Continue reading

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NPPC urges Administration to appeal damaging court ruling before Aug. 31

A federal district court ruling striking down faster harvest facility inspection speeds allowed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) goes into effect tomorrow, June 30, 2021. The Biden administration has until the end of August to file an appeal. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) urges the administration to appeal this damaging ruling – which will quickly lead to increased pork industry concentration and packer market power – and seeks waivers for the impacted plants until a longer-term solution, acceptable to all industry stakeholders, is realized.

The ruling eliminates 2.5% of pork packing plant capacity nationwide and will result in $80 million in reduced income for small U.S. hog farmers this year alone, according to an analysis by Iowa State University Economist Dr. Dermot Hayes. Last week, more than 70 lawmakers sent letters asking Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Acting Solicitor General Prelogar to appeal the court decision.… Continue reading

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Now’s a great time to plan, and assess forage inventory

By  Chris Penrose, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Morgan County

Since May 21t, I have had three great chances to make hay and was lucky enough to finish before the rains arrived, I was lucky. I know other areas have not had a chance or just got started. When we finish first cutting hay, it seems to me to be a great time to assess our pasture condition and hay supplies. We will now know how much hay we have and how much more we will need, plus a little extra just in case it turns dry. Do you or will you have enough once first cutting is finished? Are your pastures holding up well?

Options: If you are going to have plenty of hay, can you graze some of those fields? It is always cheaper to graze than to make hay. Speaking of hay, prices are good right now; if you don’t need the fields to graze, can you make some extra to sell if you need the income?… Continue reading

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Canada thistle rebounds

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension

It can be nice to see old friends. Except when they cause crop and yield loss, refuse to leave after a few days, and don’t respond to chemicals. A while back we wrote about what appeared to be an increase in populations of dandelions and other winter weeds and made some guesses about why this was happening. Canada thistle has once again become a problem in some fields in a big way, probably for some of the same reasons that dandelion has. Our history with thistle during the past 30+ years is that it was a major problem before the widespread adoption of RoundupReady soybeans in the late 1990s. Back then we had to take advantage of specific windows in the cropping cycle to try to get control with glyphosate, and the rest of the time we just tried to keep it from getting worse.… Continue reading

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