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Beekeeping tips for winter

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) would like to encourage beekeepers to make sure their bees are properly fed this winter. Due to drought conditions experienced in Ohio this year, stored food sources might be low for some bee colonies.

A lack of stored food for bees could be attributed to the drought and lack of nectar and available water, both necessary components to produce honey. Honey and pollen are needed to feed bee larvae. With little available nectar to make honey and poor pollen production from dry soil, the queen bee slows egg production and the larvae present are fed any available stored honey and pollen remaining from the spring. As these food sources become low, it is important for beekeepers to ensure their bees have a sufficient amount of food stored to survive the winter.

If a beekeeper feels it is necessary to feed their bees, ODA would like to offer the following tips when doing so:

· Lift the back of the hive.… Continue reading

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Ag congratulates Obama

Farm groups today are offering congratulations to President Barack Obama on his re-election, as well as those candidates elected to serve during the 113th session of Congress.

“A number of important issues lie ahead of us, both for our nation, and for American agriculture. It is vital that, under the president’s leadership, all our elected officials come together in a bipartisan fashion to resolve the challenges we face,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Farmers and ranchers, like all Americans, have a list of issues that they are relying on the administration and Congress to address. But we cannot wait until 2013 for the action to start. Serious work on the farm bill, the fiscal cliff and critical tax policy fixes all must start during the lame duck session of the 112th Congress.”

There are some very clear challenges in the near future to address.… Continue reading

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Ohio State researcher to re-write Ohio’s phosphorus index to improve water quality

An Ohio State University researcher has launched a $2 million project to evaluate and, as necessary, revise the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service Ohio Phosphorus (P) Risk Index to better predict the risk of phosphorus moving off of farm fields.

Phosphorus is the pollutant most often implicated in the degradation of Ohio’s fresh surface water, with use of phosphorus fertilizer on farmland as a contributing factor. Grand Lake St. Marys has lost an estimated $60 to 80 million in tourism due to harmful algae blooms. And in 2011, algae blooms covered 990 square miles of Lake Erie’s surface area – the largest in the lake’s history.

Elizabeth Dayton, a soil scientist in Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, garnered a $1 million USDA Conservation Innovation Grant and $1 million in matching donations from Ohio agribusinesses to complete the project.

Her goals are to make the Ohio P Risk Index accurate, add more best management practice options for farmers, and create an interactive web-based tool so farmers can calculate their P Risk Index scores, evaluate management options and make informed decisions to better manage phosphorus.… Continue reading

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Farmland value and rent outlook

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, OSU Extension, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics

Cropland values in Ohio have increased again in 2012. Data from the Oho Ag Statistics Service shows an increase of 13.6% for bare cropland in Ohio for 2012. According to their data, bare cropland averages $5,000 per acre, up from $4,400 per acre the previous year.

An OSU Extension survey conducted in December 2011 estimated that the increase in value of Western Ohio cropland in 2012 would be 7.5% to 9.1% depending on region and land class. The Chicago Federal Reserve Bank and Purdue University both conducted surveys in June 2012 and found that cropland values in Indiana had appreciated 10% to 18.1% from one year ago.

Crop profitability prospects were positive in 2011 as they have been for the most part since 2007. Profit margins in 2012 were highly variable across Ohio due to moderate to severe drought.… Continue reading

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Rabbit chili warms hunters

By Mike Ryan, OCJ field reporter

As the sun sets on a wintry Middle American landscape, bringing a brisk chill to the violet air, the rabbit hunt is concluded and leg-weary hunters and their brush-beaten beagles contentedly stagger back to the comfort of the indoors. Once the bones are warmed and the dogs are fed, there is no better way to end a successful hunting expedition than to share in the bounty of the harvest with friends and family. The following wild rabbit recipe will warm hunters up on a winter evening and have hunting buddies asking for another hearty helping:


Spicy Rabbit Chili—Feeds 8-10


Backstraps and leg meat of (4) four rabbits, deboned and cut into bite sized pieces

2 cans Diced Tomatoes

2 cans Crushed Tomatoes

3 cans Kidney Beans (Drained)

2 cans Pinto Beans (Drained)

1 Can Black-eyed Peas (Drained)

1 small can Sliced Mushrooms (Drained)

1 small can Diced Green Chilis

2 Cups Cooked Sweet Corn

1 Cup Sliced Jalapeno (Fresh or Pickled)

1 large Bell Pepper, chopped

1 large Red Onion, coarsely chopped

1 large dehydrated Cayenne Pepper, whole

¼ Cup Chili Powder

Cooking Directions:

  1. Fry rabbit pieces in oil or butter in a large cast iron skillet until browned.
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Beet burger beats competition

Apparently, it’s hard to beat a burger made of beets.

