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EPA went for compromise in its RFS levels

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tried to strike a balance between proponents and opponents of the Renewable Fuel Standards in setting levels for production of biofuels through 2016, said Purdue University energy policy specialist Wally Tyner.

“Biodiesel appears to be a big winner with its mandate steadily growing over time and far exceeding the congressionally mandated level,” said Tyner, Professor of Agricultural Economics.

For corn ethanol, Tyner said the EPA accepted arguments that the “blend wall” is a legitimate barrier to significantly increased production and did not accept arguments that E85 fuel would grow if the EPA mandated higher ethanol levels. But its 2016 mandate of 14 billion gallons requires some growth of E85 and E15 without reaching the original legislated level of 15 billion gallons.

“Thus, it is a compromise position,” Tyner said.

The EPA on May 29 proposed total renewable fuels production at 15.93 billion gallons for 2014 — the actual production for that year — 16.30 billion for 2015 and 17.40 billon for 2016.… Continue reading

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Bacon hackers thwarted

The Ohio Pork Council uses the Ohio Hog Farmers Facebook page to engage in conversations with consumers and serve as a resource for information regarding pigs, pork and farming. The page currently has an audience of more than 214,000 fans, and in the last 12 months has had a reach of more than 69.5 million people.

On Friday, May 29, the Ohio Hog Farmers Facebook page fell victim to hackers. The outside group gained control to the Facebook page and disabled OHF administrators from being able to access or control the page.

“It was quite the mess,” said Quinton Keeran, director of communications for the Ohio Pork Council. “OPC staff, with the help of additional Ag supporters involved in social media, quickly began posting to the page and letting OHF fans know that the page had been hacked.”

After contacting Facebook Customer Service, the page was returned to its original state and access was re-granted to OPC mid-afternoon on the same day.… Continue reading

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Ohio man indicted for cattle-rustling scheme

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that an Ohio man has been indicted for running a scheme in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia where he allegedly purchased over $30,000 worth of livestock and vehicles using fraudulent checks and falsified documents.

Brandon White, 28, of Lucasville, was arraigned May 29 after being indicted by a Hocking County grand jury on May 22. The indictment includes 15 counts:

  • Engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, first degree felony
  • Grand theft of a motor vehicle, fourth degree felony (two counts)
  • Theft of an elderly person, fourth degree felony
  • Theft of an elderly person, third degree felony
  • Theft by deception, fifth degree felony (five counts)
  • Money laundering, third degree felony (two counts)
  • Tampering with records, third degree felony (three counts).

White is accused of using fraudulent checks to purchase cattle from farmers who had advertised on Craigslist that they had cattle to sell. When he picked up the animals, he often used a false alias and paid the victim using a check drawn on an account that did not belong to him and had insufficient funds.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – June 1st, 2015

Last week’s heavy rains limited field work but planting progress remains ahead of the five year average, according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Regional Office. There were 4.3 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending May 31st. Heavy rainfalls were observed, especially later in the week, leaving standing water in some areas. Some hail was reported. Warmer than normal temperatures helped emergence and growth, but some replanting will be needed in drowned out areas. Cool and cloudy conditions following rains will likely reduce or prevent soil crusting. Excessively moist conditions created concern for disease in wheat and other cereals, but those crops remain in overall good condition. Growers were able to side dress corn when fields weren’t too damp. Some tobacco was set, with most growers ready to get underway with transplants at the first window of opportunity. Strawberry harvest began and the planting of vegetable crops continued. Livestock remain in good conditions despite muddy pastures and feed lots.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Best of the Buckeye Scholarships due June 15

Best of the Buckeye participants pursuing an agriculture-related post-secondary degree are encouraged to take advantage of academic scholarships available through the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Best of the Buckeye program, thanks to scholarship sponsor Franklin Equipment.

Academic scholarships in the amount of $1,000 are available to high school juniors and seniors pursuing a post-high school degree who are participating in the 2015 Best of the Buckeye program. Scholarships will be awarded based on academics and extracurricular activities. All scholarship applicants will be required to submit an essay along with their scholarship application on the topic of “How will you stay involved with the cattle industry through college and in the future, and how will programs like Best of the Buckeye help you achieve this?” Application deadline is June 15, 2015, and applications are available online at or by contacting the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association at 614-873-6736 or Scholarships will be presented at the 2015 Ohio State Fair.… Continue reading

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Solutions and challenges identified for water quality at Toledo event

Collaboration and continual improvement are the keys to balancing clean water and food production, according to panelists who participated in Food Dialogues:Toledo. The biggest challenge is inadequate funding to improve knowledge, management and infrastructure.

