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Ohio companies make list of top 100 largest ag cooperatives

Four Ohio cooperatives found themselves in the USDA’s annual top 100 largest agricultural cooperatives list released today to help kick off National Cooperative Month. United Producers, Inc. of Columbus, placed 19th, Trupointe Cooperative of Piqua placed 45th, Heritage of West Mansfield placed 53rd and Sunrise of Freemont was 54th on the list of top farm cooperatives in 2011.

Farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives posted record sales and income in 2011, surpassing the previous record sales year of 2008 by $10 billion while besting the old income record by $500 million. Dallas Tonsager, USDA under secretary for Rural Development, said co-op employment levels remained strong, with cooperatives employing 184,000 full-time, part-time and seasonal workers, up slightly from 2010.

“These new cooperative sales and income records for 2011 underscore the strength and productivity of the nation’s farmer- and rancher-owned cooperatives, and the vital role they play in the nation’s economy,” Tonsager said.… Continue reading

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USDA grants support specialty crop producers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $101 million in grants to support America’s specialty crops producers, who provide the fruits, vegetables, nuts and other nutritious foods for millions of healthy American meals each day. Approximately $55 million of the total will be invested in 56 specialty crop block grants to states that fund 748 initiatives across the country to strengthen markets and expand economic opportunities for local and regional producers. An additional $46 million will go to support new and continuing research and extension activities to address challenges and opportunities for growers and businesses that rely on a sustainable, profitable specialty crops industry. Vilsack made the announcement before touring the Catholic Multicultural Center in Madison, Wis., which prepares food, including fresh fruit and vegetables, for delivery to local public schools.

Under Vilsack’s leadership, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has supported efforts to strengthen local and regional food systems for farmers of all types and sizes, helping them take advantage of new opportunities and succeed in today’s marketplace.… Continue reading

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Weekly crop progress report- October 1

As of Sunday September 30th, seventy-three percent of corn was mature, which was 49 percent ahead of last year and 16 percent ahead of the five-year average. Fourteen percent of the corn was harvested for grain, ahead of last year by 12 percent and the five-year average by three percent. Corn for silage was 92 percent harvested, compared to 52 percent last year and 81 percent for the five-year average. Eighty-six percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, compared to 50 percent last year and 80 percent for the five-year average. Forty-seven percent of the soybeans were mature, 37 percent ahead of last year and identical to the five-year average. Soybeans harvested were rated at 14 percent, compared to 17 percent for the five-year average. Winter wheat planted was rated at seven percent, compared to one percent last year and 12 percent for the five-year average. Ninety-two percent of the third cutting of other hay was complete, compared to 76 percent last year and 85 percent for the five-year average.

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OABA opposes Issue 2

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Board of Directors has voted to oppose State Issue 2.

Issue 2 is a Constitutional amendment that, if passed, would change the way that Ohio draws legislative and congressional districts, and ultimately would remove the right of Ohio voters to have a voice in this process.

“OABA opposes Issue 2 because it creates, through the Ohio Constitution, a new, unelected, bureaucratic commission that is not accountable to Ohioans, not subject to fiscal oversight and not a true bipartisan approach to redistricting,” said OABA President and CEO Chris Henney. “There are better solutions.”

Issue 2 would establish a 12-member commission to draw legislative and congressional districts. The commission can demand funding to operate, and if they wish, to pay staff, lawyers, consultants, etc. Under the proposal, new districts would be created for the 2014 election and then under each census.

Other Ohio organizations opposing Issue 2 include the Ohio Farm Bureau, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Ohio Right to Life and leading members of the Ohio Court of Appeals Judges Association.… Continue reading

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Microalgae culture in raceway open ponds for bioenergy production

By Yebo Li

In recent years, microalgae have gained considerable interest in research and development efforts due to their ability to be grown in areas noncompeting with food crops, high growth rates, potentially limited environmental impact, and high lipid (oil) content. The primary advantage of microalgae as a feed stock for biofuel production is its photosynthetic nature, or ability to use sunlight and carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce energy when provided with primary nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorus. The nutrients can be provided from wastewater streams. Current systems for algae biomass production include photobioreactors and raceway open ponds.

