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WRRDA moves through Congress

Numerous agricultural groups celebrated the passage by the Senate of the conference report of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The report, which passed the House overwhelmingly earlier the same week, contains several key policy priorities.

“The Senate’s passage of the WRRDA conference report represents another important step toward improving and creating a more workable framework for increased investment in our waterways infrastructure. Soybean growers need a reliable and efficient waterways system to get our product to market and meet a growing global demand,” said Ray Gaesser, American Soybean Associatioin president. “Our waterways system helps take our soybeans from major growing regions to domestic processors and major exporting terminals, then on to valuable trading partners around the world, and is a big part of why soybeans lead the nation in agricultural exports. For too long we have ignored our infrastructure and this WRRDA is a strong step in the right direction.”… Continue reading

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Kasich signs water quality legislation

On May 22, Gov. John Kasich signed the much-discussed Ohio water quality legislation, Am. Sub. SB 150, into law.

“The bill itself was introduced on June 25, 2013 by senators Cliff Hite, who is also chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Bob Peterson. The sponsors and agencies willingly worked with Farm Bureau and the other agricultural groups as the bill underwent several drafts during the committee hearing process in the Senate,” said Tony Seegers, director of state policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. “SB 150 is meant to be one component of a more comprehensive statewide nutrient reduction strategy. Ohio agriculture has and will continue to do its part to protect our state’s precious water resources.”

SB 150 will require some changes for farms with regard to nutrient management.

“If you, as a farmer, apply fertilizer on more than 50 acres, you, or the person applying the fertilizer, will have to be certified.… Continue reading

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Gas prices should hold below $4

Declining demand for gasoline coupled with increased oil refining capacity in the U.S. should help to keep the price of gas this summer below $4 per gallon in the Midwest barring any disruption of supply, Purdue University energy economist Wally Tyner said.

Tyner expects pump prices to run about 6 cents higher than last summer and typically range between $3.45 and $3.90 per gallon, except in the Chicago area, where gas prices are higher because of clean-air rules.

But he cautions: “As you might expect, it depends. There are no certainties.”

Prices could go higher over short periods if supplies are disrupted anywhere in the system, said Tyner, the James and Lois Ackerman Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics.

Tyner noted that prices of gasoline that motorists pay at the pump primarily are determined by crude oil prices, which have been running about $4 per barrel higher than a year ago.… Continue reading

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OSC announces GrowNextGen Contest winners

The Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and soybean checkoff is pleased to announce that science instructor Rachel Sanders and social studies instructor Jamie Lesesky and their classes at the Global Impact STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Academy in Springfield were named the recipients of OSC’s first GrowNextGen Photo and Video Contest. In addition, Agriculture instructor Laura Deehr of Carrollton High School in Carrollton was awarded an iPad for winning the 2014 Spring GrowNextGen Membership Drive Drawing.

OSC launched the website, GrowNextGen.org to provide Ohio’s agriscience and bioscience teachers with direct access to industry partners and a wide array of relevant soybean-related classroom materials, career videos, interactive e-learning courses and student research opportunities.

“More than 400 teachers, industry partners and students have profiles on GrowNextGen, making it the ideal place for learning and collaboration to occur around the topics of soybean production and agriculture,” said Patrick Knouff, OSC chairman and soybean farmer from Shelby County.… Continue reading

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Farmers may be eligible for Livestock Forage Disaster Program under new farm bill

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) was made a permanent program with the 2014 Farm Bill legislation. Additionally the legislation provided retroactive authority to cover eligible losses dating back to October 1, 2011. This is important because this loss program provides com­pensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire. Counties declared eligible due to the 2012 drought in Ohio include: Butler, Clinton, Darke, Defiance, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Henry, Montgomery, Paulding, Pickaway, Preble, Putnam, Ross, Van Wert, Warren, and Williams.

