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Tips for selling and shopping at farmers markets

At this year’s farmers markets, Ohio’s farmers will be selling fresh foods. However, there won’t be any farm-fresh food samples to taste, and the music and children’s activities that typically accompany the markets will likely be canceled.

Ohio farmers markets, farm markets, and you-pick operations are open, they’re taking precautions to keep consumers safe from COVID-19, and they’re fully stocked with locally grown and produced foods.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted growers, local farmers, and livestock producers, these groups are continuing to plant, harvest, and market foods directly to the public, said Shoshanah Inwood, assistant professor of community, food, and economic development at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

That’s allowing consumers to maintain access to locally produced fruits, vegetables, poultry, meats, and other food products during this growing season. However, there will be changes in how consumers interact with these farmers at farmers markets, farm markets, and you-pick operations, Inwood said.… Continue reading

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New law provides more PPP flexibility

President Trump signed into law, legislation which provides businesses with greater flexibility in how they use Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and still have their loans forgiven: H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020.

Specifically, the legislation expands the amount of time businesses have to spend the money from eight to 24 weeks; reduces the minimum that businesses need to spend from 75% to 60% if they want the full loan amount to be forgiven; extends the time period to rehire employees from June 30, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020 and eliminates rehiring requirements; and clarifies that employers in the PPP program can also benefit from the CARES Act payroll tax delay.… Continue reading

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Determining forage moisture content

By Wayne County Extension

Forage maturity/stage of development is often cited as the number one factor that determines forage quality, but for any stored forage, moisture content at harvest is a close second. Moisture content drives what happens to that forage after it is removed from the field, whether quality is maintained or degraded. Improper moisture content can reduce storage life.

The most common method of determining forage moisture is some type of visual appraisal whereby a forage sample is either twisted together or squeezed into a ball and then released. How quickly that twisted sample unravels, or the ball falls apart determines if the forage is too wet, too dry, or ready for harvest. While a lot of good quality stored forage has been made using this method, errors sometimes get made and forage quality is compromised, or forage is lost. For those producers looking for more certainty in determining forage moisture there are some tools available that can help.… Continue reading

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Back to the Future: A miraculous journey in Parkinson’s research (Part I — Cellular time travel)

By Don “Doc” Sanders

You probably remember the movie “Back to the Future,” starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. The story I share with you in this column, how an imaginative, daring, life-impacting research project, brought that movie to my mind.

Late one summer night in 2017 four researchers were planning to transport brain cells for a transplant from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to the Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. Bin Song, a stem cell biologist based at McClean Hospital outside Boston, headed up the team. He and his colleagues had spent years developing the protocol for creating these special human stem cells that would develop into dopamine-producing brain cells.

Like Doc’s DeLorean in “Back to the Future,” their research allowed them to time travel. Bin Song and his fellow scientists took a snippet of a Parkinson’s patient’s skin cells and reversed their embryological development back to when the cells were rudimentary, before they matured and developed into the tissues and organs that make up our bodies, like the heart, lungs, brain, GI tract, skeleton, etc.… Continue reading

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USDA updates ASF response plan

In late May, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) updated its African swine fever (ASF) strategic plan and expanded it into a full response as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen response capabilities in the event of an outbreak. The USDA APHIS USDA Response Plan: The Red Book May 2020 elevates preparedness activities in the United States should ASF enter the country. ASF is an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks. Among provisions, the response plan provides: a comprehensive feral swine response, an outline of USDA authorities and APHIS guidance specific to an ASF response, specific response actions that will be taken if ASF is detected, updated USDA APHIS National Stop Movement Guidance, and changes to surveillance guidance.

To view the Red Book, visit The agency anticipates there will be updates to the ASF Response Plan as new capabilities and processes become available.… Continue reading

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Ohio dicama registrations expire June 30

By Kolt Buchenroth

In a statement issued Thursday, the Ohio Department of Agriculture announced that all dicamba products in Ohio must be applied before July 1st, 2020.

This restriction comes after a U.S. Court of Appeals decision that vacated the federal registrations of three dicamba products on June 3rd.

