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Indonesia poised for larger U.S. soy imports

Recent decisions by the Indonesian government could benefit soybean farmers from thousands of miles away. Indonesian officials recently removed the need for import permits and quotas for soybeans, which could lead to larger profits for U.S. farmers.

High international prices and a struggling currency have pushed up Indonesian soybean prices. Manufacturers of soy-based tempeh and tofu, which are popular dishes in Indonesia, went on strike in response to the high prices. This led to officials relaxing their soybean-importing rules, which could mean more exports for U.S soybean farmers.

Indonesia imported the fourth-most U.S. soybeans last year at 65.1 million bushels. It is expected to be the biggest soybean buyer in Southeast Asia this year with a majority of its imports coming from the United States.… Continue reading

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Deer numbers still down for Ohio hunters in 2013

Ohio hunters checked 75,408 white-tailed deer during the weeklong gun hunting season, Dec. 2-8, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

”With the muzzleloader season and almost two months of archery hunting yet to come, Ohio hunters have many more opportunities to harvest a deer,” said Scott Zody, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

Hunting is the best and most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population. Hunters have harvested 162,720 deer so far in the 2013 hunting seasons, compared to 171,867 at the same point last year, a 5% difference.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations through a combination of regulatory and programmatic changes. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists. This ensures that Ohio’s deer herd is maintained at a level that is both acceptable to most, and biologically sound.… Continue reading

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WTO Bali Ministerial provides pathway to Post-Doha Round

Following difficult negotiating sessions, World Trade Organization (WTO) members agreed to adopt multilateral agreements on efforts to reduce barriers at borders as well as several agricultural provisions.

“Trade facilitation measures that reduce transaction costs and red tape should improve overall trade benefits, including agriculture related products,” said Floyd Gaibler, U.S. Grains Council Director of Trade Policy.

WTO members established an interim food security program that will allow countries with existing food stockholding programs to continue to operate those existing programs even if they exceed or will result in exceeding their allowable domestic subsidies for an interim period until a final agreement is reached.

“While the agreement sets a target for reaching a final solution in four years at the 11th WTO Ministerial, it is not a binding duration,” he said.

Gaibler went on to say, however, that the agreement requires strong transparency and safeguard provisions, including protections to ensure that the operation of food stockholding programs will not distort trade or food security of other countries.… Continue reading

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Harvesting more high-quality grain

Every year after the harvest season, farmers are faced with the tough, but common topic of harvest loss. Experts say producers should lose no more than one bushel of corn per acre each harvest. However, some producers have reported seeing losses of three to four bushels per acre, which can have significant impacts.

“That might not sound like much, but at the price of corn today that can add up fast,” said Mark Hanna, Iowa State University Extension Agricultural Engineer. “The cost of the grain that is left in the field often rivals the cost of the whole harvest operation.”

Equipment plays a big role in overcoming harvesting challenges.… Continue reading

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ODA announces Ag Easement Purchase Program funding

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced that 17 land trusts, counties and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts will receive funding to help preserve farmland across the state. These organizations will receive allocations from the Clean Ohio Fund to manage the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP).

LAEPP sponsor organizations will accept on-line applications from Ohio landowners who are interested in selling an agricultural easement to ODA beginning Jan. 15, 2014. The local sponsors have been certified to accept applications from landowners in 46 counties. A total of $6 million will be made available in this funding round. It is estimated this can leverage up to $18 million from the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program for a total of $24 million.

The program allows landowners to voluntarily sell easements on their farms to the State of Ohio. The easement requires the farm remain permanently in agricultural production. Selected farms must be more than 40 acres, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have support from local government and not be in close proximity to development.… Continue reading

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Get ready for earlier planting in 2014

I am a strong proponent of early planting. This year early planting may not have helped but it did not hurt either. Why is earlier planting so important and how does it work?

• The easiest and least expensive way to make greater use of the free solar energy, without too much extra cost in machinery and with the currently available hybrids, is by planting early.

• It is an established fact that in most situations, early planting produces higher yields. However, the reason for higher yields is not explained. It has to do with the sunlight!

• We know that the longest day of the year in northern hemisphere is June 21st. During the two months period, from May 21 to July 21, we get more sunlight than any other duration of this length in the year. We can capture the greatest amount of sunlight if we plant early enough to have a full canopy by May 21.… Continue reading

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Lack of farm bill leaves uncertainty for 2014

With just a few legislative working days remaining in 2013, the likelihood of a new farm bill is waning, leaving farmers in limbo once again, a Purdue Extension farm policy expert says.

The Farm Bill Conference Committee, composed of congressional representatives from the Senate and House, has been working since October but as yet has failed to agree on what should be in the bill. House Speaker John Boehner has said that his chamber will recess Friday (Dec. 13) until the new year.

