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CTC Conference coming soon

The Conservation Tillage & Technology Conference (CTC) will soon be here. This year it will be held Tuesday, March 3 and Wednesday, March 4 at Ohio Northern University in Ada. Each year the CTC gives farmers and crop consultants an opportunity to not only catch up on the latest conservation tillage information, but also serves as a valuable source of up-to-date Cover Crop and Soil Health programming in addition to the traditional Corn University and Soybean School programs which bring participants to this annual conference looking for ways to increase crop production efficiencies while stretching that bottom line.

Also, as a feature this year, the CTC will be having concurrent sessions on Precision Seeding and Placement along with Big Data usage from farm fields to farm machinery to effective use in making management decisions. Besides these exciting new topics, Certified Crop Advisors and farmers alike won’t want to miss out on Advanced Scouting sessions.… Continue reading

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OEFFA announces 2015 awards

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has named the 2015 recipients for the Stewardship Award and Service Award.

Bill Dix and Stacy Hall of The Brick Dairy Farm received the Stewardship Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community, and John Sowder received the Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service to OEFFA.

The announcements were made on Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15 as part of OEFFA’s 36th annual conference, Sustainable Agriculture: Renewing Ohio’s Heart and Soil.

In 1992, Bill Dix and Stacy Hall started Big Rumen Farm, a 300-acre pasture-based dairy farm in Athens County with a small herd of Jersey heifers and a milking parlor. In the years that followed, they joined a regional network of dairy farmers known as “Prograsstinators,” which in conjunction with Cornell University, helps producers compare financial information to improve the management and profitability of grass-based dairy operations.

Bill and Stacy also purchased a second farm outside of Albany, called The Brick Dairy Farm, named for its red, clay soil which had been degraded.… Continue reading

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House passes tax reform package

The House of Representatives passed legislation, by a vote of 272-142, to permanently extend the ability of family farmers and small businesses to write off capital purchases immediately, instead of over time.

A permanent extension of Section 179 is a legislative priorities for 2015 of many agricultural organizations. The tax provision is widely used by farmers to buy tractors, farm implements, and other equipment. Last December, President Obama signed legislation extending the Section 179 tax credit, along with more than 50 other expired tax provisions, but for 2014 only. That action meant farmers could benefit from the expensing allowance only on the tax forms they are filling out for 2014.

“Dairy farming requires significant investments in machinery and equipment,” said Jim Mulhern, National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO. “By allowing producers to immediately write off these purchases, Section 179 gives producers an incentive to invest in their businesses while it reduced their record-keeping burden.… Continue reading

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Leasing, conditional sales agreements and the future of 179

Generally, a taxpayer that buys business or income-producing property (not held for sale) with a useful life of more than one year cannot deduct its full cost as an expense for that year. However, the Internal Revenue Code (Code) allows an annual deduction of a portion of the cost of the property. This deduction may be a deduction for depreciation, amortization or depletion.

For most tangible property, a depreciation deduction is provided under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS). IRS form 4562 is used to claim the deduction for depreciation.


Section 197 expense deduction and accelerated first year depreciation

There are two exceptions to the aforementioned rule. The first exception is the section 179 expense deduction and the other exception is the Accelerated First Year Depreciation (AFYD). Many taxpayers are eligible to deduct (in lieu of depreciation) the cost of most tangible personal property used in the active conduct of a trade or business pursuant to section 179 of the Code.… Continue reading

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Annual Ohio Dorset Sale March 21

Plans for the 39th Annual Ohio Dorset Sale have been set for March 20 and 21 at the Preble County Fairgrounds in Eaton, Ohio.  Billed as “the first, the biggest, the best” Dorset sale, it will feature both Horned and Polled Dorsets.

Established in 1977, the Ohio Dorset Sale has been a barometer used to gauge how the registered sheep industry is doing in the New Year.  Entered in the sale are 100 head of Polled Dorsets and 42 head of Horned Dorsets.

“The nation’s finest Dorset genetics from nine different states have been consigned to this year’s sale,” said Greg Deakin, sale manager. “The sale’s history is rich, dating back to 1977.  More breed National Champion Rams and Ewes have sold through the Ohio Dorset Sale than any other sale.”

