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Sunrise University and Ohio FFA

By Dale Minyo and Matt Reese

As part of a unique partnership with Ohio FFA, Sunrise Cooperative has created the RISE FFA Career Program and Sunrise University. The program was developed in 2019 and serves two purposes: provide an avenue to reach the future leaders of agriculture, while supporting the Ohio FFA Association State President during their term in office. 

“The state FFA came to us and they had a need for a vehicle for the State FFA president to drive. I say, ‘I’ll tell you what, we’ll give you a brand new pickup truck for the state FFA president to drive and, at the end of that year, when it is one year old, we’ll take that truck and give it as a signing bonus to whoever you say is the top FFA student that wants to come right into the work force from high school,’” said George Secor, President/CEO of Sunrise.… Continue reading

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The 2022 Ohio State Fair is on!

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Expo Center & State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler announced that the 2022 Ohio State Fair will run from July 27 to August 7.

“The Ohio State Fair brings people together. It’s a place where we can all celebrate our great state and make memories that will last a lifetime,” said Governor DeWine. “Fran and I absolutely love fairs, none more than the Ohio State Fair. We have experienced so many remarkable moments with our children and grandchildren at fairs over the years, and this summer, we can’t wait to enjoy the Ohio State Fair once again.”

This year’s 167th Ohio State Fair is possible thanks to the hard work of thousands of staff members, exhibitors, volunteers, vendors, partners, performers, concessionaires, youth leaders, and sponsors. At this time, the Ohio State Fair staff are actively working on enhancements that will make this year’s Ohio State Fair safe, fun, and memorable.… Continue reading

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New program pays landowners, expands Ohio hunting access

By Matt Reese

Hunters can bring value and many benefits to landowners around the state of Ohio. They can also be the source of headaches and challenges for landowners.

In an attempt to minimize the challenges and maximize the benefits of good hunter-landowner relationships in the state, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife has created the Ohio Landowner Hunter Access Partnership (OLHAP) Program.

“It is kind of an improvement over a previous project where they tried to pair landowners who allowed hunting access on their property with hunters. This is a little bit of a change now because there is a payment from the Division of Wildlife to the landowners. Ohio applied for a grant and was awarded farm bill money for the program,” said Tommy Springer, the education/wildlife specialist for Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District. “Any landowners interested in signing up for the program can sign up small to large acreage.… Continue reading

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Times are changing faster than ever

By Matt Reese

Imagine for a moment you and I are sitting at your local coffee shop enjoying some delicious brunch back in February of 2020. I am just enjoying a bite of my hash browns and you get really serious and look at me across the table.

“Matt, I have a couple of things I have got to tell you. You may not believe me at first, but I promise they are going to happen,” you say.

“Alright, what’s up?” I reply in between sips of coffee.  

“Well, first, in the next couple of months, every church in this country is going to shut its doors to visitors,” you tell me leaning in and lowering your voice a bit.

I’d guess that my eyebrows would rise with surprise and skepticism at your statement.

“But that’s not all Matt. You may not believe this, but I’m telling the truth when I say that essential food items and things like toilet paper are going to disappear from store shelves within  just a few weeks,” you tell me in a hushed tone. … Continue reading

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Conservation Tillage Conference focuses on soil health, water quality and other farm issues

Wondering how climate change can impact agriculture, food quality, and public health? Want to learn how tile drainage impacts river flashiness? Or how about what kind of insects are beneficial for sustainable agriculture?

The answers to these questions and more will be discussed during the annual Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference (CTC), held March 8–9 at the McIntosh Center of Ohio Northern University (ONU), 525 S. Main St., in Ada. CTC is presented by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and other supporters.

The event focuses on providing information to farmers on promoting and maintaining soil health, said Randall Reeder, a retired Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer.

From offering a workshop on “Corn Management Today—Does Chasing the Last Bushel Pay?” and a discussion on “Water and Drainage Laws—What Is New in Ohio,” the two-day event is designed to provide opportunities “for farmers and crop consultants to learn about the latest technology and practices for conserving soil and improving water quality and how that can boost their financial bottom line while conserving their soils,” Reeder said.… Continue reading

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Hodges named Farm Bureau organization director

Kaitlynn Hodges of Cambridge has been named organization director for Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and will serve members in Morgan, Muskingum, Perry and Washington counties. She will work with the county Farm Bureaus to address issues important to members and their communities.