Producers are eligible for drought LFP payments equal to 60% of the monthly feed cost for up to five months. Livestock species that are eligible include: beef, dairy, buffalo, sheep, goats, deer, equine, swine, elk, poultry, reindeer, alpacas, emus, and llamas. A Ross County example for a farmer with 20 mature beef cows and 26 acres of improved pasture would be eligible for 60% of one month’s feed cost.… Continue reading

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New program targets invasive species in southeast Ohio

Several invasive plant species threaten the grasslands of southeast Ohio, degrading pastures and threatening the overall environmental health of the area. State Conservationist Terry Cosby of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) created the Southeast Ohio Noxious and Invasive Weed Treatment Program to help agricultural producers battle these invasive plants in seven southeast Ohio counties, including Belmont, Guernsey, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble and Washington.

Financial assistance from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is available to eligible agricultural producers to remove three invasive plants of concern, including spotted knapweed, autumn olive, and tree of heaven (ailanthus).

 

Spotted knapweed

Spotted Knapweed, a perennial forb common in the western United States, arrived from Europe in the 1800’s. Over the past 4 years, farmers in eastern Ohio started noticing it in and around their pastures. The plant has a tall, spindly appearance with purple flowers that appear in July.… Continue reading

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WRRDA passes House

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 with a 412-to-4 vote. Now, the bill goes to the Senate where many agricultural groups are hoping the bill moves quickly to pass this final reauthorization bill to improve the reliability and efficiency of the U.S. inland waterways system.

“We thank our representatives in the House for their near-unanimous support and work to ensure passage of this important legislation, which makes concrete steps toward repairing and improving our inland waterways,” said Martin Barbre, National Corn Growers Association president. “WRRDA is crucial to farmers as more than 60% of the nation’s grain exports are transported by barge. The locks and dams we depend upon to transport our cargoes today were built in the 1920s and 1930s. It is imperative that we improve this crucial infrastructure. The need is urgent; U.S. farmers and businesses rely upon this transportation channel.… Continue reading

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Scout wheat for disease

Wheat in Ohio was nearing the critical growth stage when heavy rainfalls and the forecast cooler temperatures set in throughout much of the state. As a result, growers should scout their fields for any indication of disease development, says a wheat expert from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The rainy weather helps to create conditions favorable for foliar disease to develop, producing spores and new infections, said Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension wheat researcher.

The amount of moisture experienced recently favors significant foliar diseases that impact wheat crops near critical growing stages, said Paul, who is also a plant pathologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Foliar diseases such as Septoria blotch and powdery mildew are what growers should be on the lookout for, Paul said.

“Septoria blotch, which is typically the first disease to show up, has already been reported in some fields,” he said.… Continue reading

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BEST program concludes 15th year with annual banquet

The 2013-2014 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) BEST (Beef Exhibitor Show Total) Program wrapped up on May 10 with its annual awards banquet held at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.

“The banquet is a time to celebrate the many achievements of our BEST participants, both in and out of the show ring,” says Stephanie Sindel, BEST coordinator. “Each participant is recognized for their hard work by family, friends and BEST supporters alike.”

Several representatives from program sponsors Bob Evans Farms, Burroughs Frazier Farms, Farm Credit Mid-America, Green Oak Farms, M.H. Eby, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Weaver Livestock were on hand to help present awards totaling more than $42,000 in belt buckles, furniture, show materials and other awards.

This year’s BEST program featured 17 sanctioned shows that weaved its way across the state with 380 youth participants showing 537 head of market animals and heifers.

 

Banquet Sponsors

The BEST program also receives tremendous support for awards and the awards banquet.… Continue reading

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NFU continues defense of COOL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently heard argument en banc in AMI v. USDA. While a three-judge panel had affirmed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction on the implementation of the revised Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations, the panel had noted that one issue might warrant rehearing en banc.

The parties’ positions before the Court are essentially the same as what was presented to the panel although additional briefing was sought by the Court on the reach of a certain Supreme Court decision in the First Amendment area.

National Farmers Union (NFU), along with fellow intervenors the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, American Sheep Industry Association and Consumer Federation of America, has participated at both the district court and at the D.C. Circuit supporting the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s revised COOL regulation and opposing the preliminary injunction request of the plaintiffs/appellants.

“The revised COOL regulation is an important step in providing consumers improved information on the origin of the meat products they buy, and it reduces consumer confusion,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.… Continue reading

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2014 Spring Buckeye Draft Horse Sale results

Official sale results as supplied by the Buckeye Draft Horse Sale Committee. This sale takes place twice a year in Dover, Ohio.