Both Horned and Polled Dorset rams and ewes will be offered consisting of classes for yearling, fall and winter lambs. … Continue reading

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Bill introduced to end Cuba trade embargo

The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed legislation introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and backed by a bipartisan group of senators including Sens. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that would end the United States’ trade embargo with Cuba.

“Soybean farmers are, perhaps more than our counterparts in any other commodity, acutely aware of the benefits of growing our international trade relationships. We are the nation’s leader in agricultural trade not because of one large relationship with a major purchaser, but because of our work in emerging economies like Cuba’s, which is why we’re so excited to support—as we long have—an end to the embargo. We applaud Sen. Klobuchar and all the bill’s co-sponsors for their bold approach in introducing this bill, and we fully encourage its passage,” said Wade Cowan, ASA president. “The Cuban marketplace is valuable for our farmers because of its increasing demand not only for soybeans and vegetable oil, but also for the livestock and meat products that make up the consumer of our soybean meal.… Continue reading

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Hemlock pest discovered in Jackson County

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced the discovery of a hemlock-killing pest in Jackson County in southern Ohio. The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is a small, aphid-like insect native to Asia that threatens the health and sustainability of eastern hemlock and Carolina hemlock in the eastern United States.

HWA was first reported in the eastern United States in 1951 near Richmond, Virginia. Today, it is established in portions of 19 states from Maine to Georgia, where infestations cover about half of the range of eastern hemlock. Areas of the southern Appalachian region and New England have experienced significant mortality of eastern hemlock due to this devastating insect.

The infestation was recently detected by ODNR officials at Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve in Jackson County. Officials have been conducting surveys in and around the infested area to determine the extent of the infestation.… Continue reading

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Farm transition workshop

OSU Extension, Wayne County has scheduled a two part farm transition and succession workshop for Wednesday March11 and Wednesday March 18.

Both days will be held at Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave on the OARDC campus in Wooster. Each day will start at 10:00 am and conclude around 3:00 pm.

The workshop is structured to help farm families develop a transition plan for the future, discover ways to increase family communication, and learn necessary strategies to successfully transfer management skills and the farm’s business assets from one generation to the next. This workshop will challenge farm families to actively plan for the future of the farm business. Participants will be expected to do some work and hold some necessary family conversations between the two sessions to help identify planning areas that will need work to accomplish a successful farm business transition.

The workshop will be led by David Marrison, OSU Extension Educator in Ashtabula County.… Continue reading

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2015 on-farm soil fertility projects

The Ohio State Soil Fertility Lab will be starting a number of projects this year that will only be successful with participation from farmer cooperators across the state. We are asking for your help with the projects outlined below.

1) Revising Fertilizer Recommendations in Corn, Soybean, and Wheat

We are in the process of updating the Tri-State Recommendations, looking specifically at N, P and K in corn, soybean and wheat. This is a major undertaking that will require a collective effort from numerous OSU extension personnel, crop consultants and farmer cooperators. We will cast a broad net to collect data from a large number of farms across the state and determine economically-optimum fertilization rates to maximize farmer profitability.

Experiments will involve either applying additional fertilizer or no fertilizer to replicated strip plots. Farmers can choose which nutrient they’d like to work with and will have a large degree of flexibility in the plot layout and applied rates.… Continue reading

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National Wildlife Federation launching campaign to curb farm runoff

The National Wildlife Federation is launching a three-week radio advertising blitz in Toledo, urging Ohio Gov. John Kasich to take action to protect Lake Erie and Ohio’s drinking water by curbing farm runoff.

Listen to the ad here:

The ad campaign, which will run Feb. 11 through Feb. 27, comes as the city marks the six-month anniversary of the drinking water crisis; as the state legislature is holding a hearing in Sylvania, Ohio, on Feb. 12, examining the runoff issue; and as Gov. Kasich prepares to lay out his vision for Ohio in his State of the State address on Feb. 24.