 

Raceway open ponds – The benefits and costs

Open raceways are typically made of a closed loop, oval shaped recirculation channels, filled with large water volumes at low depths over high surface areas, with adequate mixing and circulation to maintain microalgae growth productivity. Mixing and circulation is usually provided via paddlewheel systems.… Continue reading

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Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association announces new communications manager

Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) has hired Lyndsey Murphy as communications manager. In this role, Murphy will be responsible for managing OCWGA communication efforts, including its social-media outlets and coordinating meetings for the organization’s other two entities — the Ohio Corn Marketing Program and Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program.

“Lyndsey brings a diverse set of communication skills to this position, including strong writing, graphic and web design experience,” said OCWGA Executive Director Tadd Nicholson. “She will undoubtedly be a great asset to the organization and we’re happy to have her.”

Prior to OCWGA, Murphy interned with the Ohio Farm Bureau, ABN Radio, the Ohio Cattleman’s Association and Local Matters, a central Ohio non-profit that aims to transform the food system in central Ohio to be more secure and prosperous. She also currently manages her own photography business.

Murphy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Communications from The Ohio State University (OSU) and will graduate with a Master of Science degree in Agriculture Communications from OSU in December.… Continue reading

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Cutting livestock greenhouse gases requires effort from rich and poor countries

Regulating livestock greenhouse gas emissions could shift livestock production to unregulated, less developed countries unless those poorer nations can be enticed to preserve their forested lands, according to a Purdue University economic study.

Agriculture and deforestation account for about one-quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, with methane from livestock production being the most important type of farm-related emission. Alla Golub, a research economist at the Center for Global Trade Analysis in Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Economics, and Thomas Hertel, a Purdue distinguished professor of agricultural economics and executive director of the Global Trade Analysis Project, modeled policies aimed at reducing emissions from livestock.

“Emissions from agriculture have not gotten as much attention as those from fossil fuels combustion. But when the world gets serious about tackling climate policy, livestock will be an important part of that discussion,” Hertel said. “Livestock sectors are the most important contributors to non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions and would be seriously affected if a tax or regulations were implemented.”… Continue reading

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Meigs County FSA office will close November 30

Steve Maurer, State Executive Director for the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced that as of Nov. 30, 2012, the Meigs County FSA office will be officially closed.  A separate announcement will be made public for the other FSA offices that were approved for closure, once a date is determined.  From this date forward, all FSA program services will be provided by the Gallia/Lawrence county FSA office unless a producer has elected to transfer his/her records to another county.

The Gallia/Lawrence County FSA office is located at:
111 Jackson Pk. Rm. 1571
Gallipolis, Ohio 45631
Phone number is 740-446-8686

On May 29, 2012, the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) received approval from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to proceed with the implementation of county office consolidation plan, including the five county offices in Ohio.

“Over the past three years, FSA has faced a variety of budget-related challenges,” said Juan Garcia, Administrator of the Farm Service Agency. … Continue reading

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Ohio’s Renewable Fuels Industry Swings Back

Ohio’s renewable fuel industry announced the formation of a new coalition, Fuels America, to defend America’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which encourages the blending of Ohio-based ethanol into gasoline. Speaking out in support of the coalition are representatives of the Ohio Ethanol Producers Association, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association and The Andersons Inc.

The Ohio groups are part of a large coalition of advanced and traditional renewable fuel stakeholders throughout the nation focused on demonstrating the economic, clean energy and national security benefits the RFS provides.

The launch of the coalition comes as the US Environmental Protection Agency considers a request to “waive” the RFS, a move that coalition members stressed would have serious unintended consequences for Ohio’s rural communities, clean tech innovators and energy independence.

“Our support for this coalition is based upon the truth that ethanol is vital to all of Ohio’s economy,” said Mark Borer, President of the Ohio Ethanol Producers Association.… Continue reading

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4-H mentoring making a difference

Sometimes kids have trouble learning from their mistakes. And sometimes, all it takes is a caring adult teaming up with those kids — perhaps on a project that captures their interest — that can make all the difference.

That’s the premise behind a mentoring project that has taken place in five counties throughout Ohio, thanks to a grant to Ohio 4-H Youth Development from the National 4-H Council and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The project received $82,000 in funding in 2011 and an additional $123,000 to continue through 2012.

Programs in Adams, Butler, Hardin and Lorain counties have focused their projects on “Tech Wizards,” in which 4-H educators and other mentors use Lego Robotics, video production and other technologies to engage youths.

