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Ohio 4-H Spark EXPO back in 2023

Students have the opportunity to explore future careers at the 4-H Spark EXPO, held this summer on The Ohio State University campus.

From June 14-17, teens at the Spark EXPO will learn about agriculture and related STEM fields from industry experts, and faculty and staff of the Ohio State College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). 

“Providing students with experiences, like Spark, introduces them to a variety of educational and career opportunities they may not know about,” said Margo Long, 4-H Workforce Development and Pathways program manager. “Not all students find their way to a four-year college, so we want to ensure all young people know 4-H is a space to prepare them for wherever their path may lead them after high school.”  

As part of Spark EXPO, students visit Ohio State’s Columbus and Wooster campuses and learn from Ohio State students, teachers, scientists, and researchers. Students explore careers, hear from Ohio 4-H alumni who share their career stories, and learn about the college and career-readiness program: Ohio 4-H Pathways to the Future.… Continue reading

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Budget, eminent domain addressed in Ag Day at the Capital

By Matt Reese

In February, Ohio Farm Bureau members left their farms for the day to make the trip to Columbus and meet with legislators for the 2023 Ag Day at the Capital. Jonathan Francis from Madison County Farm Bureau enjoyed the chance to share the story from his farm. 

Matt Reese talked with Jonathan Francis from Madison County at Ag Day at the Capital.

“So being in Madison County, right next to Franklin, we’ve had some districting changes and our new senator is very urban focused. We were really excited to get the opportunity to meet with her staff and show her the importance of agriculture. She’s not really familiar with Madison County, but we’re excited to show her what we’re about and remind her of the different agricultural issues we face,” Francis said. “We talked a lot about solar with her staff — there’s quite a bit of solar pressure in Madison County so we’re trying to share the good and bad and the ugly of that.… Continue reading

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Update on automating the farm in Ohio

By John Fulton, Elizabeth Hawkins, Amanda Douridas, Ken Ford and Amanda Bennett

Autonomous farm equipment was a hot topic this past year here in Ohio and continues to be gaining some interest from farmers going into 2023.  One of the top reasons adoption of autonomous technology is being considered by farmers and even Ohio retailers has been the challenges around labor.  Labor shortages, along with retirements, leave a gap for how to complete tasks and field operations in a timely and efficient manner.  

While there has been plenty of farm press the last couple of years on farm equipment autonomy, there remains limited commercially available options here in the U.S. That may change soon as OEMs and agriculture technology companies are likely to provide commercial options to Ohio farmers within the next two to four years.  Drones are a step into autonomy with use in 2022 for scouting, spraying, and applying cover crops within Ohio. These… Continue reading

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Farmers’ Breakfast Series continues in Plain City

OSU Extension in Delaware, Madison and Union Counties, with support from the county Farm Bureaus presents the 2023 Farmers’ Breakfast Series at the Der Dutchman. 

Feb 28: 2023 Central Ohio Weather Outlook: 8:30am -Aaron Wilson, Assistant Professor, OSU Ag Weather and Climate Field Specialist. State Climatologist

Mar 28: Ag Law Update: 8:30am -Peggy Hall, Associate Professor, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Director and The Future of Rural Economies discussion on how development on and around farmland impacts the rural economy with Mark Partridge, Professor, OSU Swank Chair in Rural-Urban Policy.

The meetings are at Der Dutchman, 445 S Jefferson Ave, Plain City and are free to attend with pre-registration. To register go to or Call 937-644-8117 by the 22nd of each month.… Continue reading

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Stay safe during this filing season

By Brian Ravencraft

It is nearing the month of March, which means tax season is well underway. We call it “busy season” in the accounting biz, and let me tell you… it lives up to the nickname. 

As accountants we worry about many things on behalf of our clients. We want to keep them compliant, help them file on time or secure an extension. Of course, we want to save them as much money as we can. The list goes on and on. At the top of that list is always keeping their information safe and secure. From financial information to data related to their identity, it all must be protected from the scams we see not only during tax season, but year-round. 