Hodges, along with her family, operates a multi-century cow-calf and timber farm. She received her bachelor’s degree from Wilmington College, where she majored in agriculture. She was a long-time member of 4-H and served as chapter president of the Mid-East Career and Technology Center FFA.

Prior to joining the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation staff, Hodges served as the outdoor and environmental event and program planner for the Parks and Recreation Department of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Hodges is a member of Guernsey County Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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Ohio State installs, commissions new pilot-scale ultra-shear technology equipment for liquid foods and beverages processing

Food processing companies looking for innovative new ways to preserve clean-label liquid food without artificial preservatives will soon have a new option to do so thanks to new technology being developed at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). 

Researchers in the CFAES departments of Food Science and Technology as well as Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE) have installed and commissioned a new, innovative manufacturing technology that preserves foods and beverages using wholesome, recognizable ingredients; no artificial preservatives; and reduced heat. And they will soon launch an outreach program to food and beverage companies to join the Food Industry Consortium to begin using the new technology.

Called BaroShear MAX ultra-shear technology (UST), this new method of high-pressure-based shear technology will allow beverage companies to manufacture healthier beverages by reducing thermal exposure through the combined application of elevated pressure, shear, and controlled times and temperatures. 

The result?… Continue reading

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Agricultural producers have until March 15 to enroll in several key USDA commodity safety net programs

Agricultural producers who have not yet enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2022 crop year have until March 15, 2022, to sign a contract. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers these two safety net programs to provide vital income support to farmers experiencing substantial declines in crop prices or revenues.  

“The Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs provide critical financial protections to many American farmers. As producers continue to weather a bruising pandemic and new, climate-induced disasters, these programs are all the more important,” said Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “I am encouraging producers to reach out to their county offices to learn about program eligibility and election options today, so that they can begin the enrollment process as soon as possible.”  

Producers can elect coverage and enroll in ARC-County or PLC, which are both crop-by-crop, or ARC-Individual, which is for the entire farm. Although election changes for 2022 are optional, producers must enroll through a signed contract each year.… Continue reading

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A look forward at the supply chain

A conversation with….

Robert Fox, director of the Knowledge Exchange Division for CoBank

OCJ: So what is the outlook for agriculture as we move in 2022?

Robert: I’m pretty confident 2022 is going to be a nice year for agriculture in general. Commodity prices are very strong and fundamentally supported. I don’t have too much concern about a decline in prices. Of course, commodities are natural hedge for inflation. If inflation become a further concern, I see commodity prices escalating with that. I know people have been concerned about input costs, and rightly so. Still, prices are strong enough to withstand those input costs.

We are left with some wildcard events. One is the COVID Omicron outbreak in China. Up to this point China has had a zero-COVID policy. They have been very rigorous and have been able to control COVID in China. Omicron is a different beast and if it starts to spread in China we don’t know how aggressive they will be in shutting down plants and ports.… Continue reading

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Upcoming Western Lake Erie Basin conservation practices public input meeting

By Rachel Cochran, Ohio State University Extension

Join OSU Extension’s Water Quality Associates on Tuesday, Feb. 22 from 10-11 a.m. for a public input meeting regarding on-farm conservation practices. This webinar is aimed toward farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin who farm or live near our target watersheds. This virtual webinar will allow OSU’s Water Quality team to hear directly from farmers and landowners to guide local watershed planning efforts and funding priorities. What conservation practices do you want to learn more about? Are there practices that you think may work for your farm, but you don’t know where to start? Are there practices you are interested in if additional funding or support becomes available? Join us for an informal discussion to talk about these topics.

Register for this webinar at, or contact a Water Quality Extension Associate to give your input if you can’t attend the meeting.… Continue reading

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ARC, PLC and crop insurance deadlines coming soon

By Matt Reese

There are some big decisions that need to be made by crop producers in the next month regarding crop insurance and the Farm Service Agency options. 