The entire conference is available for viewing at

Experts from city government, agriculture, business, environment and science discussed multiple facets of the issue and answered audience questions during the live, online interactive event, which was hosted by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohio Corn Marketing Program, Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program and the Ohio Soybean Council.

Food Dialogues:Toledo took place May 28 in the city where last August nearly 500,000 residents experienced a several-day water ban due to toxic algae entering the city’s Lake Erie water intake. Agriculture has been identified as a major source of the nutrient runoff that feeds the algae.

Event moderator and broadcast journalist Gail Hogan clearly framed the issue noting that society can’t face “a choice between food and water.… Continue reading

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RFS rules released by EPA

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the 2015 EPA Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rules that will determine the volume of Ohio biofuels blended into the nation’s fuel supply. The revised RFS reduced volume targets to levels below those previously mandated by federal law — an 11.27 billion gallon shortfall over the three years for total biofuels. The corn ethanol obligation was cut 3.75 billion gallons from 2014 to 2016. The biomass-based diesel volumes were set at the following levels:

  • 2014 — 1.63 billion gallons of Biomass-based Diesel, 2.68 billion gallons of Advanced Biofuels
  • 2015 — 1.7 billion gallons of Biomass-based Diesel, 2.9 billion gallons of Advanced Biofuels
  • 2016 — 1.8 billion gallons of Biomass-based Diesel, 3.4 billion gallons of Advanced Biofuels
  • 2017 — 1.9 billion gallons of Biomass-based Diesel


“The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has been incredibly successful, achieving every goal that it was designed to accomplish,” said Chad Kemp, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association president.… Continue reading

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Beef industry traveling to a different drummer this year

The beef industry stands alone in 2015 in its continued reduction in supplies available to consumers. The year of 2014 was a special year for the animal production industries with record high farm level prices for cattle, hogs, broilers, turkeys, milk and eggs. For 2015, a surprisingly fast expansion of poultry, pork and milk production will cause lower prices for those commodities. Beef stands alone in the continuation toward lower production, but prices remain uncertain.

In the first four months of this year, beef production was down by 5%, with slaughter numbers down 7% but market weights up 2%. The reduction is the result of a beef cow herd that had been in decline from 2006, reaching its low point in 2014. Expansion of the beef cow herd began in the last-half of 2014 and current indications are that the expansion continues.

Producers can increase cow numbers both by retaining heifers and by keeping older cows for another cycle when they normally would have gone to market.… Continue reading

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Use caution when making replanting decisions

With the majority of soybeans now planted in Ohio and some plants beginning to emerge, growers statewide should evaluate soybean stands to determine if their crops are doing well or if they may need to consider replanting.

With high costs associated with replanting, most growers should carefully weigh all options before deciding to replant, said a field crops expert in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

While most soybean growers across Ohio report good stands, a few growers are seeing damping-off and uneven emergence, said Laura Lindsey, a soybean and small grains specialist with Ohio State University Extension.

“If soybean emergence is uneven, growers should determine the cause before making decisions on whether they need to replant,” Lindsey said. “Most reports I’ve heard from growers are that things are looking good right now, with a few reports from some growers of uneven soybean emergence because of dry soil.… Continue reading

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Storing hay with a plan

The weather has been reasonably cooperative to allow timely harvest of forages so far this season. Reports of yields to this point have been mixed with several individuals that I have spoken with indicating that tonnage may be down slightly from last year due to freezing temperatures late in April and below average rainfall in May. An earlier harvest season in 2015 may have also impacted yields but should also allow for improved quality.

Much has changed over the years as to how we bale and store hay on the farm. I can recall (not necessarily fond memories) of nearly all of our hay being made in small, rectangular bales that were stored under roof. The harvest process has evolved over the years to the present where most hay today is harvested as large round or rectangular bales that can be stored in a variety of systems.

