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MILC payments announced

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently announced that beginning Feb. 5, USDA will issue payments to dairy farmers enrolled in the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program for the September 2012 marketings. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the authorization of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill) through 2013 for many programs administered by FSA, including MILC. The 2008 Farm Bill extension provides for a continuation of the MILC program through Sept. 30, 2013.

MILC payments are triggered when the Boston Class I milk price falls below $16.94 per hundredweight, after adjustment for the cost of dairy feed rations. MILC payments are calculated each month using the latest milk price and feed cost.

All dairy producers’ MILC contracts are automatically extended to Sept. 30, 2013. Eligible producers therefore do not need to re-enroll in MILC. MILC operations with approved contracts will continue to receive monthly payments, if available.… Continue reading

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Obama pushing for immigration reform

President Obama is pushing for Congress to pass an overhaul of immigration law in the first half of 2013. Obama will likely put forth his own legislation is Congress cannot put something together within that timeframe.

There is interest in this issue within Congress as well, and the American Farm Bureau is hoping for some action on this issue as well, according to AFBF president Bob Stallman.

“The time is long overdue for our nation to have a comprehensive agricultural labor plan that works for all sectors of agriculture and across all regions of our nation. The American Farm Bureau Federation is encouraged by the immigration reform principles put forth by a bipartisan group of eight Senators,” Stallman said. “We are especially pleased the senators recognized that agricultural labor provisions must be part of any substantive effort to reform immigration policy. We are hopeful that this will provide the needed framework to move forward during the 113th Congress with a legislative solution for America’s agricultural labor shortage.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Council scholarships available

The Ohio Ag Council is offering up to six $1,000 scholarships to assist students pursuing agricultural-related studies and to help promote agriculture and agri-business as a growing field of career opportunities.

Scholarships are selected based on academic record, leadership qualities, community involvement and responses to application essay questions. Applicants will be reviewed and selected by a committee of individuals who are active members of the Ohio Agricultural Council.

The application deadline for the 2013-2014 school year is February 15, 2013.… Continue reading

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Farmers Market Conference

Ohio State University South Centers will host a statewide Farmers Market Conference March 11-12 to promote new ideas and best practices to Ohio’s farmers market vendors and managers.

The conference will provide updates on key food safety regulations, and tips for increasing customer bases and preparing for disasters. It will be held at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, on Ohio State’s main campus in Columbus.

OSU South Centers is part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“As with programs we have offered in the past, one of the greatest benefits is networking with others who are passionate about farmers markets and local foods,” said Christie Welch, farmers market specialist at OSU South Centers at Piketon. “The conference is packed with practical information to assist Ohio producers and market managers to better their businesses.”

The theme for the conference, now in its fourth year, is “Keeping it Fresh: Celebrating Ohio’s Diverse Markets.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Agricultural Council seeking nominations for Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame

The Ohio Agricultural Council is seeking nominations for the 2013 Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Induction into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame is Ohio’s highest recognition of an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the agricultural industry.  Each year up to four prominent agricultural leaders are honored and inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame for their superior service, dedication, leadership and contributions to agriculture.

Persons wishing to nominate an individual who he or she believes is deserving of consideration for this honor may secure a nomination form by writing to the Ohio Agricultural Council, 5950 Sharon Woods Blvd., Columbus, Ohio 43229, by calling 614-794-8970 or emailing

Nominations must be submitted by March 29, 2013 in order to be eligible for consideration in 2013.

The Ohio Agricultural Council includes organizations, companies and individuals who have an interest in the well-being and promotion of the agricultural industry in Ohio.… Continue reading

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Brown and Gibbs chosen for the Wheat Advocate Award

The National Association of Wheat Growers announced their choices for the 2012 Wheat Advocate Award, an award given annually to Members of Congress who have demonstrated support for the wheat industry above and beyond the norm. Two of the recipients of the 2012 award are U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs.

As chair of the Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth, and Energy Innovation, Senator Brown fought for a sensible five-year farm package. He has continued his work to improve upon programs like ACRE and was a key supporter of developing a safety-net for farms during uncertain times like the drought that plagued the nation during 2012. He also openly challenged his colleagues to help bring the farm bill to the floor for a vote.

Congressman Gibbs was vocal in his support of a balanced five-year farm bill and continued to push for a compromise and final passage.… Continue reading

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Farm Tax Webinar

Due to the many changes made by the fiscal cliff legislation, OSU Extension will be hosting a Farm Tax Webinar on Wednesday, February 6 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.  Farmers are encouraged to connect via the internet at their home to learn the latest on farm taxes and the impacts of the fiscal cliff legislation.

