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Grand Lake St. Marys gets another $1 million for water quality

The Grand Lake St. Marys watershed received national attention by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to address the critical water quality issues facing residents in the watershed.

“NRCS Chief Dave White provided the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed with an additional $1 million through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to get conservation on the ground in this watershed,” State Conservationist Terry Cosby said. “There is a sizeable waiting list of producers with high quality EQIP applications in the watershed; those that result in the greatest conservation benefit will be chosen for funding.”

On the ground in the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed, conservation measures impacted by the weather seem to be doing well.

“Plant growth is ahead of schedule due to the unusually mild winter and spring,” said Steve McDevitt, an NRCS conservation planner working with producers in the watershed. “Cover crops are looking good.”

Now, more farmers will have a chance to take advantage of the financial and technical assistance offered through EQIP to plant cover crops, build manure storage facilities, put in filter strips, and complete other conservation measures that keep phosphorus out of waterways.… Continue reading

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Reclassification makes easier transport for corn gluten

Last week, a key working group of the International Maritime Organization recommended approval of a U.S. proposal that corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal be reclassified in the official IMO code to make transport of these quality feed ingredients simpler, by eliminating a requirement that these cargoes be loaded on vessels with specialized fire suppression equipment.

The proposal was based on the results of tests organized by the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, in cooperation with a number of U.S. producers, marketers and shippers of CGF and CGM.

“For corn gluten to be loaded with these specifications, it would have significantly raised the cost of exporting U.S. corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal,” said Erick Erickson, USGC director of programs and planning. “This would reduce the attractiveness of these products to feed manufacturers.”

In 2010, the U.S. Grains Council organized an industry group to address this problem.… Continue reading

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The 2012 Ohio State Fair Junior Performance Barrow Division

The 2012 Ohio State Fair Junior Performance Barrow Division will allow exhibitors to showcase their junior barrows in a competition focused on growth rate, carcass composition and pork quality, along with the visual attributes that define a sound, functional market hog. In the Division, exhibitors both represent and are rewarded for exhibiting the “Best of Breed” in a breed or crossbred classes.

In additions, exhibitors can display their showmanship and pig handling skills in the showmanship competition and demonstrate their knowledge through the Skill-a-thon and Outstanding Market Hog Exhibitor Competitions. The competition come full circle with the chance to observe the pork produced and learn about pork carcasses and quality and finally, taste the resulting pork product.

To participate, exhibitors must complete the following:

  • Identify a purebred or crossbred pig from a herd or a pig provider.
  • Weigh and officially identify the pig at a nearby location between April 27 and April 30, 2012 or purchase a previously weighed and identified pig at a local sale or from a pig provider.
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First of its kind Ohio plant will turn manure into dry fertilizer

By Heather Hetterick, Ohio Ag Net

AG Conversions, LLC is building the first of its kind production plant that converts livestock manure into dry organic fertilizer in Mercer County.

The Ohio Grand Lake Watershed Facility will be located on St. Rt. 127 just north of St. Rt. 119. Amiran Technologies of Oak Creek, Wisconsin is the parent company of AG Conversions, LLC. The company specializes in taking physical and chemical waste that has no commercial value and breaking the bond at the fine partial level and separating it into usable products with no byproducts.

An aggressive timeline has been set for the construction project.

“We want to have fertilizer product available for row crop applications this fall. Our plan is to break ground in late April or early May and be producing product in August,“ said Paul Chadwick, Executive Vice President of Market Development for Amiran Technologies. “What that means as it relates to livestock manure is that for the first time ever, you can take raw animal manure and separate out the pathogens, e-coli, antibiotics and hormones, neutralize those, eliminate them and convert the manure into a high efficient organic fertilizer.”… Continue reading

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AgChat Foundation’s social media training set for August in Kansas City

In its third year, the AgChat Foundation’s Agvocacy 2.0 event is poised to be its most dynamic social media training opportunity yet. The conference will be held August 23-24 in Kansas City, Missouri, where farmers and ranchers from across the nation will convene to learn how to better support agriculture and engage with non-farm consumers.

Advocacy 2.0 is hosted by the AgChat Foundation, a primarily volunteer organization that aims to empower farmers and ranchers to “agvocate” by connecting consumers with accurate information about farming and food production using social media.

