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USDA grants to boost renewable energy

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that 106 projects in 29 states, Guam and Puerto Rico have been selected for funding to produce renewable energy and make energy efficiency improvements. Funding is made available through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.

“The Obama Administration is helping agricultural producers and rural small business owners across the country reduce their energy costs and consumption,” Vilsack said. “This is part of the President’s ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, which involves expanding support for traditional as well as alternative energy sources. Stable energy costs create an environment for sustainable job growth in rural America.”

For example, in Washington County, Iowa, Andrew McCall is receiving a guaranteed loan to construct a 50 kilowatt (kW) wind turbine at his agricultural business. The turbine is expected to generate approximately 103,200 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, enough to meet the annual requirements of nine homes.… Continue reading

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Beef Checkoff changes coming

A newly approved structure for joint beef checkoff committees endeavors to engage more cattle producers and beef importers who pay the checkoff in a more efficient decision-making process about investment of their hard-earned checkoff investments.

Adopted unanimously by both the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) and the Federation of State Beef Councils during the recent 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, the new structure effectively reduces the number of checkoff program committees — which are responsible for making recommendations to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee about programs to fund with checkoff dollars — from the current 13 to just four in 2013.

Each of those four new committees will be tied directly to core strategies identified in the 2011-2013 Beef Industry Long Range Plan, with subcommittees for the domestic market formed around the beef demand drivers identified in that same plan. As envisioned, committees will be flexible enough to change with adoption of a new long range plan, if those strategies and demand drivers change.… Continue reading

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Monthly crop report quantifies coffee shop conversations

Corn production will drop 13% to a six-year low, the U.S. Agriculture Department said in a recent report, confirming what many farmers already knew — they are having a very bad year, Ohio State University Extension economist Matt Roberts said.

In its monthly crops report, USDA today cut its projected U.S. corn production to 10.8 billion bushels, down 17% from its forecast last month of nearly 13 billion bushels and 13% lower than last year. Soybean production is forecast to be down as well, to 2.69 billion bushels, which is 12% lower than last year and as well as lower than the 3.05 billion bushels the USDA forecast last month.

The projections mean this year’s corn production will be the lowest production since 2006, with soybeans at its lowest production rate since 2003, Roberts said. The USDA said it expects corn growers to average 123.4 bushels per acre, down 24 bushels from last year, while soybean growers are expected to average 36.1 bushels per acre, down 5.4 bushels from last year.… Continue reading

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Ohio's Crop Progress – August 13th, 2012

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 71.7 degrees, 0.2 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, August 12, 2012.  Precipitation averaged 1.40 inches, 0.52 inches above normal.  There were 132 modified growing degree days, 17 days below normal.

Reporters rated 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, August 10, 2012.  Topsoil moisture was rated 37 percent very short, 34 percent short, 28 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY AUGUST 12, 2012

This week’s multiple rain storms and cooler temperatures reduced stress on crops and livestock.  Field activities for the week included the beginning of corn silage and processing tomato harvest.  The fruit, vegetable, and potato harvest continues.  Observations of spider mites have been reported in west central region soybean fields.  Also, western corn root beetles have been identified in traps; however the incidence rate was low.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – August 13th, 2012

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 71.7 degrees, 0.2 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, August 12, 2012.  Precipitation averaged 1.40 inches, 0.52 inches above normal.  There were 132 modified growing degree days, 17 days below normal.

Reporters rated 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, August 10, 2012.  Topsoil moisture was rated 37 percent very short, 34 percent short, 28 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY AUGUST 12, 2012

This week’s multiple rain storms and cooler temperatures reduced stress on crops and livestock.  Field activities for the week included the beginning of corn silage and processing tomato harvest.  The fruit, vegetable, and potato harvest continues.  Observations of spider mites have been reported in west central region soybean fields.  Also, western corn root beetles have been identified in traps; however the incidence rate was low.… Continue reading

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More CRP haying and grazing options opened up

In response to the continued drought conditions, the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Steve Maurer, announced the addition of 5 CRP practices that livestock producers and other participants in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will now be able to emergency hay and graze.

