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Purdue economists advise grain producers to keep an eye on the bottom line

Grain producers should consider cutting costs to prepare for what could be several years of lower crop prices, Purdue University agricultural economists said.

“The message right now is to maintain your liquidity and protect your working capital,” said Michael Boehlje, a specialist in agricultural finance. “That means holding onto your savings and keeping a very close eye on your bottom line.”

A good first step, he said, would be to restructure any outstanding debt.

“If you have short-term loans, leases or purchase agreements, talk to your lender and see if you can extend the term to reduce your monthly payments,” he said. “Many lenders have become risk-averse in this environment and might not be willing to refinance, but it would be a good idea to look into the possibility as soon as possible.”

Chris Hurt, a marketing specialist, said there were plenty of other ways for farmers to tighten their belts, including streamlining their operations to become more efficient and avoiding any unnecessary purchases.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm and Food Leadership Forum

The second annual Ohio Farm and Food Leadership Forum will be held Dec. 10 in Columbus and will focus on how Ohioans can effectively engage and improve their local communities.

The event brings together members of farm and food organizations, civic groups, business, government and other sectors for a day-long event that features four themes: leadership development, community development, technology in agriculture and current issues. The event will be held 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Columbus Convention Center.

Keynote speaker is Dr. Lowell Catlett, dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University. Catlett is a futurist with positive and upbeat predictions and has worked with the World Bank and U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Labor, Interior, Defense, Education and Energy. He has written numerous books and articles and works nationally and internationally with corporations and organizations on future planning.… Continue reading

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New membership year underway for Ohio Cattlemen’s

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) kicked off the 2015 membership year with member only opportunities and member benefits that are better than ever. Outstanding membership partner, New Holland Agriculture, has given top recruiters extra incentive to encourage their friends, neighbors and fellow cattlemen to become members. Any member that recruits 10 new OCA members will earn a ticket into the drawing for a New Holland Rustler 125 UTV. You can increase your odds with a drawing ticket for every five additional members recruited. The drawing to determine the lucky winner will be held at the Ohio Beef Expo, March 20-22, 2015.

2015 also hosts a special incentive to long-time OCA members through an exclusive drawing for an AgriLabs VetGun. Anyone that has been an OCA membership for the past 10 years will be placed into an exclusive drawing during the OCA Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on January 24, 2015. OCA appreciates the support of the long-time members and is pleased to offer this great member benefit!… Continue reading

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New partnership between Ohio Proud marketing program and Homegrown by Heroes

State officials announced a new partnership between the state’s Ohio Proud marketing program and Homegrown by Heroes, a program that certifies agricultural products from farmers, ranchers, and fishermen who have served or are still serving in any branch of the U.S. military.

“I’m proud to sign this agreement to help promote the Homegrown by Heroes program alongside our successful Ohio Proud program. These farmers have given much to defend our country and now we are working to give something back to them. This new partnership will allow us to help support veterans by purchasing their farm products in the same way the Ohio Proud program allows us to support other local producers,” said Ohio Agriculture Director David T. Daniels.

The program combines two of Ohio’s strengths.

“Agriculture is one of the major industries in Ohio, and generations of Ohioans have left the farm, served honorably in our Armed Forces, and then returned home to take up this work that all of us depend on,” Ohio Department of Veterans Services Director Tim Gorrell said.… Continue reading

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Mississippi River closure could hinder grain shipments

In a letter sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Corn Growers Association urged the Army Corps to delay its planned mat-laying work along the Mississippi River and reopen the river to traffic.

In early November, the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division closed the Mississippi River to daylight traffic for a three-mile stretch near Memphis. The closure is expected to last 14 days. According to the Corps, the resulting delays of barge traffic were running about 10 hours over the weekend.

“This comes at a terrible time for U.S. corn farmers,” said Chip Bowling, NCGA President. “We produced a record crop in 2014, much of which will be transported along the Mississippi River. It is imperative that barge traffic not be impeded, and as much grain as possible is transported before winter.”

