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2020 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge winners

A team of two Ohio high school students took first place in the 2020 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge finals for their policy proposal about creating a statewide database of verified volunteers.

Sponsored by Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio 4-H and Ohio FFA, the challenge brings together youths ages 14 to 18 from around the state to discuss community concerns and then work together to propose policies and programs to solve the issues.

The 2020 winning team members are Evan Stuart of Richland County and Halle Miller of Wayne County.

The challenge started in the spring when groups met to learn about public policy issues and began planning their proposals. Nine teams presented their proposals in the finals in June, and the top four teams received scholarships.

The teams were judged on their public policy proposals dealing with a specific issue or problem. In the final competition, the teams described the steps necessary to have their public policy proposal adopted by the appropriate government authorities.… Continue reading

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Calcium and manganese deficiency

By John Kempf and James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Services

Calcium and manganese are two soil abundant elements that are often not as plant available and may be deficient in plant cells. Calcium is used in cell wall membranes and often becomes limiting during critical pollination periods when cells are rapidly dividing. Manganese is used in photosynthesis to split the water molecule (H20) into H+ and OH.

Grain and fruit size are determined by calcium after pollination. The cell division process proceeds rapidly, lasting 5-40 days but most grain crops have a 10-14 day cell division window. Cell division occurs exponentially (2-4-8-16-32-64 etc.) as cells divide so calcium may become deficient quickly after pollination. After cell division, grain or fruit fill occurs as the cell is filled with proteins, sugars, and water.  A lack of calcium can limit cell division, grain or fruit size, and reduce yields.… Continue reading

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Good planning extends the grazing season and protects resources

By John Kellis, Ohio Department of Agriculture grazing management specialist

Most southern Ohio pastures are located squarely in the “tall fescue belt.” As these grasses go dormant in the fall, they become a very palatable to cattle and can be intensively grazed. Often producers will strip graze these grasses beginning in December, moving portable fence back 50 feet at a time across the field. Cattle will struggle to get to the next available strip of brown fescue rather than eat hay that may be set behind the cattle. After dormancy, the fescue can be eaten down lower to the ground than you would typically leave after fall grazing where you need to leave at least 4 to 6 inches of growth. This “stockpiling” of forage is a good alternative for late fall and winter grazing. This practice further reduces the need for hay and can provide grazable acres into January or February.… Continue reading

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Early season corn considerations

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

OK, I finished replanting my corn last week, only about three weeks ahead of last year. Oh, and for my planting window, now I have had four periods of about 24 hours each. And for this last planting opportunity, conditions were finally fit to actually plant well. One of my farmer cooperator buddies told me this year he has never used so much technology to plant so poorly.

Poor stands – Compaction and Pythium

The two most common seedling challenges this year were compaction and Pythium. We overworked the soil, this spring and last year both. Poor soil structure leads to soil compaction and crusting. I often quote Sjoerd Duiker, agronomist at Penn State University. This time I’ll just give you his link: Pythium is another problem — our seed treatments only work for so long. This year with cold soils, crusting and excessive rains at the wrong time created a great opportunity for this disease.… Continue reading

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Don’t kill your cash flow

By Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA, Partner at Holbrook & Manter, CPAs

Farmers are no strangers to challenging times. From volatile markets and weather extremes to rising costs of inputs, it takes a lot of grit and determination to run a successful farming business. Part of being successful is managing your cash flow. Below are tips from our team members at Holbrook and Manter who were asked to address this very issue and share one or two things that business owners do that has a negative impact on their cash flow.

Some of our team members give very simple answers while others go into great detail. As you read through you will see themes of the things we see often. Read through the answers here and begin correcting the behavior that kills cash flow. Here are their responses:


They blend company funds with personal — deposit company funds into their personal checking account or pay personal expenses with a company credit card — fully meaning to separate it all out properly, eventually.… Continue reading

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Ohio FFA chapters receive grants for local communities

FFA chapters across Ohio have been awarded grants designed to help their local communities. The Ohio FFA Foundation’s Agricultural & Rural Community Outreach Program (ARCOP) provides support to build sustainable relationships and programs that will benefit Ohio communities for years to come.

Originally introduced in 2013, ARCOP grants allow Ohio FFA chapters to apply for funding that aid community development projects. These FFA chapter ARCOP projects often benefit rural residents or low-income farmers and have a long-term impact on the community, either economically or through an improved quality of life. Participating FFA Chapters will work in collaboration with other local organizations to complete these projects for agricultural topics varying from educational programs to awareness and promotion to economic development.

After FFA chapters submitted project proposals to the Ohio FFA Foundation, a total of 12 chapters were awarded grants. The projects will be completed between July and the end of 2020.

The ARCOP program is a partnership between the Ohio FFA Foundation and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.… Continue reading

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April meat exports held strong for beef and pork

April proved to be a solid month for U.S. beef and pork exports despite COVID-19 related interruptions in production and declining purchasing power of some key trading partners, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports were below last April’s large totals but still topped $600 million in value. Pork exports remained well above year-ago levels but slowed from the record pace established in the first quarter.

