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The twenty-third Christmas card

By Matt Reese

Another layer of dust had gathered on the aging shoebox full of unopened Christmas cards, 22 in total. His wife got the box out and left it on the kitchen table this time of year, waiting for the arrival of the next one and watching with pleading eyes in the hope that Mack would finally open them. 

The dusty box added to the gloom of Mack’s dismal day. Earlier in the week he had to sell off another chunk of the family farm at auction. Some investment group out west bought it online. 

He had sold a couple small parcels in recent years, both to local farmers. This one really hurt — 250 acres of the best ground he had — but he got a really good price and he did not have another generation coming along to farm it anyway. He knew selling it was the best thing to do as his days farming were winding down, but he still didn’t feel good about it. … Continue reading

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Preventing the use of “free” storage

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Over the last 2 years La Niña decimated parts of South America’s corn and bean production. This led to beans rallying $1 per bushel and corn rallying 50 cents each year at the end of December and into January. That is why the market is closely watching weather forecasts, because La Niña is still present and could impact their growing season.

Once again “free” storage is being advertised throughout the corn belt. While some also call it “price later opportunities,” “delayed pricing” or “DP” it refers to when farmers sign over their grain to an end user, and then wait to price the grain later, hopefully at higher values. 

On the surface, “free” storage seems like a win-win for farmers and end users. These “free” storage programs are a great way for end users to procure grain supply during the winter. And farmers can move their grain now when they are not busy, and price later during a potential rally.… Continue reading

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The benefits of gypsum

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off.

At the 2022 Ohio No-Till Conference, Dr. Warren Dick, retired soil scientist at The Ohio State University, discussed the benefits of gypsum and how it may play a key role in water quality issues when properly applied to soils. Gypsum can help capture phosphorus and prevent it from leaving the field. Gypsum is a soft mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate. The word gypsum is derived from a Greek word meaning “chalk” or “plaster”. Gypsum is moderately water-soluble. Gypsum can be mined or synthetically sourced.

Several possible sources of gypsum for agricultural use are currently available in the United States. These include mined gypsum from geologic deposits, phosphogypsum from wet-acid production of phosphoric acid from rock phosphate, recycled casting gypsum from various manufacturing processes, recycled wallboard gypsum, and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum from power plants.… Continue reading

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WRDA awaiting final passage

Congress quickly passed waterways legislation that would expedite U.S. lock and dam modernization.
The Senate approved the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022 on Dec. 15, sending WRDA to the president for signature. The House approved the legislation on Dec. 8.  
The final WRDA 2022 makes permanent a 2020 change in the cost-share formula for inland waterway construction projects to 35% from the general Treasury fund and 65% from the Inland Waterway Trust Fund. The new WRDA removes a provision that would sunset the 65-35 cost-share back to 50-50 in 10 years. 
The bill, which authorizes more than $37 billion in federal funds for inland waterways projects, was passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Importantly, the bipartisan deal neither authorizes nor paves the way for the breach or removal of dams in the Columbia-Snake River System, which is the third largest grain export corridor in the world.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 282 | Ugly Sweaters and Reviewing 2022 Agriculture

On this week’s podcast Matt and Dusty sit down with Ag Resource Management (ARM) folks, Larry Davis and Elizabeth Long who talk about a year recap when it comes to Ohio agriculture. Dusty also talks with Kris Schwartz of Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) to discuss water quality and what OACI does. Then, Matt catches up with Bill Chain and Jeff Duling to also talk water quality. Finally, Nathan Brown chats with Dusty about the importance of mental health in agriculture especially around the holiday season. All this and more in this week’s podcast episode!

00:00 Intro and OCJ/OAN Staff Update

07:22 Kris Schwartz – OACI Update

11:48 Bill Chain and Jeff Duling – Water Quality

21:06 Nathan Brown – Holiday Mental Health

25:28 Back with ARM… Continue reading

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Biggest year yet for Fight the Hunger, Stock the Trailer

In this season of giving, Farm Credit Mid-America reports their Fight the Hunger, Stock the Trailer program has wrapped up its second year in a big way. Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo has more in this video, featuring Farm Credit Mid-America’s Lindy McLaughlin, Chandra French, and Evan Hahn alongside Holden Harker of the Lorain County Jr. Fair Board, winners of this year’s contest.… Continue reading

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Soy and cotton dicamba lawsuit

Last week, American Soybean Association and Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., argued before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on American Soybean Association v. EPA. The two groups urged the court to clarify jurisdictional rules under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and to require the Environmental Protection Agency to use the best available science when evaluating dicamba pesticide registrations and potential impacts to species protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The groups filed the lawsuit against EPA in November 2020 on the five-year registration for the use of dicamba on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Growers argued EPA’s flawed approach led the agency to impose arbitrary and overly burdensome buffers and application cutoff dates, which have harmed grower operations. The agency’s arbitrary requirements have forced many growers to take land out of agricultural production, prevented their ability to use important practices like double-cropping, and made it more difficult to control damaging herbicide-resistant weeds, among other harms.… Continue reading

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Corn growers push for progress with biotech trade issue

The presidents of 23 state corn grower groups, joined by the president of the National Corn Growers Association, sent a letter to President Biden calling for him to take additional steps to address the pending decree by Mexico that would block imports of biotech corn.

The letter encouraged the president to raise the issue during upcoming trade talks and to file a dispute under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement if Mexico doesn’t act expeditiously to withdraw the decree.

“Corn farmers are right now in the process of making planting decisions for next spring, and any additional uncertainty in the market affects their ability to appropriately respond to multiple market signals,” the corn grower leaders said. “If the decree is not completely withdrawn by the established deadline, we ask that your administration initiate a case under USMCA.”