The Senate and the House have each passed their own vastly different versions. Dairy support programs, the subsidy payment basis and nutrition assistance have been the most heavily debated issues.

“With the start of fiscal year 2014 on Oct. 1, authorization for previous farm legislation written in 2008 has already lapsed, triggering a reversion to farm subsidy laws first enacted in the mid-20th century,” said Roman Keeney, an associate professor of agricultural economics.… Continue reading

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Top county farm bureaus recognized

Butler, Carroll, Paulding and Tuscarawas counties were named President’s Award winners in the 2013 Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) County Achievement Awards program. The program honors outstanding local programming in Communications, Food and Animal Issues, Organization and Public Policy. The President’s Award goes to the counties with the greatest accomplishments across all program areas.

Counties competed in classes of like-size and were judged by volunteer Farm Bureau members. Winners were announced at OFBF’s 95th annual meeting, Dec. 4 – 6 in Columbus.

Communications Gold Award winners were Butler, Carroll, Paulding and Tuscarawas. Silver Award winners were Crawford, Jefferson, Marion and Van Wert. Bronze Award winners were Adams, Hancock, Hardin and Summit.

Food and Animal Issues Gold Award winners were Jefferson, Putnam, Tuscarawas and Van Wert. Silver Award winners were Medina, Paulding, Richland and Shelby. Bronze Award winners were Hamilton, Hardin, Hancock and Knox.

Organization Gold Award winners were Butler, Carroll, Harrison and Tuscarawas.… Continue reading

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Increased global grain production sending prices down

Thanks to increased global grain production and lower domestic demand for grain for ethanol, crop producers will find 2014 to be tougher than the past few years and should prepare now for lower prices, an expert from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences said.

“Prices reflect that we have moved from an era of scarcity to one of adequate inventories and prices have responded by moving lower,” said Matt Roberts, an Ohio State University Extension economist. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college. “We are already seeing lower prices come into the market, and unless U.S. or South American acreage declines, those prices are likely to continue to move lower.

“The prices we had earlier in the year aren’t guaranteed to return.”

Roberts spoke Nov. 25 during the kickoff of the college’s 2013-2014 Agricultural Policy and Outlook series. The event initiated a series of local meetings to be held statewide through the end of the year.… Continue reading

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OFBF sets policy at 95th annual meeting

The 95th annual meeting of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation had plenty of information, debate and highlights for attendees.

In terms of policy, nutrient management, agricultural drainage and state tax policy were among issues voting delegates addressed. Delegates also established a committee to study changes to the membership model for the organization.

The organization’s policy, enacted by the 346 delegates, will direct Farm Bureau’s actions for the coming year. The meeting took place Dec. 4 – 6 in Columbus.

OFBF reiterated its commitment to assist farmers as they take steps to improve water quality. Without approving any specific legislation, delegates supported nutrient management education programs that include certification for fertilizer applicators. Farm Bureau policy also states that Ohio should have a comprehensive reduction strategy for all nutrient sources. The agricultural portions should be based on the 4R principles, be economically feasible for farmers and provide clear criteria regarding suspension of certification.… Continue reading

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Meat exports holding strong through the fall

Beef exports remained on a record-setting pace in October while pork exports put up one of their strongest performances of the year, yet remain behind 2012’s record-high levels, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Top beef export markets Japan and Mexico both increased the volume of their U.S. beef purchases in excess of 40% for the month, while sales to the booming Hong Kong market skyrocketed 148%. Overall, October U.S. beef exports reached 107,471 metric tons valued at $564.5 million, increases of 6 and nearly 14%, respectively.

Pork exports in October were the largest of the year on a value basis at $539.9 million, and second-largest in volume at 186,637 metric tons, but still declined 11 and 14%, respectively, from last October’s all-time single-month highs for both volume and value. Both the ASEAN and the Central and South America region recorded double-digit increases, as they have all year, but other key markets trailed 2012’s historic highs.… Continue reading

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Expanding grain trade with Mexico

The port of Progreso is strategically located as a natural gateway to connect the year round feed importer, the Yucatan Peninsula, with the rest of the world by sea. Progreso port currently processes approximately 4 million metric tons of product, including hydrocarbons, agricultural bulk, containers and general cargo. Thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement, a near 200% growth in sales has occurred of U.S. corn, sorghum, barley and related co-products to Mexico.

With increased trade comes necessary infrastructure development — prompting more growth.

A project supported by the Progreso port to build a new access road to its offshore terminals will help to expand access and aid in increased transportation capacity.

“A number of ports in Mexico are under expansion projects to allow more trade,” said Julio Hernandez, U.S. Grains Council director in Mexico. “In this case, the port of Progreso will allow greater and faster operations for feed grains in terms of moving grain out of the terminal, which is good news for southeastern Mexico and U.S.… Continue reading

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Improving neighbor relations in the face of Palmer amaranth

The agronomic crops team has been working to educate farmers about the different weeds in the amaranth (pig weed) family. Some people may ask, “Why the focus on pigweeds? We have had them for as long as I can remember.” Well not quite, we have had redroot pigweed but not the new, invasive Palmer amaranth.

