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2020 Youth Pathways grants awarded

Leveraging the resources of the Fisher Fund, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation launched a Youth Pathways initiative in 2018, focused on introducing students to and training them for careers in food, agricultural and environmental sciences. Each year, organizations throughout the state are invited to submit proposals for innovative projects that would help to address the need to attract more young people to careers in these fields.

Hocking County Farm Bureau and the PAST Foundation are recipients of funding for 2020. A total of $116,900 will assist these two nonprofits as they develop programming that will prepare students for post-secondary training or direct placement in food, agricultural and environmental sciences industries.

Hocking County Farm Bureau will use its grant funds for a Careers in Agricultural Cooperatives: Co-op Leadership Experience project. Hocking County Farm Bureau will partner with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Center for Cooperatives to create a program that will showcase career exploration in agriculture through the lens of cooperatives.… Continue reading

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Tough times call for heroic efforts (and maybe your best china)

By Matt Reese

Well, Ohio agriculture, this is a pretty tough one. There has been more gloom and doom recently than I really care to report. Agricultural markets, across the board, are dismal. The food supply chain is crumbling and so is the economy. Some blame the virus. Some blame the government. Some blame society. Some blame China. Some blame faulty models and calculations. All are probably partly right.

None of that blame, though, really does much to address the tough situation. Fortunately, though, agriculture is used to tough. Tough builds character and shapes heroes who rise to the occasion and make challenging situations better.

After looking at the recent dismal corn prices, OCJ marketing specialist Risë Labig decided that lunch would be dessert with coffee and her best china in the company of some of her heroes.

“I needed a few minutes to decide whether or not I’m going to let this current crisis get the better part of me, and I’m NOT.… Continue reading

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ODA waives local match for grant program for Ohio’s fairs

Governor Mike DeWine announced Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda is waiving the required $50,000 local match for the Agricultural Society Facilities Grant Program, allowing all county and independent fairs to be eligible for $50,000 with no match.

Ohio’s operating budget set aside $4.7 million in the program to help fairs make necessary facilities and grounds improvements. Fairs could apply for the $50,000 grant with a required $50,000 from local governments and businesses. This waiver will allow fairs access to money for improvements without the local match.

“I understand the financial hardships many are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Director Pelanda. “While it is uncertain whether fairs will be able to safely operate this year, they still have facilities expenses. The Ohio Department of Agriculture wants to ensure each fair has access to these important funds.”

Fair managers must apply and qualify for the grant money. The application deadline is May 30.… Continue reading

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Burns named Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Executive Director

Kelly Burns of Milford Center has been named executive director for the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.

With over 15 years of experience as a professional fundraiser, Burns has an extensive background in fund development, volunteer leadership and strategic planning. Her new role will allow her to play an integral part in growing the success of the foundation.

Prior to joining the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, Burns held positions of increasing responsibility within higher education at Purdue University, Ohio Northern University and, most recently, Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University. Burns and her husband, Tanner, are raising their two boys on their family farm in southern Union County. They are members of the Union County Farm Bureau.

Established in 1985, the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, a 501 (c) nonprofit, public charitable organization that strives to support student scholarships, fund innovation in communities and drive economic growth.… Continue reading

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NCBA pivots to address new reality for beef markets

Promotion programs being managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff have shifted and grown in response to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. These efforts reflect a consumer population that is concerned for their day-to-day health and the availability of delicious, safe and wholesome food products, like beef.

“It was only two months ago that Beef Checkoff committees got together in San Antonio at the Cattle Industry Convention to work collectively to develop plans to improve beef demand,” said Buck Wehrbein, a feedlot manager from Nebraska and chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils. “In a few short weeks our entire world and the way we engage with each other and our communities have changed, and our response through the Beef Checkoff has had to change with it.”

Wehrbein notes that many events and conferences the Beef Checkoff had a role in have been canceled and some research projects have paused.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s seed industry loses a leader

Dan Fox of Thornville, co-founder of Seed Consultants, Inc. and longtime friend of the Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal staff, passed away suddenly on April 21 from an apparent heart attack.

Fox was 58 years old and a legend in Ohio’s seed industry. He was a graduate of Wilmington College who dedicated his professional career to the seed industry. He will be greatly missed by his family, co-workers and friends throughout Ohio agriculture.

“Dan always had a smile on his face and you could find him from across the room by listening for his infectious laughter,” said Bart Johnson, owner of Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal. “Dan was one of the very best.”

More about Dan and the funeral arrangements are posted here.Continue reading

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Spraying with drones

By John Fulton (Associate Professor), Chris Wiegman (graduate student), Erdal Ozkan ( Professor), and Scott Shearer (Professor), Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Drones or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have become a common technology in agriculture. As of early 2019, there were around 1.3 million registered drones in the U.S. and over 116,000 registered drone operators within the commercial sector. Within agriculture, drones have been mainly used for scouting purposes. Today, uses of drones include collecting remotely sensed imagery, tissues samples, and water samples. Spraying with drones is also available through some manufacturers.

