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FCS scholarships

A February 29 deadline is rapidly approaching to submit applications for the Farm Credit Services of Mid-America (FCS) customer scholarship program.

FCS, an $18 billion agricultural lending cooperative serving farmers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, is offering scholarships to college students enrolled in agricultural and business programs. Forty six scholarships ranging in value from $1,000 to $1,500 will be awarded.

“We are invested in the future of agriculture and that future sits with today’s youth,” said George Stebbins, chair of the FCS board. “The winners will be scholarship recipients today and agriculture leaders tomorrow – these scholarships are an investment in the future of our industry.”

The scholarships are available to customers, their dependents, and spouses of the ag lending cooperative. Scholarships will be awarded in April based on academic record, leadership qualities and community involvement. To apply, visit, select “Community”, then “Scholarships” or call 1-800-444-3276 to talk to the nearest office about obtaining an application.… Continue reading

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2011 NW Ohio silage trials

By Rich Minyo, Allen Geyer and Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

In 2011, 50 corn silage hybrids representing 12 commercial brands were evaluated in a joint trial with Michigan State University (MSU). One Ohio location is combined with Michigan’s two southern (Zone 1) silage locations. The Ohio test site was located in our Northwest Region at Hoytville (Wood County). The two MSU sites are located in Branch and Lenawee counties, which are on the Ohio/Michigan state line. The test results from the three locations are treated as one region.

The 2011 silage plots were planted with 4-row air type planters and maintained by each respective state utilizing standard production practices. The center 2 rows were harvested with MSUs self-propelled forage harvester. Silage tests were harvested uniformly as close to half milk line as possible. Near Infrared Reflectance (NIR) Quality Analysis was performed by MSU using their current procedures. Silage results present the percent dry matter of each hybrid plus green weight and dry weight as tons per acre.… Continue reading

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Research confirms benefits of crop rotation


Recent research add strength to the long held belief that corn grown in rotation with soybeans requires less nitrogen fertilizer and produces better yields than continuous corn.

“Our research shows that corn residue acts like a ‘sponge’ immobilizing the fertilizer, making it temporarily unavailable to the corn plant,” said John Shanahan, Pioneer agronomy research manager. “Growers working with continuous corn need to be mindful of crop residue from the previous year and adjust (and likely increase) their nitrogen fertilizer rates accordingly.”

These findings are part of a long-term, multi-location study by Pioneer that began in 2006 to examine the response of corn in limited nitrogen environments. Evaluations have been conducted yearly at Pioneer research stations in Johnston, Iowa; Champaign, Ill.; Windfall, Ind.; and York, Neb.

“While many studies have tested corn response to nitrogen fertilizer, there has been limited information on corn hybrid performance in nitrogen-deficient environments,” Shanahan says.

The nitrogen treatments in the study were standardized to five rates as a percentage of university economic optimum recommendations (from 0 to 130%), applied to corn in continuous production as well as corn in rotation with soybeans, and positioned on the same plots from year to year.… Continue reading

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AFBF, plaintiffs file for judgment in Chesapeake Bay case

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Total Maximum Daily Load regulation (TMDL) for the Chesapeake Bay watershed establishes new controls on land use that trespass into territory Congress legally reserved for state governments, according to the opening brief for summary judgment, filed Friday, Jan. 27 by the American Farm Bureau Federation in the case, “AFBF vs. EPA.”

The TMDL will impact all economic activity in the watershed with potentially devastating impacts for agriculture within the watershed, according to AFBF.

“We all want a clean and healthy Chesapeake Bay,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “This lawsuit is about how we reach that common goal. Farm Bureau believes EPA’s new regulation is unlawful and costly without providing the environmental benefit promised. Farmers in the watershed have clearly delivered a documented track record of continuous improvement, through conservation and sound stewardship and will continue their dedicated efforts.”

The TMDL dictates how much nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment can be allowed into the Bay and its tributaries from different areas and sources.… Continue reading

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ODA still searching

According to a recent press release, Bob Peterson from Fayette County, who is serving his first term in the Ohio House, has turned down an offer to serve as the Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).

