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There is something to be said for cooking low and slow

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Hot to trot for Instapot! I feel like that is the mantra these days! It seems you can make anything from eggs to rice to desserts perfecto in a matter of minutes. We are definitely in an Instapot craze! My Japanese friends have been on me to get an Instapot. They look super cool, but I am dragging my feet. I am still old-school and have a Crockpot. Do I really need another gadget to clean and store? This month we are going to slow things down a bit with my old-school friend, the slow cooker.

 The story goes that in Lithuania in the 1800s Jewish wives would mix up a stew called cholent and take to bakeries on Friday night. Bakery ovens would be cooling down from the workday, so the smart women they were, would use them to cook the stew overnight so it would be ready for the Sabbath.… Continue reading

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Beef and pork exports up

U.S. beef exports posted one of the best months on record in November, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). November was also a strong month for pork exports, which already surpassed the full-year volume and value records set in 2019.

“Demand for U.S. beef in the global retail sector has been outstanding and we expect this to continue in 2021,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “Unfortunately, foodservice continues to face COVID-related challenges. We expect a broader foodservice recovery this year, especially from mid-2021, but will likely still see interruptions in some markets. For U.S. pork, it’s great to set new records with an entire month to spare, but especially gratifying to see a diverse range of markets contributing to U.S. export growth. USMEF still expects strong pork demand from China in 2021, but we’re seeing a much-needed rebound in other regions, especially in Western Hemisphere markets.”… Continue reading

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Ohio colleges and universities invited to submit pre-proposals for armful algal bloom research initiative

Ohio Sea Grant, The Ohio State University, and The University of Toledo are requesting pre-proposals for one- to two-year research projects from Ohio colleges and universities as part of the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative (HABRI). 

Pre-proposals must be submitted online by Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, at 5 p.m. EST.
The funding focuses on agency priorities aimed at reducing nutrient loading to Lake Erie via wetland design, identifying agricultural management practices that are both efficient and cost-effective, learning about algal toxin formation and human health impacts, and informing water treatment technologies.

Addressing these priorities will help support agencies’ management decisions and Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative. Specific detailed priorities can be found online at Approximately $3.8 million is available for this grant competition, likely funding 15 to 20 projects.
The application and use of research results, as well as their societal and economic impacts, are important considerations for this funding opportunity.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation appoints new leaders, adds YAP member

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently added two new board members and elected 2021 officers of the board, which oversees the charitable, nonprofit organization.

New to the board is Jenny Cox, southeast regional trustee for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

Also joining the board is Jenna Gregorich, Bird Health Programs manager for the Ohio Poultry Association. She fills the newly added seat on the foundation board, dedicated to a Young Agricultural Professionals member.

Dan Durheim, associate vice president Sponsor Relations, Nationwide was reappointed to the board as was Tara Durbin, senior vice president Agricultural Lending, Farm Credit Mid-America.

The board also elected officers of the 16-member board. Mike Townsley, chairman, Bob Evans Farms/Post Refrigerated Retail was named president; Ohio Farm Bureau Trustee Lane Osswald was elected first vice president; Durbin was elected second vice president; and Ohio Farm Bureau Treasurer Cy Prettyman was named the foundation’s treasurer.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, a 501(c) (3) charitable, nonprofit organization, understands the need to inspire innovation and cultivate investment in Ohio’s farm and food community.… Continue reading

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Precision U Meetings focus on reduced working days

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

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), Digital Ag Team is hosting Precision U virtually this year in a series of four meetings, all with a theme of tackling spring operations with reduced working days.

It is no surprise to Ohio’s farmers that the weather patterns have been changing, and the short- and long-term weather impacts create a need for adaptive management styles.

“Since 1995 we have seen a decrease in the number of suitable working field days in Ohio from April through October,” said Aaron Wilson, Atmospheric Scientist at The Ohio State University and Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center.

