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USDA announces 45th general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced at the National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct a four-week general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), beginning May 20 and ending on June 14. CRP has a 27-year legacy of protecting the nation’s natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities across the United States. Under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, USDA has enrolled 11.7 million acres in various CRP efforts.

“Since the 1980s, the CRP program has established itself as a benchmark in voluntary conservation efforts, providing American producers with assets to address our most critical resource issues,” said Vilsack. “Last year, during one of the worst droughts in generations, the CRP proved vital in protecting our most environmentally sensitive lands from erosion. Emergency haying and grazing on CRP lands also supplied critical feed and forage for livestock producers due to the drought.… Continue reading

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Gypsum event to be held with OSU conservation tillage meeting March 7th

The third annual Midwest Soil Improvement Symposium: Research and Practical Insights into Using Gypsum is planned for March 7, 2013, in conjunction with The Ohio State University’s (OSU) Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference (CTC) in Ada, OH. The CTC is scheduled for March 5-6. Both events will be held at the McIntosh Center on the campus of Ohio Northern University.

Co-sponsors for the Midwest Soil Improvement Symposium are the GYPSOIL division of Beneficial Reuse Management, Chicago, IL; the Conservation Technology Information Center, West Lafayette, IN; and The Ohio State University.

Confirmed speakers for the March 7 event include:

Keynote by Dr. David R. Montgomery, author of Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations (2007) and a professor of geomorphology in the Department of Earth & Space Sciences at the University of Washington.  Dr. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and a two-time winner of the Washington State Book Award;

Dr. Warren Dick, professor, Environmental and Natural Resources, Ohio State University, Wooster, OH;

Dr.Continue reading

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Logan Elm FFA wins broadcast & pizza party for winning FFA week video


As part of their prize for winning the Ohio Ag Net & Ohio’s Country Journal FFA Week video contest, the Ohio Ag Net broadcasted from Logan Elm FFA’s shop and their members were our guest on the midday broadcast. Their prize also including a pizza party on us and custom FFA t-shirts for the entire chapter.

Rhiannon Hood wrote the words to the winning parody.

FFA Rhiannon Hood

Cole Clark talks to Dale about the making of the video and how he was chosen to sing it.

FFA Cole Clark

Kristien Elliot is the Logan Elm FFA president and shares what their chapter has planned for FFA week.

FFA Kristen Elliot President

Logan Elm advisor Bret King gives Dale background on the Logan Elm chapter.

FFA Advisor Brent King


Here is their winning video “FFA” a parody of the song “TNT.”

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AFBF sets record for feeding the needy

The farm and ranch families of Farm Bureau raised a record $971,235 and donated a record of more than 24 million pounds of food to assist hungry Americans as part of Farm Bureau’s “Harvest for All” program in partnership with Feeding America. Combined, the monetary and food donations also reached a record level of the equivalent of more than 28 million meals.

Now in its 10th year, Harvest for All is spearheaded by members of Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program, but Farm Bureau members of all ages from across the nation contribute to the effort. In all, a record 21 state Farm Bureaus heeded the call to action. The joint effort between Farm Bureau and Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, is a national community action program through which farmers and ranchers can help ensure every American enjoys the bounty they produce.

In addition to raising food and funds for the initiative, farmers and ranchers tallied 11,333 volunteer friend hours assisting local hunger groups in 2012.… Continue reading

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OABA conference drew strong crowd

More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association members, agribusiness professionals and industry stakeholders came together for the 2013 OABA Crop Production and Seed Technology Conference last week in Columbus, OH.

Jan. 30 featured the OABA Industry Dinner and Annual Meeting, with keynote speaker Dr. Bruce McPheron – the new Vice President of Agricultural Administration and dean of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. New and re-elected OABA Board of Directors were also announced (click here to read more) during the OABA Annual Meeting portion of the dinner.

The Crop Production and Seed Technology Conference was the first OABA event of its kind, and combined two OABA events with invaluable networking opportunities for agronomy and other agribusiness professionals. Participants who attended the three-day conference were eligible for 19 Certified Crop Adviser continuing education credits and five ODA Pesticide Applicator Certification credits.


