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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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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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DDGs can help dodge rising feed costs

If the drought forces producers to feed a larger portion of distillers dried grains with solubles, cattle can maintain gains and improve meat quality if the animals are weaned early, a Purdue University scientist has shown.

The finding, reported at the American Society of Animal Science Midwest Meetings in Des Moines, Iowa, could allow some producers to save on rising feed costs in the face of this year’s drought. Distillers dried grains with solubles, or DDGS, are the leftovers from corn ethanol production. DDGS generally cost about 10% less than corn feed.

“You can essentially use a cheaper feed for a portion of the time and maintain high rates of gain, while improving the quality of the meat,” said Jon Schoonmaker, an assistant professor of animal sciences. “It decreases fat thickness, but doesn’t decrease marbling score.”

Schoonmaker tested cattle weaned at 100 days instead of a more traditional 200 days. Those early weaned cattle were fed diets with no DDGS or one with DDGS content of 30% or 60% for 99 days, after which they were fed a standard diet with no DDGS.… Continue reading

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Ohio's Crop Progress – August 6th, 2012

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS ENDING SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

The average temperature for the State was 76.8 degrees, 4.6 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, August 5, 2012.  Precipitation averaged 0.62 inches, 0.22 inches below normal.  There were 178 modified growing degree days, 26 days above normal.  Reporters rated 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, August 3, 2012.  Topsoil moisture was rated 45 percent very short, 41 percent short, 14 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.

 FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK

Persistently high temperatures and low precipitation continue to stress crops and livestock.  Even in corn fields that appear normal, kernel count is low.  Spider mites have been reported in soybean fields, and as a result, operators began spraying fields with insecticide.  Herbicide application has also been necessary, as weed pressure is high.  Hay conditions are extremely poor.  Livestock producers have already begun feeding with their existing hay inventories. … Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – August 6th, 2012

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS ENDING SUNDAY AUGUST 5, 2012

The average temperature for the State was 76.8 degrees, 4.6 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, August 5, 2012.  Precipitation averaged 0.62 inches, 0.22 inches below normal.  There were 178 modified growing degree days, 26 days above normal.  Reporters rated 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, August 3, 2012.  Topsoil moisture was rated 45 percent very short, 41 percent short, 14 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.

 FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK

Persistently high temperatures and low precipitation continue to stress crops and livestock.  Even in corn fields that appear normal, kernel count is low.  Spider mites have been reported in soybean fields, and as a result, operators began spraying fields with insecticide.  Herbicide application has also been necessary, as weed pressure is high.  Hay conditions are extremely poor.  Livestock producers have already begun feeding with their existing hay inventories. … Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Health will continue monitoring illnesses at fairs

The Ohio Departments of Agriculture (ODA) and Health (ODH), along with local health officials and representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), continue to monitor influenza-like illness in animals and humans throughout the county fair season in Ohio, and reminded Ohioans to exercise common sense health practices while around animals.

State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey has veterinarians monitoring hogs weighing-in for exhibition at the Ohio State Fair and taking the temperatures of any that look ill. ODA is also contacting county fair boards and 4-H clubs with information that can be displayed in livestock barns while urging the installation of additional hand sanitizers.

ODH continues to partner with local health departments and health care providers across the state on any reports of human illness. Individuals who have reported close contact with swine and are exhibiting flu-like systems will undergo testing. Samples will be sent to the ODH laboratory for preliminary testing and then to CDC for confirmation.… Continue reading

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Hot, dry weather generating concern about seed supply

By Matt Reese

As farmers across the many parts of the Corn Belt are wondering about the results of their harvest this year, there are also questions about the availability of seed for 2013 after the tough growing season.

“As we look upon the rest of the year we do anticipate that we will have a good supply of high quality seed,” said Jerry Harrington, with Pioneer. “We grow seed from the eastern part to the western part of the Corn Belt. There is a broad array of growing conditions there. Some are good and some are really challenging conditions. We also irrigate about two-thirds of our seed supply. And, at the end of the season, we’ll make an evaluation about whether we need to grow an additional crop in South America, which we have done in years past. That is what we did in 1988. We hope to have it under control, but if you’re a grower in Ohio, I would get in contact with your seed supplier to get your order in early and get it on the books.”… Continue reading

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How will the drought affect the prices of fruits and vegetables?

Corn and soybean supplies and prices are usually the crops most affected by drought because they are the least irrigated. As discussed two weeks ago, the price increases from these commodities will likely increase food prices some, but probably not significantly. The livestock sector will be hit hardest by this and there could be increases in prices due to a reduction in supply as farms cull herds because of high feed costs. These potential increases are yet to be determined and will not be realized for a while.

Typically, fruit and vegetable crops are not as affected by droughts because, in most cases, these crops are irrigated. An exception, though, could be Indiana this year, that is experiencing some of the most severe drought conditions in the country. In general, though, the prices of fruits and vegetables will probably not be affected much unless there is a significant reduction in supply.… Continue reading

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Farm expenditures hit record high

Farm production expenditures reached a record-high $318.7 billion in 2011, a 10.2% increase over 2010, according to the Farm Production Expenditures 2011 summary released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Average production expenditures per farm were $146,653 in 2011, an increase of 11.3% over the previous year. The largest expenditure category was feed, on which farmers spent an average of $25,129 in 2011, followed by farm services ($17,075); livestock, poultry and related expenses ($13,163) and farm labor ($12,334). Together, these four categories accounted for nearly half of all production expenditures on U.S. farms in 2011.

Nearly a third of all 2011 farm production expenditures occurred in the Midwest region, where farmers reported spending a total of $98.7 billion. Expenditures in the other regions were as follows:  $73.8 billion in the Plains region, $69.8 billion in the West region, $39.1 billion in the Atlantic region, and $38.2 billion in the South region.… Continue reading

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