“This decision has caused tremendous uncertainty for soybean producers and pesticide dealers during an agronomically critical time of year,” the statement reads. “It is estimated that around 40 to 50 percent of the soybean crop planted in Ohio are dicamba tolerant varieties.”

The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Final Cancellation Order  details which circumstances existing supply of the three impacted products can be used. While the order allows the impacted products to be applied through the end of July, ODA has determined that the registration on the products expires on June 30th and cannot be renewed. The products will no longer be registered or available after June 30th of this year.… Continue reading

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USDA Report Neutral

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

What a difference a year makes! This year, corn has seen excellent corn planting progress in major production states compared to last year. Ohio and Indiana are exceptions as they were planted later than the western cornbelt states.

Ahead of the report, many had expected it to be bearish with USDA reducing corn for ethanol, corn exports, and soybean exports.

For today, don’t expect the same kind of same kind of USDA report and price action seen with the June 11, 2019 report date. The June 2019 report reduced corn acres by 3 million. In addition, yield was cut 10 bushels per acre. December 2019 CBOT corn was up 12 cents that day. The early June 2019 corn planting progress was near record slow.

Last month USDA had much smaller demand changes for old corn than many had expected. At that time they tipped their hand that reports into August on old crop corn and old crop soybean demand changes would be hand to mouth, one month at a time.Continue reading

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Don’t roll your eyes at the discussion of force majeure

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

Twenty-nine years ago I recall sitting in my contracts class rolling my eyes at the discussion of force majeure. It seemed like such an impractical, academic concept that I doubted I would ever use it in practice. Wrong.

The term is French and means “superior force”or “unavoidable accident.” Force majeure is a common clause in contracts, including agreements for production agriculture, contract growers and custom feeding. The provision essentially frees both parties from performance when an extraordinary event or circumstance, beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, epidemic, pandemic or an event described by the legal term act of God, prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligation under the contract. The effects of the coronavirus on the food chain are likely force majeure under many legal situations.

Pillsbury Company, Inc. v Wells Dairy, Inc.Continue reading

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Ohio’s historic canal reservoirs provide present day recreational opportunities

By Mike Ryan, OCJ Field Reporter

During the heyday of Ohio canal construction, commerce, and travel in the middle 1800s, several feeder reservoirs were built to supply enough water to maintain a constant depth of 4 feet needed in the canals. As the era of the great canals waned, these feeder lakes lost their original purpose as water sources for canal traffic and were transformed into popular vacation and recreation destinations. These feeder lakes — Buckeye Lake, Indian Lake, Grand Lake, Lake Loramie, and Guilford Lake — are rich in human and natural history and offer diverse adventures for contemporary visitors.


Buckeye Lake

Ohio’s oldest state park is located at Buckeye Lake, a former feeder reservoir for the Ohio-Erie Canal. Spanning three separate counties — Fairfield, Perry, and Licking — this 3,100-acre lake was completed in 1830 and many vestiges of its history remain today.

On the lake in Millersport, Weldon’s Ice Cream, family owned and operated since 1930, still serves up old fashioned flavors from its quaint historic storefront.… Continue reading

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Pastures already short? Then stocking rate is too high!

By Victor Shelton, Natural Resource Conservation Service State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Generally, by the first of June, most cool-season forages have peaked their growth and quite often have reached about two thirds of their production for the year. Clippings taken support that theory. Unfortunately, there just haven’t been enough warm sunny days for this to occur this spring until just recently.

With this being a major pivoting point for the growing season, it is usually a decent gage of stocking rate and grazing efficiency. If you are short of forage at this time of year, then the stocking rate is too high, unless you happen to be in a drought area. I don’t know of anywhere where that is an issue right now.

Think about this for a moment. If you are short on forages at the peak of the cool-season forage season, then where will you be when it turns hot and dry?… Continue reading

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Meat processing laws in Ohio and the U.S.