“Advocacy 2.0 is all about giving farmers and ranchers tools they need to share their stories and the story of agriculture with consumers through tools like Facebook, Twitter and blogs,” says AgChat Foundation Executive Director Emily Zweber. “Only 2 percent of people in the United States are farmers, meaning 98 percent of our population is not actively involved in food production.… Continue reading

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FCS reports strong financial 2011

Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, an agriculture lending cooperative serving more than 95,000 customers throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee reported strong financial results for 2011. The ag lender stated earnings of $278.6 million, a 30.2% increase over 2010 and owned and managed assets of $18.4 billion, a 5 percent increase over 2010.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Johnson, said strong farm earnings continue to bolster the  farm economy and that has had a positive impact on the earnings of the association.

“The farm sector continues to be a bright spot in an otherwise unpredictable economy,” Johnson said. “That, coupled with the low interest rate environment, allowed us to offer competitive interest rates to customers on loans so they are able to grow their operations.”

As an example, more than 24,000 Farm Credit loans representing $4 billion in volume were converted to lower rates in 2011 which will save customers an estimated $94 million over the next three years.… Continue reading

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Ohio State Fair greening up with soy

With soy biodiesel powering trams and carnival rides, soy-based paint freshening up show barns and soy-based cleaning products getting the fairgrounds ready, 13 fairs, including the Ohio State Fair, will be a little greener this year with the help of the United Soybean Board (USB) and the soy checkoff.

“U.S. soy feeds the animals that provide the meat we eat, but soy does a lot more than that,” said Geno Lowe, a soybean farmer from Hebron, Md., and USB farmer-director. “U.S. soy is increasingly popular as a ‘green’ ingredient in everything from biofuel to paint to cleaning products and more.”

Lowe and his fellow USB farmer-directors selected the 13 fairs as part of a competitive application process. Through the Green Ribbon Fairs reimbursement program, now in its second year, the checkoff works with fairs across the country to promote the use of soy-based products such as biodiesel, paint, cleaners, hand sanitizers and more.… Continue reading

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The RFS battle continues

By Matt Reese

In a battle of contentious letters, the opposing sides of the Renewable Fuel Standard debate have been engaged in a war of words.

The National Chicken Council joined a diverse group of business, hunger and development, agricultural, environmental, budget, grassroots and free market organizations in urging Congress to reject any efforts to include continued or expanded federal support for corn ethanol in any legislation with a letter sent March 22 to Senate leadership.

The groups expressed their opposition to:

▪   Any renewal of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit or any other similar tax credit;

▪   Altering the requirements of the Renewable Fuels Standard in a way that would open the definition of advanced biofuels to include corn-based fuels;

▪   Any expansion of current alternative fuel tax credits that would allow ethanol blends (E10, E15, or E85) or related infrastructure projects to qualify for the credit; and

▪   Funding for ethanol “blender pumps” or any other ethanol infrastructure projects.… Continue reading

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NAWG seeks to stop federal ag research cuts

Wheat farmers, researchers, millers and bakers are in Washington, D.C. to deliver a simple message to Members of Congress: there is no more to cut from federal funding for agriculture research. 

The 35 wheat industry visitors, including a dozen growers and 10 milling and baking representatives, are spreading that message as part of an annual fly-in focusing on wheat research, sponsored by the National Wheat Improvement Committee, a group of wheat scientists and stakeholders, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), the North American Millers’ Association and the American Bakers Association.

Key facts they are sharing with policy makers on Capitol Hill key include:

  • Funding for USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will be down 12% since the federal government’s 2010 fiscal year, assuming modest increases proposed in the Obama Administration’s FY2013 budget are adopted.
  • In FY2011 alone, $180 million was cut and not restored due to the elimination of earmarked spending.
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USDA warns of fraudulent letters and calls

USDA officials have been notified that additional fraudulent letters and at least one fraudulent phone call have been received by individuals in a number of states. The phone call was received by an individual in Indiana, and letters are being sent by FAX to individuals and businesses in a growing number of states.

The letters and call purportedly come from a USDA procurement officer and seek personal information. These letters are false and in no case should a recipient respond with personal and financial information. The fraudulent letters bear USDA’s logo and seal and are signed by an individual identified as “Frank Rutenberg” using a title of “Senior Procurement Officer.”