Photo courtesy of JW Wilcox – Amish Country Images.

179 horses entered • 22 outs • 7 no sales • 150 sold (catalogued and uncatalogued)

Horses entered from and sold into 14 states and Canada.
45 Belgian mares  average: $3,183
33 Percheron mares  average: $3,543
15 Belgian geldings average: $3,340
11 Percheron geldings average: $3,300
27 Belgian stallions average: $2,748
19 Percheron stallions  average: $1,834
47 yearling stallions (both breeds) average: $2,510
Uncatalogued horses average: $3,045
Total sale average: 150 head average: $3,038

Mares

Format: Lot number; Seller; Sale Price; Buyer

1          Martin M. Wickey, Jr., Decatur, IN 5,000 Oba Hershberger, Sullivan, IL
2           Nathaniel U. Byler, Bristolville, OH    5,500   Harley Schwartz , Akron, lN
3           Mystic Meadows LTD, Garee W. Earnest, Johnstown, OH      2,100   Aden D. Schlabach,Fredericksburg, OH
4           Eli L.

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What causes purple corn?

Cool and wet weather at early stages of corn development, as we are experiencing this year, are ideal for the appearance of purple plants. What causes the plants to become purple? Some of the reasons are given below:

• Purple leaves are caused by a pigment called anthocyanin. When sugars produced by the chlorophyll cannot be deposited in the growing stalks, leaves, and roots, they are converted to anthocyanin pigment which is red to purple in color.

• Acidic soils with pH lower than 5.5 may also cause seedling purpling.

• Wet soils can also inhibit the nutrient uptake and cause purple leaves.

• Purpling generally occurs between V2 to V5 stages of growth. By V8, purple leaf syndrome disappears and color becomes normal healthy green again.

• Any plant stresses which reduce uptake of phosphorus may result in purple leaves and stalks. Root restrictions may also cause phosphate deficiency symptoms.… Continue reading

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New agritourism legislation introduced in Ohio Senate

A new bill in the Ohio Senate addresses several legal issues for Ohio agritourism operators. Senators Jones (R-Springboro) and Peterson (R-Sabina) introduced S.B. 334 on May 7. The bill would impact Ohio agritourism operators in regards to civil liability, property taxation, zoning regulation and amusement ride standards.

 

Civil liability protection

Following a similar trend in other states, the Ohio legislation would grant agritourism operators civil liability protection from claims for injuries that occur during agritourism activities. An operator would not be liable for harm that an observer or participant sustains during an agritourism activity if the harm is a result of the following conditions, which the law defines as “risks inherent in an agritourism activity”:

(a) The surface and subsurface conditions of land;

(b) The behavior of wild or domestic animals;

(c) The ordinary dangers associated with structures or equipment ordinarily used in farming or ranching operations;

(d) The possibility of contracting illness resulting from physical contact with animals, animal feed, animal waste, or surfaces contaminated by animal waste;

(e) The possibility that a participant may act in a negligent manner, including by failing to follow instructions given by the agritourism provider or by failing to exercise reasonable caution while engaging in the agritourism activity that may contribute to injury to that participant or another participant.… Continue reading

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Stay safe as planting season drags on

Working fast to get crops in to beat incoming weather is just one instance in which farmers increase their risk of injury, a safety expert with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences says.

Knowing some simple safety precautions to take during spring planting is critical for farmers to reduce the potential for injuries, said Kent McGuire, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural health and safety professional.

Spring planting is a time when farm workers are continually moving from one piece of equipment to another and climbing on equipment to fill with seed or make repairs, McGuire said.  This is a time that farmers should take extra precautions to prevent falls when working around farm equipment, he said.

“During spring planting, there is a sense of urgency to get corn and soybeans planted,” McGuire said. “Farmers put in long hours, day after day. That’s when fatigue or complacency sets in, and a slip, trip or fall injury can happen very quickly.… Continue reading

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What to do with those “naked” corn acres

It seems that a very wet mid-May may cause some havoc when it comes to farmers missing the window of opportunity for a pre-emergent herbicide application. That means that there are a large number of acres of “naked” corn that will be anxiously awaiting some post-emergent help as it sprouts from highly saturated soils.