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

Meat sales have been subject to serious supply chain issues wrought by COVID-19, raising many questions here in Ohio about who can process meat and where meat can be sold. In my opinion, explaining meat processing laws is nearly as difficult as summarizing the Internal Revenue Code. But one easy answer to the meat processing questions we’ve been receiving relates to Ohio’s participation in the Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Program established by the 2008 Farm Bill. Ohio was the first state to participate in CIS and is the largest of the seven approved state CIS programs. CIS participation means that a small Ohio processor can apply to operate as a “federally inspected” plant and sell meat across state lines, including through online sales.

To become a “CIS establishment,” the processor must have fewer than 25 full-time employees and meet specific food safety and sanitation standards that are verified through an inspection and assessment process.… Continue reading

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State to financially assist fairs, relaxes guidelines

By Dusty Sonnenberg

On Tuesday, June 9, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, along with Ohio Senate President, Larry Obhof (R-Medina) and Ohio Speaker of the House of Representatives, Larry Householder (R-Glenford) sent a letter to Ohio Fair Board members acknowledging the challenges COVID-19 has presented in conducting junior fair activities in a safe manner, and doing it in a way that “works financially.”

To help offset the expense of necessary health and sanitation practices that must be implemented due to the coronavirus, each fair that conducts a junior fair this year will receive $50,000. Fairs that do not conduct a junior fair this year will receive $15,000 that can be used towards next year’s fair to help offset the cost of conducting it safely. They also announced that if a fair has been canceled, they can apply for a new date with the Ohio Department of Agriculture.… Continue reading

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Are crown rot and PMD looming in corn?

By Luke Schulte, Beck’s Hybrids

As I write this, the rain continues to inundate many corn and soybean fields throughout the state. Unfortunately, many Ohio farmers will likely find their corn crop in one the following scenarios:

  1. Those that could plant early but have since endured saturating rains.
  2. Those that were unable to plant early, but due to the calendar, may have had to push field conditions rather than wait for an ideal planting situation.

Either scenario presents the increased potential for the corn root system to be exposed to infections that challenge staygreen and natural maturation.

Crown rot in corn results in plants that prematurely die. Not only does this affect final yield but often standability is impeded as well. Crown rot is caused by various species of Fusarium and Pythium, which are commonly found in our soils. The crown area serves as the “highway” for transporting water and nutrients from the roots to the remainder of the plant.… Continue reading

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Celebrate June Dairy Month with yogurt

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietitian

Milk it’s what’s for dinner! Oops! I love slogans or catchy phrases and the marketing of commodities is no exception. Got Milk? was one of my favorites. It was created in 1993 and kicked off with a commercial named “Aaron Burr.” Google it if you are too young to remember. This nerdy guy is eating a peanut butter sandwich and gets a call from the radio station asking a $10,000 trivia question. He is a guru on the subject, knows the answer but cannot talk due to the dreaded sticky peanut butter mouth. Worse yet…he is out of milk. He has nothing to wash it down. The slogan took off with ads featuring sticky situations needing of course, milk!

“Got Milk” started a new campaign in 1988 with celebrities wearing milk mustaches. Celebrities from the music, TV, film, athletes as well as Batman, The Simpsons and other fictional characters starred in these fantastic ads.… Continue reading

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Farm Office Live Webinar slated for June 11 at 9:00 a.m.

Ohio State University Extension is pleased to be offering the a “Farm Office Live” session on Thursday morning, June 11 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. Farmers, educators, and ag industry professionals are invited to log-on for the latest updates on the issues impact our farm economy.

The session will begin with the Farm Office Team answering questions asked over the two weeks. Topics to be highlighted include:

• Updates on the CARES Act, Payroll Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), and Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Update
• Other legal and economic issues
Plenty of time has been allotted for questions and answers from attendees. Each office session is limited to 500 people and if you miss the on-line office hours, the session recording can be accessed at the following day. Participants can pre-register or join in on Thursday morning at… Continue reading

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Bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act introduced

The bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate, calling it an important step toward reducing agricultural carbon emissions.

The legislation, introduced by Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), along with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), encourages sustainable farming practices by making it easier for farmers to participate in carbon markets.