Looking back at the 2020 midwest growing season, defined as March through November, the growing season was warmer with both daily high temperatures and overnight lows above the 30-year average.… Continue reading

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Ohio mound country

By Mike Ryan, OCJ field reporter

Scattered across southern Ohio are many American Indian archaeological sites of great significance. Taking the form of earthworks, mounds, and effigies, these sites bear witness to the last physical remnants of the Hopewell people, whose culture emerged and thrived in Ohio and other parts of eastern North America from 200 BC to 500 AD, at the beginning of what is called the Middle Woodland period. The moniker Hopewell does not refer to a specific tribe, but rather a culture that is linked through shared artifacts (often found at and in their earthworks) and a shared way of life that developed across the Midwest at the same time.

Ohio is home to some of the largest and most impressive Hopewell sites in the world, as the Archaeological Institute of America explains.

“The most spectacular earthworks are in southern Ohio and Indiana, especially in the valleys of the Great and Little Miami, Scioto, and Muskingum rivers.… Continue reading

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NFU responds to violence in D.C.

As Congress prepared to verify the results of the 2020 presidential election today, a group of far-right insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol building, vandalizing and stealing federal property, assaulting Capitol police officers, and threatening lawmakers with violence.

The event, which occurred mere blocks from National Farmers Union’s (NFU) D.C. office, is a disturbing attempt to undermine the will of American voters and the very democracy that guarantees our freedoms and protections.

“National Farmers Union and its members support all Americans’ right to free speech and peaceful protest, but these acts of intimidation and terror have no place in this country, and they cannot be condoned or brushed aside,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “More than that, this event demonstrates just how fragile democracy truly is. It doesn’t exist simply because it is written in the Constitution; it requires action of the part of every American. Every day, we must commit anew to upholding its core tenets of social equality, personal liberty, sovereignty, and a peaceful transfer of power.… Continue reading

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Grain bin safety contest continues in 2021

Every year, thousands of farmers and commercial grain handlers risk their lives by entering grain bins to remove clumped or rotted grain. As rural communities have come to know all too well, an accident in a grain bin can quickly turn deadly. In just seconds, adults can sink to their waist in flowing grain, rendering them completely trapped without the proper rescue devices. These accidents result in dozens of lost lives each year, and deaths have spiked in 2019 and early 2020 due to the wet harvest.

To lead the fight against these all-too-common accidents, Nationwide, is once again teaming up with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) in Iowa and other partners to hold the Nominate Your Fire Department Contest as part of annual Grain Bin Safety Week, which runs Feb. 21 to 27, 2021.

Now in its eighth year, the contest awards grain rescue tubes and hands-on rescue training to first responders to help save lives.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau purchases Ohio Ag Net, Ohio’s Country Journal

With the start of 2021, Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net are beginning a new chapter.

At its November meeting, Ohio Farm Bureau’s board of trustees voted to pursue the purchase of Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net radio and digital assets from owners Bart and Sheryl Johnson. After extensive due diligence, the sale closed Dec. 28, 2020.

“Both of these farm media outlets have a rich history of getting the most important, up-to-date news stories and information to Ohio’s agricultural community,” said Adam Sharp, OFBF executive vice president. “Bart, his wife, Sheryl, and their talented team have continued to grow the company into a trusted resource for their readers and listeners. We look forward to continuing that almost 50-year legacy.”

With the creation of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Strategic Partnerships department in 2019, Ohio Farm Bureau positioned itself to pursue new business opportunities such as this to allow the organization to bring in additional revenue outside of traditional memberships and partnerships to become an even stronger asset to those they serve for many years to come.… Continue reading

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Embracing “Learning to do” into a future career

By Meredith Oglesby, OCJ FFA reporter

From the skills learned to the support he gained along the way, one alumni member from the Liberty Center FFA chapter has put, “learning to do, doing to learn,” into action.