Click here to see photographs from the event, or contact Angela Davis-Haines (614-326-7520, ext.… Continue reading

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Grazing Improvement Act of 2013 introduced in Senate

The Public Lands Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) strongly support the Grazing Improvement Act of 2013, introduced in the U.S. Senate. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), along with cosponsors Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Jim Risch (R-Iadho), introduced the bill, which seeks to improve the livestock grazing permitting processes on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The bill was debated during the last session of Congress in both the Senate and House of Representatives; it passed the House with bipartisan support as part of the Conservation and Economic Growth Act (H.R. 2578).

PLC President Brice Lee, a Colorado rancher, asserted that the uncertainty surrounding grazing permit renewals is threatening ranchers’ ability to stay in business.

“Those of us who utilize grazing on public lands face grave threats to our way of life due to today’s cumbersome and inefficient permit renewal process.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Producers unveil new animated video

Today at the Ohio Pork Congress, the Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC) unveiled “Where’d you get that pork on your fork?” — a new promotional video.

“We wanted to try and tell the story from fork to farm. The approach is centered around the food purchaser, so we started with the fork,” said  Jennifer Keller, OPPC director of marketing and education. “We have had the idea for a year and we worked on developing the video since we applied for funding in July from the Iowa Pork Producers Association. We’re trying to address the various components of the food chain, which we understand is a very delicate topic. We want to be honest and respectful and we hope that this video helps accomplish those goals.”

It took a couple of weeks to do the rough cut of the song in the video and the animation took much longer. OPPC worked with AdFarm on the video who subcontracted with Bic Media based in Kansas City.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Producers honor several at Ohio Pork Congress

The Ohio Pork Producers Council honored award winners at today’s awards luncheon.

Blanche and Roger Lange, from Seneca County, are the Pork Industry Excellence Award winners. The award was presented by Elanco.


Bill Minton, DVM, from Chickasaw, was the Ohio Pork Industry Service Award Winner. The award was presented by OPPC president Jim Heimerl and Dick Isler.


Iain Harris, from Yellow Springs, is the Manager of the Year. The award was presented by OPPC president Jim Heimerl .

The Marion County Pork Producers, represented by Dan and Larry Criswell, received the Pork Promoter of the Year Award. The award was presented by OPPC president Jim Heimerl and Matt Reese, from Ohio’s Country Journal.

See more photos from the 2013 Ohio Pork Congress.Continue reading

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Yield contest boasts 75 entries beyond 300 bushels

Farmers participating in the National Corn Growers Association 2012 National Corn Yield Contest set a new record by submitting 75 entries that surpassed the 300 bushels-per-acre mark. Bucking trends and overcoming severe drought conditions, these entrants showed the incredible achievements that are possible in farming using advanced practices and state-of-the-art technology.

“NCGA’s corn yield contest continues to enjoy such popularity because it showcases what is possible for our industry moving forward,” said NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Dean Taylor. “I applaud the level of achievement that this record number of entrants attained this year and thank them for their contribution to agriculture. Through knowledge acquired from entrants we learn practical techniques that can be applied on other farms thus enhancing our ability to continually improve as farmers.”

Despite higher average yields nationally among all farmers in 2011, only 10 entries achieved the 300 bushels-per-acre mark that year. Entries showing yields this high have not exceeded approximately 30 per year even under optimal weather conditions.… Continue reading

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Conference to help small-farm owners make the most of their operations

An Ohio State University Extension conference March 23 in Zanesville will help current and future small-farm owners make the most of their operations.

The “Living Your Small Farm Dream” conference and trade show are designed to help participants diversify their operations and reach new markets to improve farm economic growth and development, said Mark Mechling, an Ohio State University Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources.