“Considering all the challenges the U.S. red meat industry faced in April, export results were encouraging,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO. “Exporters lost several days of slaughter and processing due to COVID-19, and shipments to Mexico and some other Latin American markets declined due to slumping currencies and the imposition of stay-at-home orders. But despite these significant headwinds, global demand for U.S. beef and pork remained strong.”

While May export results will likely reflect similar obstacles, Halstrom noted that red meat production continues to recover, setting the stage for a strong second half of 2020.… Continue reading

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Empty fairgrounds in 2020 do not stop learning experiences for youth

By Sarah Noggle, Extension educator, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, Paulding County

This week (the week of June 15) is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Usually, it is the week of the first county fair in the State of Ohio, but our fairgrounds are sitting empty. You won’t hear the laughter of 4-H and FFA members from the barns.

Our hats go off to the Paulding County Sr. and Jr. Fairboards as this tough decision was made a few weeks ago. The economic impact on the fair board with social distancing and other guidelines made it almost economically impossible to hold the fair. This situation is tough, especially because fair is where my heart is personally every summer because of the many connections I have developed over the years. While this year’s pandemic has put a wrench in the county fair plan, the plan was already in another person’s hands that we have learned to live with by faith.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Council announces postponement of Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame Induction Breakfast

The Executive Committee of the Ohio Agricultural Council (OAC) announced the postponement of the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame Induction Breakfast that is held during the Ohio State Fair. Due to the fair’s cancellation and the many unknowns surrounding large events, the annual induction has been postponed until Aug. 6, 2021.

“The strength and resiliency of Ohio’s farm community is admirable. That resolve shines brightest during our annual Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame breakfast, when we honor the legacies and achievements of Ohio’s agriculture leaders,” said the group in a statement. “Inherent in our celebration is the opportunity for families, friends and supporters of our inductees to recognize their accomplishments and to enjoy the agriculture offerings of the Ohio State Fair. Without the fair, and the ability to bring together all those that want to celebrate our inductees, and in the context of continuing health and safety concerns, cancelling this year’s breakfast event is appropriate.… Continue reading

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USDA clarifies CFAP provisions for livestock

USDA issued a Federal Register notice clarifying a handful of provisions in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to farmers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and was issued last month.

Among the changes, USDA clarified CFAP payment calculations for livestock, including the calculations based on unpriced livestock sales from Jan. 15 to April 15, 2020, and those based on livestock inventory owned between April 16 to May 14, 2020. Under the change, the swine provisions now read as: “Payments for hogs and pigs will be equal to the sum of the results of the following two calculations: (1) Unpriced hogs and pigs sold between Jan. 15-April 15, 2020, multiplied by the CARES Act payment rate in paragraph (h) of this section; and (2) Hog and pig inventory owned between April 16-May 14, 2020, multiplied by the CCC payment rate in paragraph (h) of this section.”

Read the Federal Register notice here.… Continue reading

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USDA issued first Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has already approved more than $545 million in payments to producers who have applied for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. FSA began taking applications May 26, and the agency has received over 86,000 applications for this important relief program.

“The coronavirus has hurt America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers, and these payments directed by President Trump will help this critical industry weather the current pandemic so they can continue to plant and harvest a safe, nutritious, and affordable crop for the American people,” said Secretary Perdue. “We have tools and resources available to help producers understand the program and enable them to work with Farm Service Agency staff to complete applications as smoothly and efficiently as possible and get payments into the pockets of our patriotic farmers.”

In the first six days of the application period, FSA had already made payments to more than 35,000 producers.… Continue reading

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Weather, China and soybean crush key market factors

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

U.S. soybean crush continues to be exceptionally strong, marking two new monthly records in 2020. It is evidenced from two fronts. First is the chain of increases as published in the monthly Supply and Demand Reports (WASDE) in two of the past three monthly reports. In April, soybean crush for the 2019-20 crop year increased 20 million bushels to 2.125 billion bushels. Again, in June, crush increased 15 million bushels to 2.140 billion bushels. Second, in May U.S. crushers, according to NOPA (National Oilseed Processors Association) processed 169.5 million bushels of soybeans as it crushed (pun intended) the previous May record set in May 2018 at 163.5 million bushels of soybeans. The May number would be the fifth highest for any month on record. May closely followed March 2020, when the monthly NOPA crush number set an all-time record for any month, at 181 million bushels of soybeans crushed.… Continue reading

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PFR is more than just research

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

At the Beck’s PFR (Practical Farm Research) site near London, Ohio PFR is more than just research.

“The Ohio PFR site strives to be a respected member of the community and accurate representation of the Beck family,” said Jared Chester, Practical Farm Research Location Lead. “The London, Ohio PFR location includes 130 acres of replicated plots, along with another 85 acres of testing in larger field scale settings that are managed with The Ohio State University.”

