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Clean Ohio Fund suffering from budget cuts

By Matt Reese

The popular programs of the Clean Ohio Fund are feeling the state’s budget crunch, as funding was not included in capital appropriations for the current biennium. Clean Ohio programs include the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program that has preserved more than 20,000 acres of Ohio farmland. In addition, Clean Ohio funds go to various brownfield restoration projects in urban areas and a number of recreational trails around the state.

Clean Ohio was initially passed in 2000 as a $400 million bond program. Voters overwhelmingly approved a Clean Ohio renewal in 2008 and it has the strong support of many Ohio organizations, including the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Nature Conservancy of Ohio.

“The money has dried up and projects are going to start going south unless the General Assembly steps up and funds this program as they have been doing.

It has been very popular, but now it is languishing,” said Josh Knights, executive director of the Nature Conservancy in Ohio. … Continue reading

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OSU Extension launches ask an expert

Ohioans who have questions — on everything from personal finance to agricultural enterprise budgets, from gardening to crop production, from nutrition to producing fruits and vegetables safely — have a new way to find answers.

County websites of Ohio State University Extension now have an “Ask a County Expert” tool where Ohioans can ask questions related to the educational programs Extension offers.

“The Ask an Expert tool makes it much easier for clientele to ask us questions directly,” said Jerry Thomas, leader for Innovation and Change for OSU Extension who helped develop the tool. “And, it will help speed up our response time and find the right person to answer their questions. If a county doesn’t have that particular expertise, we can access Extension personnel across the state and across the country. It will really help us leverage our resources.”

OSU Extension’s county websites are easy to find: Just type the name of the county in a browser, followed by “osu.edu.”… Continue reading

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E15 ready to clear final hurdle

 

The American ethanol industry stands on the brink of bridging the final federal hurdle to E15 availability after three years of concerted efforts. Ethanol producers have joined together to fund a nationwide fuel survey, which will satisfy the final requirement of the partial E15 waiver granted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 

“The National Corn Growers Association applauds the ethanol industry for this momentous accomplishment,” said Garry Niemeyer, NCGA President. “We have long understood the economic, environmental and national security benefits of this renewable, domestic fuel. Finally, the hard work invested in pushing to increase these benefits through increased ethanol usage can come to fruition.”

 

Ethanol producers stepped up to provide the vast majority of the funding for this survey despite owning only a handful of the 160,000 gas stations that participate in the survey.

 

“Ethanol producers have taken on a proactive role in this process and American consumers will benefit,” Niemeyer said.… Continue reading

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Buffett and ADM launch 'Invest an Acre'

The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Feeding America and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) established Invest An Acre, an innovative partnership that engages U.S. farmers in helping provide food to their neighbors.

Through Invest An Acre, farmers are able to invest the proceeds from one acre or more of their crops in Feeding America to support their local food bank. This is the first effort to mobilize farmers on a national scale to support hunger relief.

Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, providing food assistance to people in every county through a network of more than 200 food banks.

The Howard G. Buffett Foundation brings resources to support this vital work by creating an opportunity for every U.S. farmer doing business with ADM to invest a portion of proceeds at the point of sale, either when the farmer signs a contract or delivers the crop.

ADM is one of the largest agricultural processors in the world.… Continue reading

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Buffett and ADM launch ‘Invest an Acre’

The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Feeding America and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) established Invest An Acre, an innovative partnership that engages U.S. farmers in helping provide food to their neighbors.

Through Invest An Acre, farmers are able to invest the proceeds from one acre or more of their crops in Feeding America to support their local food bank. This is the first effort to mobilize farmers on a national scale to support hunger relief.

Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, providing food assistance to people in every county through a network of more than 200 food banks.

The Howard G. Buffett Foundation brings resources to support this vital work by creating an opportunity for every U.S. farmer doing business with ADM to invest a portion of proceeds at the point of sale, either when the farmer signs a contract or delivers the crop.

ADM is one of the largest agricultural processors in the world.… Continue reading

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Farm Bill markup delayed

Late last night, an announcement was made about a delay for today’s scheduled Senate Agriculture Committee’s 2012 farm bill markup.