Mahoning County’s program is “Youth and Families with Promise,” in which mentors work with small groups of kids in community projects and other activities.… Continue reading

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Jack Frost and forage toxicity

By Mark Sulc, Extension Forage Specialist, The Ohio State University

Fall is in the air and Jack Frost will strike sooner or later. When he does, questions always arise concerning the dangers of feeding frosted forages. A very few forage species can be extremely toxic soon after a frost.

The warm-season annual grasses in the sorghum family and other closely related species are capable of becoming toxic to livestock after a frost event. Those species contain compounds called cyanogenic glucosides that convert quickly to prussic acid in freeze-damaged plant tissue. Prussic acid is also known as hydrogen cyanide — the very substance of murder mysteries!

The potential toxicity after frost varies by species. Sudangrass varieties are low to intermediate in cyanide poisoning potential, sudangrass hybrids are intermediate, sorghum-sudangrass hybrids and forage sorghums are intermediate to high, and grain sorghum is high to very high and is most likely to be toxic after a frost.… Continue reading

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Motter appointed to United Soy Board

A Hancock County farmer was named to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) advisory board. John B. Motter, from Jenera, was appointed to serve on the United Soybean Board. Motter’s three-year term will begin in December.

Motter is currently chairman of the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) Board of Trustees. He previously held other OSC leadership positions including vice chairman, secretary and chair of the Producer Communications and Production Research Committees. Motter is active in several agricultural organizations near his hometown of Jenera, serving as a member of the Hancock County and State Extension Advisory Boards. He was previously a Hancock County Soil & Water Conservation District supervisor.

Motter serves as USB Vice-Chairman of the Audit & Evaluation Committee and on the International Marketing Committee.

“I am honored to be re-appointed to the United Soybean Board,” Motter said. “Agriculture has always been a part of my life and I believe in giving something back to an industry and a community that has given me so much. … Continue reading

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OABA to Offer LAUNCH for Emerging Leaders

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) will select 25-30 promising leaders to participate in a new leadership enhancement program in early 2013.  Leaders Achieving Unexpected New Career Heights, or LAUNCH, was designed to help inspire confidence in emerging leaders to help them achieve career growth and their organization’s strategic goals. At the same time, it will help agribusiness close the gap between the skilled workforce and the industry’s increasing demand for qualified leadership.

“We have identified the retention and recruitment of exceptional employees as key to the future success of Ohio’s agribusinesses,” said Chris Henney, OABA President and CEO. “The agriculture industry is so crucial to the health and welfare of our state, and ultimately our world, and will only continue to become more complex over time. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to ensure our aspiring leaders are trained and prepared for the future.”

The LAUNCH program will consist of two three-day sessions: January 23, 24 & 25 and February 27, 28 & March 1.… Continue reading

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DuPont Pioneer Advances New Soybean Varieties for 2013 Planting

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

New soybean varieties from DuPont Pioneer face the toughest challenge in the final year of research testing. During this research stage, soybean varieties are placed in IMPACT™ (Intensively Managed Product Advancement Characterization and Training) trials on growers’ farms to ensure product performance is up to the high standards set by Pioneer. Recently, 34 Pioneer® brand soybean varieties passed final scrutiny from the Pioneer research and development, field sales and agronomy technology service teams and will be commercially available to producers for planting in 2013. Of the 34 new varieties, 10 are specifically for Ohio producers.

“The research effort is pretty extensive”, said DuPont Pioneer Agronomy Research Manager Kirk Reese. “In Ohio, we have about 48 IMPACT locations and of those locations there are about 150 experiments. So, when we test a product at the pre-commercial stage to decide to release it for planting, we are looking at about 3000 to 4000 test plots prior to the release of a new variety.”… Continue reading

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Food safety meeting for fruits and vegetables Oct. 3

A program focused on food safety and Good Agricultural Practices to prevent microbial contamination on fruit and vegetable farms will take place Oct. 3 in Cleveland.

The Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Educational Course will run 6-9 p.m. at the Urban Community School, 4909 Lorain Ave. Speakers will be Ohio State University Extension educators and Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center Staff.

“The Food and Drug Administration should be releasing draft standards for safe production and harvest of fruits and vegetables as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act,” said Ashley Kulhanek of Ohio State University’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team, the program’s sponsor.

Even though those standards have been delayed in the Office of Management and Budget and might not be released until after the November election, Kulhanek said now is a good time to learn about GAPs.