Jared Chester, Practical Farm Research Operator

Beck’s PFR locations are representative of the agricultural production commonly found in the area.

“The London site has 70 different replicated studies which include: corn, soybeans, wheat, and double crop soybeans. In addition, we have some demonstration plots that are conducted for training and observation only,” Chester said. “We are using replicated testing to answer questions and provide recommendations to help farmers succeed.”

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U.S. soy shoes donated to frontline workers

U.S. Soy is helping bring comfort to health care professionals who are working tirelessly on the frontlines during COVID-19. Okabashi, an American company that counts on U.S. soy for all its sandals, pledged to donate up to 10,000 pairs of soy-based sandals to health care workers for every order placed through its website or Zappos.

“We’ve already donated over 5,000 pairs so far, and still counting!” said Okabashi President Kim Falkenhayn. “We are sending them all over the country. Now more than ever, we’re all in this together.”

Only 2% of shoe companies operate in the U.S., and Okabashi is proud to source American materials, including U.S.-grown soybean oil. Okabashi committed to producing their footwear with sustainable and renewable materials using soybean oil to displace petroleum. The company’s shoes are approximately 45% U.S. soy by weight. U.S. Soy meets Okabashi’s high standards for performance, offering both strength and softness, as well as qualified them to be recognized as a USDA Certified Biobased Product in the USDA’s BioPreferred Program.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 158 | Dicamba Debacle

As Quarantine begins to come to a close, county fairs begin to make plans to open with the rest of the state. Matt, Kolt, Dusty and Dale host this week and talk about the current hot button topic of dicamba products. Dusty interviews Joe Taylor for more information in the issue. Kolt features an interview with Katey Brattin from the Wendt Group about a product they have released for county fair sale use.… Continue reading

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Good weather pushes progress

A variety of field activities continued due to dry and warm weather, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. While warm windy weather created ideal conditions for making dry hay, windy conditions also may have negatively impacted some crops. In addition, armyworms negatively impacted crops, causing damage to wheat, other small grains and hay fields. Average temperatures for the week were approximately 1 degree above historical normals and the entire state averaged close to a half inch of precipitation. There were 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 14.

Farmers worked on spot planting, tilling, spraying herbicides, side-dressing corn, and cutting hay. Topsoil moisture decreased from 12% surplus last week to 5% surplus this week. Soybean planting progress was 93%, ahead of the five-year average by 10 percentage points. Corn planting progress was 6 percentage points ahead of the five-year average at 98%. Sixty-three percent of corn was considered good or excellent and 73% of pasture and range was considered good or excellent compared to 55% the previous year.

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Changes in status of dicamba product labels for Xtend soybeans — a recap

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension, State Weed Specialist

On June 3, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in a case concerning the use of dicamba on Xtend soybeans. This decision voided the labels for XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan that allow use on Xtend soybeans. Tavium was not included in this decision, because it was not approved for use when the case was initially filed. Several great articles covering this decision can be found here on the OSU Ag Law blog ( EPA issued a statement on June 8 providing further guidance about what this decision means for use of dicamba the rest of this season. The gist of this decision was the following:

“EPA’s order addresses sale, distribution, and use of existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products — XtendiMax with vapor grip technology, Engenia, and FeXapan.

  1. Distribution or sale by any person is generally prohibited except for ensuring proper disposal or return to the registrant.
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The 4 Hs in the light of a pandemic

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

Any former 4-H member surely remembers the pledge of the youth organization covering the four Hs: Head to clearer thinking, heart to greater loyalty, hands to larger service, health for better living…

The challenges of 2020 have not changed the importance or meaning of the four H’s but have provided new opportunities to carry them out. Sally McClaskey, the program manager at the state 4-H office for education and marketing, encourages 4-H’ers to look at their project books and work on them with the challenges of today’s situation and the 4-Hs in mind. She said Ohio 4-H Extension has 20 printable project books online at

“The important thing about any 4-H project is what the youth learns from it,” she said. “The responsibility of taking care of an animal or completing a project all the way through, seeing it through to completion and what they take away from it — that’s really what’s most important thing.”… Continue reading

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American Lamb Resource Center website

The American Lamb Resource Center website ( is officially relaunched. This is an industry website that is a great place for sheep producers, feeders, direct marketers, educators and processors to start their search for information. It pulls together a variety of resources from American Lamb organizations, USDA and more.

The site is a service of the American Lamb Board (ALB), your checkoff organization. With a totally new design, updated content and simplified navigation, we hope you find this site even more useful. The Home page features current news and resources of particular interest. The most popular section is likely to be Resources, which has access to everything from publications, funding opportunities from a variety of sources, the American Lamb Summit, pricing calculator (also known as the Direct Marketing Lamb Business Management Tool), to market reports courtesy of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI).

The Lamb Board section explains what the mandatory checkoff program does, how it works, and how to pay.… Continue reading

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