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Growing interest in expanding Ohio’s meat processing capacity

By Matt Reese

From the farmer to the consumer, the whole food chain saw the need for change in 2020 when processing capacity was reduced resulting in back-ups and shortages. This situation was partly due to a problem Ohio agriculture has been talking about for years — there is simply not enough local meat processing capacity.

“This is something we have been working on for several years in the state of Ohio. It is so important to our producers,” said Brandon Kern, senior director, state and national policy for Ohio Farm Bureau. “Even pre-pandemic, this had been an issue that was percolating. We have capacity needs, particularly when you are talking about small and medium-sized processors. Part of the issue is that most of the meat processing in this country is very concentrated amongst four very large meat packers and two of those are foreign owned. This presents some real food security issues.… Continue reading

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Weather issues and spring planting

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

The warm weather this past week primed many farmers for spring planting.  Government weather forecasting had gotten better but the results are still variable.  According to the NOAA, the year 2020 was a year of extremes, with record temperatures, dry overall conditions, and forest fires in the West.  Northwest Ohio was dry last year with some rain coming later in the summer and fall.  This year, NOAA predicts slightly cooler temperatures as the weather moves away from a La Nina (80% probability) to a more neutral weather pattern.  The El Nino Southern Oscillation or ENSO measures how warm the Pacific tropical ocean water temperatures are with El Nino’s being warmer and La Nina’s being cooler.

NOAA predictions for the last half of April call for cooler than normal temperatures and possibly wetter than normal, depending on how quick the shift is from La Nina to neutral conditions. 

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Now is the time to fine tune your sprayer

By Erdal Ozkan

Pesticides need to be applied accurately and uniformly. Too little pesticide results in poor pest control and reduced yields, while too much injures the crop, wastes chemicals and money, and increases the risk of polluting the environment. Achieving satisfactory results from pesticides depends heavily on five major factors: 

  1. Positive identification of the pest. 
  2. Choosing the least persistent and lowest toxicity pesticide that will work. 
  3. Selecting the right equipment, particularly the right type and size of nozzle for the job. 
  4. Applying pesticides accurately at the right time. 
  5. Calibrating and maintaining equipment to make sure the amount recommended on the chemical label is applied.

Inspection of sprayers

Higher pesticide costs and new chemicals designed to be used in lower doses make accurate application more important than ever. There is no better time than early spring to take a closer look at your sprayer. Here are some of the things I would recommend you do this week if you don’t want to unexpectantly halt your spraying later in the season when you cannot afford delaying spraying and missing that most critical time to control weeds:

  • First, if you need new or one other type of nozzles on the boom this year, do not delay purchasing new nozzles.
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A look at the death tax

By Congressman Bob Latta (R_OH5)

 One of the most plainly unfair taxes in the entire U.S. tax code is the Estate Tax — also known as the “death tax.” Even though American families pay taxes their entire lives — income taxes, payroll taxes, Medicare taxes, capital gains taxes and more — the federal government can’t help but reach its hands into their pocket one last time after they die to grab 40% of their hard-earned money.  

The death tax creates real world problems for farmers, ranchers, and small business owners — groups we can least afford to penalize during this economic recovery. In sectors that require high capital investments, like agriculture, families often have difficulty meeting tax requirements imposed by the death tax because their cash assets are much lower than the value of land, property, and equipment. In addition to the costs imposed at death, the death tax also has a stifling economic impact beforehand due to the cost preparation and planning needed to plan and comply with the tax.… Continue reading

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How will your farm emerge from the pandemic?