“Last week we experienced some really nice weather in my part of the state and corn that was planted a week or two ago is beginning to spike through,” said Chasitie Euler, a DuPont Pioneer Account Manager in the Northwest part of Ohio. “Many of those acres remain naked with no pre-emergent herbicide so that will definitely change many of my farmer’s plans.”… Continue reading

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Bee survey shows improvement

A yearly survey of beekeepers shows fewer colony losses occurred in the United States over the winter of 2013-2014 than in recent years, but beekeepers say losses remain higher than the level that they consider to be sustainable. According to survey results, total losses of managed honey bee colonies from all causes were 23.2% nationwide. That number is above the 18.9% level of loss that beekeepers say is acceptable for their economic sustainability, but is a marked improvement over the 30.5% loss reported for the winter of 2012-2013, and over the eight-year average loss of 29.6%.

More than three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollinators, such as bees, to reproduce, meaning pollinators help produce one out of every three bites of food Americans eat.

“Pollinators, such as bees, birds and other insects are essential partners for farmers and ranchers and help produce much of our food supply. Healthy pollinator populations are critical to the continued economic well-being of agricultural producers,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.… Continue reading

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Action being urged for EU cheese situation

A bipartisan group of 177 members of the U.S. House of Representatives urged the Obama administration to use the transatlantic trade talks with the European Union (EU) to address a variety of export barriers hampering the U.S. dairy industry. Among the barriers are the EU’s recent efforts to prevent U.S. companies from using common food names like parmesan and feta in export markets, including the EU, and even in the U.S. domestic market.

The Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus co-chairs, led by Reps. Reid Ribble and Peter Welch, spearheaded the letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. In that message House members said negotiations with the European Union over the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) offer a good opportunity to address protectionist measures that block U.S. dairy sales to 500 million consumers.

“We urge you to achieve a strong and beneficial outcome for the U.S.… Continue reading

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HSUS forced to pay in circus lawsuit

Feld Entertainment, the parent company of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, received a nearly $15.75 million settlement from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal-rights groups that filed a frivolous lawsuit against them.

The lawsuits in federal court in Washington have dragged on for more than a decade. In 2012, a judge said the case, alleging abusive treatment of elephants, was frivolous and forced Virginia-based Feld Entertainment to spend millions in legal fees. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals already agreed separately to pay more than $9 million to settle.

HSUS said in a statement:

“The HSUS and The Fund for Animals fight tirelessly to prevent the abuse and mistreatment of animals, including elephants by circuses, and will be stepping up that work in the months ahead. Although The HSUS was never a plaintiff in the case against Ringling, we believe it was prudent for the parties to settle, because this court would never address the core claims of elephant abuse, and there would be significant cost in continuing to litigate.… Continue reading

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Mycotoxin levels may be rising in stored 2013 crop

After seven months of feeding the 2013 harvest to their herds, dairy producers may soon find their corn silage and total mixed ration (TMR) are not quite up to par, as many herds are now facing new challenges due to recent mold and mycotoxin growth in feed during storage.

“The U.S. crops varied considerably from farm to farm and even from field to field. These varied crops were all harvested at the same time and placed into storage, creating silage that is a mixture of maturity and crop stress,” said Max Hawkins, a nutritionist from Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management Team. “The effects of storage moisture and temperature, oxygen availability and forage management are now being discovered.”

Alltech has continued to analyze corn silage and TMR samples since the September harvest through their 37+ Program. The analysis is performed using LC/MSMS technology and considers the mycotoxin challenge in each sample as a whole, rather than looking at the individual mycotoxins present.… Continue reading

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First forage cutting coming soon

While we’ve all been focused on getting planting done between the rains, our established forage crops have quietly been growing rapidly. I hate to say this, but first cutting of forages is just about upon us. Orchardgrass was just beginning to shoot a head in central Ohio last Friday. The alfalfa stands that were not severely injured by winter are looking great and growing fast.

For high quality feed, such as for lactating dairy cows, pure grass stands should be harvested in the late boot stage just before the heads start to peek out. So for orchardgrass in the central and southern half of Ohio, that means harvest should begin as soon as the weather and soil moisture permits.

A timely first and second cutting is critical for high quality forage. Fiber accumulates faster in the first two growth cycles in May and June than it does later in the summer.… Continue reading

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