On Oct. 1, the “UnBeetable Burger” with a soft gourmet pretzel bun won the Student Product Development Competition of AACC International, a professional association specializing in cereal grain science.

The product was created by a team of Ohio State University students in the Department of Food Science and Technology. The UnBeetable Burger also took third place earlier this year in the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association and Mars Product Development Competition.

“We wanted to create the first frozen microwavable ready-to-heat vegetarian burger with a bun,” said Liz Green, a third-year undergraduate and captain of the 16-member team. “We looked at what is already on the market and wanted to create a product that would fill a market niche.

“We found Frozen White Castle Burgers, but they’re not vegetarian. We found lots of frozen vegetarian burgers, but nothing with a bun that you could just take the package, stick it in the microwave and eat.”… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – November 5th, 2012



The average temperature for the State was 39.5 degrees, 9.7 degrees below normal for the week ending Sunday, November 4, 2012.  Precipitation averaged 1.87 inches, 1.20 inches above normal.  There were 1 modified growing degree days, 40 days below normal.

Reporters rated 1.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, November 2, 2012.  Topsoil moisture was rated 2 percent very short, 8 percent short, 48 percent adequate, and 42 percent surplus.


The remnants of Hurricane Sandy blew through Ohio earlier in the week and produced a significant amount of precipitation.  Producers were able to get in some field work beforehand, including harvest of corn and soybeans, and fall tillage.  Afterwards, fields were too wet for any work to be done.  The rain helped restore topsoil moisture, and may have slightly improved subsoil moisture as well.… Continue reading

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Ohio bull wins World Champion Texas Longhorn

The world’s largest horned cattle gathered October 26 & 27, at the Cox Center in downtown Oklahoma City, OK for a horn measuring championship — over 400 of them.

Normally cattle of this breed with a Texas origin, are assumed to grab the spot light — not so this time.  The young bull “Clear Win” was the World Champion Tip To Tip with 81.25″ for Div. III – A. He is a product of Dickinson Cattle Co Inc (DCCI) of Barnesville, Ohio.  While in the especially designed side squeeze chute his base circumference was measured at 19 13/16″ and his complete horn (calculated with all four measurements) earned another World Champion bronze, a record for age, a whopping 209 7/16.”

The Texas Longhorn Marketing Alliance and International Texas Longhorn Association joined forces to stage a 5 ring circus style event like no other in Texas Longhorn history.  TLMA measures horns for 4 different divisions and awards a huge bronze to the best of the best. … Continue reading

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Fall populations of soybean aphids non-existent

By Ron Hammond, Andy Michel, Ohio State University entomologists

As anticipated, soybean aphids were at extremely low levels in 2012. Indeed, most growers saw no aphids at all. We have been sampling buckthorn in the fall of 2012 to determine the overwintering levels of the soybean aphid. These observations are to determine if we can make a prediction as to the potential for problems in 2013.

Normally in late summer of a low aphid year we would expect an increase in aphid numbers and a move to buckthorn in the fall. However, we have seen no soybean aphids, either individuals or eggs, on any of the buckthorn that we have sampled throughout the state. The lack of aphids is also the norm across the Midwest. Thus, at this time, we are holding off any predictions for this coming summer although the possibility exists that next year might break the two-year low/high aphid cycle. … Continue reading

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Thick-cut pork promotion in Japan

Thick-cut pork chops and roasts are a staple of the American dinner table, but thinly sliced meats are more the standard for chefs and homemakers in Japan. To introduce consumers to new pork cooking techniques that work for larger cuts, U.S. Meat Export Federation-Japan hired popular cooking instructor Rika Yukimasa to develop U.S. pork recipes — including some for microwave cooking — that will be introduced during a two-month promotion that runs through the end of 2012.

“While pork is a popular choice for Japanese meals, thick-cut pork is not familiar to Japanese consumers or retailers,” said Takemichi Yamashoji, senior marketing director for USMEF-Japan.