By Chris Zoller, OSU Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County, David Marrison, OSU Extension Educator, ANR, Coshocton County and Mike Estadt, OSU Extension Educator, ANR, Pickaway County

It has been more than a year since Coronavirus was declared a pandemic.  Everyone has been touched by the pandemic either directly or indirectly.  As an industry, agriculture has experienced market disruptions and slowdowns in the processing sector due to the pandemic. In response, the United States government provided billions of dollars in economic relief in 2020 to assist farmers affected by the disruptions. This assistance has continued into 2021 as just recently the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced details about the “Pandemic Assistance for Producers”Initiative.  This article takes a look at federal farm support, forecasts for net farm income in 2021, and challenges farm managers to examine how their  business will emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. governmental farm support

The following figure from the University of Illinois (Figure 3) shares the government farm support programs for the past fifteen years with a forecast for 2021. … Continue reading

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Fill in the blank with SB 52

By Matt Reese

      A proposal to approve or reject the ______________ certificate or amendment issued for __________ in the unincorporated area of __________ Township, __________ County, Ohio, adopted on __________ (date) by the Board of Township Trustees of __________ Township,__________ County, Ohio.

      We, the undersigned, being electors residing in the unincorporated area of __________ Township, equal to not less than eight per cent of the total vote cast for all candidates for governor in the area at the preceding general election at which a governor was elected, request the Board of Elections to submit this proposal to the electors of the unincorporated area of __________ Township for approval or rejection at a special election to be held on the day of the primary or general election to be held on __________ (date), pursuant to section 519.217 of the Revised Code.

This is language taken directly from Senate Bill 52 currently being considered by the Ohio Legislature. The… Continue reading

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Prices could go even higher without significant corn and soybean acre increases

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

With the USDA increasing demand for all categories, the tightest carryout since summer 2014 is expected. This has led to plenty of uncertainty in the market. 

Export potential

Exports have the most potential for change as traders are still debating how much U.S. corn will be exported before late August. Some believe cancelations are possible and reductions are still likely, while others expect exports will increase significantly.

Brazil impact

If exports stay strong, Brazilian corn could be imported into the southeast U.S. to relieve tight carryout pressure. However, much of Brazil’s corn crop was planted late, and with recent dry weather, yields may be compromised. Still, crop development there is early and good weather conditions could help improve yield potential.

U.S. New Crop corn

With current export estimates and the USDA predicting only 91.14 million corn acres for 2021, next year’s carryout could be potentially tighter than where we are this year.… Continue reading

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Good idea? Bad idea? Planting corn and soybeans in early April

By Alexander Lindsey and Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

Planting when conditions are adequate (soil temperatures above 50°F and greater than 45% plant available water content) is recommended for corn and soybean. This year, these conditions are occurring sooner than normal. At a two-inch depth, average soil temperature ranged from 48 to 51°F between April 1 and April 7 (Table 1). In general, early planting helps increase yield potential of both corn and soybean. For soybean, each day delay in planting after May 1 results in a yield decrease of 0.25 to 1 bu/acre/day. Additionally, there is also the real observation of the last few years that if you don’t get planted early, rains in May could prevent planting all together (thinking of you, 2019). While there are benefits of early planting, there are also risks that should be considered (especially if the weather turns cool).

Soil Temperature from April 1 to April 7

Table 1. Average two-inch soil temperature from April 1 through April 7, 2021 and last freeze date (air temperature ≤32°F) for the past five years.… Continue reading

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Trees and climate change

In the fight against climate change, expanding and better managing the nation’s forests are the cheapest and easiest steps to cutting carbon dioxide emissions, according to new research at The Ohio State University. 

Across the United States, trees take up about 12% of the carbon dioxide that cars, planes, factories, and other sources generate every year, said Brent Sohngen, a professor of natural resources and environmental economics at Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). 

But trees could do even more, Sohngen said—possibly taking up as much as 16% of the nation’s annual carbon dioxide emissions—nearly a one-third increase. That would happen by planting more trees across the country; allowing some existing stands to grow longer before they’re cut; and managing some stands more intensively with weed and pest control, fertilizer, thinning, and other measures, he said. 