“With crop insurance, one of the fortunate things is we have not seen huge changes to the revenue protection or the GRIP (Group Risk Income Protection) HRO (Harvest Revenue Option) that is now called Area Risk Protection plans. Those have stayed pretty steady, which I like in a year like this when we have higher markets with higher guarantees. This can make the premium higher, but I think we really need to think about the value that is available,” said Jason Williamson, with Williamson Crop Insurance. “There are a couple of newer products out there people may not know about. One is SCO, or Supplemental Coverage Option, and another is the ECO, or Enhanced Coverage Option. It does trigger based on a county numbers, but at a 95% level with these high market values and a high expected yield, you are looking at a small deductible and a way to potentially protect your profit on the farm.… Continue reading

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Long live the filibuster!

By Brooke Appleton, Vice President of Public Policy for the National Corn Growers Association

When people ask what worries me most about the political divisions in Congress, I tell them that one of my biggest concerns is the Senate eliminating the filibuster.

That’s not only because it would do away with an important tool that encourages bipartisanship, but also because the demise of this practice, which allows for extended debate that prevents legislation from advancing without a 60-vote threshold, could have serious ramifications for farm policy. While the filibuster’s downfall is not as imminent as some would like, thanks to Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), it is perhaps closer to being eliminated than at any other time in American history.

And while many see eliminating the Senate filibuster as the means to an important end, including passing voting rights legislation, climate policy and circumventing stagnation from a hyper-partisan political climate, I would caution these advocates to consider all that would be lost if the filibuster were no longer part of the Senate rules.… Continue reading

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Eberhart wins 2022 Collegiate Discussion Meet

Riley Eberhart of Harrison County will represent Ohio at the 2022 American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet.
The Collegiate Discussion Meet follows the same model as the Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet. The competitive event simulates a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. The competition is evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a predetermined topic. Participants build basic discussion skills, develop a keen understanding of important agricultural issues and explore how groups can pool knowledge to reach consensus and solve problems.

Eberhart, a six-year Harrison County Farm Bureau member, is currently a student at Wilmington College where she studies political science, focusing on agricultural advocacy and food policy. Prior to college, Eberhart spent 15 years as a member of 4-H, raising beef, hogs, chickens and rabbits and was involved in FFA, participating in many career development events (CDEs).… Continue reading

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Meat processing grants moving forward in Ohio

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that 40 Ohio livestock and poultry producers will receive grants totaling $10 million to help them expand capacity and meet the growing demand for meat processing services.

“The supply chain issues that our country is facing have put increased pressure on our meat processors, and they can’t keep up with the demand,” said Governor DeWine. “By awarding this money, we can help these Ohio businesses enhance their operations to strengthen the local meat supply chain and reduce reliance on out-of-state processors.”

Each company will receive a grant of up to $250,000, with half of the funds disbursed before projects are started and the other half awarded after the companies show that the initial funds were spent on eligible costs. In total, the businesses receiving awards have estimated that the funds will help them create up to 830 jobs.

“These grants will not only benefit consumers, but they will also help sustain these businesses and bring new job opportunities to Ohioans,” said Lt.… Continue reading

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Eminent domain, broadband and infrastructure the focus of Ag Day at the Capital

By Matt Reese

The weather cooperated beautifully for the 2022 Ag Day at the Capital where Ohio Farm Bureau members from around the state visited Columbus to meet their legislators face-to-face and discuss the issues of the day.

“Getting in front of your legislator has a big impact for them and for us,” said Kyle Brown, president of Wyandot County Farm Bureau. “I think it really means a lot to them and it shows your dedication to your subject matter. It resonates a little more when you take the time to meet with them in person.” 

The group heard a fiery keynote presentation on the vital role of the Ohio Supreme Court from Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy before heading out for meetings with legislators. Key priorities for Ohio Farm Bureau in 2022 include rural broadband, landowner rights and infrastructure development.

“This is the opportunity we take to unveil our Ohio Agricultural and Rural Communities Action Plan, which is essentially the issues we are going to prioritize for the year.… Continue reading

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FFA Member Leadership Series makes its’ debut

By Bethany Starlin, OCJ FFA reporter

Formerly known as 212/260, the FFA Member Leadership Series is a National FFA conducted event that offers students the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and grow their leadership skills. 