Attendees won’t actually become certified in GAPs by taking the course, but will learn more about the program.… Continue reading

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Take precautions to prevent combine fires

The recent rains have helped alleviate some concerns about the extreme dry conditions and the potential for fires during harvest, but there is always potential for problems when equipment is in operation around dry crop fodder.

Farmers can greatly reduce the risk of starting field fires with proper, regular maintenance of combines and other equipment they use to harvest their crops, a Purdue Extension farm safety expert says.

Combines are especially vulnerable to fires because of the many hours they operate at a time and the dry crop fodder that can collect on them, said Gail Deboy.

“During hot, dry weather, very dry fodder provides an excellent source to fuel a flame whenever a fire is ignited,” he said.

Combine fires can easily spread to crops or remaining corn stover, rapidly igniting acres of farmland. Field fires can spread to nearby farm equipment, trees and buildings, including homes. Smoke from fires can create health problems for nearby residents and reduce visibility on roads.… Continue reading

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Insurance for crops following a cover crop

The drought has left feed for livestock in short supply. Many producers are considering planting cover crops this fall that may also be grazed or cut for hay. Brian D. Frieden, Director of the Springfield Regional Office for USDA’s Risk Management Agency, offers an insurance update for those considering planting cover crops this fall.

Ohio producers wanting to insure a crop planted in the spring of 2013, such as corn, sweet corn, popcorn, hybrid seed corn, processing pumpkins, soybeans, processing beans and grain sorghum, following a cover crop must:

• Stop haying or grazing the cover crop by May 10, 2013; and

• Terminate all cover crop growth at least seven days before the final planting date for the spring crop you are planting.

In areas where a double-cropping practice is insurable (generally referred to as a Following A Crop practice under the terms of the Federal crop insurance program), producers may be able to insure soybeans, processing beans and grain sorghum without meeting the requirements above.… Continue reading

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HSUS files lawsuit against NPPC over the sale of “Other White Meat” slogan

The Humane Society of the United States filed a lawsuit against the U.S. secretary of agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture challenging that the National Pork Board struck an unlawful backroom deal with a D.C. lobbying organization for the purchase of the iconic “Pork: The Other White Meat” slogan.

“The Other White Meat” is registered trademark and a valuable business asset, National Pork Board Chief Executive Officer Chris Novak said.

The lawsuit names Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack because the United States Department of Agriculture supervises the checkoff program.

The board purchased the trademark in 2006 from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), which created the trademark prior to the formation of the National Pork Board in 1986. The National Pork Board subsequently assumed all marketing responsibilities for pork. The sale price, agreed to by both boards and approved by the secretary of agriculture, was $35 million. NPPC agreed to finance the payments over 20 years, making the payment from the National Pork Board $3 million annually.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – September 24th, 2012

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2012

Field activities for the week included tilling wheat stubble, applying fertilizer and manure, and baling hay. Corn and soybeans are being harvested throughout the state, however cool damp weather has slowed the pace of the harvesting of these grain crops. The harvest of vegetables, including fall crops, continues.

As of Sunday September 23rd, sixty-one-eight percent of corn was mature, 44 percent ahead of last year and 19 percent ahead of the five-year average. Eight percent of the corn was harvested for grain, ahead of last year by seven percent and the five-year average by two percent. Corn for silage was 88 percent harvested, compared to 43 percent last year and 69 percent for the five-year average. Seventy-three percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, compared to 33 percent last year and 65 percent for the five-year average. Twenty-nine percent of the soybeans were mature, 24 percent ahead of last year and two percent ahead of the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Tips for approaching retailers with new food products

National retail chains are generally viewed as the holy grail for aspiring food product entrepreneurs. But many experts believe it isn’t always best to aim so high, so fast. Plus there are more tactical ways to increase chances of success in such a competitive industry.

Through the solid advice from a lifelong grocery store owner, the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) will host a seminar for food entrepreneurs and food-related business owners, Thursday, Oct. 18 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK), focusing on how to approach retailers with a new food product.

Jim Sautter, president, Sautter’s Markets, will discuss such areas as what grocery stores look for when exploring new food products, the right (and wrong) ways to initially approach stores, and how to make the first meeting a success. The Sautter family has a long-standing tradition in the grocery industry, having served several northwest Ohio communities since 1927 – often through providing exceptional locally-based foods.… Continue reading

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