“Serving in this capacity would have given me the opportunity to help local farmers and keep related jobs in Ohio,” Peterson said in the release. “However, I know there is important work to be done to turn Ohio around and I think I can be most helpful in that effort by continuing my service in the Ohio House of Representatives.”

As a result, the ODA remains in limbo as the search for a Director continues. The post is currently being filled by Interim Director Tony Forshey, who has been in the position since the departure of former Director Jim Zehringer. Zehringer left to serve as Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.… Continue reading

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Ohio cattle numbers up, U.S. figures down

The number of cattle and calves in Ohio on Jan. 1, 2012, was estimated at 1.28 million head, up 4% from last year, according to the Jan. 27 Cattle and Calves report from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Beef cows, at 300,000 head, were up 3% from last year, and milk cows, at 270,000 head, were unchanged from last year.

Ohio’s beef replacement heifers were at 55,000, the same as last year but dairy replacement heifers were down 5,000 head from last year. Other heifers, at 70,000 head, were up 7% from last year. Steers 500 pounds and over were up 8% from last year to 195,000 head. Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market, at 180,000 head increased by 6%. Bulls, at 20,000 head, declined by 5,000 head from January 1, 2011. Ohio’s calf crop, at 490,000 head, increased by 9% from last year.

All cattle and calves in the United States as of January 1, 2012 totaled 90.8 million head, 2% below the 92.7 million on January 1, 2011.… Continue reading

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Ohio sheep numbers down

The number of sheep and lambs on Ohio farms on Jan. 1, 2012, totaled 126,000 head, down 2% from the 2011 estimate, according to the Jan. 27 Sheep and Goats report from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Total breeding sheep inventory at 102,000 head, was unchanged from the previous year. Ewes one year old and older were estimated at 78,000 head, down 3,000 from last year. Rams one year old and older were estimated at 6,000 head on January 1, 2012, unchanged from last year. Replacement lambs were up 3,000 to 18,000 head on January 1, 2012. The 2011 lamb crop was estimated at 100,000 head, down 4% from the previous year. Total market sheep & lambs, at 24,000 head, were down 11% from one year ago.

All sheep and lamb inventory in the United States on January 1, 2012, totaled 5.35 million head, down 2% from 2011. Breeding sheep inventory decreased to 3.98 million head on January 1, 2012, down 3% from 4.08 million head on January 1, 2011.… Continue reading

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2012 Power Show Ohio Photo Gallery

Power Show Ohio kicked off on Friday with a wide range of new agricultural, construction, and outdoor power equipment from more than 600 companies.

The show sprawls over more than 300,000 square feet in four buildings at the Ohio Expo Center: the Voinovich Center, Celeste Center, Coliseum and Bricker Building. There are also a number of additional cooking and educational seminars covering topics including farmland preservation, small engine maintenance, crop nutrient management and its effects on bodies of water, barn rehabilitation, farm safety, and more.

And, it wouldn’t be the Power Show without the National Kiddie Tractor Pull held in the Coliseum on Saturday and Sunday for children between the ages of three and eight. Here are some photo highlights from the show. Stop by and see us at the Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net booth in the Celeste Center.… Continue reading

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Low-oil DDGS becoming increasingly available

Ethanol plants in the United States, which also produce the feed ingredient distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), continue to upgrade equipment to extract non-food grade corn oil during the ethanol production process.

While regular DDGS may contain 10-15 percent oil, the low-oil variety contains much less and has different characteristics and feeding values than regular DDGS.
Of the roughly 200 corn dry mills that produce ethanol, about 90 have oil extraction capabilities, and 105 plants will by this summer.

“On a production basis, about 40 percent of U.S. DDGS produced today is low-oil, and 58 percent will be low-oil by this summer,” said Randy Ives of Gavilon, LLC, and U.S. Grains Council Value-Added Advisory Team Leader.

Ives explained that low-oil DDGS has higher crude protein and higher levels of amino acids. The concentrated amino acid profile is positive for monogastric animals like poultry and swine, while dairy animals may be able to utilize more product thanks to the lower level of fat in low-oil DDGS.… Continue reading

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Jan. 30 deadline approaching for 2011 disaster program

Eligible producers with livestock, purchased or harvested feed, honey bees, or farm-raised fish losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions between January 1, 2011 and December 29, 2011, have until January 30, 2012, to submit all supporting documentation, if they have not already done so.