Recipients should not respond and should not supply the requested information. USDA is investigating this matter through the Office of the Inspector General. USDA first learned that the letters were being circulated on March 16, 2012. If you suspect you have received such a letter or have been called by someone representing themselves as being from USDA seeking personal information, please contact USDA at:… Continue reading

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Anhydrous injury in corn

By John Brien, AgriGold agronomist

Each year, many corn growers that use spring applied, preplant ammonia find some degree of anhydrous ammonia injury within their corn fields. Severe injury can cause significant germination problems or root pruning, which leads to stand loss or uneven stands, which can ultimately lead to significant yield losses.  

As the spring of 2012 begins, much of the Corn Belt has found itself putting on a lot of ammonia and considering planting very soon. This means that the time between anhydrous ammonia applications and planting will most likely be very minimal in many cases. Injury from anhydrous ammonia can be easy to diagnose but somewhat difficult to prevent. Below are some precautions and preventative measures to take to avoid anhydrous injury in corn.

The first step in preventing anhydrous ammonia injury in corn is to understand how anhydrous moves in the soil. When anhydrous ammonia is applied to the soil, it can disperse approximately 3 to 4 inches away from the injection point. … Continue reading

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Photo proof of corn up in Illinois

Blake Roderick of the Pike & Scott County Farm Bureaus shared this photo of corn up in southern Illinois. Next Monday the first Weekly Crop Progress Report of the season comes out and we’ll learn what farmers have been up to in Ohio and across the Midwest.

This Friday USDA will release their Prospective Planting Report and we’ll see how much corn, soybeans and wheat everyone intends to plant this year.


 … Continue reading

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USDA creates opportunities for U.S. agriculture in China

Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse will lead nearly 40 American businesses on a U.S. Department of Agriculture trade mission to China March 23-28. U.S. agricultural exports to China have grown more than 80 percent in the past three years. The USDA trade mission aims to help American businesses strike new deals, strengthen business ties, expand their markets, and support jobs for Americans.

“This is the largest USDA trade mission to date,” said Scuse. “China and the United States share a special relationship, and we embrace this opportunity to demonstrate that our U.S. farmers, ranchers, and producers are reliable suppliers of the highest-quality food and agricultural products. At the same time, USDA and our federal partners will continue to aggressively work to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade.”

Also joining Scuse on the mission are leaders from six state departments of agriculture, including Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese and representatives from North Carolina, Illinois, Kansas and South Dakota.… Continue reading

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Soy checkoff looks at protein and oil

As some U.S. farmers enter the fields this spring, their center of attention likely won’t be on protein and oil. Meanwhile, that’s exactly the focus of U.S. soy customers when deciding what to buy.

According to a recent soy checkoff survey, nearly 70% of U.S. soybean farmers feel no need to worry about protein and oil content because they have no problem – at present – selling their soybeans.

“Most farmers see a price per bushel and see soy for the sum of its parts,” said Marc Curtis, immediate past chair for the United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean farmer from Leland, Miss. “That value actually is calculated based on the value of meal and oil, minus the processing costs, but we don’t get that sort of transparency.”

The survey also helped measure soy farmers’ receptiveness to a component value system, being fairly reimbursed based on the value of protein and oil in their harvested soybeans.… Continue reading

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(Very) early planting negates replant coverage

With the amazing warm weather, planters are rolling in some parts if the state where the soils are dry enough. While this may prove to be a great early start for the planting season, Brian Frieden, USDA’s Risk Management Agency Director for the Springfield Region, reminds producers that crops planted before the earliest planting date are not eligible for replant payments, but the insurance guarantee is not impacted as long as producers follow good farming practices.

In Ohio, the earliest planting date for corn is April 6.  For soybeans, the earliest planting date is April 21. For more details on planting dates, or the impact early planting may have on crop insurance policies, contact a crop insurance agent.… Continue reading

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New ODNR employees focus on grazing management activities

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Soil and Water Resources has secured funds to directly train agriculture professionals and assist landowners in southern and eastern Ohio for grazing management activities. Four individuals recently started in these new positions.