As an FFA member, Zac Graber, a 2015 Liberty Center High School graduate, participated in public speaking, served as the Liberty Center FFA President and received his State FFA Degree. These experiences allowed Graber to grow, learn and question the impact he can make in his community and world.

            Graber, who graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in marketing and agribusiness and applied economics, was recognized in 2019 as a President’s Prize recipient, an opportunity former President Michael V. Drake developed to recognize graduating seniors who are committed to social change and their capacity to create bold ideas and make an impact on their global community.

            Graber conducted undergraduate research, which gave him a basis to apply for the President’s Prize where he developed the project rECOvery Organics.… Continue reading

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COVID-19, Brazil and China shaping markets moving forward

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

South America and U.S. weather, domestic and world demand for grains, COVID-19, and the vaccines will be the major price drivers for at least the first four months of 2021. Digging deeper into that topic, Brazil weather has had a major influence on soybean prices since September. The January and March 2021 CBOT soybean contracts flirted with strong resistance at $12 multiple times the first half of December. Yet, the lack of breaking resistance provided significant choppy, volatile price activity. It’s no surprise the funds continue to be long corn, soybeans, and wheat, while getting even longer compared to their September levels. Higher price action is anticipated in coming weeks and months. Mid-December one analyst suggested the charts were negative but fundamentals were bullish for grains.

The Dec. 10 USDA monthly WASDE report was expected to provide little change compared to the November report. The surprise was, even fewer changes actually took place.… Continue reading

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Time is running out to apply for H2Ohio’s Water Quality Incentive Program

There is less than one month left to apply for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Water Quality Incentive Program (WQIP).  The new program, under Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative, is designed to encourage farmers to aid in conservation and improve water quality. ODNR is accepting applications through Jan. 29, 2021.

“Every step toward improving the quality of water in Ohio is crucial,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “I encourage farmers to take advantage of this incentive program as a way to contribute to clean water for future generations of Ohioans.”

The new program is being offered in combination with the Lake Erie Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). CREP is a USDA conservation program that offers farmers and landowners financial compensation for taking cropland out of production and establishing conservation practices. The H2Ohio Water Quality Incentive Program will offer a one-time payment of $2,000 per acre for new Lake Erie CREP wetlands and forested riparian buffers (buffer strip with trees) to help improve water quality in the Lake Erie watershed.… Continue reading

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Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association elects officers and board members

The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) Board of Directors elected officers for 2021 and filled board vacancies during their December meeting. Executive committee positions include the offices of president, vice-president, treasurer/secretary, and chair. Those elected to an officer position are responsible for the implementation of board policies and procedures, as well as carrying out the roles for their respective office. 

Kelly Harsh, a corn and soybean farmer from Delaware County, was elected to serve as the OCWGA president. She has held various leadership roles in the association including vice-president and secretary. Harsh is a member of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Ethanol Action Team and has been an active member on other committees and is a Certified Public Accountant and crop insurance agent. She farms with her family near Delaware.

Ben Klick was elected vice-president. Klick represents growers in District 5 that includes much of Northeast Ohio: Ashland, Ashtabula, Carroll, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Harrison, Holmes, Huron, Jefferson, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, and Wayne Counties.… Continue reading

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Agricultural Risk Coverage for the 2021 crop year

By Mary GriffithChris ZollerHallie Williams, Ohio State University Extension

Enrollment for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year opened in October, with the deadline to enroll and make amendments to program elections on March 15, 2021. This signup is for potential payments for the 2021 crop.

If changes are not made by the March 15 deadline, the election defaults to the programs selected for the 2020 crop year with no penalty. While it is optional to make changes to program elections, producers are required to enroll (sign a contract) each year to be eligible to receive payments. So, even if you do not change your program elections, you will still need to make an appointment at the Farm Service Agency to sign off on enrollment for the 2021 crop year by that March 15 deadline.