Adequate documentation must prove the loss occurred as a direct result of an eligible adverse weather event in the calendar year for which benefits are being requested.

Producers should contact their local FSA county offices with any questions about ELAP.… Continue reading

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Plenish producing premium Power Show popcorn

Those who stop by the Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net display at the Ohio Power Show this weekend can test out the performance of Plenish in the complimentary popcorn. The oil makes great (and healthier) popcorn and the soybeans have been performing well in Ohio fields, despite challenging growing conditions.
 The popcorn was grown at the Farm Science Review site in Madison County and provided by Farm Science Review staff.         

“I’ve had great success with Plenish high oleic soybeans,” said John Motter, director, United Soybean Board and chair of the Ohio Soybean Council. “During this year’s harvest my Plenish soybeans yielded higher than my overall farm average at 55 bushels an acre, and agronomic performance was outstanding.”

Pioneer launched the high oleic soybean trait in its industry-leading lineup of Pioneer brand Y Series soybean varieties, with key defensive and agronomic traits such as soybean cyst nematode resistance, phytophthora and sudden death syndrome tolerance, and excellent field emergence and harvest standability.… Continue reading

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New NASS schedule

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service continues to review its agricultural estimates program to ensure the agency provides the most accurate, timely and useful data, while also remaining within the agency budget. As a result, NASS will make the following changes to its in-season reporting for this year:

Vegetables – Reduce to  one in-season report

Apple – Forecast in October only (Eliminate March preliminary summary and August report)

Apricot – Forecast in July only (Eliminate June report)

Cherry Production – Publish in June only (Eliminate forecast in June Crop Production)

Grape – Forecast in August only (Eliminate July and October reports)

Peach – Forecast in August only (Eliminate May, June and July reports)

Pear – Forecast in August only (Eliminate June report)

Pecan – Forecast in October only (Eliminate December report)

Banana Revisions in May – Eliminate

Guavas in May – Eliminate

Olives in August – Eliminate

Papaya Revisions in May – Eliminate

Prune Forecast and Revisions in June – Eliminate

Prunes and Plums Forecast in August – Eliminate

The current changes affect the 2012 growing season.… Continue reading

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New nutrition standards for school meals released

First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled new standards for school meals that will result in healthier meals for kids across the nation. The new meal requirements will raise standards for the first time in more than fifteen years and improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs every school day. The healthier meal requirements are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by the First Lady as part of her Let’s Move! campaign and signed into law by President Obama.

“As parents, we try to prepare decent meals, limit how much junk food our kids eat, and ensure they have a reasonably balanced diet,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “And when we’re putting in all that effort the last thing we want is for our hard work to be undone each day in the school cafeteria.… Continue reading

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Crop residue for nutrient filters being considered

Aligning with the future of agricultural practices in Minnesota, the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, an organization committed to providing scientific and technical assistance to Minnesota industries and entrepreneurs, is conducting a 15-month study testing the ability of crop residues to clean up water drained from agricultural lands. At a recent ceremony at the Minnesota Capitol, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson signed a memorandum, agreeing to the development of a new state program for farmers designed to increase the voluntary adoption of conservation practices that protect local rivers, streams and other waters by reducing fertilizer run-off and soil erosion.

AURI’s study is focused on bioreactors, also known as biofilters, which have historically been made from wood chips or straw. The high cost of these products encouraged AURI to research other available materials producers could use. AURI is evaluating and comparing the effectiveness of agricultural residues versus wood in bioreactors, offering a potential use for agricultural byproducts such as corn stover and wheat and barley straw.… Continue reading

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MarketReady training program

Ohio food producers looking to sell through different marketing channels are invited to attend a MarketReady training program, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 at the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) office, 5555 Airport Hwy., Ste. 100, Toledo, Ohio 43615-7320.

The day-long workshop teaches what is required to sell to grocers, restaurants, consumers and other wholesale buyers. Plus local producers, wholesalers and buyers will participate on a panel to provide specific insight on requirements for purchasing product.

The workshop will run from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The cost is $75 per person and $25 for each additional person from the same business, which includes materials, lunch and morning refreshments.