In the letter, NCGA notes that the closure is being done with little notice, and it will result in significant delays of grain shipments.… Continue reading

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Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers donating to Operation Homefront

During the month of November, Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers is donating 1 cent for every gallon of fertilizer sold or shipped to Operation Homefront.

For many veterans returning from a war zone means fighting a whole new war at home as they work to transition to civilian life. Operation Homefront is a national non-profit foundation that aims to help soldiers and their families through that transition by providing financial and mental and emotional support.

AgroLiquid Senior Customer Service Manager Colina Gillespie is also the mother of a Marine Reservist. She recently became involved with the Central Great Lakes branch of Operation Homefront, and it made a tremendous difference in her life.

“It wasn’t until Operation Homefront that I found an organization I felt I could be a part of,” Gillespie said.

To share in Gillespie’s passion, during the month of November AgroLiquid is making donations to Operation Homefront regional branches around the country.… Continue reading

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Interpreting least significant difference in yield data

For studying yield data from university, seed companies or third party sources, always look for the LSD value or Least Significant Difference at the bottom of the data set or Table. What does it mean and how to use it in evaluating data?

• LSD value measures variability in the test which may be caused by soil types, population density variations, micro-environment or experimental errors.

• LSD or Least Significant Difference means that the yields must be greater than the LSD value between any two hybrids, varieties or treatments to be considered significant, to make sure the differences are real and not because of chance or due to soil variability.

• Uniform tests have smaller LSD values and are more reliable. That’s why the Agronomists and Researchers try hard to look for uniform ground for conducting the tests. The differences of 10-20 bushels in high yielding corn test plots are generally not significant and are within the LSD value and it is a mistake to make a big deal because a hybrid tops in one test plot.… Continue reading

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Distillers grains with calcium oxide improve cattle diets

Research by Purdue University scientist Jon Schoonmaker and his colleagues has shown that small amounts of calcium oxide can neutralize the acid in distillers grains, a commonly used alternative to corn in many livestock feed mixes.

The findings are good news for beef producers hoping to provide a more nutritious, better balanced diet to their animals while keeping their feed budgets manageable.

“Incorporating calcium oxide into the feed mix represents a small increase in price for much better performance,” Schoonmaker said. “The benefits are especially important now that many producers are thinking about increasing the size of their herds to take advantage of improving market conditions.”

Distillers grains are a relatively inexpensive and plentiful byproduct of ethanol production and retain many of the nutrients of the original corn used in the ethanol process.

The grains can be fed to animals in a wet form, with a 65% moisture content, or dried, at 10%.… Continue reading

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Biotech labeling efforts failed

Ballot initiatives that would have required state-based labels on food products containing biotech ingredients failed in the Nov. 4 elections in Colorado and Oregon.

The margins were 68% to 32% in Colorado and a 51% to 49% narrow defeat in Oregon. Even with theses losses, the fight over state biotech food labeling will go on.

As a potential alternative to what will surely be more statewide labeling efforts in the future, many in agriculture are supporting legislation that would establish a federal standard for the safety and labeling of food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients called the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.

“It would simplify and unify the process of labeling biotech. You would not have 50 different rules for labeling food in the U.S. — you’d just have one. That is the purpose of it,” said Tadd Nicholson, with the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association that supports the legislation.… Continue reading

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OCA Replacement Female Sale

Several members of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will sell over 90 consignments in the OCA Replacement Female Sale on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, at 7 p.m. at the Muskingum Livestock Auction Company facility in Zanesville, Ohio.

Consignments include approximately 30 mature cows, less than five years of age, and approximately 60 bred heifers. Breeds represented will include Angus, Gelbvieh x Angus, Hereford x Angus, Limousin, Maine-Anjou x Angus, Shorthorn, Simmental, Simmental x Angus, and crossbred. Service sires represented include Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Limousin, Maine-Anjou, Red Angus, Shorhorn and Simmental.