USMEF introduced thick-cut U.S. pork at the spring FoodEx food show in Tokyo, and followed that with a promotion with Japanese retail giant Aeon at 2,000 stores across the country. Influenced by Aeon’s success, other nationwide and leading regional supermarkets have begun promoting U.S. thick-cut pork as well.… Continue reading

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USDA offering assistance after Hurricane Sandy

As the East Coast continues cleanup efforts from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced mobilized assistance. In addition, the USDA urges farmers to record losses from the historic storm.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those affected by Hurricane Sandy earlier this week,” National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson said. “The past year has been a difficult one for farmers, and we are pleased to see continued support by the USDA. While we realize many farmers have finished harvesting corn on the east coast, the assistance provided by the USDA goes far beyond those with crops. We hope everyone in need finds some relief.”

USDA personnel are reaching out to all telecommunications, electric and water system customers in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy to assess any damages and offer full and immediate assistance where necessary. In addition, a list of available housing and emergency shelters has been given to FEMA. … Continue reading

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ARS research reduces piglet mortality

To help increase the survival of newborn piglets, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have developed a new method that predicts animals’ mortality and nursing ability.

Physiologist Jeffrey Vallet and his colleagues at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Neb., call the measuring technique the “immunocrit,” which determines whether preweaning piglets receive adequate colostrum from the sow. ARS is USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

Preweaning mortality costs the U.S. swine industry an estimated $1.6 billion each year, and one of the contributing factors is deficient colostrum intake by piglets. The colostrum produced by a sow after giving birth contains immunoglobulins, or antibodies, which help build immunity against bacteria, viruses and other foreign elements. Piglets that fail to nurse and receive enough colostrum from their mother within the first 24 hours after birth usually die.… Continue reading

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OEFFA starts investment fund

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has partnered with a group of socially-motivated local investors who are making $500,000 available to launch a groundbreaking initiative: the OEFFA Investment Fund.  The purpose of the fund is to promote sustainable agriculture in Ohio by making flexible and affordable capital available to OEFFA member farmers and farm-related businesses.

The traditional sources of farm and small business financing are often not receptive to small- and mid-sized sustainable and organic farmers and entrepreneurs who may lack personal capital, an equity base, sufficient credit, and the needed tools and training to convert farm production plans to the kinds of business plans that many financial institutions require. These challenges are compounded by the national trends of agricultural lending over the last few decades, and the turmoil in the financial industry more recently.

Despite the increasing demand for local, healthy food and the economic opportunities it creates, many business ideas are not pursued because of a lack of financing.… Continue reading

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Palmer amaranth spreading to the west

Thus far, the much-feared Palmer amaranth has been found only in one field in Ohio and is being closely monitored. Unfortunately, though, the weed has become more prolific for Ohio western neighbor.

Populations of the fast-spreading Palmer amaranth weed have been confirmed in five counties in northwestern Indiana, said Travis Legleiter, a Purdue weed science program specialist Purdue Extension weed specialist. At least 50 corn and soybean fields of Jasper, Newton, Pulaski, LaPorte and Cass counties have verified infestations.

Palmer amaranth is a green, flowering plant that has caused widespread damage in cotton production in southern states. Most populations are glyphosate-resistant, and the weed thrives in summer heat, can grow upwards of two inches per day and reach heights greater than 7 feet.

Legleiter said the rapid growth and general hardiness of the weed makes it a problem in corn and soybean fields.

“Palmer amaranth’s competitiveness is what makes it a concern for us,” he said.… Continue reading

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Wool price on the rise

The wool market continued its positive autumn theme through October with a weekly rise of 4.4% late in the month. A stronger Australian currency failed to dent the momentum and, in U.S. dollar terms, the Australian market closed 52 U.S. cents higher for the week.

Europe emerged as the dominant buying force with additional strong support from Chinese and Indian buyers.

The Australian Wool Exchanges Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) increased by AUD$1.10 over the past four sales. The week closed with the EMI hitting 1,048 Australian cents per kilogram (clean), its highest level since July 12. In U.S. dollar terms, the EMI rose to 1,085 US cents per kilogram (clean).

Fine wools continue to head towards a more normal premium with the basis separating 18.5 and 21 micron having risen from its autumnal low of circa 50 cents to a more respectable 123 cents this week.