Producers have the option to enroll covered commodities in either ARC-County, ARC-Individual, or PLC.… Continue reading

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Short film raises awareness

By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net

Warning: This story (and the video it’s about) portrays a fictional plotline about farmer suicide. It’s intended to raise awareness. I will do my best to keep the spoilers to a minimum, but they are in the story.

My phone buzzed with a message from one of my friends on Facebook.

“Hey Kolt,” the message read. “I was wondering if you’d seen the short film about small farmers and suicide.”

Farm stress is a topic that I have been passionate about covering since I started in the business. I’ve interviewed experts from Ohio State, advocates from Ohio Farm Bureau, and farmers about the issue. It’s something that happens too often and doesn’t get near the attention it deserves in my opinion.

Anyway — back to the story. I went about my evening and returned to my computer later that night to watch the short film.… Continue reading

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The new Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO) crop insurance program

By Nick PaulsonGary Schnitkey, and Krista Swanson with the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois and Carl Zulauf, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics at Ohio State University

The Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO) is a new supplemental insurance program that will be available in 2021. ECO is an option that can only be added to an underlying individual plan of insurance and provides area-based coverage similar to the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO).

Overview of ECO

ECO will be available for purchase on 31 spring-planted crops including corn, soybeans, and wheat (RMA 2020a and 2020b). ECO is purchased as an endorsement to an eligible individual insurance plan such as Revenue Protection (RP), Revenue Protection with the Harvest Price Exclusion (RP-HPE), or Yield Protection (YP). It cannot be used with an underlying area plan of insurance (i.e. Area Risk Protection Insurance (APRI) or Margin Protection).… Continue reading

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Seed Consultants virtual meetings

Join Seed Consultants Agronomists, Matt Hutcheson, Bill McDonald and Jordan Bassler for a virtual Winter Agronomy Meeting. Attendees have three options to join or can join all three. When you joining the meeting, attendees will be entered in to win one of the following prizes:

  1. 40 bags of Enlist E3 soybeans
  2. $200 eCertificate to the Seed Consultants online store
  3. $100 eCertificate to the Seed Consultants online store
    The Seed Consultants Virtual Winter Agronomy Meeting Schedule is as follows:

• January 27 2021: Matt Hutcheson—“Enlist Update and Lessons Learned”

• February 3 2021: Jordan Bassler –“Basics of Soil Fertility”

• February 10 2021: Bill McDonald— “2020 Corn Fungicide Study Results and Discussion”

For more details or to register for the meetings, click here.… Continue reading

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Conservation Reserve Program general signup ends Feb. 12

Agricultural producers and private landowners interested in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) could sign up for the popular program beginning Jan. 4, 2021. Signup goes through Feb. 12, 2021. The competitive program, administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.

“This signup for the Conservation Reserve Program gives producers and landowners an opportunity to enroll for the first time or continue their participation for another term,” said Richard Fordyce, FSA administrator. “This program encourages conservation on sensitive lands or low-yielding acres, which provides tremendous benefits for stewardship of our natural resources and wildlife.”

Through CRP, farmers and ranchers establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. Farmers and ranchers who participate in CRP help provide numerous benefits to their local region and the nation’s environment and economy.… Continue reading

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Hit-and-miss in for Brazil’s crops

By Daniele Siqueira

I’m writing this article in mid-December and many of you would probably want me to tell what will be the size of Brazil’s 2020/21 soybean crop. I wish I could, but it’s too early for that. If Brazil grew soybeans in the Northern hemisphere, like the United States does, we would be in July — and you all know that soybeans can stand a lot of stress in July and still have good yields if weather conditions benefit the pod-filling stage in August.

Daniele Siqueira

Remember 2012? I spent the whole July 2012 in the Midwest, crop scouting and talking to farmers, and soybeans didn’t look much better than corn. But then good rains hit several areas in August. Too late for corn, as you know, but still a blessing for many soybean fields. And, despite some damaged areas that we can see here and there, Brazil’s 2020 soybeans are in better shape than the U.S.… Continue reading

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