“Now is an excellent time for producers to add quality replacement heifers to their herds,” says John Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator. “The economic forecast for the cow-calf segment of the beef industry is very good for the next few years. Feeder calf prices are extremely strong at this time and the future looks positive as well. This sale represents an excellent opportunity for cow-calf producers to add quality bred heifers to their herds and potentially take advantage of the positive economic outlook for the beef industry.”… Continue reading

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Dietary Guidelines the subject of Nov. 20 event

Many people use the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to gauge the health of their diets.

Most don’t realize that the guidelines are primarily written for policymakers, not consumers, and are designed as a tool to drive health and wellness on a broad scale.

As the 2015 version of the guidelines is being developed, Ohio State University’s Food Innovation Center has organized a summit for food industry representatives, academics, decision-makers and others “to have a high-level conversation on food and health,” said Julie Manning, executive manager of the center and summit organizer.

The Food Innovation Center, which brings together faculty from all 14 of Ohio State’s colleges to collaborate on food-related issues, is housed in the Parker Food Science and Technology Building in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The New Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Preparing for the 2015 Release” will be held 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.… Continue reading

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More than 200 grain buyers from 41 countries gathered for Export Exchange

With attendees including 210 international attendees representing 41countries and an additional 200 U.S. attendees representing every sector of the coarse grains value chain, Export Exchange 2014 was this year’s premiere global grain trade conference. Wrapping up on Oct. 22, the conference was a resounding success for both international buyers and U.S. suppliers.

Held every other year by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Export Exchange brings together international buyers and U.S. sellers of corn, sorghum, barley, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), corn gluten meal and corn gluten feed. This year, 18 buyer teams visited farms, elevators, ethanol plants, technology providers and export terminals in 19 states associated with the three-day conference. These individuals had the opportunity to see the scope and sophistication of the U.S. production complex.

Export Exchange attendees had plenty of opportunity to do business, both directly and by making the connections that will facilitate future sales.… Continue reading

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Debate on global Trichinella standard

The National Pork Producers Council recently sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on an international standard for controlling and monitoring Trichinella spp. proposed by the U.N. Codex Committee on Food Hygiene’s (CCFH).

Recommendations for the standard will be addressed at the CCFH meeting in Peru in November, and the results will be considered by the overarching Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) in July 2015.

The CAC was established by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) to promote food safety and coordinate international food standards. An FAO working group in October in Rome proposed significant changes to CCFH draft guidelines in key areas that would set the entire Codex process back from progress that has been made over the past years and would negatively affect the U.S. pork industry.

NPPC urged Vilsack to support the efforts of U.S. representatives to get the process back on track.… Continue reading

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Reducing fertilizer needs by accounting for soil microbes

Farmers face a balancing act when deciding how much fertilizer to apply. Applying too much wastes money and adds to nutrient runoff problems. Applying too little reduces yields.

Agricultural Research Service scientists in Temple, Texas, have found a way to help get it just right, maximizing profits, minimizing costs, and saving water bodies from unwanted nutrient runoff. They have developed a test that accurately portrays soil health by determining the levels of naturally occurring nitrogen and other nutrients.

Traditional methods for determining fertilizer needs are based on soil tests developed in the 1960s, which measure the amount of nitrate in the soil. But these tests don’t account for the contributions of soil microbes. The microbes play a key role because they mineralize organic nitrogen and phosphate and make them more available to the crop. As a result, farmers often apply more fertilizer than the plants actually need, adding to their costs and causing unnecessary nutrient runoff.… Continue reading

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China’s biotech approval important moving forward

As part of the ongoing effort by the American Soybean Association (ASA) and the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance to elevate the importance of market access for agriculture in China, ASA and other producer groups have joined together in outreach to the Administration.

Along with the U.S. Grains Council, National Corn Growers Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation, ASA has engaged with officials from the National Security Council and the U.S. Department of State to raise the issue of biotechnology approvals in China.

President Obama is expected to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Beijing this month, where he will meet with President Xi Jinping.  In meetings with key officials of the Administration, ASA has stressed the importance of high level and broad U.S. Government engagement with China on these issues, and requested that the issue be addressed during the President’s agenda on his trip to the APEC Summit.… Continue reading

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“Science of soil health” videos feature OSU experts

Soil researchers across the Midwest, including agronomists and scientists from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, want to help growers unlock the secrets of soil health to improve yields, lower input costs and increase farm income.