“American family farmers and ranchers are ready to help fight climate change, but meaningful and sustainable changes are not inexpensive or easy to implement. Carbon credit exchanges can provide them with a market-based system to finance those improvements,” said Rob Larew, with the National farmers Union. “It is very encouraging to see legislators work across the aisle to provide certainty to those looking to participate in carbon credit marketplaces. In doing so, the Growing Climate Solutions Act is an important step toward strong and comprehensive climate policy that both provides farmers of all sizes with the resources they need to mitigate and adapt to climate change as well as recognizes the vital public good that comes from those efforts.”… Continue reading

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EPA provides clarification on Dicamba use

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

Clarification and further guidance was provided on Monday, June 8th, by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for farmers and retailers, regarding the use of certain dicamba products that have been in question since June 3rd, when those product’s federal registration was vacated by a federal court.  According to the ruling, The EPA received a large amount of unsolicited comments regarding the courts decision and resulting impacts on agriculture.

Last Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the product registration of three dicamba-based products, incuding: Monsanto’s XtendiMax, DuPont’s FeXapan, and BASF’s Engenia; as conditional use pesticides for post-emergent applications. The court held that when the EPA conditionally amend the registrations for an additional two years, the process they used violated the provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”).… Continue reading

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Ohio Soybean Council announces Board of Trustees election

The Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) Board of Trustees has four district seats up for election this year. All eligible candidates interested in running for the OSC Board must obtain at least 15 valid signatures on the petition available at

All petitions must be submitted to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) by mail, and must be postmarked no later than July 6, 2020 and received by July 13, 2020.

OSC is the Qualified State Soybean Board for Ohio and manages state soybean checkoff dollars. The OSC Board is made up of farmer volunteers who direct the investments of checkoff dollars to improve the profitability of Ohio soybean farmers.

Districts up for election are:

District 3: Ashland, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Huron, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit, and Trumbull Counties
Incumbent Jeff Magyar is eligible to run for another term
District 4: Defiance, Paulding, and Van Wert Counties
Incumbent Mike Heffelfinger is eligible to run for another term
District 6: Crawford, Seneca, and Wyandot Counties
Incumbent Mike Mutchler is eligible to run for another term
District 11: Clark, Greene, and Madison Counties
Incumbent Bob Suver is eligible to run for another term

To be eligible for election to the OSC Board, you must live in a county in one of the districts listed and be a soybean producer engaged in the growing of soybeans in the State of Ohio who owns or shares the ownership and risk of loss of soybeans at any time during the three-year period immediately preceding November 15 of the current year.… Continue reading

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2020 Cab Cams showed unique spring conditions

By Matt Reese

In a spring that has been just about as strange as recent national events, corn and soybean planting progress was widely divergent, generating some head scratches along the way. Minnesota was a national leader in early 2020 corn planting progress for goodness’ sake!

Ohio has been behind nationally all spring. While northwest Ohio has been a regular recipient of wet, cold, delayed planting seasons in recent years, the region led the state in planting progress. At the same time, the farmers in central and southern Ohio, who have been blessed with some of the better planting seasons recently, really struggled in 2020. Those who were able to get planted in April and early May were plagued with temperatures more in line with February, though soil conditions were nearly ideal. In some areas, farms went straight from scouting for frost damage to scouting for flood damage after big rains swamped the dry fields.… Continue reading

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See something, say something: how to help someone that may be struggling with mental illness

By Brittany Olson, a Wisconsin Farm Bureau member, dairy farmer, writer, photographer and mental health advocate

Agriculture is commonly noted as being the last industry to make transactions on a handshake and an individual’s good word. Relationships are paramount, and — in general — we look out for each other. When tragedy strikes one of our own in the form of death, disability, or disease, we’re right there with a hot dish, a hug, and harvesting equipment depending on the time of year.

However, when the wounds are a little less visible — such as the scars that tear us apart on the inside — we clam up. Mental health is an uncomfortable topic both in and of itself, and how to address it. It should make us uncomfortable that our profession has a higher suicide rate than that of veterans and one of the highest overall. It should make us uncomfortable that one in four Americans will experience a major depressive episode at some point in their lifetime.… Continue reading

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