“It might be a person who is new to agriculture, or someone who might have acreage that they aren’t using to the fullest, or even someone who has newly acquired land and might not know what to do with it,” he said. “What we try to do with this conference is to give participants a smorgasbord of ideas that may interest them by offering a wide variety of sessions in which they can learn more in-depth about an issue, gain resources and learn how to finance a new venture.”… Continue reading

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Winter snows recharging soil moisture

By Jeff Rectenwald, Asgrow/DEKALB Territory Agronomist

Winter in Ohio has been very good to growers who are wishing for re-charged sub soil moisture. The first big snowfall melted slowly and into ground that was not frozen. This was good for soil moisture accumulation. The very cold temperatures occurred while there was no snow cover. It was good to have one week of 10 degree temperatures at this time to gain a “cracking” of the soil profile. We get more fine cracks and benefits when the soil is fully loaded with water and then freezes. These “cracks” help with water infiltration and aeration during the growing season. They also provide the benefit of nutrient mineralization during the growing season by adding water and oxygen to the soil profile.

While we could have used another week of deep freezing temperatures, the last two snowfalls have been good for soil moisture accumulation and we are on our way to re-charging the soil from the 2012 summer drought.… Continue reading

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Ohio grower Gary Wolfe wins Beck 300 Challenge

Even with the extreme drought many farmers experienced across the Midwest, the top five participants averaged 265 bushels per acre. Gary Wolfe from Nevada, Ohio, is the winner of the 2012 Beck 300 Challenge, with a yield of 291.40 bushels per acre with BECK 6077HR.

“Not only was this my first year to participate in the Beck 300 Challenge, but it was my first year to plant Beck’s Hybrids,” said Gary Wolfe, 2012 Beck 300 Challenge winner. “Typically this field produced good yields, averaging between 180 bushels per acre to 200 bushels per acre, but I have never achieved a yield as high as 291 bushels per acre.”

“The goal of the Beck 300 Challenge is to provide farmers with an opportunity to challenge their own management practices and push the envelope in order to reach higher yields,” said Scott Beck, vice president of Beck’s Hybrids. “Then, they can take what they learned and apply it to the rest of their farm to increase their whole farm average.”… Continue reading

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Higher gross receipts may require an additional tax to be paid

By Larry Gearhardt, Director of OSU Tax Schools and David Marrison, Extension Educator, ANR, Ashtabula and Trumbull Counties

Some farmers may be surprised to find that they too are subject to the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) because of higher gross receipts.

The Ohio CAT tax was passed in 2005 in response to a lagging economy. In exchange for the CAT tax, businesses are no longer required to pay personal property tax and individuals pay a lower Ohio income tax rate. Ohio’s income tax rate is currently approximately 20% lower than it was in 2004.

The CAT tax is an annual tax that is imposed on most businesses in Ohio and is measured by the amount of taxable gross receipts from most business activities. A business with taxable gross receipts of more than $150,000.00 per calendar year is subject to this tax, which requires the person to register as a taxpayer with the Ohio Department of Taxation.… Continue reading

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Ohioans to compete at National Farm Machinery Show pulls

By: Heather Hetterick

Several Ohio drivers will be participating at the 2013 National Farm Machinery Pulls including Carlton Cope of Salem, the driver of Warpath.

“It’s certainly an honor just to get invited to go compete there because so many competitors send in an application to compete,” Cope said.

Fewer than 200 vehicles are chosen to compete from about 600 applications.

“Because it’s such a big event, we double check everything making sure its tight and set right. We spend alot of time just washing and cleaning it up due to the show,” he said.

Because of the indoor venue he’s had to make some adjustment to the tractor that will compete Friday night in the 10,200-pound Pro Stock tractor class.

“Usually on the indoor track we have to gear down, because of the shorter track. We also change the weight step a little bit and put the indoor exhaust pipe on,” Cope said.… Continue reading

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Hicks named Farm Bureau organization director

Tim Hicks has been named Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) organization director for Crawford, Marion, Morrow and Richland Counties.

Hicks will act as liaison between the county Farm Bureaus and OFBF. He will assist the county groups as they develop and implement programs to strengthen the organization and enhance its ability to serve its members and affect positive change in their communities.

A native of Wood County, Ohio, Hicks previously was employed by the Schuyler County (New York) Watershed Protection Agency, the Soil and Water Conservation District and as an erosion control manager. He served as a village trustee and was active in various community organizations including the regional planning board. He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a degree in environmental science. He and his wife, Jenna, are the parents of two children.