“Many of these additional acres have wetland-related characteristics and are likely to contain better quality hay and forage than on other CRP acres,” Maurer said.

The list of eligible practices has been expanded to include:

  • CP8A (grass waterways) – haying and grazing available
  • CP23 (wetland restoration) – haying and grazing available
  • CP23A (wetland restoration, non-floodplain) – haying and grazing available
  • CP25 (rare and declining habitat (oak savanna, wetland complexes, tall grass prairies)
    • Oak Savannas – haying only
    • Wetland Complexes – haying and grazing
    • Tall Grass Prairies – haying and grazing
  • CP27/CP28 (farmable wetlands pilot wetland and buffer) – haying and grazing available

Eligible producers who are interested in haying or grazing CRP under the emergency authorization, and current CRP participants who choose to provide land for haying or grazing to an eligible livestock producer, must first request approval from their local FSA office and obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).… Continue reading

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West Nile Virus found in Shelby County horse

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) confirmed a case of West Nile Virus in a horse from Shelby County. Samples were collected on August 1, 2012 and results were confirmed by the agency on August 6, 2012.

Mosquitoes can pick up the West Nile Virus from wild birds and may then transmit the infection to people and other animals. Studies show that cool, wet weather in early spring followed by very hot temperatures throughout the summer can result in increased mosquito activity.

Infection with West Nile Virus does not always lead to signs of illness in people or animals.  In horses that become clinically ill, the virus infects the central nervous system and may cause symptoms of encephalitis. Clinical signs of encephalitis in horses may include a general loss of appetite, depression, weakness in limbs, and possible fever.

“Animal vaccination is a primary key to preventing the spread of West Nile virus among animals.… Continue reading

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July the hottest month on record

With an average temperature of 77.6 degrees F in the contiguous U.S., the month of July surpassed the 20th century average by 3.3 degrees F. The previous warmest July was in 1936 when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4 degrees F.

The hottest locations in July were mostly stretched across the Midwest and central Plains, areas largely plagued by intense drought.

“Droughts tend to feed and sustain heat waves,” AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

July’s warmth may have been intensified by dry conditions, which has caused a devastating corn crop loss and the potential for a significant soybean loss.

“A lack of water in the ground has allowed the sun to heat the surface much more efficiently than it normally would, due to less water being evaporated,” AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Brett Anderson said. “Evaporation is a cooling process. In July, all the sun’s energy went into heating instead of evaporation and that likely added to the extremes a bit,” Anderson said.… Continue reading

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Ohio State to hold first-ever training course on anaerobic digestion

Ohio State University will hold a first-of-its-kind training course on anaerobic digestion, a waste-management process that livestock farms and wastewater plants are increasingly using to produce biogas, a type of renewable fuel.

The course takes place Sept. 6-7 at the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster in northern Ohio.

“The (anaerobic digestion) industry is growing in Ohio, but there are no educational programs that provide an understanding of the scientific principles underlying the AD process or the daily management of an AD system,” said Yebo Li, the organizer of the course and an OARDC biosystems engineer.

“If the industry is to continue to grow successfully, training must be available for the workforce, including AD operators, regulatory personnel who will oversee permitting and operations, and investors who will provide funding.”

Li said the course is designed for people who already work in the anaerobic digestion industry; those who want to find out if anaerobic digestion is right for their operation, whether a farm, a wastewater plant or otherwise; and those who advise others on waste-management technologies.… Continue reading

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Perry County FSA to close Oct. 1

Steve Maurer, State Executive Director for the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that as of Oct. 1, 2012, the Perry County FSA offices 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 Fairfield county FSA office unless a producer has elected to transfer his/her records to another county.

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.  “Through a targeted office consolidation effort that includes 125 offices nationwide, FSA is striving to balance significant budget cuts, staff reductions and increasing workloads while focusing the efforts of our staff on high-quality service. … Continue reading

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Southwest Ohio Agronomy Field day Aug. 14

Corn and soybean growers can learn some of the latest techniques in farming, including seeding rate adjustments and weed resistance during an Aug. 14 workshop.

