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ACRE or DCP: Decision time coming soon

Crop producers have until June 3 to decide whether they will participate in the Average Crop Revenue Election plan or continue with the regular Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payment Program.

Both programs, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, are intended to help protect farm revenues.

Under DCP, there are two types of payments: direct and counter-cyclical. Each is calculated using base acres and payment yields established on individual farms. But DCP only protects against low prices, and added farm payments under DCP would not start unless the U.S. average farm price for the 2013 corn crop dropped below $2.35 per bushel and soybeans below $5.56 per bushel.

Producers who choose ACRE could receive revenue-based payments instead of the price-based counter-cyclical payments under DCP. Revenue-based means that either low prices or low yields could trigger payments. ACRE participants are still eligible for 80% of their normal direct payments.

“ACRE can provide large payments if yields or prices should be very low,” Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt said.… Continue reading

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House Ag Committee approves farm bill

House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013, by a large, bipartisan vote of 36-10.

“I am proud of the Committee’s effort to advance a farm bill with significant savings and reforms. We achieve nearly $40 billion in savings by eliminating outdated government programs and reforming others. No other committee in Congress is voluntarily cutting money, in a bipartisan way, from its jurisdiction to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues and the bipartisan nature in which this legislation was written and approved. I look forward to debating the bill on the House floor this summer,” said Chairman Frank Lucas.

“I’m pleased the Committee was able to work together, find some common ground, and advance a five-year farm bill today. Needless to say this process has gone on far too long and it is past time to get this bill done.… Continue reading

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Passage of water resources development act good for farmers

With a vote of 83 to 14 this morning, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

“We applaud the efforts of Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman to see this important piece of legislation through the Senate. Improving waterway infrastructure is vital to farmers and all forms of commerce, especially on a large waterway like the Ohio River,” said Tadd Nicholson, with the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. “Very few industries have a trade surplus with other countries, but thankfully in part due to the United State’s system of waterways, agriculture, has this ability and is able to transport products around the world, keeping jobs in Ohio. The proper care and upkeep for this infrastructure is vital to Ohio’s farmers and general economy.”

“We will continue to stay engaged and ask the House to follow the lead of the Senate and move forward to protect and maintain a crucial part of the United States economy.”… Continue reading

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Beck’s Hybrids starts planting for first Practical Farm Research in Ohio

The Beck’s Hybrids purchase of land in London last year will allow them to do their first Practical Farm Research in Ohio this year.

For the 2013 growing season they have 100 acres dedicated to research.

“At the Ohio site we’ll begin long term research and short term trials on some new and exciting things that will be beneficial to Ohio farmers,” said Toby Ripberger the Practical Farm Research Coordinator for Beck’s.

Much of their planting schedule is based around which study they are working on. Ideally they like to get their research plots planted between April 15 and May 15.  The exception to that comes in their 300-bushel challenge and high yield challenges studies.


“We like to plant high yield studies earlier so we can maximize the yield potential of that crop,” Ripberger said. “Some of the most interesting things we’ve seen is how each planting season can be very different, but as you look at long term data you can see how a pattern develops. … Continue reading

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Ohio Agricultural Law Symposium next month

Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio State Bar Association will again partner to host the fifth annual Ohio Agricultural Law Symposium on June 23 and 24, 2013.

The focus of this year’s program is representing Ohio’s farm and agri-business clients.  Two nationally respected  practitioners will teach for the Symposium.   Allen Olson from Albany, Georgia, who has farm clients throughout the southern states, will provide guidance on representing farmers in crop insurance disputes and will also share his outlook on federal farm bill policies.   Cari Rincker of Rincker Law Office in New York, NY,  whose client base is spread around the country, will speak on protecting the farm client’s business by managing contracts, intellectual property and employment concerns.

The program will also include Ohio legal experts on labor, trucking, food safety and estate and business planning.   Leah Curtis from Ohio Farm Bureau and Roxi Liming with Adams, Liming & Hockenberry, LLC in Columbus will use a case study approach to discuss advising farm clients on trucking and labor regulations.   … Continue reading

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OSU Extension seeking Ohio pigweed

We are trying to get an assessment of herbicide resistance in Ohio pigweed populations, including smooth and redroot pigweed, waterhemp, and Palmer amaranth.

One mechanism for this is to sample small pigweed plants from fields in May and June, bring them back to our greenhouse, and treat them with the herbicides of interest.  We obviously need help finding the pigweed populations. As you see pigweed emerge over the next month, it would be extremely helpful to us if you would give us a call or email, and we will make arrangements to collect plants.

We need to collect plants that are ideally no more than an inch or two tall, and they can be from field margins where herbicides were not applied as well as within the field. Fields with a history of pigweed control problems are obviously especially good candidates for this research.