“The National Corn Growers Association is disappointed with the delay in the Senate Agriculture Committee’s markup of the 2012 farm bill,” said Garry Niemeyer, National Corn Growers Association president. “Our organization is committed to working with members of Congress and other organizations on this vital piece of legislation.  The process needs to be done responsibly and judiciously but it needs to be done as soon as possible.”… Continue reading

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USDA announces assistance for 13 wetlands

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding for 13 partnership agreements for high-priority wetland restoration and conservation work in 12 states, including the Ohio River Watershed Initiative. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and a network of partners have nearly $15 million in financial and technical assistance available for these projects in 2012 and will enter into long-term agreements to deliver additional assistance over the next four years.

“These projects were selected because of their significant contribution towards wetlands restoration, enhancement or protection,” Vilsack said. “This partnership effort combines Federal resources with the funding and expertise of others needed to improve water quality, prevent flooding, and enhance wildlife habitat on more than 16,500 acres of wetlands.”

The Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) is a special component of the NRCS’ Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). Through WRP, private landowners can restore and permanently protect wetlands. WREP works differently — partners, such as nongovernmental organizations and state agencies, contribute technical and financial assistance to leverage NRCS’ funding.… Continue reading

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Warm weather pushes corn planting

Abnormally warm temperatures are being celebrated throughout the state but have grain farmers changing standard spring planting dates, though another record corn crop is slated.

Farming this season is a complete reversal of 2011’s severely rain-delayed planting season. Above-average temperatures motivated some farmers to get a head start in their fields while others have been hesitant to plant early in fear of unpredictable Ohio weather. Word-of-mouth news is that some Buckeye farmers have more than half of their acreage planted while others are still waiting to begin.

April 15 was the average last-freeze date and crop insurance policies do not protect potential replanting costs if farmers plant before the earliest seeding date — April 6. April 20 is the unofficial planting start date being recognized by a majority of Ohio farmers.

“There will be a huge volume of corn in the ground regardless of differing planting timeframes,” said Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) Executive Director Tadd Nicholson.… Continue reading

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Detection of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in CA

USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford today released the following statement on the detection of BSE in the United States:

“As part of our targeted surveillance system, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the nation’s fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a dairy cow from central California. The carcass of the animal is being held under State authority at a rendering facility in California and will be destroyed. It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health. Additionally, milk does not transmit BSE.

“The United States has had longstanding interlocking safeguards to protect human and animal health against BSE. For public health, these measures include the USDA ban on specified risk materials, or SRMs, from the food supply. SRMs are parts of the animal that are most likely to contain the BSE agent if it is present in an animal.… Continue reading

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April a great time for planting alfalfa

April is a good month to plant and establish a new stand of alfalfa. In fact, the sooner, the better, says an Ohio State University Extension educator.

Once an alfalfa plant has germinated, that new plant needs 6-8 weeks to establish a good root system that enables it to handle warmer and drier summer weather, said Rory Lewandowski, an OSU Extension educator in Wayne County. Planting too late in spring can result in plants that can’t tolerate summer weather, possibly causing stand loss.

At about 8-10 weeks after emergence, the plant pulls the growing point below the soil surface, a process called contractile growth.

“Once contractile growth occurs, the alfalfa plant is considered a true perennial,” Lewandowski said. “The protected growing point below the soil surface is the reason why the alfalfa plant can survive winter temperatures, close cutting and grazing.”

Some of the most common questions regarding successful alfalfa establishment include soil fertility, planting depth and weed control, he said.… Continue reading

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Ohio weekly crop progress report, April 23, 2012

As of Sunday April 22nd, corn planted for grain was 34 percent complete, compared to 1 percent last year and 8 percent for the five-year average. Corn emerged was at 2 percent. Seven percent of soybeans were planted, 6 percent ahead of the five- year average. Winter wheat jointed was rated at 57 percent, ahead of both last year and the five-year average by 33 and 30 percent, respectively. Eighty percent of Oats acreage has been planted throughout the State, 65 percent ahead of last year and 41 percent ahead of the five-year average. Oats emerged were rated at 36 percent, compared to 3 percent last year and 9 percent for the five-year average. Intended potato acreage was 33 percent planted, 31 points ahead of last year and 15 percent ahead of the five-year average. Apples at green tip or beyond were rated at 94 percent, compared to 50 percent last year and 67 percent for the five-year average.