Within a decade of adding up to 7 million more acres of forests and more intensively managing 50–70 million acres of forestland, an additional 160 million tons of carbon dioxide would be taken out of the atmosphere every year, Sohngen said. … Continue reading

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A flurry of tax proposals in Congress

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

You can count on tax law to generate interest in the agricultural community and that’s certainly the case with several tax bills recently introduced in Congress. Within the last month, members of Congress proposed a flurry of tax proposals that could impact agriculture if enacted. Of course, passing tax legislation is always difficult and subject to partisanship, and we expect that to be the case with these bills. 

Here’s a look at the tax proposals receiving the most attention.

Death Tax Repeal Act of 2021

Sen. Thune (R-SD) and Rep. Smith (R-MO) are the primary sponsors of S. 617 and H.R. 1712, companion bills introduced March 9 that propose to repeal the federal estate tax, which the sponsors claim to be “the most unfair tax on the books.” The Act would also repeal the generation-skipping tax and make modifications to the computation of the federal gift tax, beginning at 18% under $10,000 and incrementally increasing by an additional 2%.… Continue reading

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Control of dandelion with spring/summer herbicide treatments

By Dr. Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension Weed Specialist, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2021-08

Dandelion seems to be on the increase in some fields, as we noted in a video last summer and  CORN article last fall.  Fall is the optimum time of year to reduce dandelion populations with herbicides, so we expect them to become more of a problem in fields that are not treated in the fall at least occasionally.  If history is any indicator, other causes can include oversimplification of herbicide programs in soybeans, omission of residual herbicides, and delaying burndown herbicides until later in spring.  All of these occurred during the first few years of RoundupReady soybeans, and we had some dense stands of dandelions that developed in late 1990’s.  We again have some very effective weed management platforms for soybeans, and the possibility of the same happening.  In addition, while POST applications of glufosinate have broad-spectrum activity on annual weeds, they are not that effective on dandelion and other perennials, which can allow some of these weeds to get more of a foothold.

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Ohio local bank market conditions


By Kevin Kim, a Ph.D. student and Ani Katchova, Professor and Farm Income Enhancement Chair, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University

The US banking sector and local community banks faced great uncertainty in 2020 due to the pandemic. The consolidation intensity within US banking sector continued in 2020. Ohio experienced a similar trend, with continued decrease in the number of community banks. However, Ohio banks remained highly profitable relative to the national average, and the credit availability increased significantly as the increase in the amount of bank deposits outpaced the increase in the amount of loans. Overall Ohio banks slightly increased bankruptcy risks in 2020 but are still more resilient than the national average.

The full report is available at: https://aede.osu.edu/sites/aede/files/publication_files/OhioLocalBankMarketConditions.pdfContinue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 200 | The 200th Episode!

WE CELEBRATE 200 EPISODES OF THE OHIO AG NET PODCAST! None of this would be possible without our amazing team through the years, and of course, the many guests and listeners that tune in each week! Matt, Dusty, Kolt, and Dale take a glimpse back at the first Ohio Ag Net Episode. We have a ton of Featured Audio this week! Matt talked to two of the Between the Rows farmers, Don Jackson from Preble County and Bill Daugherty from Coshocton County. Dale has audio with Frank Burkett. Kolt has audio with Virgil Strickler from the Ohio Stte Fair. Dusty talks with  with Jason Williamson. … Continue reading

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Field work picks up with warmer weather

Favorable conditions throughout most the week led to an increase in fieldwork activities, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 83% adequate to surplus, down 4 percentage points from last week. Temperatures for the week ending April 11 averaged 17.1 degrees higher than historical normals, while the entire State averaged 1.00 inch of rain. There were 4.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 11.

Fieldwork conducted throughout the week included tillage, applying herbicides, hauling manure, and topdressing wheat. Oats were 40% planted compared to 9 percent the previous week. Corn planted progress was at 2% complete while soybeans planted progress was at 1%. Winter wheat jointing was 24% and the winter wheat crop was rated 81% good to excellent condition.