Contact Mark Loux –, 614-292-9081.… Continue reading

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Senate Agriculture Committee approves farm bill

The Senate Agriculture Committee approved a farm bill and farm groups are pleased with the progress. The bill includes re-vamped dairy policy that aligns with the goals of the National Milk Producers Federation.

“The dairy title of the committee’s bill contains the long-awaited reforms offered by the Dairy Security Act, which provides the best combination of effective risk management for dairy farmers, while minimizing program costs to the taxpayer,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. “Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has again proved to be an effective leader of her committee, and we thank her, Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS), and the other members of the Agriculture Committee for working together on the overall farm bill. Dairy farmers look forward to that same leadership as the bill reaches the Senate floor in the coming days.

“We also urge members of the House Agriculture Committee, during their markup of the farm bill tomorrow, to approve the Dairy Security Act and oppose an effort by Rep.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s forests boost economy

Ohio forests support a $22-billion-a-year industry and more than 100,000 jobs, according to an Ohio State University specialist who is documenting the green that grows in the state’s woods.

Eric McConnell, a forest operations and products specialist in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), is researching and writing a series of fact sheets on the economic impact of Ohio’s forest industry, which includes timber, logging, paper, wood products and furniture manufacturing.

His goal, he said, is to help landowners, businesspeople and regulators make informed decisions about the industry.

“Sustainably managing our woodlands plays a critical role in the economic health of Ohio’s rural economies,” he said.

Among his findings:

About a third of Ohio, or about 8 million acres, is forested — most of it by maples, oaks, hickories and other hardwoods — with about 75% of that acreage held by private, nonindustrial owners such as farmers.… Continue reading

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Tennessee “ag gag” law vetoed

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced that he will veto the controversial “ag gag” bill on grounds that it may not be constitutional.

“Our office has spent a great deal of time considering this legislation. We’ve had a lot of input from people on all sides of the issue,” Haslam said in a statement. “After careful consideration, I am going to veto the legislation. … I have a number of concerns.”

If the Tennessee law would have passed, it would have been the seventh state to adopt some version of an “ag gag” law. The Tennessee bill required anyone taking photographs or shooting video of animal abuse to turn unedited copies over to the law.

The “ag gag” bills passed or proposed around the country either require anyone who videotapes, photographs or records incidents of animal cruelty to turn over the evidence to authorities or prohibit the making of undercover videos, photographs and sound recordings on farms.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – May 13th, 2013

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Farmers in Ohio got after it last week and made big gains with corn planting. A whopping 46% has now been planted after just 7% last week.

As for soybeans, 16% of that crop has been planting after a mere 1% just a week ago.

There were four days suitable for field work in Ohio during the week ending May 12 according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Region. The warmer temperatures and low precipitation made it a great week for field work. Producers worked steadily through the week to make considerable progress on corn and oat planting. Rain showers late in the week put a halt to field work in some areas, although many producers worked between showers to continue their momentum. Soybean planting also saw an increase this week, but is slightly behind average as farmers have been focused on corn planting. Pastures and hay are in good condition.… Continue reading

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Supreme Court favors Monsanto in seed saving case

The ruling in favor of Monsanto was unanimous in the Supreme Court decision regarding the seed saving case of Bowman v. Monsanto. The case centered on the protection of intellectual property.

“The Court’s ruling today ensures that longstanding principles of patent law apply to breakthrough 21st century technologies that are central to meeting the growing demands of our planet and its people,” said David F. Snively, Executive Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel of Monsanto. “The ruling also provides assurance to all inventors throughout the public and private sectors that they can and should continue to invest in innovation that feeds people, improves lives, creates jobs, and allows America to keep its competitive edge.”

Justice Elena Kagan said the Supreme Court justices intended their decision to have a narrow focus.

“Our holding today is limited — addressing the situation before us, rather than every one involving a self-replicating product,” she wrote.… Continue reading

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APHIS delays biotech approval with environmental impact study

Many farmers have been eagerly waiting for advances in herbicide resistant crops to get through the approval process and into fields. They will be waiting a while longer though, after a recent announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) will conduct a full environmental impact statement (EIS) on soybean, corn and cotton crops designed to tolerate the 2,4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and Dicamba herbicides. The move could delay the introduction of new products containing these herbicide-tolerant traits to the market for an additional two to four years, according to industry sources.