A new series of YouTube videos, called “The Science of Soil Health,” is designed to provide new insight into how to improve soil health while benefiting the environment and lowering production costs, said Jim Hoorman, an Ohio State University Extension educator and an assistant professor studying cover crops and water quality issues.

Hoorman, along with Alan Sundermeier, an OSU Extension educator who specializes in agronomic crop production, participated in the series.

The video project is headed by Robin (Buz) Kloot, a research associate professor at the University of South Carolina. The YouTube video series includes interviews by some of the nation’s leading experts in soil biology, agronomy, entomology and soil ecology, organizers said.… Continue reading

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OSA Board suggests changes to bylaws

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) Board of Trustees recently made recommendations to amend the OSA bylaws. The OSA Board of Trustees, consisting of 20 volunteer Ohio soybean farmers and industry representatives, approved the recommendations during the September board meeting.

OSA members are encouraged to review the changes at www.soyohio.org. OSA members will then have the opportunity to vote on the changes at OSA’s annual meeting on Dec. 18 in Columbus. The annual meeting will be held in conjunction with Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium (OGFS). OGFS gives Ohio’s soybean, corn and wheat growers the opportunity to hear about agricultural issues that have affected farmers over the past year as well as important issues that are on the horizon for 2015.

“OSA revisits the bylaws annually, and recommends changes as part of the review process to ensure the organization is on target with all the rules and regulations,” said Tommie Price, OSA president and soybean farmer from Putnam County.… Continue reading

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Corn drying tips

We are looking at a bumper corn crop but a lot of it is going to be pretty wet and will need drying before storage. Ken Hellevang, NDSU Ag Engineer, has offered some excellent tips below:

• If the corn moisture is more than 21%, do not use natural air or low-temperature drying.

• Limit the grain depth to about 20 feet in bins to obtain proper airflow rate for drying. You need airflow of 1 to 1.25 cubic feet per minute per bushel, in order to dry corn before deterioration occurs.

• During extended periods of rain, or snow, turn fans off to minimize the amount of moisture the fans pull into the bin.

• Use the maximum drying temperature that will not damage corn if you are going to use high temperature drying. This should increase the dryer’s capacity and reduce energy use.

• Limit dryer temperature to prevent scorching.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association to host annual meeting and banquet

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will celebrate Ohio’s cattlemen, hear from industry leaders and set new policy for 2015 at the OCA Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, at the North Pointe Hotel and Conference Center in Lewis Center, Ohio.

The day’s events start at 9:30 a.m. with the OCA county affiliate leader meeting. A luncheon is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. featuring the first of three “Around the Water Tank” sessions. The first session will feature a presentation from National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) Senior Executive Director of Integrated Communications, Michele Murray on checkoff funded advertising, online/social media outreach and public relations efforts, as well as marketing to millennials. Directly following lunch, “Around the Water Tank” Session 2 will take place with Certified Angus Beef’s David O’Diam presenting on the expectations consumers have for beef.

The OCA Annual Meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m. Membership will hear reports from OCA committee chairmen and take part in the association’s policy development session.… Continue reading

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NPPC introduces strategic plan

Following more than a year of planning and development, the National Pork Board today released its new strategic plan focused on anticipating and managing the changing world facing U.S. pork producers now and in the future. The plan, to be implemented starting in January 2015, will be in place through 2020 to guide the organization.

Rooted in collaboration between industry and supply chain partners, the new National Pork Board vision is to elevate U.S. pork as the global protein of choice by continuously and cooperatively working to do what’s right for people, pigs and the planet.

“It’s a plan sharply focused on a vision for the future of America’s pork producers. It defines in clear, customer-centered language a set of objectives focused on results,” said Dale Norton, Pork Checkoff president and a pork producer from Bronson, Mich. “Our task force, which included pork producers and representatives from allied industries, defined a commitment to leverage industry and supply chain collaboration to achieve the vision.”… Continue reading

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