The Ohio State University Extension and Southwest Ohio Corn Growers Association’s Agronomy Field Day at the Fayette County Demonstration Farm runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and focuses on corn and soybean production research.

Topics include corn and soybean responses to environment and climate change, soil density and compaction, weed resistance, cover crop management and seeding rate adjustments to optimize corn performance.

Continuing education credits for Certified Crop Advisers will also be available.

No registration is required for the event and lunch will be provided. Health screenings by the Fayette County Health Department, Fayette County Memorial Hospital and OSU Extension experts will be held from 9 a.m. to noon. The Ohio Department of Agriculture will also hold a pesticide collection from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.… Continue reading

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Ohio Soy 2020 to Co-Host Locks and Dams Forum

Ohio’s transportation infrastructure has helped make agriculture the No.1 contributor to Ohio’s economy. However, aging and decaying infrastructure, including locks and dams, is threatening statewide jobs and economic growth. On August 28, Ohio Soy 2020 and the Ohio Ag Transportation Coalition will host the Locks and Dams Forum to educate participants from the agriculture and transportation industries about the condition and importance of transportation infrastructure to Ohio’s economy.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, fully one-third of Ohio’s 1,597 dams are in need of rehabilitation to meet state dam safety standards. Ohio’s ports are already among the nation’s busiest and the U.S. Department of Transportation only expects freight demand to grow, thus increasing the wear and tear on the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

“Ohio is the sixth largest state for soybean exports in the U.S.,” said Patrick Knouff, Shelby County soybean farmer and vice chair of both the Ohio Soybean Council and the national Soy Transportation Coalition.… Continue reading

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Ohio is the first state granted approval for interstate shipment agreement

Following an announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Ohio Agriculture Director David T. Daniels applauds a long-awaited cooperative agreement that will allow certain Ohio small businesses to sell their products in other states. Ohio is the first state to be granted a cooperative agreement under new USDA rules that were finalized in 2011.

“Before this agreement was finalized, small and specialty meat processors in Ohio who are inspected daily by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) were prohibited from selling their products over state lines. You had to be inspected by the federal government to do that despite the fact that our state inspection program has been rated as “at least equal to” the federal program since 1969. It just didn’t make sense,” Daniels said.

Under the new agreement, announced by USDA Deputy Secretary Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, small, state-inspected businesses with 25 or fewer employees will now be permitted to sell their products across state lines. … Continue reading

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Answers to frequently asked crop insurance questions

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

The 2012 growing season has brought challenges not seen by any generation of current Ohio farmers. With the complicated conditions come complicated questions, especially in terms of crop insurance. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, with answers compliments of Jason Williamson of the Williamson Insurance Agency.

1) My RP policy does NOT show a Fall Harvest Option (FH or HRO). Does that mean the higher Harvest Price will hurt me?

No. The RP policy “includes” the old Harvest Option. To NOT have the harvest option, an insured had to elect to exclude it and that would be RPHPE (Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion)

2) Will the Base Price be averaged with the harvest price (Dec. avg. in Oct.) to pay claims?

No. If the Harvest Price is HIGHER than the Base Price, your production loss will be paid at the Harvest Price.… Continue reading

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More H3N2v cases confirmed in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) announced that 15 additional cases of Influenza A variant H3N2 have been confirmed in Ohio. There are currently 30 cases of H3N2v statewide; all individuals had direct contact with swine at fairs and no human-to-human passage of the virus has been confirmed.

The case breakdown per county is as follows:

Butler: 16

Clark: 3

Gallia: 4

Greene: 4

Hamilton: 3

Those with confirmed cases of H3N2v are between the ages of 6 months and 36 years old. To date, one of the confirmed cases was hospitalized as a precaution, but they have since been treated and released.

“There has been a tremendous increase in surveillance across the state,” said Dr. Ted Wymyslo, Director of the Ohio Department of Health. “We are not surprised by this increase in confirmed cases. We are also aware the flu viruses are not uncommon in swine. Even as we identify additional illnesses, this strain appears to remain mild and does not seem to be any more severe than what we see during most flu seasons.”… Continue reading

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Farmers again encouraged to report crop losses

With the continued hot dry weather conditions throughout Ohio, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages farmers to document and report crop losses or low crop yields to their local FSA office.