The National Wildlife Federation is echoing calls from leading scientists in the United States and Canada, who are recommending phosphorus reductions of at least 40% into Western Lake Erie to curb harmful algal blooms. That level of reduction is going to take state support for efforts such as planting buffer strips, crop diversification, wetlands restoration, and smart application of fertilizer.… Continue reading

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Beef and pork exports on the rise

Export value for both U.S. beef and pork reached new heights in 2014, posting double-digit gains over the previous year’s totals, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Supporting meat exports is an important part of the National Corn Growers Association’s commitment to building profitable demand for corn, noted NCGA President Chip Bowling, a Maryland corn farmer. Several of NCGA’s affiliated state checkoff programs support the work of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

“Providing quality corn-fed meat to consumers around the world, many of whom are looking for new and healthy sources of protein, helps support corn growers here at home — especially when you consider how livestock feed is our largest corn use,” Bowling said. “We value our ties to livestock and would like to work closely with them as partners in building demand for beef and pork products worldwide.”

According to the federation, beef export value was $7.13 billion — an increase of 16% (and nearly $1 billion) over the previous record set in 2013.… Continue reading

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Conference focuses on the needs of small farms

While the number of farms with less than 50 acres of land has declined slightly in recent years according to 2012 Agriculture Census data, small-farm operators with specialized farms, particularly organic farms, have experienced substantial growth in recent years, the same data shows.

That’s not surprising to Tony Nye, an Ohio State University Extension educator who coordinates OSU Extension’s Small Farm Program. Nye said he continues to see “a huge interest” in small farm production, particularly among farmers who are new to agriculture.

“Whether they are small farmers wanting to make their farms work better or landowners who are new to agriculture and are looking for ways to utilize acreage,” Nye said, “there is a strong interest in learning more about methods for diversifying their opportunities into successful new enterprises and new markets as a way to improve economic growth and development on their farms.”

To that end, Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences will offer “Opening Doors to Success,” a two-day conference and trade show March 13-14 at Wilmington College’s Boyd Cultural Arts Center.… Continue reading

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Match your corn hybrids to your needs and your soils (Even if the seed is in the shed)

Selecting and matching the right hybrids to soils on your farm and for your needs & purpose is one of the most important decisions you will make for meeting your yield goals. Make the hybrid selection on a field-by-field basis and check out the following points:

• No-till, minimum-till or conventional — Hybrids for no-till ground should have very good seedling vigor and strong disease tolerance package.

• What is the CEC and pH value? Hybrids do differ in their response to different soil types. Soil Type Response — Is the soil sandy, loam, clay, with high organic matter content?

• For lighter ground select hybrids with Drought, Heat and Stress Tolerance — Even though we had two years of good growing weather, you never know when Mother Nature wants to turn the heat on again. Hybrids with good drought and stress tolerance are available from Seed Consultants.

• Hybrid Maturity — Generally, full-season hybrids for your area will have the highest yield potential.… Continue reading

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COOL lawsuit dismissed

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson praised the recent dismissal of the U.S. District Court lawsuit on Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), filed by the multinational meatpacking industry and their allies to try and stop the USDA from implementing the very popular labeling law.

“This is a clear and indisputable win for American consumers and producers, and it’s a huge relief to know that common-sense labeling laws, like COOL, can prevail in court despite the deep pockets of the multinationals,” Johnson said.

The papers ending the long and costly lawsuit were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ending American Meat Institute (AMI) et al. v. U.S. Department of Agriculture et al., originally filed in July, 2013.

Then, in early February a Canadian delegation comprised of the Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz and members of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Canadian Pork Council and the Canadian Meat Council made a lobbying trip to Capital Hill on the heels of the release of a new study conducted by Auburn University Professor Robert Taylor showing that allegations that COOL depressed prices of Canadian cattle were false.… Continue reading

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Things to consider when purchasing agricultural replacement tires

Many farmers will be replacing worn or damaged equipment tires this spring before heading to their fields. Selecting the right tires is key to receiving the best value and performance, according to James Crouch, farm segment market manager for Michelin Agricultural Tires.

Crouch identifies these five key factors farmers should take into account when purchasing replacement tires:

  • Select the best tire for your application

Start by looking at the same tire size currently on the machine, and then explore what options are available in that size to meet the specific conditions on your farm. For example, this might entail specific load carrying requirements or environmental issues, such as the need for stubble resistance.

  • Deliver more horsepower to the ground

As farm equipment gets bigger and more powerful, larger tires are needed to efficiently transfer power to the ground. Make sure you have enough rubber, since undersized tires can result in poor traction, reduced fuel economy and an increased tendency for compaction.… Continue reading

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Ag Info Tech recognized as most Valuable Dealership

Ag Info Tech, LLC. in Mount Vernon, Ohio, was named Precision Farming Dealer’s Most Valuable Dealership for 2015.