“Tim’s experience in rural issues will be very valuable to Farm Bureau members, and he’ll be a great asset to the counties he serves,” said Keith Stimpert, OFBF’s senior vice president, organization.… Continue reading

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Incoming NCBA president talks goals, challenges

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president-elect Scott George will soon take the reins of the organization. As President, George says he is looking forward to the opportunity to travel around the country and visit with cattle producers in their home states.

“We have such a diversity across this country of segments that people are involved in and also the terrain that they live in and the environment that they work in, and it is really educational to get a chance to look at operations of all types,” George said.

After all, he will represent cattle producers from coast to coast during his year as NCBA president. He says there are a number of issues of importance to the industry, including keeping an eye on the EPA.

“We are really concerned about the agency’s attempt to take over the waters of the United States,” said George, who also said trade opportunities as a hot topic.… Continue reading

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Cover crops and crop insurance still a concern

A coalition of farm and commodity groups recently met with USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) Acting Administrator Brandon Willis and other top RMA officials. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss cover crop rules in federal crop insurance.

As farmers increasingly adopt cover crops, often with encouragement and technical assistance from other USDA agencies like the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a few have found their cover crops bring them into conflict with crop insurance rules. RMA staff stressed Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s interest in expanding the use of cover crops, and innovations in cover crop usage including the planting of radishes and peas.

They also discussed the general rationale for cover crops, which is to get the maximum benefit for the cash crop from the farmer’s decisions on cover crops. RMA staff pointed out that they made changes in cover crop rules for 2010-11 and again in 2012-13; they will make more changes as they are needed.… Continue reading

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February USDA supply and demand report

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Today was the USDA February supply and demand report.  The report was viewed as neutral. Soybean production in Brazil went up one million tons while the production in Argentina went down one million tons. US soybean ending stocks went down ten million bushels due to an increase of crush by the same number. Corn ending stocks went up thirty million bushels, slightly above trade expectations. Bottom line, today’s reports are a non-event. Traders quickly returned to weather and demand issues.

Prior to the report corn was up 7 cents with soybeans down 1 cent. Ten minutes after report release, corn was up 5 cents while soybeans were down 5 cents.

This past week corn has dropped nearly forty cents. Corn prices have been suffering from poor technical action in recent days along with the weekly ethanol grind continuing to be disappointing. In addition, corn export loadings this week were only 5.3 million bushels.… Continue reading

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Extended muzzleloader season being considered

An October antlerless-only white-tailed deer muzzleloader hunting season, extended hunting hours and new bag limits were proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday, Feb. 6, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The proposed antlerless-only muzzleloader hunting season would be Oct. 12-13 and scheduled for the second weekend of October in subsequent years. The proposal includes making the October muzzleloader season for antlerless deer only, regardless of the method of take, and eliminating both the bonus gun weekend in December and the early muzzleloader season at three public hunting areas (Salt Fork Wildlife Area, Shawnee State Forest and Wildcat Hollow).

Hunting hours are proposed to be extended 30 minutes past sunset for all deer firearms seasons, including the weeklong deer-gun season, youth season and muzzleloader seasons. This will make the hours the same as archery season.

County bag limits are proposed to replace deer zones. Proposed bag limits will be two, three or four deer, determined by county.… Continue reading

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NCGA says RFS is a priority

In a panel presentation this week, National Corn Growers Association CEO Rick Tolman highlighted the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard to help increase and guarantee a vibrant domestic renewable fuel market.

“We cannot underestimate the importance of the RFS,” Tolman said. “It cut imported oil and serves as the basis for investment in infrastructure growth. It’s the single biggest reason for the prosperity across all of agriculture since its inception. It also has lowered fuel costs for consumers and created hundreds of thousands of jobs across America.”

Tolman’s presentation, at the Renewable Fuel Association’s National Ethanol Conference, centered on five areas: the success of the RFS to-date, the importance of preserving the program, implementation challenges and opportunities, pathways to 36 billion gallons by 2022, and the future role of corn in the Renewable Fuel Standard.

NCGA is involved in several programs to protect the RFS and ethanol’s role in America’s fuel sector, such as the Fuels America coalition and the American Ethanol racing program with NASCAR, Tolman said.… Continue reading

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