Drone spraying has been used Southeast Asian countries such as China, Japan and South Korea for several decades. In fact, the use of this type of spraying in Japan can be traced back to the 90s. Currently, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of drones used in these countries, mostly in rice production that requires applications done when the field is flooded with water, making entry of motorized vehicle to the field impractical.… Continue reading

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Corn planting depth considerations

By Alexander Lindsey, K. Nemergut, Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

Timing corn emergence is key to minimize yield reductions, and can be more important for preserving yield than even seed spacing. When setting planting depth for corn this year, be sure to consider not just first emergence seen, but also the uniformity of the emergence.

In work conducted from 2017-2019, we manipulated seeding depth to be approximately 1, 2, or 3 inches deep (current recommendations are for planting at 1.5 to 2 inches deep) in two conventionally tilled fields. One field had 2% to 3% organic matter, and the other had 4% to 5% organic matter. We tracked daily emergence in the plots, and measured stalk strength and yield at the end of the season. Across years and fields, shallow planting resulted in faster emergence of the first plants in each year. However, the seeds that didn’t emerge were more subject to moisture fluctuation and took more time to go from 10% emerged to 90% emerged.… Continue reading

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Conservation Tillage Conference videos online

By Randall Reeder, P.E., Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired), Ohio State University

We were fortunate to have Conservation Tillage Conference the first week in March, before the coronavirus from China exploded on our shores. A total of 775 people participated, including about 350 CCAs.

We also recorded the presentations, as we have done the past 3 years. The videos are on the website: Sixteen were posted in March, and more are being added each week in April.

 … Continue reading

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Crop Progress: Winter wheat jointing progresses

Cold temperatures and precipitation didn’t stop farmers from working the fields entirely, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Temperatures averaged 10 degrees cooler than historical normals and the entire State averaged slightly more precipitation last week. There were 1.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 19. Temperatures fell below freezing across most of the State and the lowest temperatures were observed in the west and north. Some northern portions of the State received 3-4 inches of snow. Freezing temperatures burned some winter wheat leaf tips as winter wheat jointing progress was 5 percentage points ahead of the five-year average. Freezing temperatures caused fruit growers take preventative freeze measures and to scout for frost injury to budding trees and vines. Anhydrous Ammonia was applied to fields, top dressing of wheat continued, and manure was hauled. Chemical spraying was hampered due to high winds. Alfalfa leaf damage was reported in some hay fields, but damage was not widespread.… Continue reading

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2020 planting considerations after a 2019 rollercoaster

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

Across Ohio, 1.5 million acres of farm fields did not have a cash crop planted on them in the spring of 2019 as a result of the unprecedented amount of rainfall in the state. On some of those acres, farmers planted a cover crop, but many fields went bare. Those prevented planting situations in 2019 have caused farmers to re-think their 2020 planting intentions. Many cropping rotations were disrupted by the unplanned weather challenges last year and that is resulting in the need for adjustments this year.

“We will have significantly more popcorn acres in 2020 due to the number of prevent plant acres we had in 2019,” said Mark Wachtman of M&D Farms in Henry County. “We are attempting to re-set our rotation.”

Wachtman is one of several farmers hoping for the promise of a more normal year in 2020.… Continue reading

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The front lines of animal health during COVID-19

By Matt Reese

There is legitimate concern out there for those on the front lines of human health during this pandemic, but those on the front lines of animal health are also of great importance to Ohio’s livestock farms and agricultural community.

“Being a veterinarian is always complicated, but right now during the COVID-19 situation, we are challenged to balance the needs of our patients — the pets or livestock and their health —the client health and financial well being, and of

course our employee health and financial well being,” said Dr. Mark Hardesty, with the Maria Stein Animal Clinic. “Way more than half of our business is with cattle, primarily dairy cattle, and of course they are essential for food production. That work has not changed much. There is some consulting where we would normally sit in a room with several decision makers and go through records and discuss parameters and objectives, some of those have been cancelled.”… Continue reading

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For farmers markets without a facility due to COVID-19, what are the rules on access to restrooms?

By Amanda Douridas, Christie Welch, Peggy Kirk Hall, Ohio State University Extension

With the closing of many public places and government buildings, some farmers’ markets may be left without their usual access to restrooms. What are the requirements for market managers to provide restroom facilities?

The Ohio Revised Code states that restrooms must “be readily accessible to farmers’ market personnel when the farmers’ market is open for more than four consecutive hours.” Note that this requirement applies to “personnel” or employees of the market. There is not a restroom requirement in the regulation that applies to vendors or customers of the farmers’ market.

One option for easily complying with this rule is to limit farmers’ market hours to four hours or less, since the obligation applies only if the market is open for more than four consecutive hours. For markets that are open for more than four hours, the other option is to rent a portable toilet for personnel if permanent facilities are not available.… Continue reading

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Ohio Power Siting Board clears the path for three large-scale solar projects

On April 16, 2020, the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) held a virtual meeting where it ruled in favor of a series of certificate application and modification requests filed by large-scale solar developers in the state. The measure cleared the path for three projects — two in Hardin County and one in Brown and Clermont counties — to move forward.