The following topics will be discussed during this two hour webinar:  Farm Bill Extension-what does it mean?; Acre & SURE Program Updates; New Income Tax Brackets (Income & Capital Rates); Section 179 Extension & Increase; Special Depreciation Increase; Payroll Tax Increase; Filing Status delay due to Form 4562; Crop Insurance and Disaster Payments; Weather Related Sales of Livestock; New Federal Income Tax Limitations; Elimination of Ohio Estate Tax; CAUV Tax Increase Explanation in Counties Across Ohio; Oil & Gas Lease & Royalty Income; Hunting Lease Income; Conservation Easement Deduction; and Taxation of Ag Commodities.

This program is being offered by the OSU Income Tax School Program of OSU Extension.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association celebrates an outstanding year

More than 250 producers and leaders in the beef industry assembled at the Columbus Marriott Northwest in Dublin, Ohio on Jan. 26, 2013 for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) annual meeting and awards banquet. The event featured policy development sessions, OCA’s annual meeting and the OCA’s award banquet. Annual meeting and banquet sponsors who contributed to the success of the event include COBA/Select Sires, CompManagement, Inc., Farm Credit Mid-America, United Producers, Inc., Stark County Cattlemen’s Association and Steve R. Rauch.

During the annual meeting, Ohio cattlemen welcomed Kent Bacus, Associate Director of Legislative Affairs in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Washington, DC office, who gave an update on NCBA activities and discussed many of the issues NCBA is working on for the beef industry. Bacus shared with Ohio’s cattlemen the status of trade agreements with Japan, the outlook on Congress following the election and the current tax situation.

Bruce McPheron, Dean and Vice President for Agricultural Administration in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, discussed the importance of new livestock facilities to student success and the university.… Continue reading

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Drought is still a problem in some areas

While the drought no longer dominates headlines, it remains a serious concern for farmers across the U.S. Plains and western Midwest. Dry weather conditions persist and, with only light showers and snowfall on the immediate horizon for many, farmers may encounter fields suffering from depleted subsoil moisture when planting begins across the central United States in about 10 weeks.

“Once temperatures drop, public attention shifts away from the drought conditions that persist,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson. “News stories have begun speaking of the drought of 2012 as if it were in the past. But, for many farmers, the drought has not ended and there is no relief in sight. While facing the possibility of another dry year, farmers must focus on advocating for the risk management tools that they need by pushing their legislators to pass a new five-year farm bill.”

Forecasts from a variety of sources indicate that the drought may impact many farmers for the foreseeable future.… Continue reading

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American Sheep Industry Environmental Stewardship Award presented to Steffee Farms

At the 2013 American Sheep Industry Convention held in San Antonio, TX, Steffee Farms from Muskingum County was presented with the ASI Environmental Stewardship Award.

Steffee Farms has been an innovator in the area of environmental stewardship. The farm has been awarded the Muskingum County Resources Conservation award and the Steffee’s have been recognized for their work by the Ohio Livestock Coalition and the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association. They have been able to successfully integrate many practices on their farm to help protect the soil, water, and air.

In addition, Charles Parker was presented with the ASI Camptender Award for his extensive work with the U.S. Sheep Industry. Parker has worked as an educator, scientist, industry leader, promoter, and visionary for the past 50 years. Parker focused his research at the Ohio Ag Research Station in intensive management systems and genetic selection for reproductive growth efficiencies, his work then continued as the director of research at the U.S.… Continue reading

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The future of preserving Ohio farmland

By Matt Reese

The recent 13th annual Ohio Farmland Preservation Summit marked a decade of partnership between the state and local partners, which has resulted in the permanent preservation of 50,000 acres of productive farmland in 55 counties around the state.

Denise Franz King, executive director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Office of Farmland Preservation, delivered the keynote address at the event that covered a significant change in the future of preserving farmland in Ohio. King explained a new farmland preservation program where the Ohio Department of Agriculture will certify land trusts, local governments and soil and water conservation districts to partner with the Department to manage local programs to purchase agricultural easements from willing landowners with the state’s Clean Ohio bond funding. The program is expected to begin this spring.

“The program will be transitioning to a more local program, with local groups being certified to evaluate proposals and select recipients.… Continue reading

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USMEF praises expanded access for beef in Japan

A new agreement that will expand access for U.S. beef to Japan is being hailed by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) as a positive step for the American beef industry as well as the Japanese trade and consumers.

The change, which takes effect Feb. 1, will allow the United States to export beef from animals under 30 months of age to Japan with the exception of ground beef, which will be phased in after a surveillance period to ensure that the new export protocol is proceeding smoothly. In the aftermath of the discovery of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in the U.S. in December 2003, only beef from animals 20 months of age or younger has been eligible for export to Japan.