This species has been raising more cane across the south than a wild bull, devastating soybean and cotton farms. It has developed herbicide resistance to glyphosate and protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO)-inhibiting herbicides, like Cobra. This means that once it shows up in soybean fields, you have lost the battle.

It has now been found in at least five areas of Ohio and has arrived by inadvertent movement of seed. Palmer amaranth seed moved north on equipment from the south, railroad cars, Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) seed, and the biggest source, feedstuffs!

This is where dairy farms come into the picture, especially those that feed any ingredient from the south.… Continue reading

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Is there a safety net for plummeting prices?

It could be worse than we thought. With record corn production in a year with heavy spring rains and late planting problems, the price drop in recent weeks suggests that corn demanders see the crop-reducing effects of 2012 drought as an aberration—since apparently improved seed genetics successfully protected 2013 corn production from moderate drought and planting problems.

Compared to the 2012 corn crop, the November WASDE reports record production, increased crop utilization—both domestically and internationally—and the year-ending stocks increasing by nearly 1.2 billion bushels of corn. The result is a projected season average corn price received by farmers of $4.50 per bushel for the 2013 corn crop, a drop of $2.93 per bushel from a year earlier.

For most farmers, even on the most productive land, $4.50 is getting frighteningly close to their cost of production—and for some-to-many land costs would not be covered. This leaves little margin on the downward side before things get really scary.… Continue reading

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Novel corn gene could hold keys to plant defense

Purdue and University of Illinois researchers have discovered a novel corn mutant whose leaves are highly susceptible to attack by Western corn rootworm beetles, a pest that feeds primarily on corn silks and pollen.

While Western corn rootworm beetles were previously thought to avoid corn leaves based on food-source preference, study of the mutant suggests that normal corn plants have an active defense mechanism that deters the beetles from feeding on their foliage. Identifying this mechanism could lead to new strategies for controlling Western corn rootworm, which is the most destructive insect pest of corn in the U.S.

“This opens up a whole new opportunity to understand more about the mechanism of defense in corn to control this beetle,” said Gurmukh Johal, professor of botany and plant pathology. Johal and Stephen Moose of Illinois independently discovered the mutant around the same time.

“In identifying the genetic pathway involved in resistance, we can develop better ways of controlling this pest without having to use insecticides,” Johal said.… Continue reading

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The dairy industry in Columbia

Colombia is located in the northwest part of South America, and it has an area of 440.831 square miles and is in a privileged geographical location because of its proximity to the equator line. Colombia is located in the tropical zone of the planet, and its climate is the result of a three branched subdivision of the Andes mountain range and the sea coasts of the Caribbean and Pacific with high humidity and the Alisios winds.

The rainy seasons are bimodal, being from April to June and August to November. The country is very pleasant as it enjoys constant sunlight throughout the year, with the same number of hours during the day and night. There are six natural regions, each having unique characteristics; however, the zones with potential for meat and milk production have been classified into five specific regions: Caribbean (beef and dairy), Andina (mostly dairy), Orinoquia (beef), Valles Interandinos (beef and dairy) and Altiplano Cundiboyacence (only dairy).… Continue reading

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Deer gun season off with a bang

Hunters checked 22,620 white-tailed deer on Monday, Dec. 2, the opening day of Ohio’s deer-gun hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

The deer-gun season remains open through Sunday, Dec. 8. Hunters are encouraged to take to the field to enjoy the six days remaining in the deer-gun season. Hunting is the best and most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population.

Approximately 420,000 hunters are expected to participate in this year’s season. Find more information about deer hunting in the Ohio 2013-2014 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.com.

So far this season, hunters have harvested 109,932 deer compared to 113,107 at the same point in the season last year, which represents a 3% difference.

Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer checked in 2013: Coshocton (940), Ashtabula (880), Tuscarawas (853), Muskingum (831), Guernsey (742), Harrison (738), Carroll (698), Knox (645), Columbiana (584) and Licking (572).… Continue reading

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Kinder elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

James Kinder, interim director of the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute (Ohio State ATI), has been elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), honored by his peers as a significant contributor to the scientific community.

Kinder was recognized for his distinguished contributions in reproductive endocrinology research and as an administrator in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Ohio State ATI, located in Wooster, is the college’s associate degree-granting unit.

In all, six Ohio State faculty and 388 AAAS members have been elected Fellows this year in recognition of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be welcomed in a ceremony at the AAAS annual meeting in Chicago in February.

“The consistent recognition of Ohio State scientists at this level speaks to the exceptional quality of our faculty and their important contributions in their disciplines,” said Ohio State Interim President Joseph A.… Continue reading

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