For more from this week’s report, click here.… Continue reading

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2021 Between the Rows kicks off with a solid start to spring

John Schumm

We started no-till — total no-till — about 12 years ago and things have been working great for us on the soybean side. We have struggled a little bit here and there on the corn side but we are getting closer. I farm with my son, Jeremy, and we both work full-time jobs and this no-till has taken a lot of labor away so we have time to do that.

First we had to take care of the drainage problems. We have used cereal rye and the tilth of our ground just changed tremendously when we started using it. We have a farmer up this way who inter-seeds it with a 90-foot air seeder. He drives it through our standing crops and we try to get that all done the first week of September in corn and soybeans before the soybean leaves start to turn and fall off. We get tremendous growth in the fall.… Continue reading

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Happy Grilled Cheese Day!

By Shelly Detwiler, a berry farmer and dietician

Happy Grilled Cheese Day! I cannot be the last to know about this momentous occasion on April 12, can I? Grilled cheese sandwiches are a beautiful thing, and this is truly a holiday to celebrate. There is nothing simpler and a work of art than a grilled cheese sandwich. Growing up in Plain City I headed to high school in 1979. An off the beaten track, hidden gem was a restaurant called The Dutch Kitchen, just a few hundred feet from the front door. The smells that wafted across the beautiful green grass front lawn of Jonathan Alder HS were like the Pied Piper’s magic pipe putting already ravenous teenagers in a trance, as we followed the tantalizing smells to enjoy the “Amish” culinary delights. One of their specialties to teens far and wide across the district were their grilled cheese sandwiches. Nothing gourmet, just three simple ingredients.… Continue reading

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4R Program Highlights “Right People in video series

Almost everyone in agriculture knows the 4Rs: “Right Source at the Right Rate, at the Right Time and in the Right Place.” But how often do we stop to consider that crucial fifth ‘R’ — the Right People? 

Launched in 2014, the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program would not have gotten off the ground without the coming together of the Right People – agriculturalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers and many more stakeholders. This unique blend of seemingly disparate groups saw a need for a science-based program to proactively work toward the long-term improvement of waterways — and from their efforts, the 4R Program was born.

Today, the 4R Program continues to rely on the Right People — the employees of 4R Certified facilities and independent crop consultants who drive the program forward every day. As the trusted advisers of farmer customers, all employees play a part in advocating for the 4R Program, from CEOs and office staff to custom applicators and agronomists. … Continue reading

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OSU working to advance commercialization of ultra-shear technology for liquid foods and beverages processing

Researchers at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) have created a university-industry consortium to further the development of and provide access to the licensing of a new, innovative manufacturing technology that preserves foods and beverages using wholesome, recognizable ingredients; no artificial preservatives; and reduced heat. 

Called 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?

“Healthier beverage options that health-conscious consumers want that aren’t preserved using chemical additives and preservatives with names they can’t pronounce,” said V.M. “Bala” Balasubramaniam, a CFAES professor of food engineering who is leading the project. His laboratory—with a multidisciplinary team of microbiologists, chemists, and nutritionists—investigates innovative food manufacturing technologies and then works with industry to implement them.

And it’s not just drinks that might soon be preserved in a much healthier way.… Continue reading

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Spring planting decisions

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Last year, spring planting occurred during a cold dry spring, while this year conditions are warm and dry. Farmers have several planting options, depending on whether they are conventional tillage farmers or planting no-till with cover crops. What options farmers choose and their success may depend upon soil and moisture planting conditions.

First, the wheat crop is really green and uniform this year in Northwest Ohio. February snows protected the wheat from cold temperatures and most wheat did not drown out. Microbial levels are generally low after winter and start building as temperatures rise. The soil is a grave yard of dead microbial bodies which have abundant nutrients. During excessive snow melt and heavy spring rains, many soluble nutrients wash away. The dry spring kept soil nutrients around and plants are absorbing these abundant nutrients, promoting lush green plants.

Conventional tillage farmers may be tempted to do more spring tillage, but each tillage pass reduces soil moisture by 0.5-1.0 inch.

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