Many growers of fruits and vegetables have expressed concern with the new generation of herbicide resistant crops and appreciate the additional time to prepare for the eventual approval of the technology. At the same time, corn, cotton and soybean growers are in desperate need of new tools to combat constantly evolving weed challenges.… Continue reading

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2013 Big Ohio Sheep Sale results

The Big Ohio Sheep Sale was held at Preble County Fairgrounds in Eaton, May 9-11. With over 1060 head entered for this year’s auction, the annual sale is one of the nation’s largest breeding sheep sales. Eleven breeds were showcased; the Ohio Sale was also the national sale venue for Southdown, Corriedale, Shropshire, and Natural Colored breeds. Results for Grand and Reserve Grand Champions for each breed are as follows.


Grand Champion Ewe: Silver Dollar Farms

Reserve Champion Ewe: Five Star ‘J’ Farms

Grand Champion Ram: MacCauley Suffolks

Reserve Champion Ram: Phantom Hills


Grand Champion Ewe: Reid Family

Reserve Champion Ewe: Everett Oxfords

Grand Champion Ram: Reid Family

Reserve Champion Ram: Reid Family

Natural Colored

Grand Champion Ewe: Homestead Farms

Reserve Champion Ewe: Frey Ranch

Grand Champion Ram: Wolf Bros.

Reserve Champion Ram: Wolf Bros.


Grand Champion Ewe: Herrig Family

Reserve Champion Ewe: Birschbach Hampshires

Grand Champion Ram: Herrig Family

Reserve Champion Ram: Jadewood Valley Farm


Grand Champion Ewe: Mapolyne Farms

Reserve Champion Ewe: Rincker Southdowns

Grand Champion Ram: Scramlin Southdowns

Reserve Champion Ram: Forsee Southdowns


Grand Champion Ewe: F Rife Shropshires

Reserve Champion Ewe: Austin and Trent Bechtold

Grand Champion Ram: Erik Mrozinski Shropshires

Reserve Champion Ram: Callie Taylor


Grand Champion Ewe: S Bar S Ranch

Reserve  Champion Ewe: Bruce Hoffman and Family

Grand Champion Ram: Phillippi Corriedales

Reserve Champion Ram: Craig Sheep Farm


Grand Champion Ewe: Spilde Cheviots

Reserve Champion Ewe: John and Judy Moore

Grand Champion Ram: Katherine Kuykendall

Reserve Champion Ram: John and Judy Moore


Grand Champion Ewe: Riverwood Farms

Reserve Champion Ewe: Riverwood Farms

Grand Champion Ram: T & A Dorpers

Reserve Champion Ram: Riverwood Farms

Grand Champion White Dorper Ewe: Riverwood Farms

Grand Champion White Dorper Ram: Riverwood Farms


Grand Champion Ewe: Smith Sheep Farm

Reserve Champion Ewe: Smith Sheep Farm

Grand Champion Ram: Smith Sheep Farm

Reserve Champion Ram: My Montadales

Wether Sire and Dam

Hampshire Wether Dam Grand Champion: Daniels Club Lambs

Hampshire Wether Sire Grand Champion: Gresher-Fisher Show Stock

Suffolk Wether Dam Grand Champion: Daniels Club Lambs

Suffolk Wether Sire Grand Champion: Howell Club Lambs

Dorset Wether Dam Grand Champion: Kennedy Dorsets

Dorset Wether Sire Grand Champion: Steve, Pat, and Tyler Myers

Crossbred/Unregistered Wether Dam Grand Champion: Westlake Club Lambs

Crossbred/Unregistered Wether Sire Grand Champion: Shafer Show Stock… Continue reading

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Senate Ag Committee marks up farm bill

The Senate Ag Committee has marked up the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 that include significant reforms from previous farm bills.

“The Senate’s bipartisan 2013 Farm Bill represents the most significant reform of American agriculture policy in decades. With the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act, the era of direct payments is over. Instead of subsidies that pay out every year even in good times, the bill creates risk management tools that support farmers when they are negatively impacted by weather disaster or market events beyond their control,” said Debbie Stabenow, Committee Chairwoman. “By ending unnecessary subsidies, streamlining and consolidating programs and cracking down on abuse, the bill reduces the deficit by billions. Passing the Farm Bill will yield a total of $23 billion in cuts to agriculture programs, including cuts made due to the sequester.”

There is almost unanimous emphasis on the importance of passing a comprehensive five-year farm bill from national agricultural organizations.… Continue reading

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Resurrected: A tale of two cats

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Rarely do I write about details of my family, but I believe this incident deserves special mention. This story involves my son David, daughter-in-law Mindy and granddaughters Sydney, 7, and Carly, 5. All of them are quite avid animal lovers. Their menagerie includes an Angus cow herd, dogs, cats, and the latest addition of two tiny kid goats.