While it is never too soon to implement effective storage techniques, now is also the time to adjust your storage plans based on how the hay will be fed next winter.… Continue reading

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EPA moves forward with WOTUS

The agricultural community remains concerned as the Environmental Protection Agency moves forward with the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) Final Rule.

American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman expressed particular concern to what seemed to be a lack of attention to agricultural comments on the rule.

“The process used to produce this rule was flawed. The EPA’s proposal transgressed clear legal boundaries set for it by Congress and the Courts and dealt more with regulating land use than protecting our nation’s valuable water resources. EPA’s decision to mount an aggressive advocacy campaign during the comment period has tainted what should have been an open and thoughtful deliberative process. While we know that farmers and ranchers were dedicated to calling for substantial changes to the rule, we have serious concerns about whether their comments were given full consideration,” Stallman said. “We expect to complete our review in the next few days. We are looking in particular at how the rule treats so-called ephemeral streams, ditches, small ponds and isolated wetlands.… Continue reading

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Public Notice of election by the Ohio Pork Council and National Pork Board

The election of pork producers and delegate candidates for the 2016 National Pork Producers (Pork Act) Delegate Body will take place at 2:00p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, in conjunction with an Ohio Pork Council Board of Directors meeting, at the American Dairy Association Mideast offices, 5950 Sharon Woods Blvd., Columbus, OH 43229. All Ohio pork producers are invited to attend.

Any producer, at least 18 years of age, who is a resident of the state and has paid all assessments due may be considered as a delegate candidate and/or participate in the election. All eligible producers are encouraged to bring with them a sales receipt verifying that hogs were sold in their name and the checkoff deducted.

For more information, contact the Ohio Pork Council at 5930 Sharon Woods Boulevard, Ste. 101, Columbus, OH 43229 or 614-882-5887.
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USDA moves forward with new rootworm technology

The National Corn Growers Association is encouraged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s positive initial review, released last week, of Monsanto 87411, a product with RNAi technology to combat corn rootworm pressure. The initial reports, which indicated the product does not pose either a plant pest or environmental risk, are a first step toward getting this critical technology to market in a quick and safe fashion.

“We applaud the USDA for moving this new mode of action closer to availability to farmers,” said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair John Linder, a farmer from Ohio. “As insect pressures continue to grow, a new tool such as this will enable us to better combat pests while growing a healthy, abundant corn crop.”

USDA has suggested deregulation of this product based upon the positive results of this draft environmental assessment and plant pest risk assessment, thus helping ensure safety while also moving forward in an expeditious manner.… Continue reading

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Vinoklet Winery takes Best of Show in Ohio Wine Competition

In a blind tasting featuring more than 240 Ohio wines, eight local wines took top honors at the 2015 Ohio Wine Competition, May 18-19 at the Kent State University Ashtabula Campus.

Two panels with four judges evaluated the wines. The Overall Best of Show was awarded to Vinoklet Winery for its 2013 “Brother Joe” Cabernet Sauvignon/Chambourcin Blend.

The seven Best of Class winners were:

Best of Class: White Wine
Ferrante Winery, 2014 American Riesling

Best of Class: Red Wine (Tie)
Valley Vineyards, 2013 Syrah
Ferrante Winery, 2013 Cabernet Franc Signature Series

Best of Class: Blush/Rose
Matus Winery, Pink Catawba

Best of Class: Fruit Wine
Brandeberry Winery, “Black Dog” Cayuga and Red Raspberry Blend

Best of Class: Dessert Wine
Gervasi Vineyard, “Sognata” Vidal Blanc Ice Wine

Best of Class: Sparkling
The Winery at Versailles, “Stampede” Concord and Niagara Blend

The Ohio Grape Industries Committee is housed at the Ohio Department of Agriculture and provides wineries a means to market their top-quality wines against well-known California and European wines.… Continue reading

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Breeding soundness exam key to expanding herd

Testing bulls for reproductive health is even more important now for beef cattle producers because feeder calves are expected to generate record prices this fall, a Purdue University veterinary scientist said.

“Beef producers need to do everything that they can to produce a calf from every cow,” said W. Mark Hilton, clinical professor of beef production medicine. “If all of your bulls have passed their breeding soundness exam, you can turn them out with confidence.”