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2012 Farm Bill Committee Draft

Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Pat Roberts released their co-authored mark for the 2012 Farm Bill Friday. A summary released by Stabenow’s office says the Committee Print reforms farm policy, consolidates and streamlines programs, and will reduce the deficit by 23-billion dollars. They state the bill saves taxpayers money while strengthening initiatives that help farmers, ranchers and small business owners create jobs.

According to the Chairwoman’s summary – the proposal eliminates direct payments while strengthening risk management; consolidates and streamlines programs; improves program integrity and accountability; and grows America’s agricultural economy. Stabenow says the full committee will meet Wednesday at eight o’clock Central for purposes of considering and marking up the 2012 Farm Bill.

The full details of the Chairwoman’s summary follow:

Eliminates Direct Payments while Strengthening Risk Management

Farmers face unique risks unlike other businesses. Weather and market conditions outside a producer’s control can have devastating effects.… Continue reading

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Energy audits can lead to significant farm savings

By Matt Reese

When it comes to energy use on the farm, there is always a better way of doing something with newer technology, changing practices or taking a different approach. And, as costs continue to climb, saving energy on the farm means saving money.

With this end goal in mind, the 2008 Farm Bill included provisions for the use of Environmental Quality Incentives Program to assist producers with addressing energy conservation through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The last sign up period for the year, and maybe for the current farm bill, ends on June 1.

The NRCS EQIP On-Farm Energy Initiative offers assistance to producers in two ways: it enables the producer to identify ways to conserve energy on the farm through an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP) conservation activity plan (CAP), also known as an on-farm energy audit, and provides financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices recommended in the energy audit, such as residue and tillage management, and Farmstead Energy Improvement.… Continue reading

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Biodiesel car giveaway kicks off

This week, the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and soybean checkoff launched the “Biodiesel Car Giveaway” as part of their ongoing effort to raise consumer awareness and enthusiasm for biodiesel — America’s advanced biofuel.

Ohioans who register for the promotion will be eligible to win a one-year lease for a new fuel-efficient, diesel-engine Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age and a legal resident of Ohio. To enter the contest, participants must visit the OSC Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ohiosoybeancouncil), “like” the page and enroll.

The promotion ends May 27, 2012.

“OSC is very excited about this promotion and the chance to tell Ohioans about the benefits of biodiesel,” said John Motter, OSC chairman and soybean farmer from Hancock County. “Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning, environmentally friendly fuel and is commonly made from soybeans grown and processed right here in Ohio. That offers significant value to consumers, brings revenue to our local and state economies and reduces our country’s dependence on foreign oil.”… Continue reading

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2012-2013 Ohio AgriBusiness Association Board Members announced

Appointed members of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Board of Directors counted ballots for the election of 2012-2013 OABA Board of Directors and the results are as follows:

  • Grain: Paul Riehm, Commodity Representative with Bunge North America. Riehm was re-elected to a second term for his Board position, and brings more than 30 years of experience in Ohio agribusiness to the OABA Board. He is currently a member of the OABA Grain Committee and views OABA as a valuable resource of information, education and a political voice for Ohio agribusiness.
  • Seed: Nathan Louiso, Regional Sales Manager with AgriGold Hybrids, covering all of Ohio and Southeast Michigan. Louiso has been a member of the OABA Seed Committee for the last four years — and Chairman for the past two years, and serves as a member of the alumni board of The Ohio State University’s Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity.
  • Member-At-Large: Jim Collins, Vice President of GVM West.
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Farm groups weigh in as Senate marks up Farm Bill

In a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), a group of eight prominent agricultural associations voiced its support for the Senate’s approach to the 2012 Farm Bill, and raised several issues related to commodity and risk management programs.