“This is an extremely positive development that successfully addresses one of the longest standing issues between our two governments,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “The U.S. beef industry – from farmers and ranchers to exporters – will benefit from increased exports to this premium market.… Continue reading

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79th Ohio Farmers Union convention

After a number of challenges in recent years, the Ohio Farmers Union is back on track. At the 79thAnnual lOFU Convention, attendees got an update on the revitalization of the organization and in-depth overview of numerous key topics affecting agriculture in Ohio.

The meeting featured an Ohio legislative update for delegates from Joe Logan, OFU Executive Committee member and Ohio Environmental Council Director of Agricultural Programs and Ron Sylvester, OFU External Relations Director. OFU member also got an Ohio Grain Indemnity Fund Update from Matt Beal, Chief, Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Plant Industry and updates on Oil and gas leasing.

Chandler Goule, V.P. of Government Relations, National Farmers Union, talked about the challenges of Washington politics for the farm bill and provided a breakdown of what 2013 may hold for agriculture at the federal level. Goule also outlined the political importance of the SNAP and nutrition programs in the farm bill.… Continue reading

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Ohio FFA Video contest entries

We are excited to share the entries we received in our FFA video contest. Chapters were challenged to create a video with the theme Rocking Out With FFA and changing the the lyrics of a song to promote agriculture and FFA in general as well as what makes their chapter special.

The winning chapter will receive custom-designed t-shirts, a pizza party and the Ohio Ag Net midday broadcast from their school.

We will be announcing the winner later this week, but check out the entries we received:

 The Logan Elm FFA: FFA

South Central FFA Chapter: I Feel Like a Farmer

The Teays Valley FFA Chapter: Ag Yeah

Genoa FFA Chapter: Called All the Time

Genoa FFA Chapter: I Love This Farm

The Felicity FFA Chapter: Felicity Style

Genoa FFA: I Can Be Your Farmer

Ripley Union Lewis Huntington High Schools FFA: Something About Ag

Oak Harbor High School/Penta Career Center: Ag Shop

South Central FFA: Farmer Boy Swag

 … Continue reading

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Agreement further opens Japan’s market to U.S. beef

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the United States and Japan have agreed on new terms and conditions which pave the way for expanded exports of U.S. beef and beef products to Japan. Under these new terms, which enter into effect on Feb. 1, 2013, Japan will now permit the import of beef from cattle less than 30 months of age, compared to the previous limit of 20 months, among other steps.

It is estimated that these important changes will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in exports of U.S. beef to Japan in the coming years. This agreement also goes a long way toward normalizing trade with Japan by addressing long-standing restrictions that Japan introduced in response to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

“This is great news for American ranchers and beef companies, who can now — as a result of this agreement — increase their exports of U.S.… Continue reading

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Fertilizer, soil pH and Cation Exchange Capacity

By Dave Nanda, 
Director of Genetics and Technology 
for Seed Consultants, Inc.

Soil pH, and Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) — how are they related and do they affect fertilizer inputs? Some of the facts below should clarify their relationship.

• Soils are made up of sand, silt, clay and organic matter. The CEC of a soil tells us about the texture of the soil. Soils with higher clay and organic matter content have higher CEC values. The CEC value of the soil in a field is fairly constant but can be changed over time with the addition of organic matter, through the use of cover crops and manure, for example.

• Positively charged particles are called cations and negatively charged particles are called anions. The CEC is the measure of how many negatively charged sites are available in the soil.

• According to David Mengel of Purdue University, most common soil cations are calcium, magnesium, potassium, ammonium, hydrogen and sodium.… Continue reading

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Monitoring signs of a changing climate

By Matt Reese

Heat waves, droughts, windstorms and other weather extremes seem to be increasingly common. The weather seems to be changing, but it can often be hard to quantify and actually compare those changes. And, after the drought this year, many are wondering about the future of weather and rainfall trends.

“It is hard to look at a single year and make decisions. We have to look at trends,” said Sam Custer, with Ohio State University Extension in Darke County. “Over the past 100 years, we are trending to a warmer environment with more weather extremes. Research from Ohio State indicates that we will probably average close to what we have seen in terms of average rainfall, but we will see more extremes.”

While the change is a concern for a number of reasons, agriculture in Ohio could actually benefit significantly with the changes.

“In Ohio, we will probably not be hit by extremes like the western Corn Belt,” Custer said.… Continue reading

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Farm bill prioritized in the Senate

The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has introduced in the 113th Congress the same version of the farm bill that was passed by the Senate last session.

“We are also encouraged to hear that Sen. Reid is making the farm bill one of several privileged, top priority legislative actions this year. This represents real hope for farmers and ranchers that the Senate, like last session, will aggressively move forward on a long-term farm bill to give farmers the risk management certainty we need,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “It will ultimately take real bipartisan cooperation to get the farm bill to the finish line, and we are confident the House Agriculture Committee will craft a compatible bill. We are hopeful that Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and the committee’s new ranking member, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.),… Continue reading

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