Sydney and Carly had a black cat named Phoebe. Phoebe was one of the girls’ most dear pets. She had a shiny, midnight black coat and was very loving, purring around the girls as they played in the yard. Everyone assumed that, like most farm cats, Phoebe had nine lives.

My story begins with David picking the girls up after school for the long Easter weekend. Upon arriving home, they saw on the road, at the end of their driveway, the remains of Phoebe. Carly and Sydney were totally distraught.… Continue reading

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Biotech being debated in Congress

National crop organizations have been buzzing about biotech debates in Congress this week.

The National Corn Growers Association expressed appreciation to Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for co-authoring a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack and USTR Acting Ambassador Marantis addressing international regulatory challenges for agricultural products derived from biotechnology.

The letter identifies regulatory asynchrony, zero tolerance policies and re-registration requirements as costly regulatory barriers. It also acknowledges efforts currently underway by USDA and USTR to engage trading partners on these issues.

“Biotechnology is a critical tool for farmers to help manage pressure from weather, pests and weeds,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson, a farmer from Floyd, Iowa. “We need to elevate the conversation on barriers to biotech with all of our trading partners.”

In addition, the American Soybean Association joined multiple fellow farm groups in a letter opposing recently-introduced legislation from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)… Continue reading

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Farm payments to resume says FSA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced that farm payments, which had been temporarily suspended due to sequestration, are scheduled to resume now. This includes payments for the 2011 Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), the Noninsured Crop Assistance Program (NAP) and the Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC).

“I’m pleased to announce that farmers and ranchers can expect to begin receiving their payments beginning today, May 8,” Garcia said. “We appreciate the producers’ patience during the delay. We’re working diligently to get these payments out as quickly as possible.”

On March 4, 2013, FSA began a temporary suspension of FSA program payments in order to assess the impact of sequestration and determine the least-disruptive process possible for carrying out required cuts. The Department will use the Secretary’s limited authority to transfer funds to avoid reducing these program payments.

Producers should be advised that program sign-up periods currently underway have the following enrollment deadlines: 2013 Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program – June 3rd; 2011 SURE – June 7; and the 2013 Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program – August 2nd.… Continue reading

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Still time to enter ODA’s “Agriculture is Cool!”

The Ohio Department of Agriculture reminds parents and children that the deadline for the 2013 “Agriculture is Cool!” Creative Expressions contest is less than one week away. Ohio children enrolled in school or home schooled during the 2012-2013 academic year are encouraged to capture their personal interpretation of why Ohio agriculture is cool for their chance to win prizes including Ohio State Fair concert tickets. Entries must be postmarked by May 15, 2013.

Entries, which can include an original video, photograph, drawing, or painting, will be judged in the following age categories. One winner from each age group and category will be chosen:

Grades K-2: Photography, Drawing or Painting
Grades 3-5: Video, Photography, Drawing or Painting
Grades 6-8: Video, Photography, Drawing or Painting
Grades 9-12: Video, Photography, Drawing or Painting

All entries will be judged by a panel of judges that may include representatives from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Office of the Governor, the Ohio Expo Center, and professionals in the areas of video production, photography, drawing, painting and other visual arts.… Continue reading

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Haying and grazing deadline extended

The USDA announced that due to cold and wet weather in many states it is providing Approved Insurance Providers the option to allow haying and grazing from the current May 10 deadline to May 22.

The USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) identified areas with the May 10 deadline where the wet, cold spring has delayed normal cover crop growth and normal spring planting preparations. There may also be areas where it may not be possible for producers to enter the field to terminate the cover crop or plant at this time.

Producersin Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan seeking to continue haying or grazing a cover crop should contact their Approved Insurance Providers (AIP) to discuss eligibility. Because circumstances will be different for each producer, the AIPs may, at their sole discretion, make a determination to approve the request.

Under the existing policy in the seven identified states, a producer must not hay, graze, or harvest a cover crop after May 10, 2013 in order to insure a spring crop. … Continue reading

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Conservation Reserve Program workshop next month

Growers and landowners can learn how to develop a Conservation Reserve Program plan and how to manage CRP contracts during workshops June 12 and 13 offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Readiness Initiative.

The workshops will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Union County Services Center, 940 London Ave., Marysville.

They are part of the CRP Readiness Initiative, a nationwide effort to train conservation professionals and independent consultants to provide the planning, implementation and management services associated with the CRP, said Kevin Erb, CRP Readiness Initiative co-director and a certified crop adviser.

While especially relevant to the more than 400 professionals who have already participated in the program, the Ohio workshops may also be useful to conservation professionals working on other NRCS and conservation planning projects, he said.

“Participants taking these courses will dig deeper, learning about advanced planning concepts and conservation tools and practices, like writing CRP plans and managing contracts,” Erb said.… Continue reading

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