Co-signed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Sunflower Association, U.S. Canola Association and USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, the letter commended the committee for adhering to its original proposal of $23 billion in deficit reduction, brought forth to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction last fall. Additionally, the groups applauded the Committee’s decision not to restructure the federal crop insurance program or to reduce its funding for deficit reduction purposes.

“Even with the clear and real need to reduce our federal deficit, it remains in the best interest of our nation to help ensure a basic level of risk management for farmers and our food supply,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.… Continue reading

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New online tool for bulk feed customers

Over the last several years, feed ingredient markets have been extremely volatile, which has caused increases in price. Many producers have reassessed their options due to this volatility and, while they have been able to adapt for the most part, they have to adjust their management as well.

“Producers need to understand the differences and make apples to apples comparisons based on the nutrients in those feeding ingredients,” said Ryan Cooney, creator of Feedpail.com. “With all of the additional feed ingredients producers are looking at, it takes more time to manage those ingredients and to research what is available and what pricing is.”

That is where Feedpail.com comes in to play. The site helps producers sort feed ingredients and gives them the information they need at their fingertips.

The website is designed to connect buyers and sellers of bulk feed ingredients — no bags of any kind. Cooney says there’s no cost to buy or sell.… Continue reading

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OCA’s Seedstock Improvement Sale posts strong averages

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association hosted their annual Seedstock Improvement Sale on April 14 at the Union Stock Yards sale facility in Hillsboro.  A total of 41 yearling and two-year-old and older bulls were sold for a total of $91,075 to average $2,221 per head. Gene Steiner served as the auctioneer for the sale.

The Seedstock Improvement Sales are open to consignments from all breeds of bulls. Consignors must be a current member of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association to participate. Bulls are required to be registered and to have expected progeny differences (EPDs). The bulls are placed in sale order based on a within breed evaluation star system using EPDs for birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, and milk. Bulls consigned to the sales can be from one to five years of age.

Top 3 high selling:

1. Lot 1: Kiata New Day 0713, an April 2010 son of B/R New Day 454

Consignor: Kiata Farms, Hamilton, Ohio

Price: $5,000

Buyer: Dave O’Banion, Waynesville, Ohio

Breed: Angus

 

2.… Continue reading

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OSU seeking new ways to manage pests

Scientists at Ohio State University are in a multi-year research project to find ways to help growers, producers and just about any Ohioan who has a problem with pests find sustainable and ecological ways to manage them.

Because of a renewed three-year, $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, experts from Ohio State, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio State Integrated Pest Management program are researching sustainable ways to manage pests and help people use methods that minimize environmental, health and economic risks.

From farms, vineyards and orchards to schools, nursing homes and consumers’ homes, lawns or gardens, the IPM program works to find sound, economical ways to help people deal with pests, said Joe Kovach, director of the IPM program and a professor of entomology.

Those pests can include weeds, disease, insects and vertebrates such as deer and rabbits, basically anything that can attack people, their homes or their crops.… Continue reading

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AgriPOWER Institute graduates 19 people

Nineteen select leaders and advocates recently graduated from Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) AgriPOWER Institute. The intensive, yearlong leadership training program was launched in 2008 to help farmers and agricultural professionals gain influence over public policy issues that impact their businesses.

Class IV graduates are: Matt Aultman, Darke County; Michele Burkey, Tuscarawas County; Yvonne Fair, Jefferson County; Adam Garman, Ross County; Jeff Heimerl, Licking County; Ty Kellogg, Geauga County; Jack Leslie, Wyandot County; Jeff Moore, Gallia County; Katie Myers-Griffith, Wayne County; Amanda Propst, Champaign County; Kristin Reese, Fairfield County; Bruce Simmons, Medina County; Myra Snider, Delaware County; Terri Studer, Butler County; Matt Stump, Union County; Leland Tinklepaugh, Franklin County; Curtis Tobe, Putnam County; Kris Vincent, Stark County; and Carol Wildman, Clark County.

During the past year, participants engaged government officials, activists, media insiders and farm leaders on pressing local, state and national issues. Among the topics were government structure and spending, regulations, the environment, animal welfare, international trade and public relations.Continue reading

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