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CFAES outlook meetings

Farmers in Ohio and across the Midwest might have reason to be optimistic this year.

Prices for soybeans, corn, and wheat have risen in 2020, and total net cash income from farms in the United States is expected to be up this year by 4.5%. That’s partly because of an increase in government payments to farmers.

Those payments will make up 32% of this year’s net cash income from all U.S. farms — more than double the portion those payments typically account for, said Ben Brown, an assistant professor of agricultural risk management at the The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Traditionally, government assistance to farmers has made up about 14% of the annual net cash income from farms in the United States. Net farm cash income is a measure of profit generated from all U.S. farms by adding all sales of agricultural commodities and farming-related activities, plus direct government payments, and subtracting cash expenses.… Continue reading

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More than $7 billion paid in second round of USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that in the first month of the application period, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) approved more than $7 billion in payments to producers in the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. CFAP 2 provides agricultural producers with financial assistance to help absorb some of the increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These payments directed by President Trump will continue to help this critical industry recoup some of their losses from ongoing market disruptions and associated costs,” said Secretary Perdue. “This program builds upon the over $10 billion disbursed under the first round of CFAP. Agricultural producers who have been impacted by the pandemic since April 2020 are encouraged to apply for assistance.”

Since CFAP 2 enrollment began on September 21, FSA has approved more than 443,000 applications.… Continue reading

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Precipitation slows harvest progress

Crops were harvested at a slower pace due to higher amounts of precipitation last week, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 84% adequate to surplus by week’s end, up 29 percentage points from the previous week. Approximately 28% of the State was abnormally dry or worse, according to the most recent Drought Monitor, compared to 56% the previous week. Average temperatures for the week were 5.1 degrees above historical normals and the entire State averaged 1.84 inches of precipitation. There were 2.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Oct. 25.

Soybeans dropping leaves reached 100%, ahead of the five-year average by 2 percentage points. Soybeans harvested was at 73% while soybeans moisture content was at 13%. Corn mature was at 93%, one percentage point behind the five-year average, while corn moisture content was rated 22%. Alfalfa hay fourth cutting was at 92%, ahead of last year by 1 percentage point.… Continue reading

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Rains slow harvest progress

Charlie Kail

We’ve gotten around 1.5 inches of rain in the last few days. The rains slowed things down. Most people were running beans. I’d say beans are 60% to 70% off. Corn has been coming off in the 17% moisture range, but there is a lot more short season corn planted today than what there was 20 years ago. We are trying to get the corn off ahead of the deer. When the deer run out of green grass after it frosts a couple of times, then they start working on the corn. In areas with a lot of deer pressure, they are planting 97- or 95- day corn to get it off. If they don’t, they’ll be riding along and just watching corncobs go into the header.

Corn yields are everywhere from 35 bushels per acre to 200 around here and that can be in the same pass in the same field.… Continue reading

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Iowa trip by Ohioans offers helping hands and hope

By Matt Reese

Ted Blohm and his wife, Sue, were kicking around vacation ideas when she said, “How about we plan a trip to Iowa and help the farmers?” 

The Blohms had been part of a similar effort back in the 90s on a trip to Missouri to help the flooded farmer victims with great success so they decided to give it a shot. They contacted the Iowa Farm Bureau and got in touch with a Linn County representative who told them they could essentially go down any country road in the area and pull in a driveway and be received with open arms. They were told the destruction of buildings, homes, and fields was devastating due to the derecho and high winds that swept through the area on Aug. 10, 2020.

This conversation led to a connection with Lana Robison from the area, who has been coordinating people with places to go and help.… Continue reading

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Soil health indicators

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, and Jon Traunfeld, University of Maryland Extension

How do I know if my soil is healthy and what are indicators of soil health ?  Plants thrive in healthy soils and are not overtaken by pests (weeds, insects, diseases).  Weeds are the first colonizers of unhealthy, compacted or newly formed soils. Usually something is missing (soil organic matter (SOM), a certain nutrient, soil too tight) and weeds thrive under these conditions until the condition improves.  Insect and disease pest also thrive, because the plant is sick and easy prey.  Just like the lion or wolf in the wild, the sick and weak are consumed.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Healthy soils have deep loose soil for good root growth.  The soil should be dark in color meaning that the soil has plenty of SOM.  Healthy soil should be slightly moist, crumble,  have soil aggregates that fall apart, and have an “earthy” smell.

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Retail lamb sales up

Retail sales of all lamb in the U.S. are increasing.

“The combination of consumers cooking at home, the desire for new meal options, the hard work by lamb marketers, retailers and American Lamb Board (ALB) checkoff efforts seem to be opening consumers to lamb’s possibilities, and it shows in the numbers,” said Gwen Kitzan, ALB chair from Newell, SD. 

The latest retail data, analyzed by IRI/FreshLook Marketing, and released by ALB, quantifies the growth in retail sales for all lamb (domestic and imported) through July 12, 2020. 

Retail sales data show pounds of all lamb sold at multi-outlet supermarkets in the U.S. in the 13-week period from April 20 through July 12, 2020, increased 8.6% compared to the same period in 2019. That’s 16.3 million pounds of lamb sold and $137.8 million in sales during the quarter.