Producers with crops covered by crop insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) must report crop losses resulting from a weather-related disaster event within 15 days of the disaster or when the loss first becomes apparent.  Prevented planting must be reported no later than 15 days after the final planting date.

Crop losses are acres that were timely planted with the intent to harvest, but the crop failed because of a natural disaster.  It is important that producers file accurate and timely loss reports to prevent the potential loss of FSA program benefits.

Low yield acreage does need to be reported and producers are encouraged to keep good production records on acreage with a low crop yield to document crop losses.… Continue reading

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Farmland preservation highlighted at Center for Innovative Food Technology event

Much of northwest Ohio was once covered by the Great Black Swamp – an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. It took more than 10,000 years for the swamp to develop, but only 50 years for humans to drain the swamp and plant crops. After ditches were built and the murky water was drained, the swamp left behind rich farming ground. Unfortunately this area of Ohio is loosing this very abundant farmland to subdivisions, strip malls and the like – all detrimental to agriculture’s role as the largest component of Ohio’s economy.

Rob Krain, conservation director, Black Swamp Conservancy, will explain ways to slow down the loss of farmland at the monthly Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum, Thursday, Aug. 16 from 7:30 – 9 a.m. The program begins at 8 a.m. with informal networking prior, hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation, north of Bowling Green, Ohio.… Continue reading

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Supplemental forage options for late summer planting

By Mark Sulc and Stan Smith, OSU Extension

Many producers are looking to grow more forage this autumn and early next spring because of the reduced forage yields resulting from dry weather this year. Supplemental forage can be produced yet this year by planting small grains or annual ryegrass on land coming out of wheat or corn silage. In this article we discuss options for planting in early August (on wheat stubble ground for example), in late August to early September (after corn silage removal), and after soybean harvest (late September to mid-October).

Before making any plans to plant supplemental forages, be sure to check the plant back restriction interval for herbicides used in the previous crop. Corn herbicides, especially atrazine products, have a long rotation restriction interval for many of the forage options listed below. So check the labels for the herbicides you used this year especially.

Early August Plantings
The best options are to plant spring oat, spring triticale, or annual ryegrass (see section below on annual ryegrass).… Continue reading

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New Ohio agricultural easement donation partnership program

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David T. Daniels has announced a new way to preserve Ohio farmland.

The Agricultural Easement Donation Partnership Program will reimburse local partners (counties, townships, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, or land trusts) for real estate closing and administrative costs to assist landowners with donations under the state’s farmland preservation program.

The department has set aside $50,000 to cover up to $3,000 in costs for the donation of farms up to 200 acres. The incentive would increase by $5 per acre for easements more than 200 acres in size. Funds will be equally available in all areas of the state.

“Ohio has gone from zero preserved farmland acres to more than 54,000 preserved acres in just over 10 years. This would never have been possible without the help of our local partners,” said Daniels. “Today, through this program, we are offering a way to help our partners preserve even more productive farmland at the local level.… Continue reading

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Monsanto’s efforts to help farmers affected by drought

Monsanto commitment to help 

As U.S. farmers face the worst drought in more than 25 years, Monsanto announced new commitments to support farmers and the rural communities where they live that have been impacted by severe drought conditions:

  1. To support rural communities, the Monsanto Fund is doubling its America’s Farmers Grow Communities funding in counties that have been declared a disaster area by the USDA.
  2. To support farmers who have been financially impacted by the drought, Monsanto is offering additional prepay options and financing assistance for the purchase of their seed. Farmers in impacted areas can call 1-855-379-1212 to discuss their individual situation and explore options with a Monsanto representative.

“Nearly 90 percent of the U.S. corn crop is in regions impacted by drought,” said Mike Stern, U.S. row crops business lead, Monsanto Company. “Monsanto understands that when farmers face crop losses, it makes it more difficult to invest in their business for the following year.

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