“Members of USSEC support the OPSB decisions, which will allow for continued

progress in an important and fast-growing industry for Ohio,” said Andy Bowers, Utility Scale Solar Energy Coalition (USSEC) representative. “The utility scale solar industry is ready to meet Ohio’s energy needs, create significant jobs, and provide vital financial resources to Ohio’s communities. Taken together, today’s decisions could result in lifetime tax revenue of more than $180 million to the local schools and communities where these will be constructed.”

On Oct. 17, 2019, the OPSB had highlighted a number of areas where further information was needed in order for the requested permit and modifications to receive approval.… Continue reading

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USDA announces Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. President Trump directed USDA to craft this $19 billion immediate relief program to provide critical support to our farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of our food supply chain, and ensure every American continues to receive and have access to the food they need.

“During this time of national crisis, President Trump and USDA are standing with our farmers, ranchers, and all citizens to make sure they are taken care of,” Secretary Perdue said. “The American food supply chain had to adapt, and it remains safe, secure, and strong, and we all know that starts with America’s farmers and ranchers. This program will not only provide immediate relief for our farmers and ranchers, but it will also allow for the purchase and distribution of our agricultural abundance to help our fellow Americans in need.”… Continue reading

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Grain Marketing Update with Jon Scheve

Join us Friday at 12:30 for a lunchtime Grain Marketing discussion with Jon Scheve. Jon will join Dale and Bart to discuss grain marketing plans dealing with the collapse in basis and futures markets we have seen over the last month. Leave a comment with your questions now or ask them live on Facebook. That’s Lunch with Dale, Bart, and Jon Scheve. Friday at 12:30 on the Ohio Ag Net Facebook Page.

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Beef supply chain issues courtesy of COVID-19 creating financial uncertainty

By Dusty Sonnenberg

According to the USDA’s National Daily Cattle and Beef Summary for Tuesday, April 14, 2020, an estimated 99,000 head of beef cattle were slaughtered that day. That number is down 7,000 head from the same day a week ago, and 24,000 head from just one year ago. That number, while dramatic, is not surprising given the news that two of America’s largest beef packers have closed two plants due to labor issues resulting from COVID-19. JBS USA has closed its Greeley, Colorado facility through April 24, and National Beef Packing Company has closed its Tama, Iowa facility through April 20. Combined, the two facilities slaughter approximately 6,500 head of beef cattle every day. This comes just a matter of days after JBS USA had to close its Souderton, Pennsylvania beef facility for the same reasons.

The loss of packer processing capacity will have ripple effects through the entire industry.… Continue reading

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What business owners can do now that will benefit them following the pandemic

By Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA, Partner at Holbrook & Manter, CPAs

I hope everyone is well. Staying healthy and safe during these challenging times. For this installment, I have enlisted the help of some of my colleagues at Holbrook & Manter. Below, they share with you exercises to be doing now, to benefit you and your business when operations return to normal. Until they do, take note of the items below and feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have.


Something business owners can do now, when work is slow, is thoroughly review current processes and procedures to determine if there is a more efficient way of doing things. For example, is there anything that could be done to streamline the collections or payables process, etc. — Natalie Bruns


Stay on top invoicing and AR. Cash flow can and will be difficult so it is imperative that they are talking to their vendors/clients daily to check the “climate” as to how and if their businesses will stay alive and able to pay their bills, and how we help each other of course.… Continue reading

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Glyphosate controversy continues

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

Glyphosate, used in the weed killer Roundup, is in the news again. This time, the controversy surrounds the EPA’s decision in January 2020 to allow glyphosate to continue being used in the interim while the agency conducts its mandatory 15-year re-approval review.

Although EPA has yet to make its re-approval decision, two groups of plaintiffs have petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for an invalidation of the EPA’s decision allowing continued use in the interim. Plaintiffs argue that the decision violates both the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Endangered Species Act because the EPA has not gathered enough information to prove that glyphosate is safe for humans, the environment, and endangered species.… Continue reading

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OSU CFAES researchers working on a new COVID-19 test

Many people infected with COVID-19 show little to no symptoms of the disease, so researchers at The Ohio State University are creating a blood test that could detect the true extent of the pandemic

The researchers have also assisted Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center physicians who have created a treatment for severe cases of COVID-19, using the blood plasma of people who had COVID-19 and beat it. Both the blood test for COVID-19 and the plasma treatment for those suffering from the respiratory disease could be critical in understanding and controlling the current pandemic.

Unlike the standard nasal swab test being used to diagnose COVID-19, the test that the Ohio State scientists, including ones at the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), are developing is an antibody blood test. The test will determine whether someone has COVID-19 by checking if his or her blood contains proteins the body produces to fight the respiratory disease.… Continue reading

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