In the last four weeks of the period (June 15 through July 12, 2020) pounds of lamb sold increased 29.8% compared to the same period one year ago, and lamb dollars spent increased 38.2% to $40.5 million.… Continue reading

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The importance of mast

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

The 2020 acorn abundance survey conducted on 38 wildlife areas throughout Ohio shows an above-average year for red oaks and a below-average year for white oaks, according to the Ohio of Wildlife (ODOW). This is important. Ohio’s fall acorns are an important food source for more than 90 forest wildlife species, and mast crop distribution can influence hunting plans. The acorn mast crop is the number of nuts collectively produced by trees.

Division of Wildlife employees scanned the canopies of selected oak trees on wildlife areas to determine the percentage of trees that produced acorns and the relative size of the acorn crop. The results showed that an average of 27% of white oaks and 70% of red oaks bore fruit this year. Over the past five years, acorn production has oscillated. For the second year in a row, red oaks were well above the 16-year average, while white oaks were below average.… Continue reading

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Stalk rot issues are showing up in some corn

By Pierce Paul and Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

Corn harvest is progressing very slowly across the state as the crop is taking unusually long to dry down this year. The longer the crop stays in the field, there greater the risk of late-season diseases such as ear and stalk rots, especially if it continues to rain. Stalk rot often refers to a combination of several interrelated problems, including stalk breakage, stalk lodging, premature plant death, and root lodging. Several factors may contribute to stalk rot, including extreme weather conditions, inadequate fertilization, problems with nutrient uptake, insects, and diseases. For instance, when leaves above the ear are severely damaged (either by diseases, insects, or some environmental stress) well before grain-fill is complete, the plants often translocate sugars from the stalk to fill grain, causing them to become weak and predisposed to fungal infection. A number of fungal pathogens cause stalk rot, but the three most important in Ohio are Gibberella, Collectotrichum (anthracnose), and Fusarium.… Continue reading

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Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2.0

By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County

Farmers are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2.0 (CFAP 2.0). The application deadline is December 11, 2020.

President Trump and USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an expansion of the original CFAP intended to provide support to farmers who suffered losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following information is sourced from USDA and available at


Any individual or legal entity who shares in the risk of producing a commodity may apply for CFAP 2. Producers must be in the business of farming and producing commercially produced commodities at the time of submitting their application to be eligible. Commodities grown under a contract in which the grower has ownership and production risk are eligible for CFAP 2.

To be eligible for payments, a person or legal entity must have an average adjusted gross income of less than $900,000 for tax years 2016, 2017, and 2018.… Continue reading

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Naming of Ohio State center cements Lal’s legacy

The legacy of Rattan Lal, one of the world’s top scientists, has been bolstered with the addition of his name to a center at The Ohio State University. The honor was bestowed on Oct. 15, in a virtual ceremony hosted by Ohio State, Nationwide Insurance, and Ohio Farm Bureau.

Earlier in the day, Lal received the 50th annual World Food Prize, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize in Food and Agriculture.”

Lal serves as Distinguished University Professor at Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and is the founding director of what will now be known as the CFAES Rattan Lal Carbon Management and Sequestration Center (C-MASC).

“Although it would be an exception for a current faculty member to be acknowledged with an honorific naming, Dr. Lal’s accomplishments and the notoriety he has brought to our university warrants this exception,” said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES.… Continue reading

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Extended drydown in corn

By Alexander Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

As fall is progressing, crop harvest is also occurring throughout the state. However, many producers are seeing slower than usual drydown in their corn fields this October. This may be in part due to how the weather conditions impacted corn growth and development this year.

In many parts of Ohio in 2020, temperatures were near the long-term average this season. One marked difference though was that precipitation was below normal for much of the season around the state.

In 2018 and 2020, temperatures were very similar to one another in each month, with the exception of May being slightly cooler and September being slightly warmer in 2020. The only month in which 2020 received more precipitation than in 2018 was May. Cool wet conditions resulted in planting dates that extended into the latter part of May for the state (USDA reported 57% corn acres planted on May 17, 2020), but also may have contributed to delayed emergence due to slow heat unit accumulation (only 11% of the corn was emerged on May 17).… Continue reading

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Farming and parenting can be tough to balance

Raising children on a farm might sound idyllic, but in a national study, most farmers with children under 18 said childcare was a challenge.

Over two-thirds of first-generation farmers, people who had not grown up on farms, reported struggles with childcare, from finding affordable options nearby to finding providers whose childrearing philosophy matched theirs. 

Even multigenerational farmers, many who live near relatives, said childcare’s affordability, availability, or quality was a problem. Just over half of those farmers reported some type of childcare challenge.

“This is going to come as a surprise to a lot of people who don’t think childcare is an issue for farmers,” said Shoshanah Inwood, an assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and the lead researcher of the study. “Finding quality, affordable daycare affects young farmers and their ability to stay in agriculture.”