The letter is in response to a promise by President López Obrador to end imports of biotech corn beginning in early 2024.… Continue reading

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Phosphorus dynamics in water and soil: A study of 3s

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off

At the 2022 Ohio No-Till Conference, Warren Dick, retired soil scientist at The Ohio State University, discussed a 10-letter word that has everyone’s attention – phosphorus. Largely blamed for many of the water quality issues we hear about today, phosphorus is one of the primary nutrients in crop production. There is a phosphorus (P) cycle, much like there is a water cycle. Animal manure, commercial fertilizers, biosolids, and plant residue are added to the soil. These all contain phosphorus. There is also atmospheric deposition of P in rain and dust. The phosphorus is mineralized in the soil and becomes soluble P that can be taken up by the crops.

Dick describes understanding phosphorus as a series of 3s. 

“There are three forms we find phosphorus in the environment,” Dick said. “There is mineral P that interacts with iron, aluminum and calcium.… Continue reading

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ODA teams up with foodbanks for new CAN program

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is proud to introduce Ohio CAN — Community + Agriculture + Nutrition — to help make sure no Ohioans go hungry.

Through this innovative program, historically underrepresented producers will be able to sell food to the Ohio Association of Foodbanks and the products will then be distributed to Ohioans in need through the 12 Feeding America foodbanks and 3,600 member charities across all 88 counties.

“With Ohio’s strong food and agricultural base, it makes sense to better link our food producers with communities who need these necessities,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director. “ODA is proud to be part of this collaboration to provide food to those in need from under resourced regional producers.”

Farmers and producers whose products are grown and produced within 400 miles of Columbus are eligible to apply. Ohio CAN will prioritize historically underrepresented applicants as well as those whose income is derived from a public assistance program.… Continue reading

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Ohio Corn & Wheat works toward agricultural exports in South America

United States agricultural exports account for one-third of gross farm income and millions of jobs in rural America. Brad Moffitt, Director of Market Development & Membership of Ohio Corn & Wheat (OCW), spent the first two weeks of November traveling South America to help open new markets for Ohio soft red winter wheat (SRW) farmers. By developing, maintaining and expanding international markets, OCW can enhance SRW’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for customers.

Moffitt, in partnership with U.S. Wheat Associates, met with current and potential buyers of U.S. SRW across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile, to discuss the quality, availability and the field conditions used for production of the 2022 crop. Moffitt provided details on current products while building relationships and offering information on the upcoming 2023 planting season.

“Wheat buyers, millers and bakers have a choice when it comes to sourcing Soft Red Winter Wheat, and the demand for Ohio SRW is high,” Moffit said.… Continue reading

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KPIs on the farm

By Brian Ravencraft

What are KPIs and how can they help you run a successful agribusiness? KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. These are measures that are both financial and non-financial in nature that help you measure the overall health of your operation. Of course, the types of KPIs you put in place will vary from industry to industry, but in farming, we usually look at these top ones with our clients.


Here, we are looking to really measure and understand the financial health and capabilities of your business. For example, we will look at your available assets, measure profitability by taking a look at your ability to generate revenue, your ability to and how you pay for all of your financial obligations during your fiscal year, etc. We will also use this KPI to take a look at growth opportunities. If we find that one area of the operation is bringing in more profit than others, we will talk about ways to build upon this.… Continue reading

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Manure benefits soil health

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health,  Source OSU Manure Newsletter, Mary Wickes.

Manure is a great fertilizer for improving soil health, commonly used before commercial fertilizer.  If manure is applied correctly, using the 4R’s (right source, right rate, right time, right place) and proper best management practices, manure greatly improves crop growth and also increases biological activity, leading to improved soil health.  Some of the environmental benefits include: increasing soil carbon and reduced atmospheric carbon, reduced soil erosion and runoff, reduced nitrate leaching, and reduced demand for commercial nitrogen fertilizer derived from natural gas. 

Manure increases soil organic matter because it has nutrients plant require for adequate growth (N-P-K, micronutrients), so plants grow better and faster, producing more roots and crop residue to build soil carbon.  Manure consists of carbon residues which the plants can use in the form of carbon dioxide for increased photosynthesis.  Adequate soil carbon is limiting plant growth, so manure and carbon may boost plant growth significantly. … Continue reading

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Kirk Reese to manage Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network

Kirk Reese of Lexington, Ohio, has been named project manager for the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network.

The demonstration farms showcase and demonstrate conservation practices that improve agriculture’s impact on downstream water quality in Ohio. A Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project, the demo farms network is a joint partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and Ohio Farm Bureau. 

Reese grew up in Trumbull County, Ohio raising cattle. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and a master’s degree in weed science at Ohio State University. Previously, Reese worked with OSU Extension, then with Pioneer Seeds in various product and agronomy roles over 25 years. He is currently entering his fifth season as agronomic consultant and owner of Insight Ag Solutions, LLC.

Reese and his wife, Lori, have been married 29 years and have three grown sons. … Continue reading

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Ohio 2023 fair schedule

Ohioans can start planning visits to all of their favorite fairs across the state. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) released the official dates for the 2023 fair season, which includes Ohio’s 94 county and independent fairs and the Ohio State Fair.

The Paulding County Fair will kick off the 2023 fair season on June 12, and the season will wrap up on Oct. 14 with the Fairfield County Fair. 

In addition to setting and approving the dates for the independent and county fairs, ODA is responsible for helping to assure the safety of fair amusement rides, monitoring livestock shows to help assure honest competition and coordinating animal health efforts with local veterinarians.

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