For the purposes of this article, let’s take a look at the fraud you want to bypass during filing season. The IRS has a comprehensive list of tips on their website that all taxpayers should pay close attention to.… Continue reading

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USDA announces grants to expand local food systems

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced it is now accepting applications for this year’s Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), with a total of $133 million available in competitive grant funds to expand and strengthen local and regional food systems and increase the availability of locally grown agricultural products.

The funding available for this year’s program includes $65 million in supplemental funding authorized by the American Rescue Plan, carry over funding from last year’s program and funds provided through the 2018 Farm Bill and annual appropriations. 

“Through LAMP, USDA is helping to maximize opportunities for economic growth and ingenuity in local and regional food systems,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Program Jenny Lester Moffitt. “Over the years, these grants have generated new income sources for small, beginning, and underserved farmers, increased local food access across rural and urban communities and provided platforms for value-added and new products to shine.” 

USDA’s LAMP is made up of the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) and the Regional Food System Partnerships (RFSP) grant program, all administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).… Continue reading

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War and weather

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC 

Sideways trading continued. Corn traded between $6.75 and $6.80 every day last week, while beans finished the week at the upper end of its recent month long $15.00 to $15.40 range.

Last month 30% fewer ships were loaded out of Ukraine than in the previous month. Then on Friday tensions increased with more missile strikes hitting critical infrastructure. The increased potential risk of getting the grain out of the region contributed to the rally on Friday. Questions still abound about how much grain will be raised there in 2023.

Weather conditions in Argentina suggest their corn crop’s yield may be lower than where the market has priced it in at. Plus, the planting pace of Brazil’s Mato Grosso region, where nearly 50% of their second corn crop is grown, is slightly behind the 5-year average. A late planted crop there could be impacted by the May dry season and potentially reduce yields. The… Continue reading

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Inaugural David Brandt Soil Legacy Award

The No-till on the Plains board announced a new award in 2022 to spotlight producers that had committed their lifework to improving soil health. This award was named The David Brandt Soil Legacy Award and recognizes innovation, disrupting the norm, promotion of building soils and soil biology for our future. “Long live the soil.” 

It seemed only fitting that when you have an award named after you, that you would be nominated for the inaugural award. The 2022 No-till on the Plains David Brandt Soil Legacy award was presented to, of course, David Brandt. 

Upon receiving the award, Brandt’s only comment he could get past happy tears was, “All I did was plant the seed. You all took it further than I could have ever imagined.”

Brandt farms 1,150 acres, all no-till, in Fairfield County in central Ohio. He began no-till farming in 1971 and has been using cover crops since 1978. Brandt… Continue reading

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Agave program to enhance sustainability of energy markets

By Guil Signorini, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, The Ohio State University

Brazil is frequently in the media spotlight to illustrate arguments on environmental issues and policies. The news often comes across as a set of bitter comments on weak institutions or the country’s inability to monitor and safeguard its forests. I put this conversation aside and invite the interested reader to focus on a positive analysis regarding energy supply and sustainable alternatives.

Applied economists, myself included, have published articles describing the history that led Brazil to hold one of the most sustainable energy mixes in the world. Despite challenges in revamping outdated macroeconomic policies and reducing the involvement of the central government in market matters in the past, citizens of the country today consume electricity that is 92% renewable. Hydroelectric plants have led the generation capacity charts since the 1980s, while more recently, windmills and biomass-based plants have increased their participation.… Continue reading

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Warm winter weather and wheat

By Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

Across Ohio, the average air temperature was 8 to 10 degrees F warmer in January through Feb. 12. Due to these warmer winter temperatures, wheat may appear greener than usual and also raises the question, “Will the vernalization requirement be met?”