“The FFA Member Leadership Series is beneficial to students because it teaches them that they can make a positive impact in their personal lives and their FFA chapters,” said Mackenzie Ott, Ohio FFA State Treasurer. 

The last time Ohio FFA hosted an event similar to the FFA Member Leadership Series was in March of 2020. The event was canceled in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and instead Energize Ohio FFA, a virtual conference with similar formatting, was held in its place.

Ohio FFA went above and beyond to make this experience the best it could be for FFA members. Hosted at the Embassy Suites in Columbus, students arrived Saturday morning and jumped right into a day full of sessions.… Continue reading

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Future agricultural technology

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

We have come a long way in agriculture, from using horses to steam engines to gas and diesel tractors, and now to the use of ground and aerial robots. As the human population on earth reaches nearly 10 million people by 2050, our food production is going to have to increase by 70%. Efficient use of nutrient and crop inputs, improving crop genetics, and improving soil health will be needed to improve yields while also addressing environmental concerns. New agricultural technology will also assist in making this goal a reality.

By using satellites and global positioning; tractors, planters, and harvesters can tell where they are positioned in a field. Then with computers came auto-steer (self-guiding equipment) and yield monitors with human assisting and now unmanned robots are starting to perform many repetitious agricultural tasks.

Photo Credit: The Ohio State University

Several new agricultural technologies have recently developed.

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Price volatility expected leading up to planting season

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Corn and soybean prices at the end of January proved to even the stingiest of bears that there are legs or strength to the current rally. Think back to November when it seemed all but certain that Brazil would indeed have record soybean production for 2022. Fast forward to the end of January as both old and new crop soybeans had numerous days of double digit gains, resulting in multiple new contract highs the last two weeks of January. The Jan. 12 monthly WASDE (supply and demand) Report had estimated Brazil’s soybean production at 139 million tons, down five million tons for a record decline. In the days that followed the USDA report, private analysts suggested the Brazil production could be as low as 129 million to 131 million tons of soybeans. 

At the end of the last week in January, other private estimates estimated the Brazil soybean production could be as low as 124 million tons.… Continue reading

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OABA elects officers

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association is pleased to announce the newly elected members of the Board of Directors. Representing the Grain industry is Rhoda Crown, Coshocton Grain Company. Representing the Members-at-Large are Andrew Gladden, Luckey Farmers Inc. and Neil Rupp, Pettisville Grain Company.

In addition to new members, the Board of Directors has new leadership for 2022-2023. Robert Mullen of Heritage Cooperative will serve as Chairman of the Board. Grant Gates of Morral Companies, LLC was elected to serve as Vice Chairman. Jackie Siebert of L W Siebert Farms, LLC transitions from her role as Chairwoman to Past Chairwoman. 

“Our Board of Directors contribute their time, experience and expertise for the good of the industry and the association,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO. “We are pleased to welcome our newest board members and look forward to the leadership of our new officers.”

The newly elected members were announced at the OABA Annual Meeting on Jan.… Continue reading

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Case IH Introduces Precision Disk 550 Series air drill

Complete with greater tank capacity, a superior parallel-link row unit and new productivity-enhancing features, the Precision Disk 550 air drill is designed to boost yield potential in a variety of crops and tillage practices. Available to order for spring 2023, the new model will help producers get the most out of every seed.

“We continue to hear from growers — they need added capacity to get more seeding done in a day,” said Trent Nowosad, Case IH marketing manager for seeding equipment. “Case IH engineered the Precision Disk 550 air drill to meet this demand, with agronomically designed features to boost producers’ bottom lines.”   

Built on Agronomic Design principles, the Precision Disk 550 series row unit maintains an industry-leading parallel-link design with new features and enhancements to boost performance. A new closing system with indexable angle adjustments delivers effective seed trench closing, no matter the conditions — from conventional to no-till. Angle adjustments are simple, with indexed settings from 0 to 13 degrees to match your fields.… Continue reading

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