Precision Farming Dealer Magazine held its Third Annual Precision Awards program to honor the top North American Dealer. More than 60 dealerships across North America and Canada were nominated for the award. The dealerships were nominated by their customers, precision equipment suppliers, peers or their own employees. The applicants were evaluated by an independent panel of judges.

“They offer a complete and diverse precision package to customers,” said the judges when evaluating Ag Info Tech.“ I really liked their data management system, AgriVault, and the fact that they are expanding and offering it to other dealers.”

Ag Info Tech, LLC. is an independent Precision Ag company owned 50% by Tim Norris of Gambier and 50% by Town & Country Co-op in Ashland, Ohio. Ag Info Tech, LLC. serves over 600 growers in the eastern 2/3rds of Ohio and western Pennsylvania.… Continue reading

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2016 Federal Budget proposal addresses food safety, antibiotics and trade

President Obama’s $4 trillion fiscal 2016 budget includes several measures important to the U.S. pork industry. Contained in the funding blueprint are proposals that would impact the hog industry and agriculture, according to the National Pork Producers Council. Provisions included in the budget:

  • Consolidate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service and the food safety components of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to create a single agency within the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Address emerging swine diseases, such as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus and other swine enteric coronaviruses.
  • Devote $20 million to USDA for the national control program for feral swine.
  • Increase by $57 million USDA’s budget for fighting antimicrobial resistance, including: an increase of $17 million for the Agricultural Research Service to study the relationships among microbes and livestock, the environment and human health; a $10 million increase for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to enhance monitoring for antimicrobial-resistant bacteria among livestock; and $2 million more for the National Agricultural Statistics Service to enhance survey work related to antimicrobial resistance.
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Collegiate 4-H group puts ‘Heart’ in 4-H

The heart of 4-H is loyalty. Literally.

In the second line of the 4-H Pledge, members vow to pledge “My Heart to greater loyalty.” And as Valentine’s Day approaches, Danielle Coleman, president of Collegiate 4-H at The Ohio State University, reflected on what that means to her.

“I joined in third grade, when someone from 4-H came to our school and talked about it,” Coleman said. “I thought it sounded like a lot of fun. My mom was in 4-H when she was growing up, and so were a bunch of other family members, so I got involved and was a member for 10 years.”

Coleman, a senior majoring in animal science in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), grew up near Tiffin in rural Seneca County. Although her uncles are in agriculture, her immediate family isn’t.

“I wanted to take a cow project, but my parents wouldn’t let me because we didn’t have a farm.… Continue reading

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Flowers hired as Ohio Farm Bureau organization director

Kristin Flowers has been named Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) organization director for Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca and Wood counties.

Flowers, of Custar, will act as liaison between the county Farm Bureaus and OFBF. She will assist the county groups as they develop and implement programs to strengthen their organizations and enhance their ability to serve members and affect positive change in their communities.

Last year Flowers graduated from Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communication and a minor in animal science. In May she received OSU’s Outstanding Student Leadership Award. Before coming to Ohio Farm Bureau, she was communications manager for Luckey Farms, Inc. and a marketing intern for the Ohio Department of Agriculture. For two years she helped plan the Ag is Cool education program at the Ohio State Fair.

Flowers, an Olentangy Liberty High School graduate, grew up training and showing horses. She helps her husband, Greg, and other family members on a farm where they raise row crops, hay and straw.… Continue reading

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Farm to school lunch conference coming soon

Producers looking for ways to sell fresh, local foods to schools — and school districts looking to start or expand a Farm to School program — can come together during a statewide conference in March that’s designed to help expand opportunities between the groups.

Ohio State University Extension will host the Farm to School conference March 5 as part of an effort to continue to expand the successful program, which works to increase students’ access to healthy foods, increase their knowledge about food, health, nutrition and agriculture, as well as create economic opportunities for growers, said Carol Smathers, an OSU Extension field specialist and the program’s director.

The event is from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Ohio State University’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, in Columbus.

Farm to School is a national program, which in Ohio is led by OSU Extension and is supported by numerous agencies, foundations and industry organizations. … Continue reading

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