Winter wheat has molecular regulation preventing the transition to reproductive growth until a certain threshold of cold days has been reached. This regulation is called “vernalization.” In winter wheat, the vernalization period protects plants from breaking dormancy too early. The vernalization requirement varies among wheat cultivars and is temperature and day length dependent. In a study conducted on one winter wheat cultivar, it took 40 days for plants to achieve vernalization at 52 degrees F while it took 70 days for plants to achieve vernalization at 34 degrees F. Temperatures above 64 degrees F were ineffective for vernalization. Although winter wheat is green and the winter temperatures have been above average, the vernalization requirement will be met.… Continue reading

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Cover crops: Good and bad

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers seem to either lover or hate cover crops.  Cover crops have many benefits, but they may be hard to see immediately.  First the bad or difficult things about cover crops will be discussed followed by the benefits.

Cover crops cost money for seed, planting, and sometimes termination.  It takes more knowledge and experience to plant cover crops and to use it with no-till (school of hard knocks), so its risky at first.  The timeliness factor, getting cover crops planted on time and established is difficult.  Herbicide carryover can be an issue and sometimes it requires different equipment (no-till, sprayers, spreaders) although less or no tillage equipment if used in a no-till system. 

Then there are the pests (slugs, voles, cutworms) that love a good feast.  Cover crop residue may have an allelopathic or negative growing effect on the grain crop.  It can be difficult to plant timely if soils stay cold and wet (sounds like a compaction problem) and sometimes planting is delayed and soil get hard and dry. … Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Congress highlights success

By Matt Reese

There was record attendance at the Ohio Pork Congress held in Lima in February. Visitors had the chance to hear from a wide array of speakers, visit a packed trade show and celebrate success with fellow pork producers. 

“Looking ahead to 2023, our industry faces challenges, however, the Ohio pork industry is filled with great leaders from top to bottom,” said Nick Seger, Ohio Pork Council president from Shelby County. “The big wins we’ve had don’t mean the fight to protect our industry is over, but I am confident we can use this momentum rise to the occasion to overcome and adapt.” 

Cheryl Day, executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council, provided an overview of priorities and successes for the organization including securing funding for meat processing grants and animal protein for foodbanks, supporting H2Ohio, pushing for science over emotion in the western Lake Erie Basin watershed, and addressing misconceptions about pork production.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 288 | Interworking’s of OAN, OCJ and Ohio Pork

This week on the podcast Matt and Dusty sit down to talk with Joe Everett, Ohio Ag Net Marketing Specialist, to talk about his role in the company and his farming operation. Next, Matt chats with Bryan Humphreys, CEO of the National Pork Producers Council, at the recent Ohio Pork Congress to discuss the pork industry from a national standpoint. Dr. Dennis Summers, Ohio State Veterinarian, visits with Joel to talk about foreign animal diseases related to HPAI and the swine industry. Lastly, Matt talks with John Hummel, farmer in Fairfield and Franklin Counties, about development pressures with farming near Columbus, Ohio. All this and more on this week’s podcast!   

00:00 Intro and OCJ/OAN Staff Update  

04:55 Bryan Humphreys – NPPC CEO

08:31 Dr. Dennis Summers – Ohio State Veterinarian

20:09 John Hummel – Fairfield/Franklin Co. farmer

22:37 Back with Joe… Continue reading

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YAP 2023 grant recipients announced

Eight local Young Agricultural Professionals groups have been awarded $500 grants for educational programming or events.

The local grants are a part of Farm Credit Mid-America’s $100,000 donation to Farm Bureau young leader programs in their four-state region of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. Farm Credit Mid-America proudly supports these local grant programs, as well as Ohio Farm Bureau’s annual statewide Young Ag Professionals contests and the YAP Winter Leadership Experience.

Ag Toy Drive

The Ashland & Wayne County Young Ag Professionals and the Medina County Young Farmers hosted their 6th Annual Ag Toy Drive Nov. 29 at Lincoln Way Vineyards. After sponsorships and individual contributions were counted, over $11,000 in agricultural toys were donated to Associated Charities of Ashland County, Medina Toys for Tots and Wayne County Toys for Tots for the holiday season. Both local business and individual cash donations were used to purchase ag-themed toys within each county.… Continue reading

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Planting depth critical to high yields

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Soybean Lead/Field Agronomist, Seed Consultants, Inc. 