When implemented on farms, grazing management practices improve soil health, reduce soil erosion, improve infiltration and help meet local water quality goals. Grasslands and grazing operations are an important sector in Ohio’s economy. The number of pasture-based livestock operations represents the largest number of livestock operations in Ohio. Grazing livestock can be both sustainable and profitable to reduce overhead, operating and feed costs.

This funding is available through ODNR partnering with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to add Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) funds to help provide technical assistance in the development and implementation of grazing management plans. The overall effort will be coordinated with ODNR, NRCS, local soil and water conservation districts and other partners to further enhance education and outreach activities.… Continue reading

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Farm Science Review changes golf cart rules

The Farm Science Review has announced that new for the 2012 show the only mode of transportation that will be allowed for attendees will be a golf cart, electric scooter, segway or approved disabled unit.

The Farm Science Review is a pedestrian show and therefore, pedestrians always have the right-of-way.  However, it is noted that some of our visitors may require physical assistance to visit the show by utilizing either disabled/handicapped approved transportation or a golf cart.  A golf cart should only be used by those who need physical assistance.  The Farm Science Review is a golf cart only facility.  The use of a golf cart at the Farm Science Review is deemed a privilege!  In 2012, the Farm Science Review will implement a new policy to address safety concerns for our pedestrians for those who require assistance with a golf cart.  One of two credentials will need to be produced by either the driver or passenger of the golf cart in order to bring their own golf cart whether owned or rented from another company or to rent a golf cart from the Farm Science Review designated vendor, Golf Car and Equipment Co.… Continue reading

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Distiller's grain safe for pigs, even with sulfur content

University of Illinois research reports that swine producers can feed distiller’s dried grain with solubles (DDGS) to their pigs without concern for sulfur content.

“When you buy DDGS, you don’t have to be concerned about the level of sulfur it contains because there doesn’t appear to be any impact on pig performance,” said U of I animal sciences professor Hans Stein.

According to the researcher, DDGS, a co-product of the ethanol industry, is used as a feed ingredient in diets fed to swine.

To maintain a stable pH in fermentation vats, ethanol producers use sulfuric acid, which results in a sulfur content in the DDGS that varies according to how much sulfuric acid was used. Until now, the effect of low levels of sulfur in the diet on growth performance in pigs fed DDGS had not been determined, he said.

“Sulfur is toxic to cattle. If there is 0.4% sulfur in the diet, cattle start getting sick,” Stein said.… Continue reading

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Distiller’s grain safe for pigs, even with sulfur content

University of Illinois research reports that swine producers can feed distiller’s dried grain with solubles (DDGS) to their pigs without concern for sulfur content.

“When you buy DDGS, you don’t have to be concerned about the level of sulfur it contains because there doesn’t appear to be any impact on pig performance,” said U of I animal sciences professor Hans Stein.

According to the researcher, DDGS, a co-product of the ethanol industry, is used as a feed ingredient in diets fed to swine.

To maintain a stable pH in fermentation vats, ethanol producers use sulfuric acid, which results in a sulfur content in the DDGS that varies according to how much sulfuric acid was used. Until now, the effect of low levels of sulfur in the diet on growth performance in pigs fed DDGS had not been determined, he said.

“Sulfur is toxic to cattle. If there is 0.4% sulfur in the diet, cattle start getting sick,” Stein said.… Continue reading

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Groups want comprehensive U.S.-EU FTA

An ad hoc coalition of 40 food and agricultural organizations led by the National Pork Producers Council in a letter sent today to the Obama administration and Congress expressed concern that a proposed free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union might fall short of long-established U.S. objectives for trade pacts.

“Some non-agricultural members of the business community have suggested that a U.S.-EU FTA negotiation should not be pursued as a ‘single undertaking’ with success in one area dependent on success in all the others,” said NPPC President R.C. Hunt, a pork producer from Wilson, N.C. “The agriculture community, however, believes that, rather than creating a high-standard 21st century trade agreement that is central to the administration’s trade policy efforts, approaches other than a single undertaking would assure the perpetuation of trade barriers to many U.S. products and sectors, including agriculture.”

Had it embarked on any of its existing FTAs using the approach being suggested by some for an agreement with the EU, the United States would not have in place the comprehensive agreements it has today, according to the coalition letter, and the administration would not be pointing to the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks as the model for all future agreements.… Continue reading

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