“MarketReady workshops and resources guide producers through the decisions needed for entering various direct marketing channels,” said Rebecca Singer, vice president and director of agricultural programs, CIFT. “Participants leave knowing what is required for packaging, pricing, delivering, regulations, insurance and marketing of their products for each type of buyer.”… Continue reading

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Working group recommendations for nutrient management

By Matt Reese

The Directors’ Agricultural Nutrients and Water Quality Working Group met earlier this week at the Ohio Department of Agriculture to finalize their extensive findings on how agriculture is contributing to water quality problems and how this can be controlled. The group was assembled to aggregate all of the available information on the problem, organize it and present it to the directors of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency, who will then make recommendations to the governor.

“The 4Rs are a good starting point for messaging and provide a great resource for farmers to turn to,” said Karen Chapman, who represented the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in the Working Group. “EDF believes that adaptive management programs are key to putting the 4Rs into action. These are programs where farmers and their advisors gather data using tools like cornstalk nitrogen tests, strip trials for N and P, aerial imagery, management data and yield data to figure out what is going on for a given season with the crop and the crop’s estimated nutrient uptake.… Continue reading

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DeWitt speaking on being a Christian environmentalist

Carl DeWitt of the University of Wisconsin, an expert on sustainability and land stewardship and a leading Christian environmentalist, will speak five times in Wooster and Columbus later this week, Jan. 26-28.

DeWitt is a professor with Wisconsin’ Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies the author of Earthwise: A Biblical Response of Environmental Issues.

“I have a lot of heroes, but Cal DeWitt is high on the list,” author Bill McKibben (The End of Nature). “Before anyone else, (DeWitt) was at work building the religious environmental movement in this country, and he has never wavered — the fact that evangelical leaders from across the theological spectrum last year signed a statement of concern about climate change owes more to his leadership than anyone else’s.”

Two of DeWitt’s talks will be co-presented with David Kline, an Amish organic farmer in north-central Ohio’s Holmes County.

All the talks are free and open to the public.… Continue reading

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U.S. small tractor sales up

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ monthly Ag Tractor and Combine Report, the sales of all tractors in the United States for December 2011 were up 11% compared to the same month last year. For the year 2011, a total of 168,324 tractors were sold, which compares to 165,072 sold through December 2010.

For the month, two-wheel-drive under 40-horsepower tractor sales were up 11% from last year, and 40 to under 100 HP tractor sales were up 14%. Sales of two-wheel-drive 100+ HP were up 13% from last year, and four-wheel-drive tractors were down 15% for the month.

For the year 2011, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 0.8% from last year, while 40 to under 100 HP were up 4%. Sales of two-wheel drive 100+ HP were up 2%, while four-wheel-drive tractors were up 4% for the year.… Continue reading

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Ohio Weed Resistance Workshops

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) and the Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) have joined forces to offer a one-of-a-kind event series: the Ohio Weed Resistance Workshops. The workshop program will be presented at three events across the state on, February 28, February 29 and March 1, 2012 and is being offered at no cost to participants.

“OABA is happy we could join with the Ohio Soybean Association and, along with the support of all of our sponsors, put on these workshops,” said Christopher Henney, OABA President and CEO. “This is a great opportunity for both farmers and custom applicators who have dealt with herbicide resistance in the past and farmers who might be experiencing it for the first time get up to speed on the current state of weed resistance in Ohio and get insight into future projections, as well as learn about how best to manage it and how to utilize latest technologies that can help.”… Continue reading

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Lawsuit over prison menu has been settled

An Ohio judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Muslim inmate who sued the prison system last year for serving pork, a food forbidden by his faith. In an order filed last week, U.S. District Court Michael H. Watson dismissed the case after hearing from the involved attorneys that the matter has been settled.

“Details of the settlement announced Wednesday weren’t released. The inmate’s lawyer would not comment,” said Dick Isler, executive director of the Ohio Pork Producers Council. “JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said no policy changes have been made regarding food preparation. Both sides anticipated making the settlement final in about 45 days.”

The suit was filed last fall by Abdul-Hamead Awkal because the prison didn’t offer him halal food options, noting that the system offered Jewish prisoners kosher items. Ohio’s prison system responded by removing pork.… Continue reading

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