Planting is one of the most critical management practices of the year because it sets the stage for the entire growing season. There are several key aspects of planting, one of which is planting depth. Invariably, every year Seed Consultants’ agronomists come across problems that are caused by variable and improper planting depth. Planting depth is critical because it impacts germination, seedling development, crop root development, emergence, and ultimately crop yields.

For corn, seed needs to be planted no shallower than 1.5 inches below the soil surface. Typically, the suggested range is 1.5 to 2 inches, however, some studies and growers have seen success at depths up to 3 inches. It is important to make sure that corn is planted into adequate soil moisture for germination. In addition, corn needs to be at least 1.5 inches deep for the proper early development the root system.… Continue reading

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NCGA submits comments to EPA on renewable fuels

Higher renewable fuel volumes over the next three years would go a long way in improving energy security, lowering gas prices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to recent comments the National Corn Growers Association submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, requires that U.S. transportation fuel contain a minimum volume of renewable fuel each year. NCGA’s comments were in response to EPA’s proposed volume requirements for 2023, 2024 and 2025.

“NCGA supports EPA’s proposal of annual increases in volumes, including an implied conventional biofuel volume of 15.25 billion gallons, and recognition that ethanol plays a critical role in cutting GHG emissions and our energy security,” said Tom Haag, NCGA president. “With continued pressure on energy security and costs, and the need to accelerate GHG emission reductions, however, biofuels can contribute even more. We ask EPA to continue working with us on complementary policies to advance higher ethanol blends, enabling ethanol to do more to cut emissions and costs.”… Continue reading

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SCN management and seed protection

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

With the increased price of soybean seed in recent years, the discussion about planting “naked seed” or cutting back some component of the seed treatment to lower the cost has become more common among soybean growers. The risk of this decision is if the wrong treatment is removed, the plant is at greater risk depending on the environment. “One area of my research is evaluating soybean seed treatments and evaluating different environments with a combination of different pathogens,” said Lopez-Nicora. “We have a complex of pathogens that can interact synergistically and cause more damage to the plant.  Researching SCN is an objective of my program, but also other organisms that are threatening our soybeans and how they interact with these different pathogens.”

“We know that soybean cyst nematode management is not just the use of one tool, but the integration of multiple management tools,” said Horacio Lopez-Nicora, OSU Extension Soybean Pathologist and Nematologist.… Continue reading

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Reduced ethanol demand leads to higher corn ending stocks

By Krista Swanson, the lead economist for the National Corn Growers Association.

Projected corn ethanol use for the 2022/23 marketing year declined by 25 million bushels from last month, according to this week’s UDSA World Agriculture Supply & Demand Estimates report. As the only change on the supply or demand side of the corn balance sheet, it resulted in a corresponding increase of 25 million bushels in projected corn ending stocks for the current marketing year.

Despite a return to the post-COVID normal in 2022, fuel ethanol produced using corn trailed the years leading up to the 2020 COVID disruptions. From 2017 to 2019, the average annual fuel ethanol production was 15.9 billion gallons, calculated using data from the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA). After dropping to 13.9 billion gallons in 2020 and recovering to 15.0 billion gallons in 2021, production in 2022 was 15.4 billion gallons. This is 88% of the 17.4 billion gallon per year total of U.S.… Continue reading

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OSU ACT club helps students “Become tomorrow’s leaders today” at Night for Young Professionals

By ​Kylie Ramirez, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Ohio State University

Night for Young Professionals is a long-time tradition for students at The Ohio State University in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow club organizes this event for an evening of networking and professional growth, thanks to its sponsors Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff. 

Seats were full at both the Columbus and Wooster campuses where students enjoyed a complimentary City Barbeque meal. 

Reagan Feldner, ACT leadership committee chair thanked everyone who showed up “dressed for success, and eager to learn,” during her welcome. Julia Brown, Ohio Soybean Council, and Bernadette Arehart, Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net, took the stage for a conversation about the contributions of Ohio’s soybean farmers to the success of the event.

“We see a need to encourage young people to get involved in agriculture,” said Brown when asked why Ohio Soybean Council wants to support the program.… Continue reading

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