A breeding soundness exam is done by a veterinarian and involves a complete assessment of the animal’s reproductive health, including evaluation of the semen for sperm cell morphology. Bulls should be tested 30-60 days before breeding, time enough to find a replacement if necessary, Hilton said.

About 10% of all bulls tested prove to be infertile, he said.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the cost of a breeding soundness exam is about $75 per bull.… Continue reading

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Electronic sow feeding delivers improved nutrition

A computerized feeding system known as Electronic Sow Feeding, or ESF, has been employed at Cooper Farms to improve nutrition for sows and enhance their overall care. Although this feed delivery technology is not a new concept, recent enhancements have expanded its capabilities, resulting in increased adoption in Ohio and other key pork-producing states.

Cooper Farms installed ESF in 2013 at its operation in Hicksville, which houses 2,600 sows.

“With ESF, our animals get individual nutrition with a more precise measurement of feed compared to stall feeding,” said Kevin Stuckey, sow division manager at Cooper Farms. “The sows move very well in and out of their pens to the ESF stations and seem to be very comfortable.”

Stuckey also likes the convenience of being able to monitor each ESF station from a desktop computer or hand-held mobile device.

“It’s a handy tool that enables us to track feeding data at any time to ensure all animals are receiving the proper nutrition,” he said.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – May 26th, 2015

Cloudy, cool conditions allowed planting progression in Ohio, according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Regional Office. There were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending May 24th. Prevailing humidity, cloud cover and cool temperatures yielded little opportunity for curing of dry hay, and most fields that were cut went to silage or baleage.  Planting of processing tomatoes and peppers was underway along with other specialty crops. Increased humidity is bringing concern for disease development in wheat. Scattered showers occurred over the past week, however many areas haven’t had much rainfall in recent weeks, contributing to a growing seasonal deficit.

View the full report hereContinue reading

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Watch fields for black cutworms

Black Cutworm moths are starting to arrive in the Corn Belt with the recent weather fronts moving from southwest and we need to be ready with the rescue treatments, if necessary. We need to learn about their habits and what to look for while scouting. Some of the important points are as follows:

• Black cutworms can’t survive the winters in the Midwest. They fly south before the winter arrives.

• Every spring, moths come back with spring storms and lay eggs on grasses and weeds like mustards, chickweed or even winter wheat.

• From egg hatching to becoming adults it takes 40-50 days depending on temperatures. Even though cooler temperatures earlier may have killed some of the moths, warmer temperatures that followed increased the speed up their development and more will come. Some cutting activity has already been observed in Southern Illinois.

• Corn and soybeans are not their favorite hosts.… Continue reading

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Dietary Guidelines policy summit

Last week food and nutrition experts, along with national leaders in food and nutrition policy, public health, academia, industry and government, gathered in Washington, D.C. to discuss how the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans can be implemented to help facilitate greater consumer understanding and adoption.

“Dietary guidance is the main entrée on our national menu because good food is good health, but there remains a perplexing gap between well-intentioned policy and real consumer behavior,” said Ken Lee, director of The Ohio State Food Innovation Center. “We are now at the critically correct moment in time, between the release of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s (DGAC) scientific report and yet-to-be determined federal food policies.  We gathered the nation’s best experts and engaged stakeholders to brainstorm how these guidelines can be actionable, practical and achievable.  If we succeed with real improvement in consumer food habits, we will see real advancement in national health.”… Continue reading

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Don’t be “cowed” by false claims about beef

Husband and wife environmentalists Denis Hayes and Gail Boyer Hayes take to bashing beef and dairy in their new book “Cowed.” Published this year, it attacks animal agriculture on multiple fronts — health and nutrition, food safety and cattle production.

The book also makes one of the most outlandish predictions that you’ve ever heard. According to the authors, “If the human population grows another 50%, and everyone starts to eat as much beef as Americans, we will wipe out much of the rest of the animal world.”

Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group applauds this statement on the back cover by saying that the authors have mapped the destructive co-migration of earth’s two great conquering herds, humans and cows. You can believe this when you see cows grazing in New York’s Central Park or on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Nebraska has a lot of cows, 1.88 million, according to the latest statistics, but it also was home this spring to a half million sandhill cranes along the Platte River.… Continue reading

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