The four-year study began with a survey taken in 2014 among farmers in five metro areas: Columbus, Ohio; Burlington, Vt.;… Continue reading

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Feeding Farmers Week 4 Staley Farms Van Wert County Ohio

We wrap up the T102 Fall Feeding Farmers with a stop in Van Wert county at the farm of Jacob Staley. Jacob farms with his father Craig and while grandpa Kenneth Doner has retired he is always around to keep an eye on them. Jacob has finished soybeans and is waiting for dryer weather to get rolling on corn. They also raise turkeys for Cooper Farms. Check out the video with Dale and Jacob as they talk about the farm.… Continue reading

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2020 field crop insect recap

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

It has been a year of uneasiness for farmers in Ohio due to weather stress. Many areas in the state experienced various level of abnormally dry to drought conditions during the summer months. While some areas received timely rains, others often saw hit and miss rain shower activity. Given the moisture stress on crops, many growers in Ohio were fortunate that additional stress from insect pressure was not a large factor. Familiar insect pests such as soybean aphids and brown marmorated stinkbugs, or the common defoliators such as bean leaf beetles, Japanese beetle adults and grass hoppers, were present, but not in numbers that were problematic in most situations.

Kelley Tilmon, associate professor and state specialist for field crop entomology at The Ohio State University reported a year with less insect pressure than in the past.… Continue reading

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Is it pica or just an adventurous palate?

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Pica is an eating disorder, or persistent desire in cattle, other ruminant livestock, dogs and even humans, to eat things not normally considered food and that have no nutritional value. This could include wood, soil or hair, for example. This can have dangerous health consequences. Pica is often observed in malnourished children in developing countries.

In cows, pica commonly occurs with “nervous ketosis.” Ketosis is a condition that can also occur in humans who are on a diet to lose weight or increase their energy. Undoubtedly a few dairymen reading this have observed nervous ketosis in a cow or two and have had to call their vet.

The nervous form of ketosis occurs when a cow has a severely negative energy balance during early lactation. This produces a chemical (beta-hydroxy-butyrate), which is toxic to the cow’s brain, leading to bizarre behavior such as chewing dirt, rocks and door frames, to the extreme of attacking caretakers.… Continue reading

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First freeze hits Ohio

By Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension

Much of Ohio experienced frost or freeze conditions this past Friday and/or Saturday night. In fact, many locations dropped below 30 degrees F, with unofficial observations as cold as 26 degrees F!

How does this compare to typical first freeze dates? Ohio’s dates vary widely, as early as the last week in September in some of the colder valleys of the northeast hills (light blue) to as late as the first week of November (brown) in the far east. However, much of Ohio experiences first freeze during the second and third weeks of October. So, this year’s first freeze appears to be right on schedule across the north and a bit early for areas of southern and southwest Ohio.

A stalled boundary is currently draped across Ohio. This boundary is providing a focus for shower activity, bringing the heaviest widespread rainfall that we have seen in Ohio since Labor Day.… Continue reading

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Bane-Welker announces sprayer sales in all 12 locations

Bane-Welker Equipment recently announced an expansion of sales and service for Case IH sprayers to all 12 locations in Indiana and Ohio. Previously, Bane-Welker operated a single dedicated spray center out of the Lebanon Indiana location, but Bane-Welker saw the need to expand to fit the needs of their customers.

“For nine years, our customers relied on one dedicated center for sprayer sales, parts and service,” said Jason Bane, President of Bane-Welker Equipment. “We started discussing ways to make it more convenient for our customers and decided it was feasible to offer sprayer sales and service in all stores. We’re excited to roll this out — it will be beneficial to our customers. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”

All 12 locations in Indiana and Ohio will offer Case IH Patriot and Trident sprayers, parts and service. The 3 Ohio locations will also offer Case IH Miller sprayers.… Continue reading

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Finding perspective and better life balance

By Robin Kinney, senior director, member engagement at the American Farm Bureau Federation

Let’s just admit it: 2020 has been a real challenge. It all seemed to happen right around the time when we reset clocks in mid-March. Now, as we prepare for the end of daylight saving time in early November, and after recently spending some valuable time away, I’ve found a renewed energy, positive perspective and several new memories that will keep me focused.

I take pride in a strong work ethic. Being raised on the farm, vacation was a novel concept because there was always work that had to be done. But I made a promise to a friend two years ago to really “unhook” and I’m glad I did. Doing so can provide a different perceptive on what is important in your life, helping you recognize priorities.

This year after my pause, I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the abundance in my professional and personal life.… Continue reading

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Weathering the COVID-19 storm

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

As the accounting partner for businesses of all sizes, Holbrook & Manter is helping our clients navigate this pandemic. We are witnessing their great perseverance and new strategies for success along the way. For this month’s article, I asked some of our team members to weigh in on the following prompt:

It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a number of challenges to businesses of all sizes, across many industries. However, many of these businesses have pivoted and are finding new ways to be successful. Many businesses are finding ways to bounce back as we continue to battle the virus. Please share what you are seeing from business owners when it comes to staying the course and meeting their challenges head on.

Read on for our team member answers.

We have seen employers reprioritize their energy and focus extensively on their online presence in a variety of ways through the challenges of COVID-19.… Continue reading

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