Reaction from overseas markets was relatively positive this fall with evidence of some large orders coming onto the market from spinners who had previously held back waiting for either lower prices or who have simply been waiting for more certainty from downstream.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – October 31st, 2012


The average temperature for the State was 58.6 degrees, 8.0 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, October 28, 2012. Precipitation averaged 0.78 inches, 0.30 inches above normal. There were 68 modified growing degree days, 23 days above normal.

Reporters rated 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, October 26, 2012. Topsoil moisture was rated 7 percent very short, 24 percent short, 62 percent adequate, and 7 percent surplus.


Ohio farm operators are continuing the harvest of corn and soybeans. Producers are selling off some livestock inventory, because high hay prices and low hay inventories will not allow producers to retain current livestock inventory though this coming winter.

As of Sunday October 28th, 64 percent of the corn was harvested for grain, ahead of last year by 47 percent and the five-year average by 16 percent.… Continue reading

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ASA working to boost soy demand around the world

The American Soybean Association International Marketing (ASA-IM) has been hard at work exploring marketing opportunities around the globe.

ASA-IM in Europe recently contracted Paul Smolen, a grain and soybean meal trader, to identify emerging opportunities for U.S. soy in the European market. Smolen met with feed compounders, poultry, swine and dairy integrators, and soy importers in Poland and Denmark. ASA-IM Northeast Europe contractor Jerzy Kosieradzki accompanied Smolen in Poland and ASA-IM Europe Regional Director Mark Andersen joined Smolen in Denmark.

“We want Paul to evaluate the Northern EU key markets that have the most potential for U.S. exports on the levels of market characteristics, trade flow, competitiveness and customer profile,” Andersen said. “We want to better understand the opportunities and challenges in the individual customer’s business as well as the local markets.”

Smolen noted three approaches to achieve ASA-IM’s objective:
  • Improve customer recognition and utilize the market value of U.S. soy.
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EU approves Agrisure Vipterra

The European Union granted official approval of the Syngenta corn variety MIR 162 Agrisure Vipterra, opening the way for exports of U.S. corn co-products, including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten feed (CGF). The long-delayed decision came after years of industry leadership and efforts including COCERAL, a grain trade association, FEFAC, a feed millers association, and the Irish Feed Millers Association.

“This approval is a great success as it opens the window of opportunity for U.S. products, including DDGS and CGF, to enter the EU market. This is especially attractive in big markets like Ireland, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. Their ability to import these high-protein feed ingredients is critical at a time of crop shortage in Europe and high prices. Everyone is looking for alternatives,” said Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council senior regional director based in Tunis.

Sifferath noted, however, the opportunity may only exist for a limited amount of time as new crop biotech events coming down the pipeline are not yet approved in Europe.… Continue reading

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2013 Antibiotic Residue Prevention Manual now available to dairy producers

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has released a revised version of its Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual for 2013. As an area of focus for the National Dairy FARM Program, the manual can be found online.

The Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual is a concise review of appropriate antibiotic use in dairy animals. The manual is a quick resource to review those antibiotics approved for dairy animals and can also be used as an educational tool for farm managers as they develop their on-farm best management practices necessary to avoid milk and meat residues.

Additions to the 2013 version include a section on avoiding potential residue violations from extra-label drug use in an unapproved class of cattle, cephalosporin extra-label use prohibitions, as well as an updated drug and test kit list. The 2013 manual includes a certificate of participation that can be signed by a producer and his/her veterinarian to demonstrate their commitment to the proper use of antibiotics.… Continue reading

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Make Your Land Work For You meeting to be held in November

The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension and the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will host a public meeting November 8 at 6pm.  The meeting will be held at the Licking County USDA Service Center located at 771 East Main St., Newark, Ohio 43055 to discuss local conservation and agriculture topics.

The discussion will begin with, “What is algae and why is there so much of it?”  As OSU Extension experts explain what’s happening with algae in our lakes and what that means to you.

“Why better soil grows better crops, and better pastures grow more nutritious food for grazing animals” as USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) District Conservationist explains how to make your land more productive.

Learn how USDA supports agriculture through conservation efforts and disaster relief as the NRCS State Conservationist and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director provide agency updates.… Continue reading

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